To whom this may concern,
I think I know how Stephen much have felt... I even think verbal stones may be worse than "rock" stones. They kill the victim every day of his life, yet he lives to face the next day... and the next... and the next...
I am the father of a homosexual person. Not just "of a homosexual," but "a homosexual Person." For is not a THING to be labeled biologically of clinically; he is a PERSON, as our heterosexual offspring are persons. Each of our children laughs, cries, loves, hates, feels cold in winter, warm in summer, has two hands, two feet, is intelligent, sensitive to others' feelings, is open, honest, sometimes kind, sometimes unkind--the list could go on and on. Each appriciates God's nature, loves camping, is concerned about ecology--and each is a warm, loving family member who places great value on our famly togetherness. Each brings to us parents his own unique joy. Each is learning to be independent--to gain new levels of maturity. One has answered the call to leave his job and return to Seminary to prepare for the ministry in his desire to minister to others who are hurting almost more that any human can stand to hurt. That one is our homosexual son.
You are a pastor. One assumes you can identify with that feeling--that desire--that deep need.
Are you a parent too? Please try to walk, for just a few minutes, in the shoes in which we walk every minute of our lives.
Neither we nor our son knows why he is a homosexual human being. Just as we don't know why our children are heterosexual persons. The painful rejection he has experienced throughout much of his life has been enough to drive many to suicide. His--and our--greatest pain by far has been inflicted by remarks and attitudes of Christians in our own church. Many Christiansthink he should not be allowed a job, or even a place to live. Some have publicly labeled him "Human Garbage"; "Fagot"; "Repulsive." Thos who know our son personally but do not know of his homosexuality would not think of applying those labels to him, for they do not discibe him. Why, then, would knowledge of his sexual orientation suddenly make him unfit? Hi still is the same person! CAN YOU POSSIBLE FEEL WITH US THE AGONY OF HEARING A SON SO LABELED BY THE SAME PERSONS WHO TEACH THAT JESUS LOVES EVERYONE? It wouldn't be quite as painful if those who reject him so harshly did not profess belief in Jesus' love for humankind...but when those who do profess such belief attack our son without even knowing him, with what other feeling can one be left except the feeling that he is viewed as a Thing rather than a Person?
As parents of a homosexual person we have spent countless hours in prayer and no small amount of money in psychiatric counceling--as has our son--in an effort to determine the Whys and Hows and in seeking help for his changing to heterosexuality. That was how society and the Church said it should be done. We never did find answers--and we are very sorry to have put our son through that. How awful for him, we now know, to realize that his parents at that time did not accept him as he was--he all the while knowing that he couldn't change! Can you imagine, if you are heterosexual, those you love the most and those whose approval you must need, DEMANDING that you change to homosexual orientation?
Homosexual persons grow up with no role models. From the time they realize their sexual orientation, they feel totally alone, for in whom can they ever confide? Social norms demand--and model--heterosexual relationships. Suppose society works at making you feel that you are a total misfit, then leaves you to carry that burden all alone--no supportive arm anywhere--until you can no longer do so. Suppose you reach the point where your emotional well-being demands that you stand up and say, "This is who I am," in order to have a sense of self-respect so necessary to every human being. And suppose you then hear many who claim to know God's love condemn you for doing so. No other minority has been son sondemned for standing up for its basic human rights.
Why would any person choose to be homosexual in a society which crucifies them every day of their lives? On what basis does one think heterosexual persons can be lured into homosexuality? Is homosexuality seen as being so attractive that your son or daughter might prefer that lifestyle? I find it impossible to accept that any person, given a choice, would opt for homosexuality other heterosexuality.
As parents, not only have we suffered with our homosexual son; we have seen our other children rejected because of our "inferior" family. Persons who became very important to us have walked away from us because they choose not to be associated with our "stigma." Some persons who believe in us and even in our son's Christianity find it difficult to stand with us because of social pressures. Persons who proclaim non-judgemental attitudes from the pulpit and the Sunday School classroom somehow convince themselves it doesn't apply in this case. Yet we have found our son's homosexual friends to be some of the most beautiful people we've ever known. We are greatful to have learned from them.
Our relationship with God is good...strong. We've believed in Him and worked for Him all our lives. The inner strength we've seen our children display in the face of other' cruel, harsh "stones" can come from only one source. While these are moments when one might wish that he, like Stephen, could be stoned to death once and for all by those well-meaning persons, most of the time we choose to take the stones in hope that they are being taken for future generations. And the question is there: "God, is this my calling?"
Our son is excited about studying for the ministry. He holds his head high; he loves life; he will look you in the eye and clasp your hand firmly in greeting. He knows Whose life he is, and that makes all the difference. Doesn't stop the pain, but does make it bearable--even brings joy! We've talked about the very real fact that to be a minister of a gay church is to stand on the front line where verbal abuse is sure and physical danger is probable. He has counted the cost and is sure of his calling. That certainty provides the security and the support he needs. He is sure God created him...and then called him. He is a likeable, moral person whose choice is to live peaceably with all persons. And because he is a Christian, he can take your stones.
But, please... must he?