Heaven for Gays and Lesbians
I have a few questions which came in on my KippyNJ@aol.com screen name, but I need to put them aside and reply to a letter which appeared in the "Dear Abby" column yesterday. It's a very common question, but Abby slightly missed the boat with the answer.
My son came out of the closet last year. My first reaction was to tell him it was OK. (I had already suspected that he was.) I love him dearly and we're a close family. His brothers and sisters also accept and love him. My husband and I are now struggling because we're not sure how God really views gays and lesbians. To listen to some religious people, my son will go to hell. I can't believe that God would create a person to be this way, then turn his back on him. I tried reading the Bible, but the wording was hard to understand. I don't want to talk to my pastor about it because, even though I have accepted my son for who he is, I still have trouble talking about it because I'm not sure how they will react. Do you believe a gay person will go to heaven? Signed: Somewhere in the U.S.A.
I believe that entrance to heaven is based upon a person's character, not upon his or her sexual orientation. Today, because of modern scientific studies, we know more about homosexuality than was known when the Bible was written, and that sexual orientation is not a choice.
Cousin Butchie's Response:
Gay and lesbian people are indeed understood better now than when the Bible was written, but there are some people who hold fast to the concept that every word in the Bible is God'directly speaking to us. The Bible is often a good code of moral conduct, but we must never forget how many times the stories in the Bible were told over and over again before they were written down. At that point, the first monks to record the Bible were not without problems. It all is similar to the "telephone game" which most of us played in grammar school. The first child is whispered a short story by the teacher. This child repeats it to the next child so that sometime later, the last child tells what he heard the story to be. Sometimes there is a vague resemblance to the original short story.
There is a great difference in our understanding(s) of the Bible or we would not have over 200 religions in the United States. When Cousin Butchie first came out to a Jesuit Roman Catholic priest he was told that God loves us unconditionally and only expects us to love him and each other. The priest very wisely said that we are supposed to also love ourselves as Children of God. The priest also said that the Bible is the WORD of God, but not the WORDS of God. He gave me a barometer to deal with religious fundamentalists and a reason to love my gay self! It's been said that anything you are told comes from the Bible MUST speak of love for humankind or it is a COUNTERFEIT.
Cousin Butchie is not a theologian, nor is he the parent of a gay or lesbian child. He is gay and went through the usual guilt and doubts and misunderstandings that every evolving LGBT person has lived though. Dan Savage started the IT GETS BETTER concept which has the encouraging and true advice a person needs in the years between coming out and actually feeling comfortable about it. VISIT YOUTUBE.COM when you need some uplift. Parents and many others can also get great benefit going to this website.
In the above "Dear Abby" column, Cousin Butchie thinks that the mother writing the letter had issues and questions and needed a lot more support. This is available all over the country at PFLAG [Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbian and Gays.] The longest ongoing group in NJ now meets in Montclair on the second Thursday of each month. The Helpline is also open to anyone needing information or wanting to discuss personal issues. We have also always tried to answer the questions and concerns of those young adults coming out. Feel free to call us at (908) 300-4227. If calls go to voice mail, we try to reply within twenty-four hours.
Other NJ area groups may be reached at:
Bergen County (201) 287-0318
Manhattan (212) 463-0629
Jersey Shore (908) 814-2155