After 2.5 years of volunteering in religious trauma recovery outside of my Ed. Therapy practice and speaking with many families of LGBTQIA+ children who have had to flee their churches, communities, and states, I am beginning to question whether willful ignorance and intentional harm are only similar or totally one in-the-same. After many lived experiences and personal eye-witness accounts of the Catholic Right, other alt-right entities, and alt-right allied individuals, I believe there is a point where a lack of understanding becomes intentional. Once a lack of understanding becomes intentional, then vulnerable people get hurt and even die.
The many years of factions within the US Catholic hierarchy going round and round about LGBTQIA+ inclusion while knowing the risks of suicide, death, and serious harm makes me wonder if some bishops actually want harm imposed on LGBTQIA+ people and their families and other minority populations who are incapable of “following all of the rules” without incurring lasting psychological damage, harm, and even death.
Many conservative individuals (not all) have been told by knowledgeable people and were given real-life examples, data from top experts, and other mainstream scientific information. Yet, many don’t seem to care. If they appear to care, but they never make changes and simply watch LGBTQIA+ youth die with their own eyes, willful ignorance becomes intentional harm in my book.
The question is, what can we do about it? We can start by approaching uninformed people and clergy who are willing to listen. This may seem simple, but if they listen to what is actually going on, that minority populations are having to flee the Church, their communities, and even their home states to keep their children safe, particularly LGBTQIA+ people and their families, this is not something uninformed people and clergy can willfully ignore.
Let’s listen to a TikTok video from the Human Rights Campaign Director, Kelly Robinson. She speaks of the reality that families with LGBTQIA+ children are facing, particularly those with transgender children. If you haven’t seen her in action, Kelly is new to the HRC and even addressed Ted Cruz in a public debate. I admire her strength and courage because I now understand just how dangerous the fascist wing of the Republican party is. This is not all Republicans but a minority of them who want minority rule.
Kelly speaks of the “warzone” these families are living in; it’s reality. Kelly gives examples of families who are political refugees.
Let’s take a look at another example, a shop owner and mother of nine who was shot in California for simply displaying a Pride Flag.
The hatred and injustices we see all around us are undeniable. It is impossible to ignore and diminish them.
After all of this, I still believe that there is a God who loves every part of his creation, particularly human beings. Since I serve in LGBTQ ministry and vulnerable populations, I question the existence of hell. If there is such a place, I don’t think it’s reserved for vulnerable populations but maybe the religious elite who invoke pain and terror on who Jesus calls “The Least of these.”