Tila Tequila, whose bisexual reality dating series premieres on MTV next week, recently exposed her personal spiritual journey on how she found God.
Her testimony was posted last week on her popular MySpace blog in reaction to conservative Christian comments opposing the upcoming show – "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" – where she stars with 32 straight men and lesbians who compete to impress her.
Although acknowledging that the show would raise controversy, she wrote, "I just want to say that I am truly blessed to have had an opportunity to share with the world and teach the world that it is OK to be who you are! Gay or not! So thank you MTV for giving me this opportunity."
Tequila, whose real last name is Nguyen, has some 2 million "friends" on MySpace, making her the most popular girl in the social network's history and earning her the label "queen of MySpace." She's also dubbed the "Madonna of MySpace" as she built her celebrity status online with racy photos and videos, Tila merchandise and album singles.
But the popular 25-year-old entertainer whose online friends keep growing was once down a lonely path, with no love or support from anyone, as she described on her blog.
"Growing up, I felt like I had no one to turn to in times of need, who would be there for me with open arms without judgment when I felt hopeless," Tequila wrote. "I lived in a lonely shattered world and tried to commit suicide quite a few times from a very young and tender age starting at 11 [years] to 22 years of age.
"That is until I made amends with God," she added.
Tequila said she didn't meet God in a church, which she had avoided going to with her "'gay' problems." And she didn't meet the God worshipped by churches that preached condemnation. Instead, she said she made amends with "the God that I can feel and hear in my own heart."
"This is what saved my life," she wrote.
"I stopped feeling bad about myself because I was told that I was a 'bad' person for whatever reasons and opinions," Tequila explained. "That's when I turned my life around. I accepted me for who I am in all my glory. I accepted the fact that God would love me as long as my heart is good."
With that, she blasted churches for "bashing" on the gay community.
"The church should understand that they have a higher responsibility to teach the youth about unconditional love, and how we can spread the love, not why being gay is a bad thing," she wrote.
If churches don't spread the love, Tequila says she will.
"[N]ow that I've endured all of that pain, maybe God put me on this path so that I would be able to share with everyone else who may be going through the same things?"
Her comments come as an overwhelming majority of the American public, Christians and non-Christians alike, believe present-day Christianity is "anti-homosexual," as revealed by a recent Barna Group poll.
"As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians," the Barna report stated
Young Christians largely criticize the Church, saying it has made homosexuality a "bigger sin" than anything else and that the Church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.
"In a perfect world, God would have the churches teach us how to love one another, no matter who, what, when and where," stated Tequila on her blog.
Despite widely held negative views against Christianity, more churches are learning to look beyond the sin of homosexuality and to love the homosexual.
Last week, gay rights advocates of Equality Florida staged a protest in front of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., opposing a meeting held at the church that they said encouraged bigotry to gays. But the church's lead pastor, the Rev. Forrest Pollock, and its members stood by proclaiming that they love the protestors, including gays and lesbians, and invited them to attend church services.
Tim Wilkins, president of Cross Ministry and a former homosexual, says more evangelicals are becoming proactive in reaching out to homosexuals. Wilkins speaks at churches and schools equipping Christians to disciple homosexual persons. While the church has the responsibility to proclaim the message that homosexual behavior is a sin, he stresses the greater need to speak the truth in love and to share the redemptive message of Christ with homosexuals.
As Dr. Rick Martin, pastor at Jesus Is Lord Ministries – a professional Christian counseling service – puts it: "Jesus forgave. Jesus accepted people (not necessarily their actions/behaviors). Jesus interacted with 'tax gatherers and sinners.'"
Martin further pointed to the Scriptures for instruction on what to do regarding the sins of others, citing Galatians 6:1.
"Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted," he said, according to the Lansing State Journal.
As for Tila Tequila, the "queen of MySpace" says she's thankful she found God and has come off the lonely path.
"All I know is that I just want to love and be loved. I don't care what color your skin is or what your gender is. Love is just love and it is a beautiful thing we should all be able to experience!" she wrote.