Thursday, October 13, 2011

It's time to think carefully

While perusing the news during my lunch today I came across this video

For those who don't want it or should the link ever be disabled, here is a quick summation: A 14 year old boy took his life due to extreme bullying over his sexual orientation. He is one of too many teens who have taken their lives for the same reason. Many schools are enacting or trying to enact anti-bullying. Many groups are protesting because they believe that enacting such [insert applicable legal name here] promotes the "gay agenda" and discriminates against children who have moral opposition to the gay lifestyle. Representative Mike Harmon of Kentucky explains, "...someone, just in conversation, says 'Well, you know, I think homosexuality is a sin'. Well we don't want that child to be bullied because they have a certain moral or religious belief, and we certainly don't want them labeled a "bully" just because they have that particular belief."

I watched this video and cried. I'm glad I was alone when I saw it, though I suppose I could have gone to the bathroom. I listened to this hurting teen encouraging other kids like him to believe it gets better, knowing those messages of hope weren't enough to sustain him. I thought about how devastated Dan Savage, who founded the It Gets Better project might feel after hearing this news story. About the boys parents. And then the second half of the video came and I cried even more when I saw that Christians are standing against anti-bullying. Because they don't want to lose the culture wars. Because they are afraid. Because they don't want their child being taught it's okay to be homosexual. At least, those are the reasons I can grasp, maybe there are more I'm not thinking of.

These are my thoughts. I'm not a parent, so I can't speak with authority about how to raise a child but these are just my thoughts as a human on those three reasons:
1.  Culture wars. I hate them. I hate them very much. I don't see how waging war and drawing lines ever leads to anything good. It leads to hate, anger, separation and misunderstanding. I'm still waiting to find that bit in the Bible where God or Jesus suggests that Christians legislate morality.
2. It's easy to be afraid of what you don't know. I get that, I really do. But as decent humans, and especially as someone who is supposed to speak for a God of love, it's really important to try to overcome our fear. I read Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink recently and he claims that it is impossible to overcome prejudice toward another people group without engaging personally with that group. So here's my suggestion. Go find someone gay to love. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. 
3. If you're really worried about what your kid is being taught, put them in private school. Or home school them. Or realize that you don't get to dictate public school. 

What really hurts is that it seems like Christians are letting their moral stand and desire to "win" completely overwhelm their compassion and love for people that are in pain. It's not right. 

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