The Silence That Spoke The Loudest

Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.
Euripides

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
—Luke 6:31

HutchWhen all the shouting was over, it was the voices that never joined the ruckus that seemed to speak the loudest.

The Seattle Times reported Saturday on a planned Friday protest at Mount Si High School, just north of Seattle. The protest, led by Pastor Ken Hutchinson, ended up being “about 100 people,” mostly making their displeasure known about the protest project at the school and gay people receiving “special rights.”

I read the article and shook my head. It was about what I expected, but it still caught me off-guard.

On Thursday I responded to a message from Warren Throckmorton (see our blogroll) about perhaps finding a way to participate, getting the idea of the Day of the Golden Rule somewhere into the discussion. When I spoke with him on the phone, he even gave me the name and number of the reporter at the Seattle Times who would be writing the article on the protest. The reporter and I chatted for a few moments and I could tell from her questions that she was looking for people who would have kids in one of the schools, countering the protest with another point of view. No, no kids here although I know quite a few at Mars Hill.  I called some friends and told them about the planned protest to see if there was some way one of them could make it up there.  One friend actually was planning to attend, but as a protestor with Rev. Hutchinson!  I told her about the Golden Rule project and why we were trying to build bridges instead of construct more obsticles between these kids and the healing love of Jesus.  “You don’t have a family,” she said.  “You don’t know.”

So, sad, feeling like I’d missed an important battle that had sprung up on the front lines, I sat down to read the article describing the insanity (to which my friend later stated that it was more intense than the article suggested and that it did change her mind about this sort of thing in the future, that maybe the Golden Rule had something to it) and this little bit popped out at me, perhaps the most important part of the article:

 Some students left class when the protests began outside. Max Rosentreter, a sophomore, said he wanted to be outside voicing his opinion.

Despite the school’s Gay Straight Alliance, few Mount Si gay students are open about their sexuality, he said.

“No one’s out. They’re scared of getting hurt,” he said.

No one is out because they’re scared of getting hurt.  Jesus help us.  The need for a day of awareness about what these kids go through is not too much to ask.  Not at all.  Classroom in the crossfire.

Look, CHRISTIAN, if homosexuality is such an all-fired evil that you’re just certain is going to destroy your family, are you truly interested in the cure? or in the destruction of those who live a lifestyle offensive to yours?  Do you not want these children to discover the healing that is available through Jesus?  Do you not want them to find a way through those muddled sexual feelings and into a wholeness and health?  There may be a long, long road ahead for these kids.  God often does not heal homosexuality at the drop of a hat because God is a God of process.  The journey is often much more transformative and often during the journey, the goal changes.  (See the incredible BugginOut article “A Dirt Sandwich” for an example of what this changed “finish line” of healing can look like.)  Make no mistake: for some people this process is a lifelong tug of war between the spirit and the flesh.  It is tough, painful, horrible going at times.  And that’s for Christians who have some support in their struggles.

But for kids — for children, dammit, the children you claim to care so much about — they’re more worried with the smaller things in life.  Like trying to stay alive.  Trying to not get hurt.

Do you hear that?  That silence?  That absence?

Do you understand what that means?  The kids are in survival mode, which means that they’re not going to listen to or process anything that does not help them out of this situation.  When protests like this happen which reduce this survival process into a cheap, reactionary, knee-jerk, pride-centered display it turns these kids away from Jesus.  The love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, self-control — those things are hidden from them and remain so as long as our pride is on the line, as long as we make the issue and the politics more important than the right of these kids to be who they are without physical or psychological abuse.

“But what about our right to speak out against homosexuality?”

Of all the moronic half-assed objections, this one burns me the most.  Not a thing, NOT ONE THING these kids are doing takes that right away.  Protest!  Feel free.  Object your ass off.  For crying out loud, crybabies who didn’t attend school during that day of silence had their own silent protest.  They get another day of protest on Monday where they can stand up for their rights.  Then the discourse turns to how Christian kids are wounded for having to put up with all this crap and not being able to speak against the rising tide of homosexual fascism and the whole point gets lost in this veil of crocodile tears when all that was really said during that one day is that maybe, just maybe, we need to work through this situation with a clearer, kinder heart and a gentler approach that says “No, I disagree with you.  But you don’t deserve to die for a different lifestyle than mine.  Jesus says I’m to treat you like I would want to be treated.  So I will try and defend your right to live peacefully at the very least.”

Why, why, why is this thought such a radical idea, ESPECIALLY to Christians?  Why can’t someone whose pride was wounded by a previous encounter see that he did more to turn these kids away from Jesus than he ever did to draw them to him?  Why do we protest another’s lifestyle when all they’re doing is searching for something that they’ve never known?  Do we kick them in the shins or do we take them to their Creator who knows the hole in their hearts and is uniquely qualified to fill it?

Well, I’ve descended into repetition and bibble-babble.  Point remains: this is common-sense Christianity.  Which may be why it’s been so hard to find these last few days.  Next year, I promise you, I’m going to be ahead of the game.  And someone who has been where these kids are now will be there trying to preach a kind, living, transformative Christ who cares that these kids are getting hurt.

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~ by WriterRand on April 27, 2008.

8 Responses to “The Silence That Spoke The Loudest”

  1. I hear you. I am still a lesbian, but also a Catholic, and I think some of these Christians have no idea how vulnerable these kids are. The suicide rate among gay teens is so high. If a person cares about “saving” them, then get them out their teens alive first. Personally, I can reconcile my own Christian beliefs with being a lesbian, but I am not out to judge others. God will judge us all. We have to be as much like Jesus as we can be. If we sin, as we will undoubtedly do, then we’ll pay for that. But this loving lord we believe in never said a thing about it being a good idea persecuting gay kids.

  2. I certainly would NOT have joined Hutchinson’s protest. I have compassion on those kids with gay feelings suffering in silence because I was raised in an environment that was probably even more repressive than Mount Si High School. You described “survival mode” very well. If I had expressed “the love that dare not speak its name” in high school I would have been subjected to beatings, verbal harassment, and public humiliation for years.

    We as Christians need to reach out to these kids. They are often afraid of the reactions of parents and peers, so the only ones they see who will show compassion are gay activists. Jesus is certainly a far better one for them to turn to.

  3. My closest friend of mine (who is a woman who also struggles with SSA) had a talk recently. We both went to a rural high school in North Carolina. I was deeply in the closet to everyone at my school, and would have never dreamed of coming out. She’s a little braver, and has told a few of her friends. However, she and I agree that it’s much easier to tell non-Christians than Christians that we struggle with homosexuality. WHY? I know the feeling, because when I was in high school I would have never dreamed of telling anyone in my church. What a horrible thing the church has done for gay teens to see it that way. Not only do gays need healing; the church needs healing, and Rev. Hutchinson, Sally Kern, et al, are part of the problem, not the cure.

  4. Thanks for getting this story out. I was grieving that we could not get someone out there to demonstrate a redemptive message. However, perhaps your friend came away with her eyes opened anyway.

  5. My goodness. I read the Seattle Times article. Is this what being a Christian is to Pastor Hutcherson? I’m sad to say that he believes what he’s doing is part of proclaiming the gospel. It’s very interesting how many Christians like Hutcherson are being “of the world” in their quest to be not like it. Irony is something, isn’t it?

  6. “You don’t have a family,” she said. “You don’t know.”

    What a ridiculous comment to make.

  7. Tell me about it. I wanted to say, “No, but I was gay and I know how they feel.” Trouble is, you think of all those things after the conversation.

  8. […] created quite the stir last year by showing up to the protest and protesting the protest.  (See here for last year’s write-up.)  The Golden Rule pledge simply allows Christian kids the space to […]

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