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“True Faith Doesn’t Bully” is a letter-writing campaign sponsored by the Tyler Clementi Foundation. The purpose of the campaign is to educate Pastors of the Southern Baptist Church denomination about the pain and harm of teaching young people that they are broken, less than, or separated from God, because of who God created them to be or who God created them to love.
Here is the letter I wrote for the campaign:
My name is Liz Dyer and I am writing to you in partnership with the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s “True Faith Doesn’t Bully” Campaign.
I am a Christian wife and mother, and one of my sons is gay.
I am also the founder of the Mama Bears Organization which is dedicated to supporting mothers of LGBTQ kids. Read More
In June 2014 I started a private Facebook group with less than 200 Christian mothers of LGBTQ kids and today there are more than 12,000 mothers of LGBTQ kids in the group.
As someone who comes from a conservative Christian background and was a lifelong member of Southern Baptist Churches I wanted to connect with other mothers like myself and let them know they are not alone and they do not have to give up their Christian faith in order to love, support and affirm their LGBTQ children.
Many moms in the group come from a conservative Christian background similar to my own. Many of them arrive in the group barely hanging on to their faith with a fair amount of anger towards Christians, Christian leaders and the church in general because of the way they and their LGBTQ children have been treated.
Many end up walking away from their local church because of the shame-based, dehumanizing messages they often hear when homosexuality comes up in a sermon, bible lesson or conversation at their church. Many leave their local church because the message they hear from their church is that LGBTQ people have rejected God and have an agenda to destroy the family and the church. These moms know that is not who their children are and they love their kids too much to allow them to believe they are less than other people and broken because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Over and over again I hear from these moms telling me the online community I created is like a church to them because it provides the kind of community, care and support they expected to find at their church, but didn’t receive once their kid came out.
I’m happy to have created a safe and supportive community for these moms, but I’m extremely sad and disappointed they couldn’t find this kind of community and support in their own churches. And that is why I am so happy to have this opportunity to write a few words to you today on behalf of myself and other mother’s like myself.
In spite of everything we have experienced we remain hopeful that people like you will hear our voice, listen to our stories, and pay attention to what we have been learning.
We remain hopeful that one day you will be for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people, because we long for our children to live in a world where we don’t have to worry about the local church treating them like a second class citizen and teaching them to be ashamed of the way they were created.
As Christian mothers who affirm their LGBTQ kids we are often accused of turning our backs on God or throwing out the Bible, but nothing could be further from the truth. As loving mothers we would never offer important life altering spiritual advice to our kids without great thought, study and prayer. In fact, I would argue that Christian mothers of LGBTQ kids study, listen and pray more than anyone as we strive to discern the truth about these matters.
Of course, we are aware that people are prone to understand scripture in a way that supports their own position, but rather than argue the meaning of a few verses in the bible we think the most important thing is to examine the fruit being produced in the lives of those who embrace certain beliefs and doctrines.
In other words, we believe good theology must pass the test of producing good fruit in the lives of those who embrace it.
We believe if a theology is mostly producing bad fruit it isn’t the truth and should be abandoned.
When you listen to us and get to know us you will learn what we have learned … that LGBTQ people in general are being severely harmed by non-affirming theology and that LGBTQ people in general are more healthy and whole in every way when they believe and embrace affirming theology.
Over and over again we witness non affirming theology producing bad fruit in the life of those who embrace it.
However, those same LGBTQ people typically become more healthy and whole, in every way, when they embrace affirming theology – especially if they are also connected to an affirming Christian community.
We know that scripture does not address most things specifically. Instead it gives us some guiding principles to live by and we are charged with learning to apply those guiding principles to our own lives. We believe when we get it right it mostly leads to whole, healthy, hopeful lives and when we get it wrong it mostly leads to broken, unhealthy, hopeless lives.
We believe if a doctrine is mostly producing self-loathing, despair, hopelessness, depression, isolation, shame, self-harm and other such bad fruit then it’s a no brainer … it’s not good doctrine and it should be abandoned because the fruit doesn’t lie.
Therefore, we implore you to embrace theology that produces good fruit and is life giving.
Too many lives – both spiritual and physical lives – are hanging in the balance.
Too much damage has already been done and too much unnecessary suffering has been endured due to non-affirming theology.
At one time you could say you embraced non affirming theology because you didn’t know about the harm being done, but with so many LGBTQ people coming out and sharing their story; and with all the knowledge we have gained about sexuality and gender, there is no longer an excuse to hang on to theology that is obviously flawed and harmful.
We know better now and because we know better we can relieve suffering and save lives. I am doing my part, but I need you to do your part.
Please use your power and influence for good and lift up theology that produces life instead of death.
This is an urgent matter – there is no time to spare.
Now is the time for the full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the church.
Founder, Mama Bears
If you want to write a letter for the “True Faith Doesn’t Bully” campaign and share how non affirming religious messages have harmed you and your family please send your letter to email@example.com