Christianity and homosexuality aren’t the easiest of bedmates at the best of times. Mix fundamentalism in there and you get a combination that frequently ends in alienation and heartbreak. David and Jonathan is the story of two lifelong friends who find themselves on opposites sides in their sexuality and spirituality.
They share a common upbringing in the Mennonite faith, but David (played by Henry Fenn-Straatsma) has recently begun to question those beliefs. As he comes out as an atheist to his friend, Jonathan (Shadrack Jackman) responds by revealing that his faith has never been stronger — and that he is gay.
Playwright Richard Peters watched a similar story unfold with two students in his theatre arts class as he wrote David and Jonathan. Though a straight Christian, Peters was still uncomfortable with his church’s stance on homosexuality.
“Frankly, I look at the way homosexuals have been treated, and it’s abysmal,” says Peters. “The church needs to be held accountable, and it needs to happen from within.”
To that end, Peters has been outspoken both in his place of worship and his place of employment. He teaches at a Christian school, and the response from his brethren and workmates has ranged from guardedly polite to downright disapproving. Peters finds the more negative responses hypocritical.
“I believe that there’s a God, and that we’re created and that he manifested himself through Jesus,” he says. “But that’s my belief; that’s not fact. In the modern church they’re trying to argue that these are facts that make everyone else wrong. Their stance on homosexuality is based on only a few lines from the Bible, while there are other whole passages they choose to ignore. If I were in Jonathan’s position, I’d just say ‘Fuck the church,’ but he still believes.”