Throughout my bullying series, I cover key issues and profile young people who have committed suicide due to bullying (commonly called bullycide). Click here to read my series from the beginning.
The evangelical tendency to equate anti-bullying policies with promotion of homosexuality is a pervasive message on Christian radio. This is just one reason why I feel so privileged to host our Lead Them Home radio show. I could plead with conservatives to reflect more compassion, just as I could plead with LGBT+ leaders to handle anti-bullying measures separate from elementary sex education. I could, but I will not. Why?
The debate over anti-bullying policies will rage on for years to come. It is critical for evangelicals to find our Christian voice by taking action to save lives today. Our “waiting” has made us appear to be callous, unmoved and secretly supportive of the bullies. We have urgent work to do right here; right now.
After wrestling through the complexity of living out personal faith in a pluralistic society, my wife and I long ago surrendered any expectation that secular or governmental segments of society will conform to our beliefs. Such a hope only entangled our individual faith with societal diversity fueling a spirit of culture war that distracted us from the grander mission of extending the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Surprisingly, this “surrender” – that felt like a loss of control – has actually elevated our family’s dependence upon God. We experience the joy of trusting that His Kingdom is coming, regardless of prevailing social policies.
This “surrender” led us to homeschool our children – at least while they are young. We freely pass down our personal faith in a home education setting without trying to force our beliefs on others or be limited ourselves by public education policies. While particularly costly for my wife, we would not ever trade this focus on our family. Our beliefs and expectations are untangled from the codependency of trying to coerce society to honor us. We can now serve others.
With this freedom, we are able to view bullying and gay teen suicide unencumbered from a religious veil that too often yields blind spots. To be blunt, Christ cares deeply for LGBT+ teens. As his followers, we will do everything possible to support anti-bullying objectives. We have placed our ministry to reach those subject to bullying. We firmly believe that every child deserves protection against bullying. We will stand with 10,000 gay activists to work toward this cause, because we truly believe that bullying kills. Period.
This resolution works for both our family and our witness of Christ’s love. Standing against bullying has brought us in touch with many vulnerable (and awesome) young people whom we dearly love. Amid all the complexity of this debate, our decision was actually pretty simple. The lesson? Evangelicals do not have to wait on resolution of the social policy and theological debates surrounding homosexuality: we can radically care for LGBT+ teens by protecting them from bullies today.
Join me Monday as I remember the life of Justin Aaberg. My series continues next week. If you are being bullied or considering suicide, reach out for help today. If you are facing a medical emergency, please dial 911 now. If you need assistance in getting non-emergency help, then I invite you to contact me. We will gladly and safely help you get the assistance you need. You are worth it!
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What about you or your family? How do you handle this tension between wanting to protect your children while also protecting vulnerable gay teens? Add your feedback or ideas by clicking the red comments link on the Publishing Bar below. You may elect to comment as “Anonymous” if desired. Share this article on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz or by email. You may review our doctrinal beliefs at http://bit.ly/azho1g.