Have a good life

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From Have a good life, goodbye on Susan Cottrell’s blog FreedHearts, the following brutal letter from a dad to his son.

“James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad”

WHAT THE HELL is wrong with a dad, that he would write something so hateful to his child? As far as I know, none of my kids are gay, but if they were, I sure wouldn’t respond like this guy. OK, wait. That doesn’t make sense. Of course I wouldn’t respond like this jerk did, because I don’t think it’s wrong to be gay.

So let’s try for a better analogy. What if one of my kids shared with me something that I DID feel was terribly wrong – they were dealing drugs to toddlers or vivisecting animals? Both very disturbing images, right? (I tried to be as disturbing as I could think of…) So yeah, I’d be upset, horrified, saddened by the news. But I still can’t imagine telling my kid that I never wanted to see them again.

Why is it that some straight people are so distraught by the mere existence of gay people? Even more, why do conservative Christians take it as a personal affront when they encounter a gay Christian? A new friend was telling me recently how, after he wrote a letter to the editor as a gay Christian, he got threats, had his windows broken, and received a lengthy letter from a complete stranger telling him how immoral and evil he was. Who would write such a letter? Do such individuals spend all their time writing letters to everyone in the world they disagree with? Or is their hatred reserved for gay people?

Maybe they’re simply distressed by the possibility that they’ve been wrong. Terribly, horribly wrong. Slaveholders once used the Bible to justify their actions. Nazis used the Bible to justify their persecution of the Jews and other minorities. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch hunts… there’s a long list of atrocities committed under the guise of religion. And most people today recognize how wrong these things were. We look down on the perpetrators of such acts as being of a less-advanced ethical age. We think we’re better than that. So I suppose it must be pretty shocking, pretty inflammatory, to be accused of being on the wrong side of moral justice. Could the explanation be as simple as that?

Whatever the explanation, I still can’t imagine disowning my child.

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4 comments

  1. My Sunday school teacher said the other Sunday that “gay” and “Christian” can’t be used together, as in “I’m a gay Christian.” Needless to say, I’ll not be going back to that class.

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  2. ::sigh:: My parents know about my story, but until last summer, they only knew the version from 10+ years ago… that I was struggling, that I was working on it, that I knew it was wrong…

    This last summer they felt the need to write me a long letter, making sure I know “what the bible says” about homosexuality. I think they could tell I’m getting more and more progressive in my own views, and they saw my kids (my awesome, liberal kids) “rainbowing” their FB profile photos after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages. Anyway, it was terribly hurtful. They affirmed their love for me, but made sure I was VERY CLEAR on their views… the “plain, literal” meaning of scripture.

    I used it as an opportunity to write back and come out as not only GAY (not same-sex attracted) but also as LIBERAL. I told them I reject inerrancy, I believe in evolution, I celebrate gay marriage… I mean why not be all the way out right?

    They’re doing their best to be gracious, although I know they pray for my soul every day. We have had some good in-depth conversations since then and I know they’re worried about me. They should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a friend like your parents. I know that in his mind, he loves me very much; he’s concerned for my well-being, etc. He is unaware how much his attitudes are hurting me – how much HE is hurting me. And it’s natural that he wouldn’t know that. First of all, he’s not the most sensitive person to begin with. And then we have a lifetime of history of me PRETENDING those attitudes don’t hurt me; in fact embracing those very attitudes myself. So how would he ever know?

      I guess one way he’ll know is if I tell him, but that would require vulnerability on my part. He won’t get it after one or two conversations, and every one of those conversations will likely be painful for me. I’m just not sure if I’m willing to take on that monumental task. I don’t know that I love him enough.

      Kudos to you for coming out to your parents (and “all the way,” too! Liberal! 🙂 Not easy for you, I’m sure; but maybe it’s the only way they will ever come to see the error of their ways.

      Liked by 1 person

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