Monday, October 11, 2010

National Coming Out Day

Happy National Coming Out Day, the internationally observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.

And let's face it, there are still issues to discuss. I'm sure we could all name several, but today I'm willing to jump on the bandwagon and talk about the recent suicides that have been all over the media as if suicide among queer teenagers is a new epidemic. Truth be told, though, as long as our society considers it ok to tell people that an integral part of themselves—that a deep part of who they are as a person—is disgusting at best and sinful evil at worst, then the queer community will still have to deal with this kind of tragedy on a higher than average basis. And as long as ineffectual methods of dealing with bullying in our school systems are in place, it'll be that much worse for our queer students.

The statistics quoted in the United Church of Christ statement concerning this issue are absolutely sobering, "Nine out of 10 LGBT youth report being verbally harassed at school; 44 percent say they have been physically harassed; 22 percent report having been assaulted; and 60 percent say that when they report abuse, no one does anything to help or protect them." I don't care what your theology is, or how you interpret Leviticus, that is unconscionable!

The good news—and there is good news‐is that our society's culture is slowly but surely changing. I think R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, probably saw that this is true, as he shifted his sights from issues surround gay marriage to his issues with divorce in a recent article about "the marriage crisis." Even Exodus International has been making some new and interesting decisions, distancing themselves from a counter-rally aimed at Day of Silence. In a recent article, Alan Chambers, President of Exodus International was quoted as saying, "All the recent attention to bullying helped us realize that we need to equip kids to live out biblical tolerance and grace while treating their neighbors as they'd like to be treated, whether they agree with them or not."

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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