LOUISVILLE, KY—At first glance, high school senior Lucas Faber, 18, seems like any ordinary gay teen. He's a member of his school's swing choir, enjoys shopping at the mall, and has sex with other males his age. But lately, a growing worry has begun to plague this young gay man. A gnawing feeling that, deep down, he may be a fundamentalist, right-wing Christian.
"I don't know what's happening to me," Faber admitted to reporters Monday. "It's like I get these weird urges sometimes, and suddenly I'm tempted to go behind my friends' backs and attend a megachurch service, or censor books in the school library in some way. Even just the thought of organizing a CD-burning turns me on."
Added Faber, "I feel so confused."
The openly gay teen, who came out to his parents at age 14 and has had a steady boyfriend for the past seven months, said he first began to suspect he might be different last year, when he started feeling an odd stirring within himself every time he passed a church. The more conservative the church, Faber claimed, the stronger his desire was to enter it.
"It's like I don't even know who I am anymore," the frightened teenager said. "Keeping this secret obsession with radical right-wing dogma hidden away from my parents, teachers, and schoolmates is tearing me apart."
According to Faber, his first experience with evangelical Christianity was not all that different from other gays his age.
"Sure, I looked at the Book of Leviticus once or twice—everybody has," Faber said. "We all experiment a little bit with that stuff when we're growing up. But I was just a kid. I didn't think it meant anything."
Faber's instinct was to deny these early emotions. But recently, the Louisville teen admitted, the feelings have grown stronger, making him wonder more and more what life as a born-again right-wing fundamentalist would be like.
"The other week, I was this close to picketing in front of an abortion clinic," the mortified teenager said, his eyes welling up with tears. "I know it's wrong, but I wanted so badly to do it anyway. I even made one of those signs with photos of dead fetuses and hid it in my closet. I felt so ashamed, yet, at the same time, it was all strangely titillating."
Faber's parents, although concerned, said they're convinced their otherwise typical gay son is merely going through a conservative Christian phase.
"I caught him watching The 700 Club once when he thought he was alone in the house, and last week, I found some paperbacks from the Left Behind series hidden in his sock drawer," his mother, Eileen Faber, said. "I'm sure he'll grow out of it, but even if he doesn't, I will love and accept my son no matter what."
Faber's father was far less tolerant in his comments.
"No son of mine is going to try to get intelligent design into school textbooks," Geoffrey Faber said. "And I absolutely refuse to pay his tuition if he decides to go to one of those colleges like Oral Roberts University where they're just going to fill his head with a lot of crazy conservative ideas."
He added, "I just want my normal gay son back."