Thursday, June 16, 2005

out, damn spot ...

Chris Geidner of Law Dork (and others) has been following the story of a gay teen blogger whose parents sent him away to a camp to make him straight. As a result of the kid's blog, lots of people have learned about the camp and about his situation. Not knowing the kid, or all the facts, I am left only to shudder at what he has described in his blog if it is even close to factual.

Evil can be malicious, and it can also be naive, the result of good intentions or fear. But the end result is still devastating. Gay kids who have no safe place to understand who they are, or where they fit in the family and in society, can become good candidates for adolescent suicide, drug abuse, inappropriate and dangerous sexual behavior, and sexually transmitted diseases.

When I read in the Gospels, Jesus said that it was better to hang a milstone around someone's neck than to mislead a child, I think about these kind of programs.


Last week, the governor of Texas was asked as he signed an anti-gay bill what he would say to returning gay veterans from Iraq about this kind oflegislation, and he said that Texas had spoken and that perhaps such gay folk should move to other states that are more gay friendly. Comments like this have an echo to other times and periods.


lemming said...

Reminds me of the Jews being thrown out of Spain in 1492, actually.

What does he think would happen if all of the gays *did* gather in one state? Would the world somehow be a better place?

DWPittelli said...

I think that Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 18:6, is more ambiguous on such matters than you would put it:

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

With the word "sin" (not "mislead"), this is at least as good an argument for right-wingers to use against those who support gay children as it is for those who favor letting gay children be, well, gay.

On the other hand, the "little ones" is at this point probably a metaphor for the disciples, not actually about children. Further, Jesus was probably not thinking about sex when he said "sin" here, but more likely a falling away from belief in Jesus' teachings -- at any rate, the ancient Greek word used in the New Testament here for "sin" literally meant "stumble."

--David Pittelli

Don said...

David -- Yes, I'm sure that passage can and has been used to say just the opposite. And I certainly was not going for a literal intepretation of the passage.

I was thinking about kids kicked out of their homes, taunted or abused by their classmates, who end up on the street. Those kids are vulnerable to acting out lots of bad and dangerous behavior. The intent to reject them may be honorable or upright to the parent or the pastor who sees homosexuality as the worst of all sins, but the result is quite devastating. Certainly to treat a kid like this is to aid in their stumbling.

There is much in human experience that should teach us humility about our certitudes. I was thinking about that the other day upon hearing a long report on a historical restoration of a house. The house had been restored in the early 20th century by what was considered the best standards. It was confidently re-restored in the late 20th century by what was considered much better standards. Now there is a study to restore it again, this time to correct the danger to the structure caused by the last restoration (sealing this old building caused it to quit breathing, creating moisture problems). How much do we humans think we know and understand only to be confronted that we may be wrong?