“I swear, it feels like I’ve walked into my brother’s room and seen his brains spread over the bed again. I can’t do this anymore.”
Last night I read these desperate words from a hurting friend.
Her brother committed suicide at sixteen, not because he wasn’t loved and accepted as gay by his family, but because the church he attended convinced him he would be better off dead than to ever give into his “nasty,” “perverted,” “sinful” attraction and desire for intimacy with someone of the same-sex.
Convinced him that God’s Word said acting on such desires was an abomination, demonic and disqualifying, unacceptable before God, and worthy of God’s wrath.
Her brother had cried and tried. He’d pleaded and prayed at the altar-call for God to take the gay away.
Then he came home, went to his room, and shut the door. She heard the shot. But he was gone before she could get to the door.
Seven years later, she still has the stained note he left behind — along with a hole in her heart and a whole lot of anger.
Anger at the ideology that created in her brother the need for the gun and bullet that took his life, and anger at the church community that sold that bill of goods to him.
Anger that this same community dared to take pity upon themselves for the loss of him, but none of the responsibility.
And the shooting in Orlando has opened that bedroom door to all of it for her all over again.
I’ve been asked if I can have empathy for those who hold a traditional conservative view regarding marriage and all things LGBTQ.
The same amount of empathy for them as I do for my LGBTQ friends and family members.
Yet in the white wake of tragedy that targeted and terrorized the LGBTQ community, in sanctuary, in Orlando, I watched the majority of my own church-mates here in Texas sit silently on their hands for more than a dozen hours after the fact.
And when called on it, watched them defend their silence.
I’ve been asked if I can have empathy for my Flower-Plex, Target-boycotting church-mates who’ve behind closed doors tried to dissuade me from my “crusade” and behind my back sought my removal from leadership.
Empathy for the convinced and the convincers that God’s Word calls homosexuality a sin, an abomination worthy of rejection, worthy of God’s wrath.
As much empathy for the bigots as I do for the bigotted-against.
The bullied, bloodied, bullet-holed bigotted-against…
The abandoned by parents, condemned by churches, bodies of brothers, and the sisters that find them.