Back to School (Amidst Homophobia and Bullying)

Back to School (Amidst Homophobia and Bullying) September 14, 2010
Justin Aaberg, 1995-2010

I’m not much of a reactionary.  In fact, when it comes to public schooling, I tend to take a live-and-let-live posture.  I want my own kids to ride the bus and learn how to navigate that rolling-Lord-of-the-Flies environment.  Same goes for recess.

But when I hear a story like that of Justin Aaberg, recently in the news in the Twin Cities, it reminds me that The Lord of the Flies is, in fact, a cautionary tale.  When left to their own devices, kids can be downright brutal to one another.  And it seems that the bullying that Justin, who was openly gay) received at school may have directly led to his suicide on July 9, at age 15.

Of course, there are any number of things that can lead a person to take their own life, but I happen to be of the school of thought that a 15-year-old barely has the developmental resources to take that tragic step.  Justin obviously did.

According to his mother, in a heart-rending interview with the Show So Gay Podcast, Justin was “grabbed by the balls” last spring at Anoka High School Sandberg Middle School and told by a classmate, “You like that, don’t you?”, along with the other usual insults of “fag,” “queer,” and worse.

Now, according to a WCCO-TV story last night, Justin’s mother, Tammy Aaberg, is taking aim at the school’s policy on sexuality, which states,

“Teaching about sexual orientation is not a part of the District adopted curriculum; rather, such matters are best addressed within individual family homes, churches, or community organizations.”

But also in the WCCO report, a lesbian teen tells the school board that she has no such home, church, or community organization.  Like many teenagers in our fractured society, the high school is her primary community.  A teacher also anonymously tells the reporter that he’d like to have the freedom to speak to students about sexual orientation.

Anoka is in possibly the most conservative swath of Minnesota: it’s the belt buckle of Michelle Bachmann’s district and crowded with conservative churches.  So I’m sure that the Anoka-Hennepin school board and administration is under a great deal of political pressure to stay neutral on issues of sexual identity.

However, I tend to trust in the kind of people who go into public education as teachers, administrators, and social workers.  I tend to believe that they want what’s best for the kids in their school. (And when they don’t, as when teachers in this very school district (!!!) made fun of a student for being “gay” in 2008, they are punished.)

This is a moral issue, but not in the sense of what is right and what is wrong sexually.  It’s moral in the sense of children’s safety.  Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell doesn’t work.

To train teachers and other students to be sensitive to the fragile evolution of sexuality among adolescents is not to begin a slippery slope to anything-goes-sexuality.  It is instead to build a community in a school in which students can experience a safe harbor, especially when they lack such a community outside of the school.

Facebook Memorial Page In Honor Of Justin Aaberg

HT to Chris Wogaman for pointing to resources for this post.

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  • So very sad and tragic.

    I’m presently reading Claudia Koonz’s book, “The Nazi Conscience” in which she explores the process that took place that enabled a once conservative, orthodox, “loving,’ society to become monsters who burned humans without much thought to it’s immorality. Education (or lack thereof) plays a huge role. We should learn from our histories.

  • Thanks for this, Tony. Your last paragraph gets right at the heart (in both senses) of the issue. I hope the school district has ears to hear.

    To Chad (comment #1), the logical partner to Koonz will be Daniel Goldhagen’s ‘Hitler’s Willing Executioners.’ His research is sobering.

  • Dustin

    Sadly, this same situation just occurred in a school district about an hour from Indianapolis:,0,1101685.story

    As the spouse of a public school teacher, I’m troubled by how little teachers are empowered to really care for kids–not to speak of the idea of training them to handle such situations.

  • I hate bullying in all its ugly forms, and it’s tragic whenever a teen commits suicide. However, while you implicate the bully in this suicide, there are also grounds to implicate society.

    Our foolish and censorious society has been encouraging a lifestyle in which suicide and heath, mental health and substance abuse problems are endemic, according to the stats. The gay lifestyle automatically loops 20-24 years off the average male lifespan!

    It’s not social persecution that is to be held responsible for these dismal stats. Christians are being persecuted and killed worldwide as never before. They might flee their countries of origin, but they’re not killing themselves. Why not? They are convinced that who they are and what they are doing is legitimate.

    No so with practicing gays! So many who have emerged from this lifestyle have admitted that they knew it was wrong all the time, and this didn’t change even after they immersed themselves in the gay community. This is also affirmed by the Bible that teaches that unsanctioned sex is self-defiling.

    Love doesn’t recommend indulgence in a self-destructive lifestyle! Loves sometimes must warn!

  • ariel

    Thanks for this, Tony. It hits very close to home. All those beautiful photos of Justin remind me of looking at my daughter’s FB page (has there ever been a more photographed generation?). She turns 15 this week & one of her male friends was outed on FB a few weeks ago. She was on the phone with him nonstop for a few days after it happened, telling me, “People are saying all sorts of stuff about him and he needs me right now.” I was so proud of her, and felt so badly for him at the same time. Things have certainly improved since my h.s. days – when no one could have been openly gay in our small town. But it’s still rough going for kids wrestling with sexual identity. And “gay” is still one of the primary insults among tweens and young teens. My 11-year-old learning disabled son is regularly called gay on the bus (among other things).

    All this to say, I agree with your last paragraph. Completely. And my heart breaks for Justin’s family.

  • So you would have the public schools indoctrinate the kids into the view that all sexuality is cool as long as you love the other person? You must be a child of the 60’s.

  • Perhaps rather this is an argument against public schools completely. Perhaps privatizing them is the better answer. Perhaps then parents could send them to whatever school they want, choosing between ones that teach morality and ones that teach that homosexuality is as normal and good as heterosexuality. So not only would confused kids not get picked on, likewise kids from Christian homes would not get picked on by a school system teaching them that what their parents and churches have taught them is wrong, misled, or downright evil. I’m guessing I know which private school would last and which one would collapse because few parents would send their children to them.

  • Darius, you are an ass.

    Stop typing, pick up your Bible, and read the Sermon on the Mount. Then read it again. And again. And again.

  • I love your hypocrisy, Tony. You love to claim the high road, yet every single time, you respond with ad hominem attacks. It’s like clockwork. What’s sad is how blind you are to it.

  • ariel

    Does your church teach that followers of Jesus should harass and name-call children? I imagine not. Do you believe that teaching that homosexuality is evil (or just avoiding the subject all together) means that all kids will grow up straight? If so, I’ve got a number of friends from my childhood who would beg to differ. I don’t think the choice is between persecuting kids who are gay or bisexual and persecuting kids who are Christian. Your view is both narrow and unrealistic. Think harder.
    Mother of 5 – homeschooling 2, so yes, I’m all for parental choice – and too young to remember the ’60s.

  • Ariel, thank you for addressing the issue rather than resorting to name-calling like Tony. It’s much more helpful.

    I didn’t say anything about the supposed bullying involved here. I do wonder if everything happened as claimed. If it did, then yeah, that is terrible! But no different than any other teasing and bullying (which is one reason why I loathe public schools because they set up the frequently disastrous “Lord of the Flies” social network Tony mentioned above).

    However, I don’t see how it would solve anything to indoctrinate all kids into believing that homosexuality is normal. Nature and common sense tells us differently, so you’ll always have kids teasing other kids that they are gay. Kids get teased about being lots of things that ARE normal and good (virginity, good grades, good character), so does anyone really expect that we can brainwash gay jokes out of kids? We can teach them that teasing and bullying isn’t okay. But public schools can’t do that, because they base their morality on empty self-defeating secular “values.” If they still based their moral teaching on the Bible, they would at least have a chance. Instead, they would sooner get their cues from Hollywood than the Holy Bible (this is sadly true, ask kids how many Hollywood-based morality movies they see compared to how many times they read the Bible in school).

    I didn’t say that the schools should teach homosexuality is evil… at least, not unless they are willing to teach about other sins as well. If schools were to teach that homosex is evil, then it should be done in a way that doesn’t condemn those who are fighting against those temptations or even embracing that “lifestyle.” I’d rather it be like most sin… pretty much beyond the pale so not needed to be discussed at all. Plus, I don’t think it the public schools’ job to inculcate our kids with the State’s view of morality. That’s the parents’ job.

    “I don’t think the choice is between persecuting kids who are gay or bisexual and persecuting kids who are Christian. Your view is both narrow and unrealistic.”

    Actually, Tony first suggested this as the choices (at least the first, he doesn’t seem to appreciate the issues that would cause). He said that the answer to kids getting bullied was to indoctrinate them all. I’m merely speaking against that foolishness because it would cause Christian kids to be persecuted instead (and the State to ENCOURAGE evil). It’s terribly short-sighted of Tony, but not unexpected from someone so dictatorial and intolerant as he.

  • Thanks for this posting, Tony. You are quite right about the need for policy change around this issue. It’s a matter of saving lives.

    I was privileged to be present for the interview with Justin’s parents, Tammy & Shawn, on Friday, and can testify that they are just like any family, working to make ends meet, doing the best they can, and now, struggling with the loss of their son. The reality is that the horrible treatment that Justin received is not uncommon, and it must be confronted and changed from within.

  • Marusha

    Such a tragic story. If only someone loved him enough to tell him and the bullies that there is hope and freedom from sin in Christ. This story reminds me how truly depraved all of humanity is. The only way we can have true peace with each other is if we are able to first have peace with God. If we see that we are not good, humble ourselves, turn from our sins and trust in the One who died on the cross and rose again, we can find that peace and we can truly love those around us by pointing the way to salvation. Tony doesn’t seem to agree with this.

  • Oh, Darius and Marusha.

  • nathan

    @Darius and Marusha, (maybe more for Darius…)

    How is it a threat to your right to your views to expect people to not abuse people?

    I think people have the right to their POV and the right to express it on any given issue, but how does not allowing people to abuse someone or torment them impinge on that right?

    Why does “don’t bully people” end up being seen as some kind of threat to you and your values?

  • nathan

    one more thing:

    Why couldn’t you just simply say:

    “While discussing the issue in principle, my views have not changed, I find the treatment of the morally repugnant.”

    Doesn’t that preserve your integrity with respect to your convictions and demonstrate compassion?

  • “Why does “don’t bully people” end up being seen as some kind of threat to you and your values?”

    Because that’s NOT what Tony suggested. Schools already have “don’t bully” campaigns. Tony wants schools to teach kids that homosexuality is a normal thing that is no different than heterosexuality. The sort of thing that Tony is proposing ends up being intolerant of dissenting views. And since it would be taught by the State, it would have the power to punish those it deems out of step with its teaching. Already happens in other countries, we’d just be the latest victim if this becomes standard practice in the schools.

  • Jim

    I’m almost in agreement with nathan here. This is a horrific tragedy, and the pain the family must be feeling is unimaginable. God loved this young man.

    So how must those of us who are conservatives supposed to respond? Obviously with love, with a message of grace, redemption, and the gospel of the divine comforter.

    But what happens when Tony uses this tragedy to make a political point about how the government should run its schools. We conservatives want to respond with truth, to argue why his argument is wrong, etc. But to do so makes us, in Tony’s words, “assholes.” What are we supposed to do? To respond the way we would like (with pure compassion) would let false arguments into the political sphere, potentially doing great damage to our educational system. But to respond with argument would make us horribly insensitive to the family and others who knew Justin.

    The answer, I think, is to not turn personal tragedies into political crusades in the first place. The highly charged emotional atmosphere surrounding an event is no place for reasoned political discourse. Such discourse would be callous. So while I think Darius and Marusha’s posts were perhaps insensitive, they were the inevitable consequence of Tony’s (good intentioned) attempt to leverage this boy’s death for political gain. Why don’t we simply allow everyone who knows his family respond with gospel love and grace, and shield the family as much as possible from political editorializing (from the right and left) about their son?

    • Jim, you’re wrong. I didn’t call Darius an asshole for disagreeing with me. I called him that because his answer to a family’s tragedy was, surprise, surprise, to restate his doctrinaire views and show ZERO Christian compassion. He has since backpedaled to let us all know how much he dislikes bullying. Not convincing.

      Regarding your point, while some deaths are politicized, that’s not what’s going on here — unless, I guess, you begrudge a mother who lost a child in a drunk driving accident from joining MADD and trying to educate people not to drive drunk. I didn’t even say that this school should teach homosexuality as normative (although, I must say, that’s what’s inevitable). What I said was that teachers and other students should be encouraged and even trained to be safe, listening friends to the many adolescents who are struggling with their sexuality.

      Fact: Many teenagers struggle with their sexuality.
      Fact: Many teenagers lack a family or other community in which they can talk about these things.

      So, I’m actually making a civic argument that it’s better for our society to offer them a safe place to talk. Why wouldn’t a conservative Christian agree with this?

  • Amen, Jim, nicely put. I agree completely. And for the record, in case I have to repeat myself, if there was in fact any bullying (whether sexuality-based or otherwise) that happened and led to this boy’s suicide, that is despicable and may those kids have some serious guilt over what they have done and may they learn a lesson for the future and all turn to the God of grace for forgiveness. And may the family of this boy find peace and come to know the God who gave His own son as a sacrifice for us all, even as we bullied and teased him while he hung dying from a cross.

  • Yes, I hope those boys loose some serious sleep over this for the next many weeks, and may their parents ground them from the Wii for at least a month. Then maybe they will turn to God.


    Rewind 40 years. This argument might sound like this: It’s terrible that that black boy killed himself over all the abuse and threats of lynching he received at school. But let’s not even think about educating white folk about the dignity of all humankind or that black people are not, despite what the church might be saying, scum or “dogs.” Rather, lets just teach people to be nice to others, an easy and pleasant band-aid over the larger systemic problem of racial injustice.

    I think Tony’s point is that school’s could play a more active role here by teaching sexuality in ways that might diminish radical expressions on both end of the spectrum. There is a lot of space that people can move and breath in between the one pole of openly affirming/encouraging and the other pole of damning/judging.

  • Rita

    Why does the question have to be to teach about homosexuality or not? Education should be about teaching all perspectives. As long as you only learn one side of things you can’t learn to accept other perspectives, faiths, color of skin, etc.

    Let’s teach all sides, the religious aspect about how they say it is immoral, but teach the more psychological side which says this is a natural thing. The student decides what they believe in not us telling them what to believe. If we spent more time in schools teaching to love and respect all peoples we will have alot higher level of morality in general in this country.

    How many of you have dishonored your parents, used the Lord’s name in vain, have cheated on someone or any of the other Ten Commandments which is directly stated in the Bible? Do you believe you should be bullied to the point of suicide for those sins? No where in the Bible does it state homosexuality is a sin or a bigger sin then any of the Ten Commandments. The Lord made us in his image, and secondly Jesus said to love everyone. The homophobia that causes people like Justin to kill themselves is not what the Bible teaches.

    Let’s educate not ignore and make our country full of ignorant people like some of the people on here.

  • Jim

    Hi Rita. I hope you understand that nobody here (so far as I’ve seen) believes its ok to bully other kids for any reason. The only Christian response to sin is a call to repentance and a proclamation of grace and forgiveness. Never, never bullying. Pretty much all of us here agree on that.

  • Anita

    I apologize in advance for this lengthy blog. However, I feel i must really speak out on this.

    I have read all the comments and responses back and forth and personally feel saddened by our society and the ignorance that so many show.
    I was blessed to know Justin, he was my daughters best friend, and the most amazing kid you could ever meet. I have taught my children always to respect others, regardless of religion, color, culture, lifestyle, sex, etc. The family and those who support them have struggled dearly with the loss of Justin. He was a young man who respected everyone. If you took the time, you would see that he had friends that crossed so many barriers. He didnt judge people for who they were, instead he embraced them with love and respect. He was a friend to so many.
    What is being asked is that we educate our children on a respect for human life, regardless of social, religious, cultural, or lifestyle differences. What harm can come from teaching people to respect one another and treat them as you would want someone to treat you. It has been said many times, it takes a village to raise a child. That village is comprised of us all. Our children spend 8 or more hours a day in school. Why would we not then expect that they would have some responsibility in educating our children?

    And for those of you out there who believe that being gay is a choice… how sad for you. What person would choose to live a lifestyle where they are persecuted for being who they are. Gay or Straight… they are people and they have a right to be treated with respect. If you knew Justin at all, you would know it wasnt about whether he was gay or straight, that didnt define Justin. What defined him was the amazing person he was and how much difference he made in all the lives of those who took the time to know him and to accept him for him. Who was Justin – he was a best friend to many, he was the one friend that everyone could turn to without judgment or fear of ridicule, he was an excellent student, and an incredible cello player. He was artistic and full of life. He was a son, a brother, a cherished cousin. He was my daughters best friend.

    All of you who sit back and judge or condemn, you are the ones who have lost, because you will never be blessed with his beautiful smile, his bright eyes, and his wonderful laughter. You will never understand what it means to love without judgment, to accept all people as equal and for the values they have to offer as individuals. Justin understood that.

    As for the questions of whether or not he was indeed bullied. Well, my daughter was witness to many attacks upon Justin. She witnessed the tears, and the hurt in his eyes. She was their to comfort him, to stand up for him. She would defend Justin to the ends of the earth and back again. She was the first person he confided in about his sexuality. It wasn’t a choice, it was a struggle (a struggle to be true to himself), and it just “was”. She loved him without judgment or condemnation. I feel blessed that they had each other as friends and am proud that my daughter was his friend unconditionally.

    Homophobia = Ignorance… being gay IS NOT a choice any more than being straight is. And its NOT a disease thats gonna rub off on you.

    Our children are going to be exposed to people from all walks of life throughout their entire lives. Shall we “shield” them from things just because its different from our beliefs or do we educate them so that they may learn respect for others and so that they may receive that same respect? Again, what harm can come from teaching our children to respect others, regardless of whether or not they share similar values, religion, culture, etc.

  • Anita and Rita,

    I don’t think that anyone is saying that what happened to Justin isn’t horrible and that bullying must not be counteracted. Instead, I think the central issue is this – should society (and the church) promote homosexual experimentation or help those who have same-sex attraction channel it in more constructive ways.

    I think that the evidence powerfully rules against same-sex experimentation and practice as something self-destructive and also destructive of the fabric of society. Setting aside all the statistics about a shorter lifespan, more diseases, mental problems, substance abuse, by historically examining other societies, it is seen that no homosexual institutions have persisted for long. They seem to self-destruct. Also, the world religions have all ruled decisively against this practice. None are advocating in favor of this practice and even have imposed strong sanctions against it. Perhaps this reflect their collective wisdom on the subject!

    For instance, the late anthropologist, J.D. Unwin wrote:

    • [Mankind] “does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it had been absolutely [heterosexually] monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs…[Further, society’s adoption and maintenance of heterosexual monogamy as a social standard] has preceded all manifestations of social energy, whether that energy be reflected in conquest, in art and sciences, in extension of the social vision, or in the substitution of monotheism for polytheism.”

  • Jim

    I’m sorry Tony if I misunderstood you. All I meant to say is that when something we perceive as a false idea is wedded to a personal tragedy, we have the option of responding to the idea or the tragedy. To do the first will pretty much inevitably seem ass-holish. But the second is perhaps more damaging in the long run. It’s a lose-lose, I don’t know what to do.

    But since you ask, “Why wouldn’t a Conservative Christian agree with this?” I’ll answer that it’s simply because we don’t know what we are agreeing to. What does it mean to be trained to be a “safe, listening, friend.” If you mean being taught to be imitators of Christ in his kindness, truth, and forgiveness, I’ll totally agree, but think its pretty unlikely in a public school.

    The public high school I attended actively taught that homosexuality was a moral and acceptable lifestyle choice. It did so under words like “tolerance” and “safety.” So when you use words like “safe,” I don’t know what you mean. If you mean simply safe from bullying, cruelty, and malice, then sure, I agree. But that’s not what public school administrators mean by safe.

  • By the way, I am in my senior year in an urban education program. I will be most likely teaching fifth grade. The texts we are reading are very progressive and appropriate for this day and age, texts like Other Kinds of Families and Culturally Responsive Family-School Relationships.

    And as a teacher, I can tell you, Tony is absolutely right to say that homosexuality will inevitably be a topic in schools. Societies evolve. Concepts of sin change. What was once acceptable no longer is. And there are some of us on the education side of the issue seeking ways to push the envelope as far as we can, because dammit, this is getting really old.

    My sister-in-law is a junior in high school. She is part of a new generation of Christians. And guess what? Her closeted gay friend chose to come out to her first. And she was excited about it, because she was the first to accept him for who he was.

    May this continue.

  • Tony, so I have to state my explicit opposition to everything, no matter how obviously wrong and prima facie evil it may be? I doubt you want to be held to that same standard. I’m “not convincing”?? Now you judge my motives and sincerity as well… I think everyone here knows who the real ass is. Amazing that you are so utterly blind to it. Your bias and hate has blinded you to good judgment.

    • No, Darius, but you do have to show a bit a of human — not even Christian, just human — decency if you’d like people to consider your views thoughtfully.

  • Tony, I agree that IF you had been merely speaking against this outrageous behavior, then yeah, I would have been wrong to say what I did (even if my point was right). But as Jim pointed out, you were using the story to make a political (or civic) point. So I don’t see why I’m a jerk to respond to your point in turn.

  • Same sex “experimentation”???

    Do you counsel heterosexual’s to “experiment” in their hetero-ness? This is just nonsense.

    Affirming that someone is of sacred worth, that they are not an abomination, that they are loved and that God loves them deeply just as they are is not to encourage “experimentation” on either front. It’s simply to share the good news.

    A few months ago I had a 15 year old youth in my church call me up wanting to talk. He is certain he is gay. He’s fought it for years. This was news to me. Just a few weeks prior I had asked him if he ever considered being a pastor – why? Because the gifts of the Spirit are obvious in him.

    But much has happened since then. He told me, “I have just accepted the fact that I am going to hell. I’m tired of fighting it.” Why would he think this? Because his “bible” teacher at his school and the others he has confided in have all told him that this makes him an abomination – God hates him.

    As we ate our burgers and I repeated over and over again that Jesus, and I, love him, he looked at me with eyes that desperately want to believe that but he has heard so much hate that it’s going to take time for that message to break through. I hope it does before he takes Justin’s route.

    Not once did I counsel him to go “experiment” and see what happens – I wouldn’t do that for the youth struggling with their lust for someone of the opposite sex any more than I would the homosexual.

    Most of the comments on this post reveal the huge need for exactly what Tony is calling for – education.

  • Alex,

    I agree with you that it is gratifying when someone with same-sex attractions confides this to you. I too would be honored. However, this issue isn’t whether or not I’m gratified, but rather what is best for my friend. Do I encourage them to pursue a lifestyle fraught with costs and dangers, or do I help them explore other alternatives?

  • “Do I encourage them to pursue a lifestyle fraught with costs and dangers, or do I help them explore other alternatives?

    What “costs and dangers” are you speaking of? The only “dangers” a gay person has to confront comes from people like yourself who continue to propitiate this notion of “well, if they were “normal” they would have chosen more wisely.”

  • Chad, I’m not sure where you’re coming from. In one breath you imply that homosexuality is sin, yet in the next when Daniel points out that such sin has inherent dangers and costs, like every sin, you rip him for it.

  • Darius,
    No, I implied no such thing.

    I’m asking, what are these “costs and dangers” that come with living faithfully into one’s sexuality? What “costs and dangers” are associated with being in a loving, committed, same-sex relationship apart from the bigotry they will have to endure from the “right”?

  • Now I’m confused, Chad. You said you wouldn’t encourage homosexuals to experiment anymore than you would encourage those struggle with hetero lust to experiment. In other words, you pretty clearly implied that homosexuality is a sinful urge just like any lust is.

    The dangers in a “loving, committed” same-sex relationship are myriad. For one, studies have routinely shown that such a relationship is much harder to achieve than with normal hetero relationships. Homosexuals are not a very faithful bunch, according to the data. They sleep around a lot. So there’s that: prepare to have your heart broken. But even if someone does find that truly “loving, committed” relationship, there are plenty of other dangers or costs. One danger is the health risks… only an idiot or extremely biased person would not admit that homosexual acts carry with them serious risk of disease. One cost is the moral cost to one’s soul. If someone gives into and embraces lust of any type, they are endangering their eternal existence. God clearly and repeatedly tells us that homosexuality is as much a sin as lying, adultery, and murder. That doesn’t mean that a liar, murderer, or adulterer can’t be saved. It does mean that someone living in open disregard and rebellion to the truth of God’s word isn’t likely to find salvation in the cross. It’s one thing to know that I am a terrible sinner who daily needs God’s forgiveness. It is another thing to claim I am not a sinner. That’s what got the Pharisees in trouble and that is the error Tony constantly encourages.

  • Wow, Darius. Would you like to also add that most Muslims are terrorists and most black people are uneducated?

    Let’s use your logic: Over 50% of hetero marriages end in divorce – many, if not most, because of adultery/unfaithfulness. Therefore, heterosexuality must be fraught with “costs and dangers” and ought to be avoided.

    Straight people get STD’s, too.

    Perhaps if gay people felt safe to be open about who they are around people like yourself they wouldn’t feel the need to go into hiding, to seek out love “underground,” and therefore wouldn’t be exposed to the dangers that many of us are immune to because of our “privileged” status as straight people.

    Your argument would fit well in the abolitionist era: Blacks shouldn’t be given equal rights cause they can’t read! They are not as clean and advanced as us white folk! They carry diseases and they practice unsafe sex like barbarians!

    …..well duh, they have been enslaved by us white folk for centuries. What do you expect?

    As to Scripture, I disagree with your conclusions. If you are interested in some biblical exegesis on all 6 passages, I’ve written an essay on my blog:

  • “Homosexuals are not a very faithful bunch, according to the data. They sleep around a lot….One danger is the health risks… only an idiot or extremely biased person would not admit that homosexual acts carry with them serious risk of disease. ”

    Is it any wonder, with crap like this being spewed, that homosexuals feel like they are second-rate citizens, like they are a disease or problem to be fixed? This is why education is so important – to root out ignorance such as this.

    Darius, are you aware that when Hitler moved for his Final Solution, the first step was “educating” the populace of what were just before normal, orthodox, conservative Germans that the “Jew” was a roach, that they carried diseases, and that they were morally inferior to the German Christian?

  • It’s funny that you like using slavery as an example when most black Americans disagree strongly with you and are seriously offended by your equating of the two issues.

    Sure, straight people get STDs and AIDS, but not as often as gays. That’s a fact. You can try to get around that fact or lie, but that doesn’t change anything. Homosexuality is much more physically unhealthy for many reasons (a doctor could explain to you all of this if you’d like). Sticking your fingers in your ear and pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away.

    As for your Biblical “exegesis”… I’ve heard all the arguments, and suffice it to say, orthodox Christian scholars don’t have to jump through so many hermeneutical hoops to come to their conclusions. The evidence is clearly against your position. I glanced through your post… as expected, you divorce each text from the context around it AND the rest of the Bible. You pit one verse against another, and ignore those that don’t suit you. If it weren’t so sad and so dangerous to those who somehow take it seriously, I’d laugh at that exegesis. Calling homosexuality “God’s gift to the Church” is probably the most evil thing I’ve heard in quite some time.

  • “Darius, are you aware that when Hitler moved for his Final Solution…”

    Ah ha, you just recognized you were losing the argument, so you compare me to Hitler… ever hear of Godwin’s Law? It ALWAYS goes that way… get a liberal scrambling for facts and basing everything on his emotions and he will resort to name-calling and Nazi comparisons. It’s true of Tony, it’s true of you. Game, set, match.

    By the by, could you just once try to use logic and rational discussion to undermine my points, rather than the emotional drivel you keep spewing? For example, I made the claim that homosexuals are more promiscuous than heteros… why not debunk that if it is so easily done? They clearly don’t teach logic and rhetoric like they used to.

  • The point, Darius, is that your consequentialist arguments don’t work. And you side-stepped the fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce.

    You obviously didn’t read my post or the full argument, or you wouldn’t have just dismissed it as taking verses out of context (nothing could be further from the truth). Talk about sticking fingers in ears.

    As for evil, I’ll err on the side of receiving all things as “gift” over your bigotry 6 days a week and twice on Sunday.

  • “As for evil, I’ll err on the side of receiving all things as “gift” over your bigotry 6 days a week and twice on Sunday.”

    I’m sorry you say that, and I still have no idea why you don’t encourage gays to experiment. You compared it to lust, yet have no problem with it? Do you have no problem with lust and also view it as a gift? You may be many things, but a Biblical Christian is not one of them, apparently.

  • Darius,
    Citing Godwin’s Law doesn’t negate the reality of what you said, or the fact that history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. You can hide behind Godwin’s Law if you like.

  • Yes, because I’m suggesting we kill or exterminate gays or that at least we let kids bully them?? You, sir, are a despicable liar. And that’s putting it nicely…

  • As for “experimenting,” I don’t encourage anyone to “experiment.” All I am saying is that I would counsel the straight youth who struggled with lust the same way I would counsel the gay youth. Apparently, if I were a “biblical Christian” like yourself, that would mean I must tell them to marry the object of their lust straight away (as Paul counseled). I assume you do that, yes? You are biblical, right?

    When you spew the ignorance you did in the lines I quoted you, you promote homophobia. This is what Hitler’s cronies did, which set the platform for even more evil to occur. This isn’t rocket science.

  • “When you spew the ignorance you did in the lines I quoted you, you promote homophobia. This is what Hitler’s cronies did, which set the platform for even more evil to occur.”

    The “ignorance” you’re referring to has been accepted morality for all of human history and still is. You are out of the mainstream and the one pushing ignorance and immorality. I gave you data that completely destroyed your claim that gays aren’t promiscuous, and you ignored it. You are indeed the one pushing ignorance, yet you’re not ignorant of the truth yourself. Which makes you a liar.

  • lol Darius. Me thinks Tony may have been too kind to you earlier 🙂

    I never said gays aren’t promiscuous. You seem to think that is some silver bullet that proves your point – make them out to be lesser moral agents than yourself, or people like you, and this justifies your dismissal of them (more evidence of your bigotry). Why don’t you disavow heterosexual marriage since over half of them end in divorce?

    As for “accepted morality,” so was slavery. So was the subjugation of women.

  • Again, more lies. If you’re not going to be intellectually honest, Chad, then we should just stop. Though I’m starting to wonder if you even understand what honesty is in a conversation.

    I said gays are more promiscuous than straights. You disagreed and even made claims about my character based on my claim. I proved my claim with evidence. Not only didn’t you apologize for impugning my character wrongly, you ignored my evidence. Strike one against your character.

    I’ve never made gays “lesser moral agents” than myself. We’re all sinners. I just recognize that I am. I’ve already stated this repeatedly yet you dishonestly ignore it. Strike two.

  • Chad,

    Against my better judgment, I am responding to you. Instead of dealing with the issues, you went on the attack, attacking me personally. In doing this, you show yourself guilty of the very thing you erroneously claim that I am doing to gays — condemning them.

  • Exactly, Daniel. And based on our ongoing convo, it doesn’t appear that Chad intends to stop the personal attacks anytime soon. In fact, he makes Tony’s vitriolic responses look positively saintly by comparison.

  • Darius,
    I suggest you reread the comments. I never got into the “who is more unfaithful than whom” argument. It’s a non-starter.

    I’m not ignoring your “evidence.” I just find it useless.

    You never said they are lesser moral agents verbatim, but every comment you make says as much.

    @ Daniel,
    Should I translate your comment to mean, “I don’t want to answer your question so I’ll just act indignant that you would ask me to explain myself?”


  • “I’m not ignoring your “evidence.” I just find it useless. “

    Yes, because it undermines your claim that homosexuality isn’t any more dangerous, costly, or unhealthy than heterosexuality. You do understand that you logically lose this argument unless you are able to deal with my evidence, right? You made a claim, I gave evidence FROM A GAY ORGANIZATION that refuted your claim. Ball is in your court. Unless you respond with better evidence to contradict my own, you have lost this point, which means your entire argument is falling apart. Your argument is that you see no problem encouraging people into the gay lifestyle because it is no more dangerous or problem-fraught than heterosexuality. I’ve shown your assumption to be bogus. Your foundational presuppositions are wrong, now what?

    You also owe Daniel an apology because he was the one who originally stated that there were dangers and costs involved in homosexuality and you excoriated him for being a dangerous bigot. I’m guessing you won’t apologize because you don’t actually love others, you just want to spread your vitriol and hate. Hopefully you prove me wrong.

  • Darius,
    I didn’t call Daniel a dangerous bigot. I called you one.

    Daniel may or may not be.

    Again, until you can show me that ALL straight relationships are immune of “costs and dangers” and that ALL straight marriages are just swell, then your “evidence” is pointless.

    And yes, I just want to spread my “vitriol and hate.” Well done on discerning my true motives.

  • Okay, so by your twisted logic, because there is a chance someone might get hit by a car while playing in their backyard just like there is a chance someone might get hit by a car while playing in the street, you’d tell them there is no difference between playing in the street and playing in the yard? How do you expect us to take you seriously?

  • Darius,
    I’m sorry, but you aren’t making any sense to me. The best I can do is counsel whomever is in front of me as to how to best live their life faithfully as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I don’t instruct the couple in front of me who is having premarital counseling that perhaps they shouldn’t marry because over half of marriages end in ruin and I won’t instruct the gay couple before me that the reason they shouldn’t proceed is because lots of gay people are promiscuous (there may be other reasons for both the straight and gay couple to not pursue their relationship, but the moral failings of others, both straight and gay, are not among them). It’s just nonsense.

    Look. Perhaps the reason I am reacting to you the way I am is because 5 years ago I would have been amen-ing you. Sometimes when I see my former self in others I respond in grace. Other times I respond with disdain – mostly because I can’t believe I used to sound like that.

    What is at stake for me in this conversation are several things. I believe your rhetoric is violent, and cultivates violence and bigotry. I believe your position short-changes the Gospel, which is Good News. I believe your position is one of judgment, not grace. And I believe your position is full of ignorance, in the same way that Christians who supported slavery and the subjugation of women (both still happening today) were ignorant.

    What is at stake for you? You are obviously passionate about this, which to a degree I can respect. But what are you afraid of? Why do you place so much weight upon this that you are willing to call others “evil” who disagree with you?

  • Marusha

    The point I want to make in all of this tragedy is that we can educate and set up programs all we want but it still won’t change how people really are on the inside. Until we find peace with God we cannot find peace with each other. No matter how noble the cause there will still be hatred, racism, bullying and just plain sin in the heart until that heart becomes born again. The answer is not social programs, the answer is the gospel.

  • Marusha,

    I don’t believe “social programs” and the “gospel” are mutually exclusive.

  • Marusha

    Social justice, social action, whatever you want to call it is not the gospel. It is legalism. We do good things for others in response to what God has done for us, but we cannot forget to tell people that there is forgiveness for the sin that enslaves us in Christ alone who died for us to be with Him while we feed the hungry and save lives. If we are telling people that to be a christian they must do all these things, we are being moralistc. We are Christians because of repentance and faith in Christ alone who purchased us on the cross. Our works are a natural outpouring to God because of the new life in us, because of gratefullness, it’s our response to His kindness.

  • “What is at stake for you? You are obviously passionate about this, which to a degree I can respect. But what are you afraid of? Why do you place so much weight upon this that you are willing to call others “evil” who disagree with you?”

    First, a minor point and bit of a semantic one, but I didn’t nor would I ever call you “evil” (at least, no more evil than anyone else, such as myself). I called your statement evil. A small but important point of clarification.

    What is at stake here is the Gospel and thus people’s souls. I fight for the true Gospel and for the salvation of the souls of mankind. If they are taught that what the Bible says is sin is not really sin, they are in essence being sold the same bill of goods that the devil sold Eve in the garden. “Did God really say?” Salvation comes through repentance, and if someone is told they have nothing to repent about (or at least, the list is pretty short), then they cannot find salvation (and the peace it brings). I want all to know the freedom offered in Christ… freedom from all sin, whether lying, lust, anger, self-righteousness, legalism, homosexuality, etc. That doesn’t mean we stop sinning in this life… obviously, no one attains to that. But it does mean we know that Christ has paid the penalty for our sin and we rely on Him rather than ourselves for our righteousness. It is extremely freeing to know that I don’t have to “do” anything to be found in Christ. Because I know my heart, and I know how prone I am to wander away from God.

  • Tony,

    All of this reminded me of what might be for some the bigger issue in all this…

  • Josh

    Perhaps this conversation can still be redeemed from the downward spiral it seems to have taken…

    There seems to be some confusion on what it means to provide a a ‘safe’ place inside of the school system for individuals who are struggling with their sexual identity (regardless of whether you think it’s ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – I can tell you as a social worker in a middle school it is happening)… But this isn’t the only identity issue students are struggling with, so perhaps we could discuss in what ways this safe place could be created without causing individuals to have to compromise their own personal feelings/convictions.

    What I mean to say is this – perhaps instead of arguing we can redirect our focus on how to address the issue at hand… any ideas?

  • What the spiral has shown is a good part of why this is such a difficult issue, and why so little is often accomplished. Unfortunately, the arguments of adults turn into the despair of youth. Words quickly become a noose. It’s a case of fiddling while Rome burns–it doesn’t matter how beautifully or correctly the tune is played: nobody is putting out the fire.

    Let’s instead think of ways in which we can prevent as best we can young people dangling dead from their own ceilings.

  • Chris,
    Of course, that would be wonderful.

    But so long as it is voiced loudly from one segment of the church that homosexuals are in some way inferior, in all ways an abomination, and in most ways prone to immorality more so than “us,” violence and hate and, sadly, suicide, will be the default.

  • Tragic that instead of focusing on this young man’s suffering and sorrow, the causal factors that led him to take his life, and what we can do as a culture and as a Church to compassionately respond to similar situations, Darius and company seem more interested in making this about themselves and their theological perspective. That is not the Christianity of Christ and noone reading these comments is experiencing God through them or their self-focused rants.

    God’s heart breaks that people would rather argue theology and spew vitriol than stand in the gap for hurting souls like Justin and Billy Lucas.

  • Marusha

    1 Corinthians 6:9

    Ethan what is the Christianity of Christ? Christianity is a bunch of bad people who were saved because of what Jesus did. No-one is good. All have sinned. In the heart of a new creation lies the desire show other bad people the salvation found in Christ alone. You assumed that I don’t care about this young man. I mourn for him. I wish that he found salvation and comfort in Jesus before he lost all hope. It is too late. It is too jarringly final. Perhaps we can take the opportunities in the future to show more people the way of being saved and perhaps prevent more deaths like this in the future. This isn’t merely my theological perspective, it is the biblical gospel which is the power of God for salvation. If we see that we are not good, that our natural inclination is sin then we can humble ourselves before God. If we are truly broken hearted over our sin against God and go to Him in repentance and faith in His saving grace, He will save us and take us along the path to everlasting life with Him. We can strive to make this life better for others but if we don’t show them the way, we are not truly loving them. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul? I’m sorry if I seemed insensitive before. Forgive this long post please.

  • Ethan M

    Thank you for posting this Tony.

    I have started to a feel a growing call to respond to this issue. I know that you and I could find plenty to disagree about on the broader issues of this situation (although I am right with you on wishing the church could get out of state marriages all together) but I am convinced that the whole church could decide to work together to address the particular issue of bullying and abuse directed toward the homosexual community.

    Surely even in the most conservative of churches, we can say to one another, let us be known for our remarkable love and compassion for all people but especially for the homosexual community, and especially for young kids. And as a member and leader in such a church I can admit that we have at times been part of the problem. I (and many like me) have failed to love fully.

    I was a suburban youth minister for ten years, and I regularly told my kids, that the most significant test of their maturity in Christ would be how they treated the outcasts in their school. Not all of my kids lived up to their values of course but they knew the challenge. Christians care for the outcast and marginalized.

    I don’t what to do with this heartbreaking issue, but I know that a call is settling on my life that I cannot long ignore.

  • Reinhardt

    This has nothing to do with sex. What happened to basic kindness?

    We need to teach kids to be kind to everyone, not just their friends. But without belief in a higher power, how do we ever convince kids that it is really wrong? The survival-of-the-fittest schoolyards are harshly chaotic precisely because schools have lost their common religious heritage. Does kindness grow from naturalistic survival of the fittest? How can we expect anything but brutality if life has no purpose?

  • Exactly Reinhardt. The public schools have no basis for morality, so any attempts to infuse some sort of moral code will be self-refuting and pointless. Until the public school system (and our government) recognizes Christ as the ruler of this world and the Bible as the foundational document, it will continue to decrease and become an ever greater disgrace. Thankfully, millions of parents have recognized that public schools are not a viable answer and are homeschooling their kids or sending them to private schools.

  • Darius,
    And what of the majority of kids whose parents can’t afford the luxury of a private school or can’t homeschool for any number of practical reasons? Screw ’em?

  • Katie (Kathy) to justin

    Ok People I swear! Why does this whole thing have to turn into an argument? Why can’t you guys just say something like thats a terrible thing! Maybe something does need to be changed in order to SAVE LIVES!!! OK I was Justin’s Best Friend! Okay I knew him almost better than anyone! He came out to me! I was the only one who knew that he was gay for 3 months almost! Okay I am sick of seeing people say “Being gay is a choice” or “Why should we treat them any differently?” Hmmm well lets see … being gay is just a matter of who you are. And gays should be treated with just as much respect as i dont know your grandparents! You wouldnt go around saying your grandparents are horrible people because they were alive during world war 2! (Example) Ok people should respect others no matter what! It is because of people who are inconsiderate that make people like Justin feel like he had no reason to be here. People like Justin Deserve to live more that someone such as myself! okay! Justin never worried about himself! I can guarantee if he were reading all these comments he would be sick to his stomach seeing how rude and cruel people are being! How many suicides does it have to take for society to realize we are having a problem!!! OK there were four suicides among GLBT students in my school district! okay! 4 out of 7! Those 4 commit suicide because they felt like they were worthless and nobody cared about them! OK so hopefully I wont see another rude comment after this because if there is that shows that you are just…. a horrible person!
    So sorry for this outburst and Justin Norman Aaberg!
    I love and miss you so much baby Boy.! Best friends forever =Kathy and Justine

  • No, Chad, we privatize the entire school system. It should have been done long ago, and it’s going to come eventually once the teachers unions are broken. Privatize the system and put the taxpayer’s money back into our pockets to use as we see fit. It would largely fix most of the American educational system’s problems.

  • You know, Kathy’s comment brings up an interesting question… if homosexuality is really as normal and good as some people claim, then what does it matter if it is a choice or completely biologically determined? If it’s a good moral thing to do, then choosing it should be a good thing. Instead, homosexual advocates shy away from it being a choice because deep down, they know it is immoral. So they couch their defense in the presumption that it is biological. Very informative that they argue in that direction.

    Of course, that argument is easily defeated when one considers that ALL sin is biologically natural to our fallen state. It’s not like lying is any more “just a choice” unrelated to how we are made than homosexuality. I completely affirm that SOME homosexuals are “born” that way. Doesn’t hurt my case against it at all.

  • Darius – You are absolutely ridiculous! When a person who is LGBT says they did not choose their sexual identity it is because “THEY DIDN’T CHOOSE THEIR SEXUALITY” !!!!! And then you turn around and use some lame comparison with lying?????? You think choosing to tell a lie is like someone choosing their sexuality????? Tell me Darius, if you were to discover today that it was wrong in God’s eyes for you to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex how would you go about changing that?? Where would you start? Where does the fact that you are attracted to and can be sexually excited by the opposite sex reside inside of you?? Like I said… you are ridiculous! And btw – you missed the whole point of what Kathy’s comment brought up.

  • Liz, I know what Kathy’s point was. I was merely pointing out a side question that her (and others’) comment brought to mind.

    Yep, choosing one’s sexuality is like choosing any other sin (albeit different in its own way). All sin is “natural” to us. Some sins are more natural to some people than others. I have certain sins that I am more predisposed to biologically, physiologically, and mentally than other sins. I don’t have much interest in money, but I can have an occasional struggle with anger. I am not vain but I can at times lust. You probably have your own set of issues, many of which are very distinct from my own. Homosexuals have a lust issue with the same gender. It’s no different than lying, it’s all sin and all condemned by God. Thank God Christ died on our behalf or we would all be damned for eternity!

    Regarding your hypothetical situation… I would appeal to God for strength in resisting my urges just like I do now when I see an attractive woman who is not my wife. No difference. Where do you see the difference? Is homosexuality a special kind of desire that is unbeatable by the blood of Christ? Are homosexuals not deserving of the freedom offered through Jesus’ sacrifice? Aren’t we to love them as much as those who struggle with other forms of sin? Or are we supposed to hate them and let them believe their choices have God’s blessing? I’d rather be called homophobic eight days a week and twice on Sunday than not love homosexuals enough to show them the Truth, the Way, and the Life. There IS freedom and His name is Jesus. He conquered sin and death 2000 years ago and is still conquering it today.

  • ariel

    You show a complete lack of understanding in these comments. Do you have anyone close to you – old friend, family member – who is gay? If you do perhaps you can ask them to help you understand their experience. If they are willing, just listen. You don’t have to change your theology – just listen and try to develop some empathy.

  • Darius – LGBT people don’t want what you call love – and your kind of love is what breeds the cruelty and bullying that goes on at schools like the one mentioned in Tony’s post…and don’t kid yourself, the bullying (although a little more subtle and more if the form of whispering and exclusion) goes on in your church also…I know, I have a son who is gay and btw, he’s comes off as being a lot more like Jesus than you do.

    Ariel, Your advise is the best advise. The only obstacle is that I have a problem believing that Darius’ desire to love is stronger than his desire to judge – which means that I don’t think he will be able to hear properly.

  • Ariel, I don’t need to do that when I know what I have gone through with my own struggles with lust. I know exactly what it’s like. Sexual sin is sexual sin. I can completely empathize with how hard it can be to fight the urges that come so naturally. I particularly feel for those homosexuals who are in “committed relationships” and have the Gospel given to them. I can’t imagine hearing that to embrace Christ means rejecting one’s life with a loved one. Of course, Jesus might have had that in mind (among other things) when He said that His followers would sometimes have to reject family and friends to follow him.

  • Liz, you’ve unfortunately visited the wrong churches. My church has several people who have come out of a homosexual lifestyle, as well as a ministry to young adults struggling with same-sex attraction. All of those people are embraced as fellow sinners in need of a great Savior. Oh, that you too would know that Savior.

  • Wow – you are definitely fitting the stereotype that your comments were conjuring up in my mind.

    First – I’ve been around a long time – raised a family – spent my life as a Christian and visited plenty of churches so don’t get all high and mighty as if you are having some unique experience that I (or others who criticize you) can’t relate to.

    Second – I’ve heard horrible stories about “ex-gay ministries” – imo those programs are abusive. My heart goes out to those who are being subjected to such. It’s so sad. Please, I beg you to stop for the sake of your Lord who truly loves your victims.

    Third – I know the bible backwards and forwards and could cherry pick with the best of them but think it is an abuse of scripture so don’t do it anymore as it makes you look even more ridiculous.

  • You’d rather condemn people to hell? THAT is indeed sad.

  • RJ

    Wow, the comments so far seem to ignore the statement, “This is a moral issue, but not in the sense of what is right and what is wrong sexually. It’s moral in the sense of children’s safety.”

    The issue for this post should not be so much what is a Christian understanding of sexuality, but what is a Christian understanding of the value of a human person. I don’t think anyone can fathom how little I care about a person’s sexuality when it comes to the question of their value as a person. This young man was so tormented by his peers that he lost hope in his own value as a human created in the image of God. Conservative or progressive, if you don’t find that tragic, then you do not know the same Jesus I know.

  • Pingback: Message to Gay Teens: It Gets Better | Tony Jones()

  • L. Reese Cumming

    This blog makes sense until the last paragraph (highlighted). Yes, the later condition (the safe harbor) will take place if the school system trained “teachers and other students to be sensitive to the fragile evolution of sexuality among adolescents”, but this will only happen through a overwhelming assumption by the general population that all forms of sexuality are fully acceptable in society and enjoy equality in all moral, civil and legal matters regardless of their benefit or harm to that society. Law (or condition) is ineffective in any cultural group where it does not represent the full depth of human understanding, acceptance and generational practice. None of these three conditions exist here.

    There appears to be some assumption here that humanity, through a little reasoning by a benevolent moral agent, suddenly rises to the cause of intelligence and a community wholeness, based upon illusionary virtues, over sensory pleasure and debasement.

    The GLBT teen is no different than all the other teens out there. Bullies have plenty of ridicule and hatred to pass around, and if one source dries up, they just find another. It seems to me that this blog is merely pushing an agenda rather than a concern.

  • BINGO, L. Reese.

  • RJ

    No, L.Reese, this is not the same as bullying in general. Nor is it about a full acceptance of all sexualities. Your comment and Darius’ reflect a sub-christian view of the world. I was taught that we accept sinners in love and let God clean them up. You seem to think it’s okay for a bully to push a kid to suicide as long as they are homosexual. How about a girl who had an abortion? Should she be tormented to suicide? What about all of our little gluttons out there? They’re fatties, should we torment them to suicide? How about the heterosexuals who have premarital sex, should we call them slutty until they kill themselves?

    I have an idea, let’s push all the sinners until they kill themselves, then we’ll have a pure world. That seem to be your agenda.

  • RJ, I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot. You just slandered L. Reese because you have no reading comprehension. Where exactly did he say bullying was okay? He just said homosexual bullying was the same as any other bullying. He didn’t say it was okay. Stop being intellectually dishonest in your arguments, it makes you look silly.

  • L. Reese Cumming

    OK, RJ., I need a little more information. “This is not the same as bullying in general.” How so? And how is being a GLBT not an acceptance of all sexualities? Is sub-christian, sub-human?

    “I was taught that we accept sinners in love and let God clean them up.” What does that mean?

    The rest of your comments, well…..

  • L. Reese Cumming

    Just a thought. Does anyone have some opposing discourse with the first paragraph of my earlier comment on the school system training teachers and students? If not, let’s close this blog and move on.

  • RJ


    So, I’m an idiot? Do you know the definition of slander? It’s a legal term, so I would like you to explain to me how I am guilty of slander. While you are consulting the copy of Black’s Dictionary, which you no doubt have, with your legal acuity, ask yourself if you really want to take me on. By the way, idiot also has a definition, and if not based in fact, you have slandered me. However, you need not worry about a suit, because you have caused no damages, so, even if you were found guilty of slander, it would not matter, because there are no damages, so in a civil matter (as you will find in your Black’s Dictionary, there is no criminal penalty for slander) you could be found guilty but have no damages assigned. I assure you I can read with adequate comprehension, and I am not an idiot. By the way, when did Jesus call anyone an idiot? Is that your brand of Christianity? “I don’t like what you just said, so you must be an idiot.”

    Now on to the more rational questions of L. Reese. Sub-Christian is not Sub-human. Sub-Christian simply means that something does not measure up to the standard of Christian behavior. It is not the same as bullying in general in the same way that racial bullying is not the same as bullying in general. At this point, do not assume that I am equating being a racial minority with being GLBT. However, there are similarities in that both pick out a class of people as a target. It would be like bullying Jews or Muslims. I do not agree with Jewish or Islamic theology, however, I would say that they should not be singled out as a class.

    Likewise, saying that we should teach our children not to single anyone out because of their sexuality is like telling our youth groups, “Don’t make fun of Muslims, Hindus, Jews, or Wiccan.” It’s just plain wrong. I do not have to agree with someone’s sexuality to say, “Hey, don’t pick on them because they hold to a different standard of morality.”

    I was taught that I am supposed to tell people about the love of God and the grace of Christ offered through the cross. Through the power of the Spirit, God would deal with the various sins in their lives. That seems to be how Jesus worked. He did it with Matthew. He did it with the woman at the well. He did it with Zacheus. It’s the model he told us to use in the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Two Lost Sons (aka parable of the prodigal. For a further explanation read Ken Bailey’s “Jacob and the Prodigal”). The thing is, people already know they are sinners. They already feel guilty. I don’t have to tell them that. I don’t have to bully them into feeling like that. What they need to know is that Jesus accepts them as they are, and will transform them in his time through the power of the Spirit.

    Now, back to Darius. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider the numerous other responses you have received. Your efforts may have the best of intentions. You may really love these people. But people are telling you, they don’t believe that you love them. You have the choice to retrench yourself and say that these people are just idiots who cannot understand you, or, you can find a way to communicate the love of Christ. I know that you love Jesus. Find a way to communicate that love to others.

  • L. Reese Cumming

    RJ – Sorry, but your generalities leave me lost on my earlier questions. Could you be specific as to which comment I made was sub-christian?

    Also, could you detail what appeared to be your culturally declared statement regarding GLBT bullying being different from other bullying. It was simply a statement made, not an explanation of. Yes, I recognize that bullying of a GLBT teen is different than bullying an overweight teen, in that the characteristic that causes the bullying is different, but you seem to be implying a hierarchy of these different characteristics as if we should have greater concern for one over the other; that our society should concentrate our resources more on one than the other. I continually read about teens killing themselves for all kinds of reasons related to bullying or peer pressure situations.

  • RJ

    L.Reese, perhaps I am misreading the tone of your initial statement. If so, please forgive the offense. As I read your statement, you seem to be saying that we should not care about the difficulties faced by teens as their sexuality is evolving (and part of what is happening in every teen’s life is that their sexuality is evolving). One does not need to accept the moral equivalence of all sexualities to say that we need to be sensitive to everyone as that is happening. What I am hearing in your statement is, “Because homosexual behavior is immoral, we should not endeavor to protect teens who think they might have homosexual tendencies from bullying based on their sexuality.” I find that a sub-Christian attitude. If I have misread your statement, then I would withdraw the comment.

    The bullying of a class is different from individual bullying in that bullying of a class produces a culture in which one class is subject to the violence a larger group, and has a much broader effect both on the class that is bullied and the class of bullies. There have been numerous sociological studies that have demonstrated this phenomenon. Teens who would otherwise not become bullies do so when they feel safe bullying others based on their membership in that particular class.

    Again, I do not have to agree with the moral character of the sexuality of anyone to say that they should be protected from bullying. Your statement that working to promote respect for all teens as their sexuality evolves means that I must accept the moral equivalence of all sexualities is, I think, our greatest point of disagreement. Why must providing safe harbor involve me accepting the moral equivalence of all sexualities?

  • L. Reese Cumming

    RJ, Thanks for your thoughts. It is helping mine. At the moment I’m trying to keep the judging part out of this discourse – that part that stomps on God’s authorities. Rather, I’m just trying to understand the field we play on.

    Your differentiation between individual bullying and class bullying certainly would have different results. However, at this point I do not see such a condition as individual bullying being of a significant recurring factor that it should be addressed here. Bullying predominantly attacks intelligible forms or characteristics. In other words, those physical or behavioral traits that are seen as representing a class. Examples would be people with ears that stick out too far, overweight people, etc. All physical or behavioral traits that exceed the normalcy of our society are, in fact, a class as there are many of them and their representation in our society is constant; thus bringing them into a recognizable form subject to bullying. Normalcy is rarely picked on for being normal, and bullies rely upon factors of recognition in order to direct their energies. (What’s normal?)

    What is interesting is that there are traits that have become clearly defined as “hands off” zones. A quadriplegic would be one such example where the potential bully sees this condition more in the light of, “but by the grace of God there go I”. It seems to me that there are those that seek such a status for the GLBT teen, and I’m just not sure this condition falls into that status any better than most other conditions of being human.

    As to your question regarding why the safe harbor means accepting the moral equivalence of all sexualities – Any answer is a very complex one that breeches my ability to complete with any efficacy here. There are a few things I can address though.

    First, in order to create sensitivity for a condition, but not bring it into acceptance within a society requires a unified, intellectual approach that must sustain itself over many generations, and that I do not believe mankind can implement successfully. Institutions corrupt and our current philosophical direction as a society rewards rebellion to consistency. The very character of man’s narrative demonstrates a discriminatory essence that factors strongly into his sustenance. The far easier road to sensitivity to the GLBT teen would be to simply accept and practice all forms of sexuality. I have found that the most used form of design for man is always the most easy to implement and use.

    Second, modern individualism, which is a strong factor in the “coming out of the closet” of the homosexual class, inherently rejects both the long-term, systematic approach of inclusion as I just noted, and any development of a virtuous society that accepts virtues as an absolute. Virtues are those dispositions that are required to sustain the education of our society in order to become consistently sensitive to GLBT teens, as well as all other conditions of man.

    Idealism looks at things through the eyes of an author writing fiction. Realism looks at things through the eyes of an actor and an author in a setting with a historical narrative, and that narrative has addressed this issue countless times throughout the past.

    Frankly, as a Christian, I believe we must all have sensitivity with all individuals and classes of man. There should be no relationship between sensitivity, caring, compassion and the issue of acceptance and practice of a condition or behavior. Thus, I still take the position that one should not differentiate between bullying of a GLBT teen and any other teen condition. It’s all wrong. And I also believe that the GLBT community cannot simply claim ground not earned; ground where countless others, individuals and classes, have shed their blood. I define “ground” as God’s creation and His Covenant with man.

  • Katie MacDonald

    GUYS!!! Who gves a damn about christianity and whether or not suicide is considered a sin or what the fucking bible states. Yes I am A Catholic okay but right now that doesnt matter! MY BST FRIEND COMMIT SUICIDE ON MY BIRTHDAY! OKAY BECAUSE OF PEOPLE BULLYING HIM FOR BEING WHO HE WAS! WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT?!?!?! PEOPLE SHOULD LEARN FROM HIM!!! OKAY IT SHOULDNT HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS! OUR SOCIETY NOW A DAYS IS HORRIBLE PEOPL BULLY OTHERS BECAUSE THEY ARE DIFFERENT! WHATS WRONG WITH THAT!!! THERE HAVE BEEN ATLEAST ( SUICIDES IN THE LAST YEAR!!!! DOES THAT NOT SAY SOMETHING TO ANYONE!? IT SHOULDNT HAVE COME TO THIS! WE SHOULDNT HAVE LOST A SINGLE INNOCENT PERSON! BUT WE DID! WE LOST 7 FOR PEOPLE TO NOTICE… that seventh person was … is my best friend. He meant the world to me and all you people can talk about is how wrong it was. Why not just show your sympathy to have lost those people and then shut the hell up! Yeah your right the bible states all this shit! you know what I am going to hell then because I believe a person should love anyone as long as they are happy. I guess im going to hell because I dont believe Justin is for commiting suicide! He was lost and now he is no longer hurting. Whether you know it or not, you people judging might just b causing someone else to question their lives value just by them reading these stupid comments. So to all you people who are judging grow up get a lifeand respect others no matter what! Thanks and
    I hope you all live a happy life remembering those innocent people who have died!
    Katie MacDonald.
    Justin Norman Aaberg I love you baby boy.
    I miss you more and more everyday but I know you are okay now.
    I am sorry I couldnt see how much you were hurting but I am trin to change things now. I love you and miss you so much!
    Your Kathy!