The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Story From Last Night

Last night I was a participant on a panel for a discussion on "Gay Rights --Why?" held at one of our local community colleges.

One thing that usually happens did last night as well. I show up in a clerical collar carrying a bible and people from the community who may not know me assume that I am automatically against LGBT rights.

That's really an unfair assumption for many reasons, because even many Christians who believe the practice of homosexuality is sinful can reasonably support that LGBT people who believe differently are deserving of civil rights.

When I speak and tell the story of MCC and its 39 year tradition of affirming LGBT people as part of God's intention for creation, I can see the surprise on many faces as well as relief on some and displeasure on others.

The panel went as it usually does, quite routine.

What is always most interesting is what happens after.

A young man came up to speak to me, a little teary eyed, sharing about how his faith in Jesus was being renewed and how pleased he was that there were open and affirming churches in the community. He mentioned he came from a certain Christian background and that he had recently come out to his parents, with whom, as a college student he is still living. We chatted about various things ... but this was the thing that blew my mind.

When he said to his parents, I'd like to buy you each a T-shirt that says "I heart my Gay Son" they told him "don't bother. We won't wear it." Well, I'm not happy about that, but I explain to him that his parents have their own "coming out" to contend with.

But that's not the part of this episode that was most hurtful for him.

The part that was hurtful was that one of his parents went on to say, "Tell you what. You buy us that T-shirt, we'll put it on the dog."

I am very tired of having to pick up the pieces when well-meaning parents sacrifice their children on altars the parents perceive are holy.


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