Yes, this is long, and yes, it’s pointed, and yes, the woman at whom it’s directed will be offended if she sees it. But she’s the person who put her business all out there on the interwebs, and when you do that, sometimes people read it and get all huffy at you, especially when you write what she wrote. To which I react:
Recently I became aware of a Christian mother who is bemoaning the loss of her son to the quicksand of sin that is taking him inexorably to Hell. Turns out he’s gay and Mom cannot even deal. In fact, she used the occasion of his supergay wedding to release a blog post in which she details her agony. You see, son’s gayness means she can never ever see him again. Because Jesus.
Jesus says (apparently) if your kid goes all gay on you, you have to yell at him all the time, or at the very least litter the house with “Gay Blade” Chick tracts when he comes over. Which he doesn’t. Because Chick tracts are gross and porny.
“I pray,” this mom says to her readers, “that you never have to make such a sacrifice, but I also pray that you love the Lord enough to choose Him over your children. This is where we find ourselves. This is our life.”
It’s their life not to be pleasant to this adult man who happens to be gay. No, they must lob Gospel bombs at him. Also, crying a lot is required. All the time and everywhere, but most especially it’s necessary to publish a hate-piece about his gayness on his wedding day. Awkward!
Speaking of choosing your children over Jesus, what does that even mean? Does that mean we won’t hang with our kids if they take to drinking? Or will we turn our backs if they are preggers-sans-marriage? What if they embezzle? What if they speed? Of course not, you judgy thing you! Not just any sin will do. It’s just the creepy gay sins that break the ties that bind, amirite?
Cuz, seriously, gay sex is so gay, she can’t even.
“In spite of our all our attempts, he refuses to repent.” What this means is simply, “He won’t stop being gay, so we’ve washed our hands of him,” which allusion doesn’t pull up images of Pontius Pilate with her, no one knows why.
I wonder if this dear lady has read any of the literature. Any of the testimonies of tormented gay kids who strive with all their hearts to please God, who beg God to make them straight, toggle the hetero-switch, fix them. No one gets fixed. Gay people stay gay same as hetero people stay hetero and bi people stay bi. You is who you is, all your parents’ “attempts” (translate: screaming, hauling you to pastoral counseling, various invasive therapies) notwithstanding.
What Mom should do here, of course, is realize that her son is an adult, adult enough that one of the 50 states granted him and his husband a marriage license, and she should treat him like any other adult with whom she comes in contact: with civility and pleasantness. There’s no need to be super-duper-closies, but by the same token there’s no need to vomit your sobbing broken heart all over the internet on your son’s wedding day. Why not just send a card?
“We have no fellowship,” Mom continues. “Fellowship” is a churchy word that indicates hanging out. They used to hang out. Now they don’t. Cuz son is too gay for words. They don’t even text! He’s so gay she can’t even trade emojis with him!
“Our son has turned his back on everything he ever believed.” This is likely true. He used to believe in his foolish little-boy heart, “Mommy will always love and accept me no matter what.”
“He has no respect for the Lord or the church.” Don’t worry, Mom. He’ll find a supportive, affirming church. Rest easy. It’s okay. It won’t be your church, but since you can’t even stand to text him, you’re probably relieved.
“He has chosen a life of sin rather than the hope of salvation.” Please. There are lots and lots of gay Christians. Don’t believe me, ask around. More importantly, if he’s concerned about this, he will ask around, and the biggest obstacle to his joining a group of affirming believers, Madam, is you and your hateful wedding day rant which even I—who have no relation to you and have never heard of you and only just happened to hear about through friends of friends who were all equally appalled—happened to read!
“Do we overlook his practice or sin . . . or withdraw ourselves from him as the Lord instructs?” Here, you’re just looking for people to pat you on the shoulder and say, “Well, honey, you’re right. You’ve got to separate from him. Here, have a special hug.” But the fact is, if you look around carefully, you’re going to find that all sorts of Fundamentalist and Evangelical and WhateverDenominationYouAre people happily include their LGBT relatives in their lives. They may rant away in the pulpit, but the kid comes home for Thanksgiving.
I could give you names on that one, but I’m committed to not outing people. But here’s a morsel of info: I know an administrator at an uberfundamentalist school whose kid is like yours—maybe even gayer!—and the parents do Thanksgiving and even (I know, it’s shocking) Christmas with this kid!
Speaking of other people’s kids, I’m always amazed/horrified when people take to the Internet to shame their kids. You know those parents who post pics of their kids wearing the “Get Along” shirt or standing on the street corner holding some sign that says how bad they were. These sorts of parents deserve what they get from these kids. When you shame a child in public, serves you right when the grandkids don’t know who you are and don’t care.
She goes on: “I know the pain of ‘giving our son to the Devil.’” Seems to me he gave himself, in your estimation, a long time ago.
More importantly, are you aware, madam, that he’s not yours to give, and that, anyway, the Apostle Paul is speaking figuratively here? His meaning is quite clear, if you think about it—leave the person alone who isn’t behaving as you’d like, and let things shake out on their own. You realize, don’t you, that you don’t have the authority to allow Satan authority over your son, right? I mean, seriously, who do you think you are? And besides, even if that were the case, what could Satan possibly do more to him than make him gay, and you yourself did that by bringing him into the world all gay and stuff.
Would you have aborted him had you known that fetus was one gay fetus? I mean, from what you’re saying, it seems that sometimes we have to separate from our children when they make these “choices”! It’s reminiscent of Andrea Yates, that very disturbed woman who drowned her five children before they could reach the age of accountability, or that man I once saw on Forensic Files who killed his family because they were becoming worldly. Ironic!
Speaking of choices, have you ever talked to 50 or 100 gay people? Asked them when they chose to be gay? Did you imagine, Ma’am, that your son, in some pubescent moment of Shakespearean indecision—To be gay or not to be; that is the question!—made a list of pros and cons, took a survey of his friends, or otherwise deliberately determined his sexuality by making a decision, as you might decide whether to have toast or oatmeal this morning? Rather, did not his pulse quicken when he laid eyes on a cute boy, and did this and other experiences not continue to happen without his consent merely because he is gay? He has always been gay, your son. You could not have stopped this. You could never have stopped this. You should realize then that you are absolved from the incredible guilt you are obviously feeling and flinging all over the internet, and which your friends in your comments are soothing with their kind words of “oh, how awful for you.”
“Until now, I have only shared with a couple of close friends . . .” But today on his wedding day, you’ve decided to go full Pentagon Papers and tell the entire world. Good on you, gal!
Some days you shed only a tear. Other days are full of gut-wrenching cries of despair. I wonder if sonny-boy has this same experience. Maybe you should ask him: “Hey, Buddy, some days I am gut-wrenchingly despaired that you’re not in my life, but other days not so much. You?”
Many days she drives into her driveway with tears blinding her eyes, literally screaming and wailing in grief, desperate, hopeless. Ummmm, he’s not dead, Ma’am. Pick up the phone and give him a call if you don’t believe me.
“I’m devastated by our loss; his loss.” Oh, you are, are you? Are you devastated by his loss—that his mother won’t speak to him? That his mother chose his wedding day to issue this global emotional rant about her embarrassment about his life? That his mother has chosen not to speak to him for the past three years? To remedy this, bake a pan of brownies and go over there and apologize for your obtuseness. Say sorry.
Does everyone in your life have to live by your religious rigors? Or is it just your son? Do you distance yourself from every LGBT person (your barista, for example), or is it just your son and his husband? Indeed, do you distance yourself from everyone who is involved in a “life of sin” (your neighbor who lives with her boyfriend and their respective children, for example?) or is it just the sinning fruit of your own womb you can’t bear to have in your life?
“I don’t know this person I once thought I knew so well. Was I blind to things that I should have seen?” Yes. You were. You didn’t notice your sweet boy was gay. And once you were apprised of this, you were blind to the fact that it wasn’t your business. And now that he’s married, you’re blind to the fact that you have on purpose tossed him out of your life because he’s not sexually attracted to girls.
You made this all about you. Indeed, you know that. “I feel embarrassed by what my son has done.” And there it is—we have a winner! Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery. You’re embarrassed. It’s so gay, after all! How could a gay child have come out of your womb, your home, your faithful teaching of the Bible? How could anyone, brought up by YOU possibly be GAY?
“I believed our relationship was so close. I adored this child. Was the love our son expressed to us all a lie? How does one go from being a respectful obedient child to flagrantly disregarding everything we taught him and everything that we stand for?”
Holy crap! Do you even hear yourself? You’re saying that because it turns out your son is gay he was lying about his love for you. Wait wait, there’s more. You admit that he was such a perfect respectful obedient child who went all gay and flagrantly so. This respectful, obedient, loving child—so it happens!—is gay! That’s all! He’s a good boy. He’s a loving boy. He’s a respectful boy. Who, as it happens, is gay.
All the anger and animosity and hate and wailing and tears and hopelessness and anger and blasphemy and nontexting and never-see-ums are not because he’s gay; they’re the results of your response to his being gay. He’s a respectful, loving person. You’re the one who freaked out. You’re the one who wasn’t prepared for the news and went loony tunes when you heard it. You’re the person who lost it.
He used to help you peel potatoes and now he’s all gay. He used to look at you all adoringly and now he’s gay. He used to stir ingredients into the batter. MOM! He grew up! Do you really want him to stir the stew and adore you now? Really? Sounds like someone needs to get a life, and I have three sons and know whereof you speak. Stir your own stew already. The boy is grown.
As to your inability to sleep through the night, maybe get a prescription. I mean, there are mothers whose kids are in San Quentin who are coping better than you are.
“I try to picture where my son is now and what he may be doing . . .” Okay, did you just say that? Stop with that nonsense. Do you want him to imagine what you and his daddy are doing right now? No, because that’s gross. We do not go around imagining the sexual habits of others. We just don’t, because that’s creepy and stalky. Ask Miss Manners if you don’t believe me.
And speaking of stalky, you can’t keep yourself from lurking his social media. Stop that, too. Not your beeswax, okay? If you can’t even text him or send him a Congrats on Your Wedding card, you don’t get to stare at his Facebook all the time.
“I remember singing harmony together in the kitchen. I remember the pride I felt when he led singing or gave a talk at young men’s night at church. Those memories are all I have left now. There are no more to make.”
Sure, but that’s your choice, Mom. It’s way more your choice than it is his. He’s gay. He can’t help that. But you’ve chosen not to see him, and every day that you don’t see him you are choosing that.
By the way, that thing about the singing and the men’s talks—seems like maybe you were super invested in his ministry potential. You need to let that one go. There are lots of things about our kids that we don’t get to choose. Whether they’ll be pastors and whether they’ll be gay rank among those.
“He was such a handsome boy, an excellent student, a talented musician.” What? Did his gayness make him ugly or stupid or cause him to forget the notes?
“He was so kind and thoughtful of others.” And now he’s a monster?
“He loved his siblings.” And now he hates them? If so, whose fault is that?
“We used to receive the most precious cards” on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. And now you don’t? Go Figure! I just can’t imagine why he isn’t handmaking cards for you right now! Maybe it’s the bit about how he’s going to hell and the part where you’re wondering about his sexual habits. Gross, lady.
“I remember his infectious laugh.” Now he just grunts.
“Now any correspondence from him are filled with anger, blame, hateful words. Even worse are the sarcastic and blasphemous words used toward his heavenly Father.” Aside from your syntax freaking me out (is correspondence plural?), I have an inkling of an idea why he might be angry. For starters, he was the perfect child—he sang harmony with you in the kitchen, for crying out loud—and you tossed him out for being who he is.
You’re the loser here, you realize that, right? You missed his wedding, and you’re going to miss his children, his successes, his hopes, his dreams. He would have participated in your family memories if you’d been kind, but you weren’t kind. You decided God didn’t want you to be kind. You decided Satan was at your beck and call to “take over” the life of the son you birthed out of your own body, and you made the call.
I mean, seriously. What kind of spiritual clout do you imagine you have: “Yo, Satan, my son is gay. Can you whack him around a little?” Seems Satan is a little too busy these days to deal with your son, or maybe he’s waiting til after the honeymoon. And anyway, why are Christian people talking to Satan? What is up with that?
“Self-evaluation, guilt, despair, fear . . . I know we were good parents. We loved our son, spent time with him, encouraged him, and taught him God’s word.” Yeah, sure, and good job, Mom! But this isn’t about you. I think we’ve covered that.
“I don’t know what the future holds for our son or our family.” Oh, but I do. He’s going to be fine, and you’re going to be fine, and what is keeping you from being fine together is your insistence on being separate, on being unwilling to talk, on hating his gayness so much that you refuse to see the sweet, caring son who adored you and sang harmony with you in the kitchen.
Your belief that God wants you never to see your son again unless he stops being gay (he won’t), is what keeps you from peeling those potatoes with him ever again. Keeps you from hearing that infectious laugh. Keeps you from making those memories.
The empty place at your table is there because you haven’t invited him to sit there, and frankly you don’t get to now. Unless you put out two chairs and say, “Come, both of you. We love you and want you in our lives.”
Or cry in your driveway. It’s your choice.