About Alan Scott

Hi all! Alan here. I’m a gay Christian conservative. I’m the creator of QPHC, and I'm on a mission against misinformation.

What Do You Do When Your Son is Gay?

After reading this power story that Susan over at FreedHearts posted, I asked her for, and received, permission to post it in full here on the QPHC blog. It speaks for itself, and sadly is not the only story of its kind. Recently some friends lost someone in a way terribly similar to this one, only without the happy parts.

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“Mom, I’m gay.” Earth-shattering words to many conservative Christian parents — tragically, many view it as right up there with, “Your child has a brain tumor.” Actually, Christians will empathize with a brain tumor, but just try telling the church your child is gay and you will find the limit of grace withheld not only from gay Christians but from their accepting families. Not only what is said but unsaid can be oppressive for a family seeking love and truth.

I do not blame the parents in these situations for one nanosecond. Lord knows, they are trying to respond, with the wind knocked out of them, in an area where the church at large allows no breathing room. Parents blame themselves and Christians blame them. Seriously. No sooner do we hear the word gay or lesbian than we brace for impact — because we know the attack is coming.

This story was posted on FB. My daughter went to school with his brother. The mother, Linda, gave me kind permission to post this  in the hope of impacting lives and preventing tragedy. This is why our response as a Christian community matters. A real person with a real story.

The photo above is of Linda and Ryan Robertson.

Just Because He Breathes
by Linda Mueller Robertson (Notes) on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 12:35am
Written on December 5th, 2012
First posted on January 14, 2013 – Ryan’s would-have-been-24 birthday

On the night of November 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our twelve year old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan says: can i tell u something
Mom says: Yes I am listening
Ryan says: well i don’t know how to say this really but, well……, i can’t keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.
Ryan says: I am gay
Ryan says: i can’t believe i just told you
Mom says: Are you joking?
Ryan says: no
Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don
Mom says: of course I would
Mom says: but what makes you think you are?
Ryan says: i know i am
Ryan says: i don’t like hannah
Ryan says: it’s just a cover-up
Mom says: but that doesn’t make you gay…
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: but u don’t understand
Ryan says: i am gay
Mom says: tell me more
Ryan says: it’s just the way i am and it’s something i know
Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that it is the same thing
Mom says: what do you mean?
Ryan says: i am just gay
Ryan says: i am that
Mom says: I love you no matter what
Ryan says: i am white not black
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl
Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls
Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this
Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?
Ryan says: i know
Mom says: thank you for telling me
Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now
Mom says: I love you more for being honest
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: thanx

We were completely shocked. Not that we didn’t know and love gay people – my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails, and ALL boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all of our reactions over the next six years, was FEAR.
We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible to be the Word of God should say:
We love you. We will ALWAYS love you. And this is hard. REALLY hard. But we know what God says about this, and so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.
We love you. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We’ll get you their books…you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.
We love you. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you’ve had for other guys don’t make you gay. So please don’t tell anyone that you ARE gay. You don’t know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay – it is that you are a child of God.

We love you. We will ALWAYS love you. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option.

Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality. We forced him to make a choice between God and being a sexual person. Choosing God, practically, meant living a lifetime of loneliness (never to fall in love, have his first kiss, hold hands, share intimacy companionship, experience romance), but it also meant the abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards.  So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture, met with his youth pastor weekly, enthusiastically participated in all the church youth group events and Bible Studies, got baptized, read all the books that claimed to know where his gay feelings came from, dove into counseling to further discover the “why’s” of his unwanted attraction to other guys, worked through painful conflict resolution with my husband and I, and built strong friendships with other guys – straight guys – just like he was told to. He even came out to his entire youth group, giving his testimony of how God had rescued him from the traps of the enemy, and sharing – by memory – verse after verse that God had used to draw Ryan to Himself.

But nothing changed. God didn’t answer his prayer – or ours – though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe – the God for whom NOTHING is impossible – could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what HE believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly OWN their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he’d make the wrong choice.

And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time, and to try searching for what he desperately wanted – peace – another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.

We had – unintentionally – taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

Suddenly our fear of Ryan someday having a boyfriend (a possibility that honestly terrified me) seemed trivial in contrast to our fear of Ryan’s death, especially in light of his recent rejection of Christianity, and his mounting anger at God.

Ryan started with weed and beer…but in six short months was using cocaine, crack and heroin. He was hooked from the beginning, and his self-loathing and rage at God only fueled his addiction. Shortly after, we lost contact with him. For the next year and a half we didn’t know where he was, or even if he was dead or alive. And during that horrific time, God had our full attention. We stopped praying for Ryan to become straight. We started praying for him to know that God loved him. We stopped praying for him never to have a boyfriend. We started praying that someday he’d come back to Jesus. We even stopped praying for him to come home to us…we only wanted him to come home to God.

By the time our son called us, after 18 long months of silence, God had completely changed our perspective. Because Ryan had done some pretty terrible things while using drugs, the first thing he asked me was this:

Do you think you can ever forgive me? (I told him of course, he was already forgiven. He had ALWAYS been forgiven.)

Do you think you could ever love me again? (I told him that we had never stopped loving him, not for one second. We loved him then more than we had ever loved him.)

Do you think you could even love me with a boyfriend? (Crying, I told him that we could love him with fifteen boyfriends. We just wanted him back in our lives. We just wanted to have a relationship with him again…AND with his boyfriend.)

And a new journey was begun. One of healing, restoration, open communication and grace. LOTS of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son, and leave the rest up to Him.

Over the next ten months, we learned to love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whoever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn’t without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing…and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if WE could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict…he got back together with his old friends…his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in ten months…and the last time. Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son…because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for…prayed for…hoped for…that we would NOT have a gay son, came true. But not at all in the way we used to envision.

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, who I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by FAITH instead of by FEAR. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange – his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy…for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories.  We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry…but ache for the one of our “gang of four” who is missing. We mark life by the days BC (before coma) and AD (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed – in a million ways – by his death. We treasure friendships with others who “get it”…because they, too, have lost a child.

We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try – not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.

Linda Diane Robertson

Written on December 5th, 2012
Posted on January 14, 2013 – Ryan’s would-have-been-24 birthday

The Riddle: new anti-homophobia message from UN human rights office

“76 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex relationships and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people everywhere continue to suffer violent attacks and discriminatory treatment. In this simple, high-impact video from the UN human rights office, individuals from diverse backgrounds pose questions directly to the viewer designed to expose the nature of human rights violations suffered by LGBT people around the world. The video includes cameo appearances by UN Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. The UN’s message: LGBT rights are human rights. Together we will build a world that is free and equal.”

Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court

Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in their consideration of the challenge to overturn California’s Prop 8, and then tomorrow the SC will hear oral arguments in their consideration of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Both of these are a huge deal and have the potential to radically change the legal rights of LGBQ people. We will not know what the SC actually decides until June, but they will be releasing the audio of the oral arguments later in the day after each of them.

In preview of this big news, I thought I would share a few other news topics of interest over the past week in regards to marriage equality.

Firstly, in what I believe might be the most important piece of news from the past few weeks, The American Academy of Pediatrics announced its endorsement of marriage equality. What I find so encouraging about their announcement is their reasoning: it is about the children:

All children need support and nurturing from stable, healthy, and well functioning adults to become resilient and effective adults. On the basis of a review of extensive scientific literature, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) affirms that “children’s well-being is affected much more by their relationships with their parents, their parents’ sense of competence and security, and the presence of social and economic support for the family than by the gender or the sexual orientation of their parents.”

On the topic of popular opinion an ABC News/Washington Post poll found a dramatic rise in support for marriage equality over the past decade with support now reaching 58% of the American populace.

Following in the vein of the over 100 prominent Republicans that submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme court in support of marriage equality, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced his support for marriage equality in an interview with CNN and then published an op-ed further explaining his decision. This is a huge deal because it makes him the second highest ranking Republican to come out in support of it after former Vice President Dick Cheney. He said, “I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, personally, I think this is something that we should allow people to do, to get married, and to have the joy and stability of marriage that I’ve had for over 26 years. That I want all of my children to have, including our son, who is gay.”

Senator Portman’s son coming out as gay to he and his wife is what prompted the Senator to really examine what he believed and ultimately what sparked his change. This importance of personal experience with an LGBTQ individual is something that we at QPHC have long believed is so very important in the changing of the hearts and minds of others towards LGBTQ people and issues. And it is not just a theory based on our experiences anymore. CNN reported on a recent national poll that “indicates that the percentage of Americans who say they have a family member or close friend who is gay or lesbian is on the rise. And that increase matches a jump in the percent of the public who support legal same-sex marriages.” They are calling it the “Rob Portman effect.”

Senator Portman’s son, Will, just published his perspective on his dad’s announcement and some of his story about coming out in the Yale Daily News. I highly recommend reading it.

Senator Portman was not the only high profile political individual to come out in support of marriage equality though as Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) did as well in the past week. While their support is not particularly surprising considering they are Democrats, it is notable because they are both from more conservative states.

In addition former Senator and Secretary of State and possible future candidate for US President Hillary Clinton announced her support for marriage equality as well in a very powerful video:

Update:

Here is the link to the audio for the oral arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Powerful Testimonies for Marriage Equality from Minnesota

The Minnesota House and Senate have been having committee hearings on the passage of marriage equality bills. The bills (one in the Senate and one in the House) have now passed all of the committees and will be up for votes on the floor sometime in the future.

Yesterday, there were a couple of particularly powerful testimonies given and I thought I would share them. The first one is from Lynne Osterman (a former Republican member of the Minnesota House) and is in favor of passing marriage equality:

The second one is from Mike Frey and is against passing marriage equality. However, because of the direction he takes, numerous pro-marriage equality advocates have argued that his testimony was so out there that it helped the marriage equality movement because of his shocking lack of medical knowledge (he thinks male sperm causes AIDS) and his identification of AIDs as a gay disease. (Please be warned that he is rather graphic in his word choices, so this is probably NSFW.)

(While Mike’s testimony is absurd, it is important to remember always practice safer sex.)

Respect For Marriage Coalition

Since it has been in the news a bit recently and is all the more relevant with the approaching Supreme Court cases–Prop 8 and DOMA–and continued debates in different states towards passing marriage equality, I thought I would share this advertisement from the Respect For Marriage Coalition.

Respect for Marriage

Mrs. Bush has since asked that her picture and quote not be used in the advertisement, but her words still stand and she has long been a supporter of equal rights for LGBTQ people.

But these well know faces are not the only ones expressing their support for marriage equality. So far over 80 well known Republicans have signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court asking them to support marriage equality.

Margaret Hoover, a conservative commentator, author, and granddaughter or President Hoover, recently spoke to The New York Times to present the conservative case for the freedom to marry. Check out her video interview here. It always encourages me to find increasing support for LGBTQ people and rights among conservatives.

Not Just Homosexual, But Homoromantic Three!

In honor of Valentines Day I thought I’d add another post to my developing series about being gay is so much more than just sexual. (See my other posts here and here.)

You may have already seen this first video before, as it went viral a little while ago, but I thought it would be great to share anyway:

Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis:

A student from PHC, who requested anonymity for obvious reasons, actually sent us a link to it, but more than the video I wanted to share the student’s thoughts on it: “What I specifically appreciated about this video was the very end. It showed a lasting relationship. …gay or straight….you want a relationship, not just sex.”

And because they’re just so adorable together, and this song is just so perfect:

Stills of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka set to Must Have Done Something Right by Relient K:

Happy Valentines Day!

Grammy-Nominated Musicians Support The Freedom To Marry

With the 55th Grammy Awards tomorrow several of the nominees have spoken out in support of marriage equality. Freedom To Marry put together a list of quotes from some of them. These are my favorites:

Jack Antonoff on the importance of everyone being free:

 

Michael Buble talking about his gay uncles:

 

The ever lovable Pink on the importance of being ‘color blind,’ so to speak:

 

Check out all the others at the above link to Freedom To Marry, and be sure to check out the Grammy Awards tomorrow.

Fear

Fear.

Fear is something I have been observing for quite some time among my fellow conservative Christians, but it became especially noticeable in the past two weeks as the Boy Scouts of America contemplated removing their national ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters.

I am not talking about the primal fear that a person gets when confronted by a rabid dog or a mountain lion. Nor am I talking about the fear that a person gets when someone breaks into their house wielding a knife or a gun.

No. I am talking about fear of the boogeyman. Fear of the unknown. Fear of ‘the other.’ Fear of ‘the enemy.’ Fear of those who are different. Fear based on lies, half-truths, and ignorance.

This is the fear that pervades the conservative Christian community, though it is by no means unique to conservative Christians. Such fear is a far too common dark side to human nature and society.

Being a fairly, though not entirely, conservative Christian myself, I obviously notice it most among those that are my friends and connections.

Libby Anne, the blogger at Love, Joy, Feminism, talks about some of her fears in a post about Fear and the Fundamentalist Child. Now that I am older, the fears–and lies–that I notice are things like fearing that Obama is a Muslim Marxist, that liberals hate America and are secretly socialist or even communist out to destroy our nation, that gays are out to molest and recruit children, that marriage equality will destroy our society and nation, that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has “a deliberate strategy to marginalize, stigmatize, and repress the speech and democratic rights of conservative Christians.

The fear is everywhere, even Patrick Henry College’s existence is wrapped up in this fear: the fear of secular colleges indoctrinating children (who are really adults at that point) away from the faith.

As I said before, this is not something unique to conservative Christians, but I believe it is especially heinous that it is basically preached by so called Christian leaders almost like dogma.

Why so heinous? Because the Bible everywhere speaks against fear.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.””

Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

1 Peter 3:14 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Does the Bible not contain promises about these things?

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Why then do parents fear to send their children off to a secular college? Their fear causes them to not trust the promise of God. Or perhaps it is that they know in their hearts that some or even much of what they have taught their child is not really of God.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

If you are a girl and listen to many of those that preach about modesty it would be easy to think that indeed clothes–the right ones–are indeed what it is all about.

Romans 8:31, 38-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hebrews 13:5b “…for He has said,”I will never leave you nor forsake you.””

1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

If nothing can separate us from the love of God–and indeed God is love–and perfect love casts out fear, then why do Christians fear so much?

Perhaps most well know of all:

Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Fear cripples. Fear destroys. Fear is the enemy of love. So when Christians preach fear and go around spreading lies to reinforce the fear, they are working against everything they claim to stand for by calling themselves followers of Jesus Christ.

Love is the antidote and vaccine to fear.

Love, don’t fear.

Love.

Gandalf Endorses Marriage Equality

Update: Stephen Colbert interviewed Sir Ian McKellen on Monday, and it was just too funny not to share. Go watch it.  “You know we’re making a sequel. In Middle Earth. Ah, perhaps I shouldn’t say. [Looks over his shoulder.] It’s going to star Gandalf the Gay.”

Yesterday I posted about how Morgan Freeman has endorsed marriage equality. Today I get to deliver the exciting news of another endorser of marriage equality: Gandalf! (a.k.a. Sir Ian McKellen)

And there was a great disturbance, as if millions of homeschooler voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced when Gandalf said, “It shall pass!”

Dawn of a New Day

Seeing as how it’s the dawn of a new month (the last one ever, if you believe the Mayans), I thought it apropos to share this video from the Human Rights Campaign narrated by the ever epic Morgan Freeman:

“Freedom, justice, and human dignity have always guided our journey for a more perfect union. With historic victories for marriage, we’ve delivered a mandate for full equality.
The wind is at our back, but the journey has just begun.”