From an Anonymous reader:
My daughter is 17 going on 18 and is a senior in high school. We have raised her in conservative evangelical churches. Presently she is ambivalent, at best, about what she calls “religion.”
She is now working on a school project in social studies on contemporary issues. The issue she chose was “gay rights.” My wife and I, and our church, are “traditional” on the “marriage” question. Neither my wife nor I have ever been hostile to gay people. We both have gay friends and colleagues. We don’t tolerate “gay bashing.” Nevertheless, we’ve always made clear that as Christians we think “marriage” and “sex” are more than just arbitrary choices — that they are deeply spiritual parts of human nature that we believe should at best be unique to the covenantal relationship of a man and a woman for life.
One of my daughter’s working assumptions for her project is that “religion is against gay rights.” I told her that I am in favor of full civil rights for gays, but that I’m conflicted on the “marriage” question. My view, I told her, is that “marriage” is different, and that I think we have to be careful about what policies we adopt concerning marriage. I agreed with her that many Christians _are_ hostile towards gays as people, but I shared with her some resources that I think show that “religious” people who hold a “traditional” view of marriage are not necessarily “against” gays — particular the book (“Love is an Orientation”) and website of Andrew Marin.
I think most of what I’ve tried to pass along to my daughter went in one ear and out the other. She’s convinced that “religion is against gay rights,” period, and is strongly in favor of gay marriage. She herself is straight.
Here is what I’m debating with myself: should I pass along to her any websites or information from Christian groups that argue in _favor_ of gay marriage, such as this one: http://www.mindny.org/mind-
I personally do not agree with the final conclusions of these groups. I’m sympathetic to their desire to welcome and minister to gay people, and I’m glad there are voices in the broader Church that try to counter the harsh anti-gay rhetoric of the culture wars, but I don’t believe the Church should simply go ahead and marry or ordain sexually active gay people. In my mind and heart, the issues here are far more complex and difficult than either side of the culture war suggests. But still, with folks such as Richard Hays, I think the complexity and difficulty favors loving caution, even though I don’t know exactly what that should look like.
My point here isn’t so much to debate the merits of the issue. Rather, the question is whether to introduce my daughter, who is a bit naive, to the fact that there are substantial “religious” and even “Christian” voices that favor full “gay rights.” Part of me feels that it would be better for her to find affinity with Christian groups that are gay-affirming than to reject “religion” altogether. Yet another part of me feels that introducing her to these groups now will tip the scale ineluctably to the “inclusive” view and further away from even considering the more “traditional” view my wife and I believe in. Of course, she could easily find these groups herself just by Googling, but I don’t think at this point she’s interested enough in “religion” to try putting the two together.
I’m wondering if other folks here have dealt with this sort of generational gap on this issue, and how they’ve handled it?