The Christian Post published a guide to talking to your children about homosexuality. It's about as appealing as a fart in church...or going to church at all (for me).
I really wanted to get angry at this one. I want to snark a lot. But I can't.
You see, it starts with this story:
I remember when I was 7 years old, in 1997, when Ellen DeGeneres publicly "came out" on television. At that time in my childhood, I had only understood the term "gay" to mean something derogatory… like something stupid, cheesy, corny, etc. When I heard her say she was gay on T.V. I remember laughing and saying, "She just said she's stupid!"- while my step mom sat there awkwardly not really knowing what to say. Later my dad came home and explained to me what "being gay" meant, how it wasn't right, how it was a sin, etc.
Although I had been unaware of the meaning of the term, I did already know that I was drawn toward other boys instead of girls. I knew that I was gay. And now I knew that it was wrong, it was a sin, I was a sinner…and I shouldn't ever tell anyone.
But oh, how I wish I also would've understood who Jesus was!I can't snark...because my heart goes out to this man. It truly does.
I don't often talk about my sexual orientation. Perhaps this is because I "pass" as straight--I'm married to a man, and we're monogamous because neither of us wants other partners. That's us.
So I don't talk about being attracted to men and women very much. I believe I've mentioned it before, in talking about how I moved from "homosexuality is a sin" to "gay marriage" to "marriage equality" in this post.
I became attracted to males and females at the same time--sometime around age seven. The first girl I remember having a "crush" on was named Brittany. She was one of the smartest girls in our class.
And like Matt, the first message I heard on this subject was that my feelings were wrong.
So my heart goes out to this man. But I still have to point out how incredibly fucked up this all is.
The first idea that is fucked up is teaching your children that what they feel is wrong and that they will be damned because of it. Moore tries to address this by saying that all kids need to know beyond that is the love of Jesus:
What my dad had to explain to me at the age of seven, you all (Christian parents) are having to explain to your kids at even younger ages. The "in your face-ness" of homosexual behavior has amplified exponentially since 1997. It's on nearly every TV show and movie (even in the previews of the LEGO movie!). In more and more states gay marriage is being legalized and gay couples are becoming more and more comfortable not concealing their relationships while out in public anymore; with the expressing of PDA, etc. The list goes on.
You will have to explain homosexuality to your kids….your young kids that you don't think are - and probably really aren't - ready to hear about it. You will have to tell them that the things they are seeing are sinful and not in God's design of how romantic relationships are to function.The second idea that is so fucked up is the idea that there is something inherently wrong with gains in marriage equality. The idea that there is something wrong with these couples expressing affection to each other--that's fucked up too.
But, please, please…. Don't stop there. Don't stop merely at the pronouncement of homosexuality as sin. Continue on into the good news that is available for all types of sinners.
One final quote from Moore:
Explain to your kids the fall of our first parents. They will go to school and hear that homosexual feelings aren't a choice. You need to make sure that they know that because of the sin of our first parent's in the Garden of Eden, we all experience feelings - feelings that we don't choose to feel - toward things that are evil and opposed to God's design for how we are to live out our lives. Your kids need to understand that just because something feels right, that doesn't mean that it is right. They need to understand what it means to be the children - the fallen, sinful, broken and God-opposed children - of Adam and Eve."Things that are evil" and "opposed to God's design"--these are the views that you are giving to children? This is the indoctrination?
I feel like this shouldn't need to be explained again, but kids are as capable as adults--more capable in some respects, even--of understanding relationships between all people.
The conversation needn't be life-changing or earth-shattering. It doesn't have to be constructed or contrived. It certainly shouldn't contain threats of eternal damnation (who does that to children?!). We've discussed how it has happened, time and again, in our household in Dear Curtis.
Bigotry and hate--and yes, no matter how kindly you phrase it, the root of these messages is bigotry and hate--are far more damaging to children than love will ever be.