I tried to avoid this subject, I really did. I pressed “LIKE” on the posts that were poignant and non-committal on Facebook. I respected my pentecostal friends opinions and did not voice my own. I noted in my head who agreed and disagreed. I laid in bed last night and felt ashamed. I mentioned it to my husband while quietly stewing in bed. And then I woke up this morning.
The first thing my daughter said to me was “Mom, you gotta look at this post.” What she showed me was a post a very dear teenage friend of ours had written. It was a simple message about President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. His respect for him has risen because of it. This young man is a normal teen, he get’s into trouble like any other, he spouts off nonsense and gives his fair share of grief. However, he is well versed in his politics. He does not take things lightly and he goes looking for factual answers when he has a question. He does not make decisions lightly. In the three years I have been away from him I have watched him grow from a boy into a well-rounded, intelligent young man via Facebook. His mother is like a sister to me. She has done a wonderful job, often alone, of raising her children. Today is living proof of that. As I read his post my daughter answered the question in my head. Why was she so shocked by his post?
“Now read what his dad wrote.” She said obviously shocked and distraught.
So I did. I was appalled by the venom in this man’s posts. You can imagine. Every slur he could think of was thrown at his son. Along with the threat that if he did not stop his nonsense he would disown him as his son. He felt his son was shaming his name by spouting “this kind of bulls**t”. When the son asked him “what gave him the right to tell another how to live their life just because he didn’t agree”, the posts became more direct. He told his son that if he wanted to listen to rap music, that was ok. If he wanted to shoot guns and ride dirt bikes that was ok, but if he wanted to be a “faggit” (his spelling) then he would dis-own his arrogant little ass in less than a second. No seed of his was gonna be or support this cause.
At this point the son’s sister asked a question about him disowning his son over it. She was told “not to start her s**t”. And this is where I became proud, well more proud, of my young friend. He very calmly and respectfully told his dad that although he is not gay, he does support the cause and he will not back down. He said his dad could disown him if he liked but that he would still carry on his name, like it or not. He said his kids would learn tolerance, how to love their neighbors and be the best people they could be. He said he was working on this now himself, learning to be a man and not a bigot, racist or homophobe.
The response he got? ”This s**t is not funny at all—and if any of my children were to be gay, they would no longer be my children,,,they would just be another fag”. My friend tried again. He said all he was doing was asking people to be kind to each other. He made references to Jesus and His commandments to treat each other fairly no matter our differences. That we are here to help each other and learn compassion. He did express sorrow at his dads narrow-mindedness, but really at this point who could blame him? His dad responded with a whole slew of his perceived ills in the world that were caused by people being broad-minded. Among them were the collapse of the Garden of Eden and Rome, “napollians” reign, and the United States as we know it now. Are you as confused as I am? He claimed his was not a racist opinion, it was cold hard truth and he better realize this because it would vastly affect not only my friends future but also his children’s future. Dear God, let’s hope so! And thank you for not letting this fathers opinion not sway his own children.
Now you would think this would be enough wouldn’t you? It wasn’t. In response to my friends argument for being more like Jesus and spreading tolerance the father then made an extremely crude remark regarding Jesus and the homosexual act that was highly inappropriate and really has nothing to do with the original argument. This prompted his daughter to post what I was thinking in a milder form.
She said, “I hope I don’t turn out like you as a parent.”
Amen to that sista. When someone commented on how calm my friend stayed, his reply was priceless.
He said, “He’s still my dad though, and I love him. No matter the different opinions.”
And so you should my friend, so you should.
So here I am writing about an issue that has been weighing heavy on my heart and mind. Up until now I have straddled the fence. Loving and supporting my gay friends and family but not loudly. In my heart I am in, one hundred percent because I feel it is God’s place, not mine to judge and honestly I don’t see the difference. And before my religious friends try to convince me I am committing some great sin in saying this, please stop and think. I am not a person who comes to decisions lightly. I weigh them heavily, I pray, I meditate. I have a very close relationship with my God. It may not fit your criteria but it doesn’t have to. I don’t answer to you. I don’t feel the need to agree with all of your opinions or expect you to agree with mine. So love me, pray for me, disown me if you must. I will still love you.
I believe that every person on the planet should have the same rights, including the right to marry and live in open harmony with their chosen mate. I believe in Separation of Church and State. I believe if there is no separation then no ones rights are safe. If you give permission to make laws based on one persons religion then you are subject to that same fate if someone of a different religion comes into power. Remember that the next time you want to withhold a right from someone. I also believe that if everyone followed the basic commandments of the bible, they would not have time to be making this an issue.
To my young friend, you know who you are…thank you for having the courage to stand up for your beliefs. It gave me the courage to stand up for mine. I love you.
PS – In the aftermath of this post you would expect this young friend would be on other threads talking about it to his friends, possibly saying all the things he really wanted to say right? Want to know what he is really doing? Researching the history of marriage so he can better understand. We need more people like this. That is the world I want to live in.