Friday, November 18, 2011

Upon Hearing of an Old Roommate's Gay Marriage

Yesterday, a long-ago roommate's name popped up as a recommended connection on a social network, and I invited him to connect. He accepted but wrote back to warn me that he's now gay-married and that maybe I will want to delete him for political/personal reasons. So here's how I explained my stance:

I think I saw something about your same-sex marriage on Facebook, but then I must have been wiped out in a friend cleanse you did, because I don't think we're FB friends anymore. (Feel free to add me again, sometime.)

I'm against the gay movement on theological grounds and am opposed to gay activism in any form, but I'm not necessarily against individuals who have decided to privately live in a same-sex partnership--I don't presume to judge an individual's situation. My personal policy is to socialize with gays and gay couples as occasion naturally arises, but I don't allow gay couples around my minor-aged kids, because I want to protect them against examples of alternative lifestyles. (I realize they will get the examples from elsewhere, but not with my implied endorsement.)

So my wife and I go out to dinner with my wife's gay cousin and his partner and even recently flew down to L.A. to see his one-man play about leaving Mormonism and embracing gayness, but when he comes over to our house he doesn't bring his partner, at least not as long as we have minor-aged children living at home. (If one of my own boys decided he was going to live gay, these same standards would apply to him as well.)

I'm afraid I feel the same way about church. I would not welcome a known gay couple to attend church together because of the confusion it causes for children, whose sexual orientations can be quite fluid through young adulthood, easily affected by many different kinds of outside influences.

Anyway, good luck with your path, which I'm sure must yield you much happiness or you wouldn't go out on such a limb as a believing Mormon. I hope that homosexual happiness lasts as long as possible for you and extends in some form into the afterlife, although I'm quite dubious about that last part.

13 comments:

Jennifer said...

What did he say?

Christopher Bigelow said...

He wrote back a long, nice, open-hearted note, so all good. I'll probably write back again at least one more time.

Daniel said...

You don't deserve this friend.

It sounds like he's listened to your patient explanation as to why his relationship is so unacceptable to you, and why you need to protect your children from it, and he has refrained from calling you out on it.

Based on his (by your admission) charitable response, I would have no qualms about having him and his partner over for dinner when my boys are at home. My sons would be unlikely to catch gay cooties -- contrary to your imaginings -- but they might just catch the tolerance that your religious dogma (or perhaps your long-time Provo residency, or both) has made you immune to. On the other hand, I would have severe reservations about letting you in the house.

Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh. In some ways, you're totally down with the gays! (You just won't let their partners in the house when the kids are home. Pardon me if I seem unimpressed by your magnanimity.) It sounds like you're as tolerant as your religion allows. Which is why your religion is terrible, and it's made you into less than the person you could be. I guess another Christopher got it right -- religion does poison everything.

feathertail said...

He that is happy shall be happy still.

Anonymous said...

I think your stance is well-meaning, but misguided. My gay brother lived with me and my minor children for several months. He now lives with his boyfriend. My cousin is married and he and his husband have a beautiful daughter my kids and I visit. This has not turned my kids gay because you can't turn someone gay. I can't choose to be attracted to the same sex, so why would I think that my brother can choose to be attracted to the opposite? Heaven knows he tried everything! As to what Heavenly Father thinks of it, if Jesus could hang out with prostitutes, I figure even if God thinks being gay is bad, He can deal with that and my job is to love and not shun. I don't have to worry about teaching my kids about gay lifestyles, but I do have to worry about teaching them about the unconditional love of Jesus Christ since He commanded we love one another as He loved us.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Daniel, not much to say, we simply have different worldviews (secular vs. religious).

Anonymous, you're living in a black-and-white dreamworld where everyone is neatly, clearly born either gay or not gay and the gospel of JC is simply "love everyone." The reality is much more complex, and we need to protect our children from bad examples.

Daniel said...

It's not about different worldviews, Chris. You're making things up which are wrong.

You're claiming that exposure to positive attitudes about gay people can cause "confusion" in children, whose sexual orientations are more "fluid". In fact, most psychologists think that people do not choose their sexual orientation.

And shame on you for assuming that a gay couple automatically represents a "bad example". You're the one in the black and white dreamworld, not anonymous.

Exposure to gay people doesn't turn your kids gay. On the other hand, exposure to bigoted parents is likely to turn your kids into bigots. I intend to protect my children from your bad example.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Are you serious, Daniel, that this isn't about worldview? It's ALL about worldview. As an ex-Mormon atheist, you likely believe that science and human reasoning are the ultimate authorities. Whereas I believe that God is the ultimate authority, this life is a test, and things like homosexuality are a temptation to be resisted. Yes, the temptation is real, but humans can and should align their thoughts, desires, and actions with God, not just follow their carnal, ungodly inclinations.

Orientation is NOT as cut and dried as you say, at least not for everybody (have you never heard of the Kinsey scale?). There are MANY, MANY different reasons that people choose to live gay, not just one single biological imperative over which humans have no control. Yeah, the inclination is stronger in some than others, but especially at younger ages, orientation can be affected and shaped by choices and influences (such as, if a person chooses to fantasize about gay sex and/or watch gay porn, they are going to get themselves more locked into "being gay," whereas if they avoid such indulgences, they can manage any homo inclinations they may feel). For every person who claims they knew they were gay from a young age, there's another person who didn't turn gay until someone exposed them to it, in one way or another, or they became disillusioned with heterosexual relationships or family life, or whatever.

But we have vastly different worldviews, so I don't expect you to accept any of this.

Daniel said...

If you know better than people who are studying this, then go ahead and publish. I'm happy to say there's a person can have somewhat of a range of sexual preference. But all that could mean is that you don't stray out of your range.

Anyway, all this does not mean that you'll be able to "protect" your children from homosexuality by locking gay people outside (including possible future relations) and pretending they don't exist. You might, however, be putting your kids at risk should they be gay. Gay kids who are rejected by their parents are eight times more likely to try suicide. Is that okay with you?

Christopher Bigelow said...

You have misstated my position, Daniel. My only limitation on gay interactions is that I don't want a gay COUPLE interacting and modeling their relationship choice around my children, because I know for a fact that such an example can be very confusing for some children and affect their imaginations and outlooks. Other than that, we welcome gay people in our lives, and my wife and I enjoy spending time with gay couples, when our children are not present. These same standards would apply if one of my own children decided to live gay; as a parent or grandparent, I have the right and the obligation to protect my children from influences that I believe are potentially dangerous or harmful, and because of my religious beliefs I feel that living gay is harmful to one's real purpose in this life and one's prospects in the afterlife.

Daniel said...

How do your gay friends feel about your view that their relationship is somehow harmful to children? Do they have any thoughts about your relationship? Or are straight relationships just assumed to be good for children by default?

Christopher Bigelow said...

This gay friend said he didn't blame me for wanting to shelter my kids from alternative lifestyles as much as possible, and he admitted that most gay relationships are not good examples.

Nice try on attempting to turn the tables on heterosexual relationships...

D said...

Your friend sounds like an extremely nice person. He respects your beliefs. You are certainly within your rights to make these choices.