So as I sit here only half watching the “Tony Awards” with my wife, I was blown away by the opening number “Broadway isn’t just for the gays anymore.” This was just moments after watching a special on teen bullying. It was also a few more minutes before the now controversial “It gets better” google commercial.
I want to focus on the itgetsbetterproject; If you haven’t heard of it, Google it. I started to wonder whether or not a straight youth pastor, or for that matter a gay youth pastor, has posted a video in support. I searched and all I found were videos telling gay youth that “Christians don’t care” or that they need to “get help to become better (as if there was something wrong with them)” This saddened me to no end. I feel like church people have dropped the ball on the whole loving thing. I feel like all of a sudden we needed someone to hate so we decided homosexuals were the perfect people for that. The late Peter Gomes once said in a speech, “When anyone looks at the record of our religious treatment of the other in the culture, we find that the first and the last resort used to justify a prejudice is the fact that the Bible tells me so.” I find it very sad that we use this collection of books, about how God has continued throughout the ages to act redemptively and lovingly toward His people, to push an agenda of hate and prejudice. Who are we to put that in God’s words? Are we judges? Who gave us the God badge? Who gave us permission to be God? In my opinion, nobody. We did it ourselves. It sickens and saddens me. What’s worse is I do it too. I know I do. I try to stop myself, but I can’t. So in response to that I would like to write out my “It gets better” speech:
Hello! My name is Miguel. I am a straight youth minister in western New York. I wanted to take an opportunity to tell you, it gets better. I know high school is rough. I was there. I was made fun of. I was bullied. I know how rough it can be. I was plagued by thoughts of suicide and the like. What’s worse for you is that I know I have brothers and sisters out there who share my profession that are allowing the continued bullying and discrimination against you. Not only that they are even encouraging it sometimes. I want you to know that God doesn’t hate you. I don’t hate you. The church shouldn’t hate you, but right now it is a very hostile environment for you. To be honest if I were you I wouldn’t want to be there either, even if I was Christian. I want to take this opportunity to apologize. I’m sorry for what is being done to you. I am sorry that instead of stopping this hate and prejudice we have continued it and fueled it. I’m sorry that once upon a time I bullied people like you. I am sorry that you have to endure it now. But I promise you, it gets better! There are people, churches, and even church leaders who not only openly accept you for who you are; but even are a part of that community as well. I know straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people who are great examples of God’s love. So I ask not only for your forgiveness, but also for your patience. One day the Church will be a safe place for you to be. One day we wont try to tell you who to be, or who to love. I pray that day comes quickly. As for me, I will love you and accept you. You are always welcome here. It will get better elsewhere. Don’t listen to my brothers and sisters that try to tell you to be different. Don’t listen to those who tell you it’s wrong to love that person. I don’t believe God made a mistake when God made you. You are perfect the way you are. As Ga Ga has said “God makes no mistakes.” My promise to you is that I am going to try to make it better.