Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stop Treating LGBTQQ Like Children

Let me to get straight to the point: there are many Christians who treat LGBTQQ persons like children and this needs to stop. This happens under the guise of the "love means helping the sinner" argument that so many people endorse. If you have read blogs or Facebook conversations in which Christians discuss these issues, then you have probably seen this approach rear its ugly head.  For example, in a recent post someone wrote that Christians should not apologize for condemning LGBTQQ behavior and trying to proselytize their sexual orientation because they are, after all, living in sin. In another conversation a man compared LGBTQQ persons to a child walking toward the blades of a lawnmower. This approach presumes that gay people do not know any better (like children) and they need Christian heterosexuals to teach them otherwise. This approach treats LGBTQQ persons like children who are not ready for the freedom of the real world and require the parental guidance of Christian heterosexuals.  Worst of all, this results in the oppressive limitation of LGBTQQ's freedom.

But this approach is not the Way of Christ. Why? Because it is not loving.

One of the essential elements to love is freedom. Love is the paramount expression of relationship and relationships require freedom. To love others is to respect their freedom. If Christians wish to deny LGBTQQ persons their freedom, then they have failed at loving others with the love of God. The love of God revealed throughout the Bible is the love that allows for human freedom - even freedom to sin. This means that even when Christians disagree with LGBTQQ behavior, they must respect the freedom of others. Love does not oppress the freedom of others. Love is not coercive, it is respectfully persuasive. Love is not oppressive, it is graciously compelling.

The only time that love is expressed in a semi-coercive way is when parents dictate their children's behavior with the hope of bettering their children. But this love is provisional and can never work once a child reaches adulthood. Parents who treat their adult children as if they were still children produce dysfunctional relationships. Freedom is an essential element of adult relationships.

I can't imagine how hurtful it would feel to be an adult and have people constantly remind me that I don't know my right & wrong. I can't imagine how humiliating it would feel to have Christians telling me that I understand neither my sexuality nor the truth of "morality." And I can't imagine how inferior and debased I would feel to have others coercively removing the freedom to be myself and to be an adult.

That's no way to love others. Love requires freedom. And St. Paul said that without love we are nothing. Stop treating our LGBTQQ brothers and sisters like children.

1 comment:

  1. I so appreciate your ongoing treatment of issues related to the humanity and dignity of LGBTQQ. I find your work in this area, and other areas too, to be quite edifying. I sent one of your articles to a couple of gay, dear friends of mine. We will make you famous yet!