The hate-the-sin, love-the-sinner thing works fine if you are a televangelist broadcasting your purported tolerance into the black void of TV Land, but your child is not just some fool with a checkbook and a guilty conscience. S/he will doubt very much that you can love him/her and at the same time be revolted by something that is part of everything s/he is and does. This “sin” is not something like axe-murdering, which happens only once in a while during moments of extreme stress. This is something your child lives every day, and more importantly it’s something that your child sees (if s/he is lucky) as a beautiful and life-transfiguring thing. Sexuality and identity are so closely wrapped up together for gay and lesbian people that if you hate the sin, you are hating the sinner. If your child believes part #1 of that sentence, s/he will look upon part #2 skeptically at best.
From Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today blog for women, Halee Gray Scott, guest blogger, wants you to know that she’s a nice person and wants legal inequality for same-sex couples for the very nicest reasons: “I Am Not Charles Worley: The Plea of a Christian Who Opposes Gay Marriage”:
If anybody ever had angel eyes, it was my baby cousin Brian. His eyes were the color of the Arizona desert sky at high noon, but it wasn’t the color that made them so angelic—it was the way they shimmered when he laughed. Brian had such a sanguine personality it seemed his little body couldn’t contain his joy—his deep belly laughs bubbled over at the smallest provocation. His mother would say she thought it was her job to protect that smile straight through to his adulthood, but I doubt she could’ve predicted what would happen to him.
Brian was always a social misfit. At age 15, he’d rather have his nose buried in some science-fiction novel than play sports. As a reward for making honor roll, he’d ask for things like the unedited version of Les Miserables. He wasn’t great at small talk and his face would turn tomato red anytime a girl smiled at him. All this strained his relationships with his peers. And they were merciless. Gay, queer, and fag were regular epithets either hurled his way or whispered behind him just within earshot.
I was heartbroken as I watched what this did to him over the years. His eyes, now a mossy green, didn’t shimmer anymore, and that joyful disposition was buried down deep, if it was still there at all. I did what I could by telling him to stand up for himself and telling him that what others said did not define him, but there was little else I could do. For who can quiet the voices of adolescent boys? By the time he came out as gay to his family, a whole world of damage had already been done to his soul. In the end, I watched him bullied not to the point of suicide, but to the point of another kind of death, a social death in which he alienated himself from everyone, even his closest family members.
I don’t love Brian any less because he’s gay. He’s kind, brilliant, and full of beautiful ideas. The world would be such a lesser place without him. But in my mind, sexuality is a one-way street. And when I see someone I love going the wrong way down a one-way street, the most loving response is to say, “No, wait! That’s the wrong way! That way only ends in pain.”
She doesn’t say where Brian is now, but we can hope for Brian that he is far away from his evil family, among people who really love him, because it gets better once you can leave home. For a more detailed takedown of what’s wrong with Halee’s line of thinking, see You can’t deny people their rights and be nice about it but in short form, back to the Guide to Gay Etiquette:
It’s not that I’m against homosexuality, I just don’t want my child to be unhappy.
While this may on the surface seem like a logically defensible objection, it crumbles when you take into account the fact that if you assemble 100 gay and lesbian people in a room and ask them, “What’s the worst experience you’ve ever had as a gay man or lesbian?” 95 of them will answer, “Coming out to my parents.” (The other 5 will respond, “Being courtmartialed.”) If you don’t want your child to be unhappy, well, don’t make your child unhappy
There is still time to respond to the UK government’s consultation on civil marriage. From the British Quakers’ website: Take action on equal marriage.
On Brian’s behalf, Halee: