There is a new national conversation going on in the aftermath of several young men committing suicide because of being teased or bullied, specifically about their sexual identity. The most recent is Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, and it breaks my heart that he felt so hopeless in his situation that his only option was to jump off a bridge. As homosexuality becomes increasingly accepted in our society, and young people are identifying as such younger and younger, they are the ones getting caught in the cultural cross fire.
These recent suicides have caused a stur in the LGBT community, and many celebrities are speaking out, in a campaign that promises that “it gets better.” These older celebrities, who are leading the charge in rights for the LGBT community, are trying to provide hope for confused, lonely teens. Neil Patrick Harris, Ellen, Lance Bass, and others are speaking out against the bullying and are providing a voice for those who are in dispair in their current circumstances.
The Church seems to be silent in this conversation, and I think we are missing an opportunity to show love to a group of people we have a reputation of hating. Regardless of what you feel about homosexuality, whether you think its nature or nurture, whether you think people chose to be gay or are predisposed to be attracted to the same sex, that should not come into play here. I think we can all agree that bullying is hurtful, that teens are confused about a lot, prone to react emotionally to things, prone to lose sight of the future, prone to feel swallowed up by the current state of their life. And I know we can all agree that suicide is not the answer to anyone’s problems.
We have a real opportunity to speak up for the least of these. I mean we follow a man who is no stranger to ridicule, but who endured it even to death. The only hope that will truly pull anyone from dispair is Christ, and we are letting others step in and tell people that everything will get better. It might get better, but when you are starting with hell its a long way to go to great, and nothing can stand up to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.
The Church has not been a safe haven for those struggling with these issues, we tend to sweep them under the rug or drive them away with condemnation. Now that we can see some of the pain that, dare I say, the Church has been involved in dishing out, we need a change of approach. Let us stop telling people how to live before we first tell them of Christ, how He loves them, what He did for them, and doing our best to show that love to them.
People’s lives and souls are in the balance, and we can’t just stand by and hope that they will suddenly realize what they have never been shown. Its time for us to step up and love the people we have placed on the fringes of our society.