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    My finest hour

    Joe Riddle, who frequently posts at Ex-Gay Watch, has a post up that more succinctly and effectively makes a point I was trying to make the other day:

    My advice to the gay child born to fundamentalist Christian parents: keep your head down and try to stay out of harm’s way until you’re an adult and you can get away from them.

    And obey them as cheerfully as you can muster. They’re wrong, unfortunately, about homosexuality; but other aspects of fundamentalist Christianity–constancy, honor, discipline, and the recognition that the world does not revolve around oneself–are not wrong at all. And you’ll need them later.

    3 Responses to “My finest hour”

    1. Kevin D. says:

      I’m glad you feel free to cherry pick what you like out of the Christian faith while spitting on its moral code.

      And who are you to tell parents how they can or cannot raise their children? Are they doing anything illegal? No. Are they doing anything immoral? Well, they think not and as far as rearing their children goes it’s only their opinion that matters.

      But, please, if you feel you’re morally superior to these parents then by all means say so and don’t hide behind a faux civility about the issue. If you think you can do a better job parenting these children than their parents then by all means petition the courts to do so. I’m sure some lawyer will jump on the case claiming “brainwashing” or “mental abuse.”

      If you want Christians out of your bedroom then you stay out of their parenting.

      And obey them as cheerfully as you can muster.

      Who do you think you are to undermine parental authority like this? What makes you qualified to make a decision like that?

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      Thought experiment: there’s a girl whose family is very conservative Muslim, and she’s somehow come to believe in Christianity. Perhaps it started without much religious significance–she had a childlike sense of wonder at Catholic iconography, which isn’t permitted in her religion. From there, she started to learn more about it and has now decided that she really should accept Christ as her Lord and savior in one of the main-line protestant sects. Her parents would be sure to do their best to trammel, forcefully, whatever non-Islamic beliefs out of her they could if she gave any inkling that she was leaning toward them. They might even send her back to conservative relatives in the homeland to keep her away from un-Islamic influences. Better yet, make her the child of atheist parents. What would you think she should do?

      Children are responsible for obeying their parents. I have had teenagers come to me for advice and have never once advised them otherwise. I wouldn’t advise them otherwise, except in cases in which illegal activity was going on.

      Who knows? In the two years in between a child’s figuring out he’s gay at 16 and his moving out at 18, he might just come around to his parents’ belief that it’s sinful and decide to live a celibate life. That’s a respectable decision, and I certainly wouldn’t spit on it. It’s also possible that he’s not really gay but just confused and straight, in which case not having started a rift with the folks will probably prove to have been a wise choice later.

      Parents have a lot of options when it comes to influencing the sort of adult a child develops into: they can set examples of righteous and happy living, they can limit his contact with popular culture, they can screen his friends, they can homeschool, they can study the Bible together, and they can demand honest answers to uncomfortable questions.

      They cannot, no matter how they might wish to, go into his brain and resolder the connections to suit their liking. I would never consider intervening in any specific family situation–it is, as you say, none of my business. But as a general statement when a general issue is raised…well, of course I’m going to side with considered beliefs I share and against those I don’t.

    3. Eric Scheie says:

      Bad ideas are not protected from criticism merely because they are promulgated within family structures. I would not intervene to stop parents from teaching their kids the earth was flat, that slavery is sanctioned by God, or that Sun Myung Moon was the Messiah, but why should I lose the right to criticize what I consider ridiculous just because it happens within a family? I see no reason why thought control camps should be immune from criticism — no matter who runs them.

      As to cherry picking, there’s more than one way to look at that. Why stop with Leviticus 18:22?

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