Monday, September 26, 2011

Gay Bullying Suicides?

Now I have to be careful here. I want to be clear that nobody should be bullied or mocked. When Christians interact with gay people or same sex attracted people they need to be very careful to be charitable. It does not always happen. People treat gays bad. Sometimes they even do it in the name of God. We need to condemn that in the strongest possible terms.

But having said that I wonder how much of the problem is bullying and how much of the problem is guilt. Gays have a higher suicide rate even when they don't come out of the closet. They feel guilty and sometimes that guilt can lead to suicide. That does not mean the guilt is wrong. Think of Judas committing suicide. He was feeling guilty and the disciples might have even said some uncharitable things to him after he betrayed Jesus. But the root cause of his suicide was the wrongness of the act itself.

So now we are seeing all this media about gay teens committing suicide. It all jumps to conclusion that the suicide was the result of bullying and not the result of guilt flowing from the wrongness of the acts in question. How can we know that? Did these kids have to deal with some jerks. Sure. Maybe even more than the average kid. I was a geek in school so I know kids can be mean to straight kids. But these kids did not seem to be without support. They seemed to have support both in their school and in the online communities.

People claim that if only society embraced homosexuality then gay people would not feel guilt for what they do. The reality is society already does embrace it. Hollywood has to put a gay character on every show. Everything in the media is pro-gay. Schools are tripping over themselves to celebrate the greatness of homosexuality. Politicians line up to attend gay pride events. People say society is hostile to gays. I wonder where they live.

The other dynamic that can happen is that charitable people who are maintaining the immorality of homosexual acts can be wrongly labeled as bullying. That is often what happens when we sin. Those who make us feel the guilt of our sin more intensely make us get angry. Sometimes they say nothing directly about our sin but just the fact that we are reminded of the presence of holy people makes us feel condemned. But it is we who are judging ourselves. That is more likely to happen when we are trying to convince ourselves our sin is not actually sin. We feel guilty anyway and we look around for someone who must have made us feel guilty. It has to be someone else's fault because we assume there can be nothing intrinsically wrong with our actions.

So the Christians get the blame for gay people committing suicide. Why not? Jesus gets the blame for our sin. Why should the body of Christ not take the blame for the sins of the world? It is by the cross He redeems the world. Will innocent Christians be martyred over the gay bullying charge? Don't be surprised. But also don't be surprised if such a turn of events results in many same-sex attracted people coming to Christ.

But who wants to teach such unfashionable truth? Catholics have the advantage because they have access to the fullness of truth. We can teach the precise truth with confidence. Not getting wishy-washy about maybe it is wrong and maybe it isn't. Also not going to the other extreme and saying all same-sex attraction is evil. If Catholics boldly proclaim their faith and accept that society is going to get enraged with them then we will experience a cross and a resurrection. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself (Jn 12:32).


  1. Blame it on my social sciences background, but it seems to me that between the screamers on the left and the gay-baiters on the right, between the emotional investment in the "born that way" myth and the emotional investment in SSA as evil perversion, we can't get anyone to look at SSA as being a symptom of deeper psychological wounds. That, I think, is not only where the evidence lies but where we need to position ourselves as Christians, to emphasize both charity towards the SSA-afflicted and homosexuality's disordered nature.

  2. PS — word verification was "thumma". As in Thumma theologica?

  3. The emotional scars are important. Many gay teens have had sex with an adult in early puberty or before puberty. Could that result in disordered sexual appetites and increased incidence of suicide? Seems like a possibility to me. But all the experts have ruled that out.

    Behind the politics we have some very hurt young kids. They need healing. That does not always mean the same-sex attraction will go away. It does mean it won't define them. The deepest truth about them is not that they are gay and society is treating them badly. It is that they are created by God out of love for a purpose.