Blogger Dan Pearce of Single Dad Laughing wrote a manifesto in November titled I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay. In it, Pearce takes no real stance on the morality of homosexuality, but urges Christians to love those in their community that are gay in a “love the sinner, hate the sin – if that’s how you have to see it” sort of way. Pearce notes at the end of that post that he’s received all sorts of mail in response, including a letter sent this month from the mother of a 15-year-old boy who was assigned by a teacher to write an essay responding to Pearce’s.
In her letter to Pearce, this mother details how her son “came home and showed me your article and asked me what I thought about it. I read just the title and became furious at his teacher.” She says, “I felt like it was a direct attack against our beliefs and our Christian religion and that it was promoting homosexuality, a practice that around here is a huge “sin”.” She tore Pearce’s essay from her son’s hands, he stormed off to his room and then snuck away to a friend’s house – his only friend that knew he was, in fact, gay.
At his friend’s house, the unnamed 15-year-old fired off an emotional response not only to Pearce’s original essay, but to his mother. He then emailed it to his mother to read before he came home. Here’s the second paragraph:
I have been so scared of them finding out that I’m gay because I know that they would hate me and would want me out of their life and at the same time I can’t keep this secret anymore because it is not something I asked for, never in a million years would I ask to be gay in a town like this where everybody would hate me. And anyways I can’t keep this secret anymore because I’m about to do something crazy like run away or hurt myself or something. I just want to be dead sometimes.
The boy’s mother told Pearce:
I started crying and couldn’t stop for the longest time. I don’t know why I was crying exactly, just so many emotions came over me. I didn’t know what to do or how to respond. I finally stopped and went and read your article once more only this time I tried to read it through my son’s eyes and the whole thing was so different than it was a couple hours before. By the time I finished I felt as big as an ant and I realized just how much hatred I have in my heart toward others.
After she finished reading both her son’s and Pearce’s essays again, she texted her son, who came home. She says, “That was a month ago and in the last month my son and I … have grown much closer than we ever were before. We have both stood up against hate several times when we hear it coming from the people around us. You see, where we live people really do have problems “being Christian unless…” But no longer in this home.”
You should go read the entire letter of gratitude sent by this mother to Pearce, which includes her son’s coming out essay. It’s illustrative of the fact that no matter how many people are willing to share their coming out stories and to let kids know that It Gets Better, life in a small town full of religious zealots can still feel overwhelmingly oppressive. Kudos to this mom, her son and Pearce for sharing their sweet words of love with the world.