Stop Telling People Their Gay Child is Going to Hell!


For busybody legalists who think it’s their job to correct others: BACK OFF. Stop meddling with what YOU think is wrong with others, and deal with your own business… I’m guessing you’ve got plenty on your own plate to deal with.

My blood is boiling. My friend Alice lives in a tiny military town full of extremely legalistic churches. Every Sunday and Wednesday, fire and brimstone is preached from the pulpit—but never ­the abundant love of Christ. Women wear only dresses, and red is the devil’s color. You get the picture.

Alice’s daughter is a lesbian. You can watch her boyish gait and swagger and know it’s just part of her DNA, something she did not choose any more than some gay men I know chose to be strikingly effeminate.

Here’s the blood-boiling part: Alice went to chaperone her children’s Sunday school class at a lock-in at the aquarium. It’s the kind of thing moms sacrifice their comfy beds for, to build wonderful memories for their kids.

Instead of the enjoyable time she’d anticipated, holding baby turtles and touching stingrays, she was blindsided. The other mom-chaperones ambushed her with pleas to stop her daughter from being gay, to pray for the demon of homosexuality to be removed, to check her own relationship with God—and is she even sure she’s really saved? I hope this hits you as it hits me. Alice sat there, unable to answer, unable to think in the face of these five women.

That was the majority of this memory-filled night with these girls at the aquarium.

Of course my thought for Alice is not to let the door hit her as she leaves this church and these women for the last time. Who in the world needs it? But it’s not always as easy as that. She has school and family community tied into it, so even though it’s toxic, she’s not sure how to disentangle herself from it.

Just as I would want to tell women, “Just take your kids and leave your abusive husband,” it’s not always quite that simple. Like being wrapped up by an octopus (I’m only guessing here), you can pull off two tentacles, but three more slap back around you. I still do advocate disentangling yourself from toxic relationships/situations, but I also realize it can require some time and planning. In the meantime, let me help you gain your voice. Alice spoke up via email to these women the day after the ambush. Regardless of whether they heard it, it was empowering to Alice to send it.

So I assimilate here Alice’s thoughts. If you are a busybody, take heed. God very much meant it when he told us not to judge another man’s servant.

If you are an LGBTQ or parent, take heart. Don’t take on someone else’s assessment of you; theirs is not the assessment that matters! God’s matters, and He loves you.

“Dear Busybodies,

I do not appreciate your surprise attack on me about my gay daughter. You have not walked the journey I have, and you are only repeating what you have heard from the pastor, who also has not walked this journey. You pick out one verse to condemn my child. Would you like me to pick out verses about your sin? Don’t think I can’t do it in a heartbeat. For two hours I listened to you tell me my child is going to hell. When did God make you judge and jury over who He accepts?? God speaks to me about my daughter. Don’t you think I have already poured my heart out to Him? She is NOT going to hell, and who are you to say she is, when God tells you to check yourself, not me or my family. 

You say you seek to “root out sin” but even as you do, you trample all of Jesus’ commands for love, kindness, understanding, and His parable about not judging lest you be judged. I know your families. I know there is backbiting, rudeness, pornography, affairs and children doing things they should not do. I think you have quite enough to keep you busy.

You say my faith is failing—how would you know about that? In fact, this whole walk with my daughter has made my faith stronger! I know God more intimately than I’ve ever known Him, and He has been real and present, guiding me every step of the way. Don’t worry yourselves about my faith or my even being saved, as some of you said. I am saved and have been for a very long time. I do not need to ‘renew my faith in God.’ He renews my faith every moment like living water, just as Jesus told us He would do.

For five of you to attack me the way you did was rude and mean – not Christlike. Does Jesus really want you to speak to me that way? No. And to speak this way in front of the kids, like you’re on some great mission, so they can see us acting like idiots? Well, all of YOU—I didn’t act like an idiot.

Let me make this very simple for you: You are never to speak to me about my daughter again. You do not have my permission to speak to me about any family matters like this. I suggest you think long and hard before you do something like that to anyone again. God does not look kindly on you treating people like this. God has been freeing me of the legalism of this church, and I will never go back to it.”

28 thoughts on “Stop Telling People Their Gay Child is Going to Hell!

  1. Great article. It really puts things in perspective. I would add this though, we are told to “come as you are” to Jesus. The message in words would include gays, but in reality many times, it is not.

    A Christian mom recently said to me that when you as a Christian parent has a gay child, you “get it.” Unfortunately, many Christians don’t “get it!”

      • Jesus tells Us to warn folk about hell and repent and accept the Salvation He provides. THAT IS LOVE!!! HE ALSO states that failure to do so is hatred. REMEMBER we are not called to a popularity contest. NO prophet of GOD is popular with this world system. read your bible for yourself. JESUS is GOD and HE NEVER DISAGREES WITH HIS FATHER. the choice is given to everyone.eternal torment or eternal peace.GOD GAVE US HIS SPIRIT and the authority IIN CHRIST JESUS to speak HIS WORD to the WORLD.

        • Absolutely, we must repent and accept the salvation Jesus provides! I join you in great concern about the main issues Jesus warned us against: judgment, idolatry, injustice. Terribly grievous concerns of the heart. Neglecting to care for the widows and orphans — meaning those without recourse who need help. Putting unbearable weights on people re. their behavior instead of focusing on the heart. To fail to point people to the complete salvation Jesus died to give them is to hate them. Far be it from me to deny anyonethe all-consuming love Jesus died to give them. It was His main assignment to us.

  2. You are amazing!!! I absolutely hate when people use Religion as an excuse for hateful behavior…I don’t know about “their God” but my God loves everyone unconditionally!!! You also sound like a great mom…

    • Thank you, Karen. How do we keep forgetting that the ONLY PEOPLE Jesus railed on were those who used religion as a weapon? He didn’t just stop them, he called them vipers and sons of the devil! Jesus is endlessly compassionate, yet he took this spiritual abuse very seriously! We would be wise to do the same.

  3. Love is doing exactly what Susan did. She is loving her daughter through their journey. She is an incredible mother and woman of God. I do not know this woman but I am so proud of her. She is a gift from God to her daughter.

  4. I agree that Pastors that continue to teach and preach choice are accountable everytime a precious child or person takes their life. Also accountable are the mindless followers who pastor worship and don’t use their own common sense conclude the Pastors are cherry picking scripture to dehumanize a segment of our society that has always been with us. Sound familiar, think the 50’s for that answer.

  5. Hate and legalism is unfortunately too often masked in words like “being fired up for the lord” or ” no compromise” I too was guilty of this when I became a Christian.

    Being fired up for the Lord should actually mean unconditionally loving others the way that Jesus unconditionally loved us. We should never compromise on this simple truth.

  6. Thank you so much for this blog post. This *should* make our collective blood boil! Since when does ganging up on someone reveal Christ-like behavior? Oh, wait – IT DOESN’T. I’m sure it took an extraordinary amount of courage for Alice to craft that spot-on letter to these women, and my prayer is that she will continue to respond – both to them, if they return, and to anyone else – with that very same kind of courage. As Dana wrote above, these churches and people who ascribe to this twisted theology have blood on their hands, indeed.

  7. I think instead of busybodies, this letter should have been addressed to the Sharks of the church…fits in with the whole aquarium theme and that’s what they are…they use their self-endowed power to prey on people like Alice and her daughter to make themselves feel more self-righteous….it has absolutely nothing to do with faith in God and the love of Christ. They act this way merely to puff themselves up and cover up their own insecurities. Just as sharks do, they seek out blood…that is people like Alice who are vulnerable and may not be able to easily remove themselves from the situation.

  8. Once again we all see the absolute truth that we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our every thought and deed. Hatred has no place in the heart of a Christ follower regardless on what side of an issue we stand. We pray that all be kind toward one another. Jack

  9. Yep! Curdles my blood, too! I have been so blessed that 99% of the Christians that I know have continued to love me and be gracious and have neither condemned me and my partner nor have the abandoned us. They are genuinely happy that we are finally happy. The road to our freedom and to coming out as Christians who happen to be lesbians has not been easy. For me, most of the battle was internal. My heart aches for those who have had a different experience.

    Be encouraged that the church is changing, though. It is a slow and painful process, but it is happening. Thank you to Justin Lee and Susan and the many who came before and the many who will come after that continue to be catalysts for this change. God is using you. And God uses every one of us who remain true to ourselves, to our children, and mostly true to our loving God.

    My prayer is that the few in the church who are quick to condemn will not chase the faithful away! Stand strong and do not be afraid of their faces, for your God is surely with you!

    I know it doesn’t feel like a few, but the reality is that they are becoming minority. Many who keep the company line in public, privately have one or more LGBTQ persons whom they love deeply. They are struggling with their own coming out process as secret allies. But know this, my friends, they are with us, too. And it is only a matter of time before God gives them the strength and courage to stand openly with us.

    • I’m glad your experience has been positive, Rhonda. And I agree – I see the church as changing. It’s just that they COULD lead the pack in outrageous, abundant love, and instead they have to be dragged into this issue. Missed opportunity, hm? Best to you and your partner!

  10. I have always been a Christian and I have always been gay. I am honest about myself and am saved by God’s grace and my faith ALONE! Anti-gay, so-called “Christians” put too much emphasis on outward show because they haven’t come to terms with their own shortcomings. Guilt overload in their fractured egos compels them to stand in self-righteous condemnation of gays just to help them cope with their own repressed sins. God is not impressed! Google these two sites: and We are all sinners equal in God’s sight. Repressing one’s sins, including repressing one’s homosexual urges, instead of taking them to the cross of Christ, is the core of evil!

  11. Susan, such an excellent post! Thank you so much for including the letter. The pain Alice feels is so evident. I hope the busybodies see it, but fear they will be blinded by their own self-righteousness.

  12. Susan,

    Thank you for writing this letter. This is the exact situation I was in when my son came out last year. We were involved in a fundamental, legalistic church as well, but we were also embroiled in the school attached to the church. Both of my sons attended the school their entire school lives and I taught elementary school. When my son was asked to leave the school because his is gay, we also left the church and my job. My entire support network was gone in an instant. We are slowly rebuilding our lives; moving on to other schools, and a new job for me, but I’m not in a hurry to step foot in another church. To have a church family turn their backs on you is really tough, but I saw God’s hand in removing us from that toxic element. As hard and heart-wrenching as it was at first, the relief that I’m not living in fear anymore is liberating. I can love God the way I want to love him and love other people the way God wants me to love them and not have to worry if I’m offending anyone in my church; especially when I’m loving my own child. Shame on these people; they are so caught up in doing the “right” thing that they are condemning God’s children to hell and sending these kids into committing suicide. These churches have blood on their hands.

    I would love to talk with Alice if you want to share my information. Thanks Susan!

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