Stop Lying To Our Children

know us by our love

Several close family members no longer speak to me because I write this blog. Don’t feel bad for me – I am honored to taste what many of you have endured for as long as you can remember. But the irony is delicious.

In fact, this is so irrational, I want to make sure I understand it correctly. I’ll write it out, and you – my family, or others – who think I’m wrong and maybe ‘not really a Christian’, you tell me how this makes sense in the real world, and how this aligns with the heart and the message of God.

I embrace the LGBTQ community of people that you’re totally okay condemning and rejecting – and you think I’m the one who should answer for it.

I love these people unconditionally, exactly the way Jesus told us to – but you as a Christian find this unacceptable.

You keep LGBTQ people at arm’s length (you don’t really know gay people as people, only as people you don’t like) – yet you feel qualified to decide their lives (re. marriage, adoption, or even just freedom from harassment).

You would rather rule from a list of precepts rather than looking at real people and real life situations.

I am happy for people to be free to marry someone they love, just as I have married someone I love (and you probably have too), so we can all enjoy the sweet partnership marriage offers.

You believe (or have been told to believe) that two men or two women getting married will somehow wreck the sanctity of marriage overall. (Did we mention divorce or second [or third or fourth] marriages?)

You want to mandate one man/one-woman marriage — which works only for a man and a woman — and when there’s pushback, you cry discrimination and harassment.

You do not welcome gays into your church community (not without certain stipulations) – I welcome them freely to mine, so my church is the one that’s suspect.

You tell me I’m condoning what you determine to be sin, even though Jesus told us not to judge others’ behavior. No, seriously, he says that several times.

But if I point out your lack of love (a clear violation of Jesus’ prime directive), you tell me I’m being vitriolic and I should mind my own business.

Jesus says those who truly love others are the real heroes – and you want nothing to do with them and even work against the love they are conveying.

Jesus says those who judge others are the real villains – and you do exactly what they do and blame others who call you out.

Then you feel all out of sorts, wondering why people are leaving your church. Ironic, isn’t it?

To bring this to a personal level, here’s what I’ve seen in the family and ‘friends’ who have rejected me – your whole view of our beloved Annie has shifted simply because of her orientation. And you think God backs you up.

I gotta tell you, God does not back you up. In fact, you are in complete opposition to the heart of God and his truth.

I say this not just for our Annie. Instead, I say this for the many Annies and Anthonys out there who do not have a defender, who have been rejected and condemned and attacked by their own family. In fact, I write this for all of our children – who have been told that God is all about their behavior and really doesn’t care so much about their hearts.

It is for our children who seek to know God and you hand them religion instead.

They bring their open heart and get a list of rules. They bring their searching questions and receive a flat answer that not only shuts down vulnerability or intellectual authenticity but lacks any luster of God himself.

I spread my wings out wide to cover all these children everywhere, to pull them in close. And I say to you:

Stop lying to our children.

Stop pretending you love them when you condemn them. Stop telling them they can’t hear God for themselves when God clearly says they can. Stop telling them what God thinks of them. Stop saying God is sending them to hell.

Purge yourself of the stench of religion and self-righteous hypocritical religious leaders, and seek the aroma of Jesus.

For the sake of our children.


48 thoughts on “Stop Lying To Our Children

  1. Susan,
    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting yourself out there and writing this blog. I’ve been following you about six months now and am amazed at the truth of your writing. Our son came out to us about eight years ago. I knew that his “choice” was not a choice but something in his design. The clobber verses are well used in our church, which is so sad. Thank you for your teachings which help me with the words to stand up for what is right.
    If Christians put more effort into love and acceptance instead of condemnation we’d be far better off.
    I’ve not commented here before but read you daily. Thank you.

  2. Can you hear it? I’m giving you a standing ovation right now!

    I was all set to leave the Church until my family and I were led to an open and affirming congregation. I’ve never before seen such authenticity as I have in that place, and I know that Jesus is pleased as He is worshipped in TRUTH and LOVE. I can finally breathe and relax in His peace.

    May God continue to bless your health, your family, and your finances as you go about standing in the gap!


  3. I understand the point of this post & I am thankful for the ways you desire to protect your children & all of God’s children. One thing, though. This isn’t the first time I have read negative implications around “religion”. If by “religion” you mean legalism, I understand. There are also some very positive ways to speak about religion. A more nuanced discussion of religion may help clarify & build bridges in future posts. Thanks for all you do, Susan!

    • Erica, thanks. Yes, by religion I mean exactly what Jesus condemned soundly in his several interchanges with the religious leaders. He did not go easy on them when they put demands on people who wanted to know God. He called them vipers, whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones! So I appreciate your plea for a nuanced discussion, and I’m all up for that. I stand ready for that discussion. That’s what so many of my posts have been about. But I’m not sure how to engage in that with people who keep using words like “abomination,” and Hell, or turning on their heels and walking away. I’m here.

      • I know what you’re saying! Maybe using a qualifier with religion when you mean *that* kind of religion like the way you used qualifiers when talking about *those* kinds of religious leaders. [“self-righteous hypocritical religious leaders”]

  4. Susan, you kind of touched on something I have been pondering lately…those that stand and condemn do so mostly WITHOUT really considering that there is a PERSON on the other side and not just a concept. As you told me once, they might be scared to get to know that person for fear that it would shatter their long held beliefs and then what do they have left? I see this more and more each day.

  5. Someone did not get cream in their coffee this morning… but I sing “Amen, preach it sister!” Through your writings I really feel the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon you these last few weeks. Stay in pray Susan and I hope the Cottrell Nation keeps you and Rob and Annie in their prayers.

  6. You go sister!! When did it become ok to spew hatred in the name of Jesus? When did it become ok to ridicule, harass, judge, reject, and condemn ANYONE in the name of Jesus? I have pulled away from the church for many reasons but mostly because I could no longer be in the company of hypocrites, bigots, racists, homophobics, and hatemongers. Sadly the only place I seemed to encounter this was in church or with ‘Christian’ friends. I put my oldest child through it daily by sending him to Catholic school. Thankfully, by the time his brother was born, I came to my senses and fortunately enrolled both of my beautiful boys in public school. It was the best decision I ever made! It just became to difficult to teach them love, tolerance, and acceptance at home only to have it be questioned in school each day and in church each Sunday. For years after pulling away I questioned my own belief system, I questioned Christianity and I questioned why I was even friends with so many of the people I called ‘friends’. But finding you and your website Susan has given me the strength, the power and the knowledge (DAILY!) in knowing that I can and will continue to love and accept all people. I will continue to love and cherish my boys just as God created them. And I will embrace the LBGT community as my own. I know in my heart this is what Jesus wants for all of us.

    • Thank you, Linda. Yes, my daughter in jr. high told me how much freer she was to be herself with her theater friends than Christian friends. We all know this, but why? Seems to be about this strange idea that Christianity is about sin management instead of life from death! Jesus never told us to manage sin, especially each others’, but to live in his bubbling fountain. It’s so much more appealing!

  7. I love this Susan! Especially this…”Jesus says those who judge others are the real villains – and you do exactly what they do and blame others who call you out.” Thank you for being you. I loved spending time with you in early April. Blessings.

  8. Once again Susan you have spoken to my heart and I pray many other hearts. I love your frankness and openness. This issue is so big in the Christian community, sometimes I get discouraged but reading your blogs and other similar blogs helps me continue the good fight. I just so wish it wasn’t a fight. God has blessed me through you and other moms. Thank you once again.

  9. Thank you for your words of love and understanding. As a “latebloomer” I was 50 before I had the courage to come out. Most of my family still don’t know. But it’s people like you that give me hope and encouragement. Thank you for being so open and honest and speaking so eloquently for all of us.

  10. I share your anger and know of what you speak even though I don’t have an LGBTQ child nor do I have any LGBTQ friends or acquaintances (that I know of). However, my family is consumed by Christian homophobia. My elderly parents (in their 90s) who listen to Fox news and Focus on the Family make frequent statements against the LGBTQ community. One of my siblings went on a vicious rant when I cautiously tried to express some support for the LGBTQ community.

    I can only encourage you and others like you who are speaking to the evangelical community about LGBTQ issues to keep up the good work. (GCN, Justin Lee, Matthew Vines, The Marin Foundation, Rachel Held Evans to name a few)

    My own journey to support of the LGBTQ community began when I stumbled across the Love is an Orientation blog several years ago and read Andrew Marin’s book, Love is an Orientation. I went on to read many other books and blogs about Christianity and LGBTQ issues to finally come to embrace support for marriage equality to accept that the Bible does not condemn committed (married when possible) homosexual relationships.

    Like so many evangelical Christians I am still afraid to be considered outside the pale of orthodoxy but since I am in my late sixties, maybe it’s time to stop being afraid of what others think. I appreciate your vocal support of the LGBTQ community. As more of us speak out and demonstrate in some tangle fashion our support of and love for the LGBTQ community, others will begin to question what they have been taught.

    Unfortunately so many evangelical organizations and prominent evangelical leaders spend so much time and energy casting the LGBTQ community as ‘the other’ or as the ones who are trying to ‘destroy the family’, that it is hard for the other, more Jesus like, voices to come through. That’s why your voice is so important. The attitude you model is one that Jesus himself modeled: to embrace everyone – even those others consider sinners – and to welcome them to the family.

    I have loved your daily posts over the last few weeks. Congratulations on your anniversary and so sorry for the pain in your family. Hopefully all of us who name the name of Christ will eventually embrace the beautiful people of the LGBTQ community who are made in the image of God.

    • Hi Emmaline,

      I too am not the parent of an LGBT child, nor do I have any close LGBT friends that I know of. My testimony is similar to yours in that I come from a staunchly homophobic church and family community. A dear friend’s son is gay and the treatment from our church family toward this family when he came out was horrible. As I searched and prayed for understanding the Holy Spirit really opened my eyes, my mind and my heart to the plight of these precious people who are so unjustly discriminated against, primarily by Christians.

      As my heart and mind became open, I began to see how much I and others like me in the conservative, evangelical Church have been influenced in our beliefs, not from scripture and Christ-likeness, but rather by Fox News and right-wing organizations like FOTF.

      As hard as it is for me to stay in my church, God has so far not given me the go ahead to leave. I suspect that He is raising up lots of folks like you and me within His conservative churches to stand in the gap for LGBT families. We can stand strong, look the haters in the eyes without flinching because we don’t have a dog in fight and declare their worth before the king. Sadly, I admit that I am often a Jonah, running away from the calling when I would like to be an Isaiah who stands up boldly and says “here I am, send me!” It is so encouraging to me to hear your testimony. It gives me more courage to speak up and speak out when I hear of others like me who are also hearing the gentle whisper of God into their hearts.

      Be blessed!

  11. Relatives my age and older, have “unfriended” me because of my ally stance.But to my delight, their children have become allies.

  12. To the sweet Annies and Anthonys: I, a complete stranger can never replace the parents, aunts, uncles, cousins or siblings who will not accept the beautiful creation that you are, but I want you to know from this mama’s heart, that I wish I could swoop you up in a bear hug and fill that emptiness. I know I can’t, only Jesus can so you cling to Him in the midst of that ugly storm and know that He will never forsake you, never reject you or never leave you. That’s the closest thing to a bear hug that i’ve got.

  13. I often tell people who stand in condemnation of me for being gay to stand in front of a full-length mirror and repeat those. “What are you hiding about yourself?” psychologists will ask. I think Confucius summed it up pretty well, “Man who point finger have three more pointing back at him.” Some people don’t need church so much as they need counseling!

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