Jesus Freak: A ‘Gaytheist’ Child Isn’t The Worst Thing To Happen To A Christian Family
Jesus Freak: I am a Christian mom who was raised in a fundamental Christian home. I have questioned my beliefs and have come to love myself and God on my own terms. I’m raising my kids the same way.
Growing up in a Christian home, there were a few unspoken rules passed down from my parents and the general community. As always, the experience I speak to is my own and no one else’s. While I believe many of these misconceptions are common among Christians, they are not absolute. Not all Christians are the same, but many Christian parents voice disappointment over kids who “fall into” major sin—like homosexuality or even (gasp!) atheism.
I honestly don’t know how my parents would have reacted if my brother, sister, or I was gay, and I never had to find out. I would say that for this reason my view of homosexuality growing up was somewhat sheltered. My parents weren’t hateful bigots by any means, but they passed on the basic idea to “hate the sin, not the sinner.” In translation, homosexuality was wrong, but it was also wrong to hate people.
That seemed to make sense to me back then. I have to admit that it wasn’t until very recently that I truly questioned what I had been taught. Since my childhood, I’ve had several gay friends, and I also recognize the fact that it is no big deal. But there was still that voice in the back of my mind that said, “But God doesn’t think it is ideal.”
How judgmental and patronizing is that? I’m not going to go into a Biblical debate on the topic, but I have to say that as I have thought about this issue and my relationship with God more and more, I firmly believe that God couldn’t care less about homosexuality. As a parent, I just can’t see a loving God judging one person based on a certain “bad sin” that would cause them to get kicked out of heaven. I would never do that to my kids, and I know God wouldn’t either.
Again, this doesn’t apply to all Christians, but some Christian parents feel quite the opposite. Some Christian parents won’t tolerate a child who falls short and commits a major sin.
One Reddit commenter describes his personal experience as a “gaytheist” of Christian parents:
I’m not even fighting anymore. All I can think is ‘why?’…. I am on the verge of tears not so much because I am hurt, but because I am confused and lonely and frustrated. I come and I sit in my room so often because I feel like this, and invariably the only way I can feel good enough to carry on like normal is to pretend none of this shit ever happens. I’m sorry to trouble you with a non-cheerful message, but thanks for giving me a place to write this down.
On another Reddit comment thread:
My dad and I have an amazing relationship. When my mom ran out on us because i was having some near fatal medical issues and she couldn’t handle it, he stood up and took care of me through it all. We’ve been close ever since. He told me that despite all that, he would disown me immediately if it turned out I was gay. So now, I have to wait for him to die before I can come out to anyone. It would devastate him. So I’ll continue living a lie until that day comes.
Alright, so I recently turned 17, and my mom is a full blown Christian. I go to a Christian school. Ever since I began to discover my sexuality around the age of 11, I realized that I was gay. I managed to keep it a secret from her until my teacher heard me and a friend talking about it. Since I go to a Christian school, I guess the teacher felt an obligation to let my mom know, so she did. And then my mom confronted me about it yesterday. We basically had a long, angry conversation but in the end she told me that I was going to go to “gay therapy” whether I liked it or not, end of story.
All of these stories are so heartbreaking that they make me sick. The even sadder thing is that because of many of the religious ideas presented to me when I was young, I can almost, almost understand where these parents are coming from. I would never, ever disown my kids under any circumstance, but I have been a part of Christian communities where this plays out. “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” and “it’s for your own good,” right?
I used to fall into the camp where, while I would never condemn my kids, I still believed God “didn’t support” certain behaviors. After questioning this damaging mindset, I now fall far on the other side of the fence. I would never disown my kids for who they are or their beliefs. My kids will always know that they can come to me and tell me anything about themselves. If the day ever comes when one of my sons tells me he’s gay, I’ll celebrate him. If one of my sons ever decides that he adamantly does not believe in God, I won’t love him any less. Neither will God.
(Image: Maxim Safronov/Shutterstock)