How Do We Treat Our Gay Children?
I read in the Tampa paper that it's happened again.
TAMPA - Even though the boy would shake and wet himself, his father, Ronnie Paris Jr., would box with the 3-year-old, slapping him in the head until he cried because he didn't want his son to grow up to be ``a sissy,'' the boy's mother testified Monday.
Others corroborated Nysheerah Paris' testimony as the prosecution built its case during the first day of the capital murder trial of Ronnie Paris Jr., 21, accused of abusing 3-year- old Ronnie Paris until the boy slipped into a coma Jan. 22.
He died six days later with swelling on both sides of his brain.
``He was trying to teach him how to fight,'' said Shanita Powell, Nysheerah Paris' sister. ``He was concerned that the child might be gay.''
I addressed this issue before in a letter to the editor:
June 2, 1994
PO Box 286
Dayton, TN 37321
To the Editor,
We see that this years gay pride parade is stirring up the usual animosities. The saddest effect of those who encourage us to hate homosexuals is what it is doing to our children.
We read in the paper that a man from Fort Worth was sent to prison for beating his two year old son to death. Why? Because he worried that the boy we becoming a homosexual. We learn that the man pummeled the boy for playing with dolls and holding his hands a certain way.
Few boys who are gay play with dolls, however. Adolescence is the time when most of us become aware of our sexual orientation. Imagine what it must be like when a teenager realizes that he or she is gay and then considers how he or she will be treated by some in today’s society. No wonder one third of our teen suicides are a result of this discovery.
When I was a junior in high school, a classmate of ours found her younger brother hanging in the basement. "If only I had gone down to check on the clothes in the dryer a few minutes sooner, I might have been able to cut him down in time," she told us.
Clearly, ignorance about homosexuality is killing our children. Fortunately, these is some cause for hope: The more education a person has or the more gay people one knows or the younger one is, the more tolerant one is likely to be. Education is the best cure for prejudice.
Beyond education there are two things we can do for our children:
First, we must not support preachers who encourage people to hate our gay sons and daughters. Most churches agree with the scientific findings that sexual orientation is an inborn characteristic. For example, the Catholic Church is its 185 page Guide to Human Sexuality states, "Homosexual orientation is not a sin... because it is not freely chosen."
This does not mean that these churches condone promiscuity among homosexuals any more than they do among heterosexuals. Far from it. It simply means that they extend God’s love to all His children. Like Christ, they accept people as they are; they don’t try to make them into something they’re not.
Second, we must not support politicians who stir up hatred of others to gain votes. This "Willie Horton" approach has no place in America. In the Garden of Eden, the devil convinced us to be ashamed of our differences. He knows that if he can separate us because of these differences, he can separate us from God as well, since we are all a part of God’s marvelous creation. Those who attempt to divide us by race or gender or sexual orientation are doing the devil’s work, it’s just that simple.
Since sexual orientation results from the complex selection processes that occur during conception, which is more or less random, having a child who is gay can happen to anyone.
So what will you do if your young son is gay? Will you try to beat the "sin" out of him if he plays with dolls or holds his hands a certain way?
What will you do if your daughter is gay? Will you tell her to pretend she’s not gay until she’s older and then give her a one-way bus ticket to San Francisco?
What if you realize your teen-aged son is gay? Will you make his life so miserable that he takes care of your problem for you by hanging himself in the basement?
Jesus taught us that God’s love extends to all His children, not just this one or that one. What parent, Jesus asks us, when his child asks for bread would give him a stone?
We cannot change the whole world as Jesus did, but we can follow His example when it comes to our own children. We must replace the stone of ignorance and hate with the bread of understanding and kindness. With the lives of our children at stake, we cannot do otherwise.
William J. Ware