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Here's a Letter from a Dad Disowning His Gay Son

Disown

Reddit user RegBarc posted the disturbing missive, and writes:

In August of 2007, I finally built up the courage to tell my father I was gay. The moment I said it, the phone got quiet and he got off the phone after a few "Okay"s. I decided to give him time to process the news. About a week later, and not long before my birthday, I received the following letter:

"James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don’t expect any further conversations With me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You’ve made your choice though Wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad."

It's important to know just what this zealotry from Bryan Fisher, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, et al., does to everyday people. I've never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn't drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just 1 speeding ticket in my life. Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another. 5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: F**k you, Dad.

It's an all too familiar situation for many LGBT kids out there.

He's right. The Dan Cathys of the world are giving tacit permission to parents to act this way. Shame on them.

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Comments

  1. I'd be interested to hear some more background. How old was the son and the dad? What was the relationship like right before this exchange? How did the mom react? How does the dad treat his other kids?

    The letter is appalling and evil on its face, but I think it would be useful to know more of the overall picture to fully understand the letter.

    Posted by: Jason | Aug 7, 2012 4:15:44 PM


  2. When I came out of the closet (and several times since then) my "Christian" mother informed me that God doesn't provide unconditional love, that anyone who thinks so is mistaken. My response was that I won't worship any god who can't/won't provide unconditional love when I, a supposedly lower life form, CAN.

    Since then, my mother has admitted on several occasions that it's my "Christian" siblings who ignore and disrespect her and that I'm ideal (with the exception that God is going to destroy me).

    BTW, ANYONE who thinks this letter is fake, I can provide you several letters and cards with similar sentiments. Most gay people know that things like this letter aren't at all uncommon.

    Posted by: Elias Barton | Aug 7, 2012 4:35:09 PM


  3. so so sad and such a shame honestly for the father, because he is going to regret his decision when he gets old. i hope so anyway. no matter what your child does, no matter the crime, the mistakes, even if they've done something horrible like kill somebody, you still have no right to say that you do not love your child anymore and will never have anything to do with them. you cannot disown your child. this man is an abomination. he is the sick person, not his son.

    Posted by: Toniag | Aug 7, 2012 4:36:01 PM


  4. To the scumbag requiring 'proof' of this letter's authenticity -- Perhaps I can go back in time and retrieve the letter that was written to ME by my Evangelical mother. Sadly I tore it up because it was some of the nastiest hate I hope to ever see on a piece of paper.

    Posted by: Gregoire | Aug 7, 2012 4:37:36 PM


  5. "My friends and family". It's like he doesn't consider the kid to be part of his family line any more and that he expected the rest of the family to disown him as well.

    Posted by: Philip Wester | Aug 7, 2012 4:37:43 PM


  6. Sad to see any Father treat his son this way. We may disagree about the effect that NOM and its allies have on any individual person's decision to write such a letter to his gay son/daughter (if the anti-gay forces gave up there would still be a number of parents who would respond the way this man responded.) But we can all hope that this man will change his mind and accept his son at a later date. Dan Savage tells of a gay friend of his who was disowned by his Dad at age 15 and 14 years later his Father wrote and apologized.

    There is always hope.

    Posted by: Mary | Aug 7, 2012 4:39:29 PM


  7. This is a terrible letter than any son would be crushed to receive, for any reason, especially in regards to an attribute of choice, such as a homosexual lifestyle. But can you put yourself in the father's position- clearly an overwhelmingly rigid man who is no more perfect than you or I? A man who has raised a son with unrealistically high hopes and expectations, though a man who has steered his son in the direction he thought was right for 22 years, finding out that his son has crossed his line of right and wrong. This father most-likely feels disowned by his son's lifestyle- a lifestyle he doesn't understand. A lifestyle he doesn't know how to righteously contribute to. A lifestyle he has no experience with. This choice seemingly compromises his own way of life- ie. the life he has taught to his son, the resources he has shared, and the investment he has given to his son, who is now walking down a path the father deems treacherous. Instead of learning his son's path, the father disowns. It's his way of dealing with a situation he cannot comprehend. His rigidity revolves around his own lifestyle, his own obsession with reputation, his closed-mind, and set-perspectives. The father's environment has shaping him with share corners- we are all broken products of our society in one way or another.

    In this way, this is certainly not an inhuman letter- it's very human of this father to be crude to what he doesn't see fit. However, this letter lacks the human response we wish to find in our reality. This father is desperately clinging to a deep-seeded, anthropological concept of life that he has abided by since he was a boy, giving birth to another boy, and passing down his perspectives for 20 years. You can imagine the frustration of this father, who deems this 20 years of hard work as erroneous amidst his son's decisions to abandon some of the things he has shown him. The further, stuck in his ways, trying to make sense of what's right and wrong, sees the world around him changing faster than his old ways can catch up to. He reacts with brutality. Conflict and pain are inevitable. But reconciliation is still possible.

    Posted by: Joe | Aug 7, 2012 4:59:43 PM


  8. Dear James,

    Really sorry about what your dad did. It's not right. Fortunately, not all dads are like this. Here's a letter from my gay friend's dad to all parents/grandparents on this subject:

    An open letter to parents and grandparents of gay children:

    Dear parents and grandparents of a gay child,

    My name is Tony Badami and my wife's name is Becky. We are happily married and we are on our 34th year anniversary. We have one child, a boy named Anthony who is 26 years old. His mother and myself have loved Anthony and still do. He also has been raised in a Christian Bible believing atmosphere.

    In 2009 my son came to us, his parents, and informed us that he is gay. This, at the time, was shocking to us but not life shattering. You see, we birth our son and love him very much. Matter of fact we prayed to God to give us a child since we were not successful for 7 years of our marriage to have a baby. God answered our prayer. We dedicated Anthony to the Lord and taught him the Bible from the time he could understand it.

    Since Anthony came to us and informed us of his sexual orientation my wife and I ran to God and His Word, the Holy Bible. We didn't run to the church body or to a preacher. We had to find out what God really says about this situation.

    There are just too many preachers and Christian people who exclaimed that homosexuality is a sin without really searching the scriptures in context and an opened heart and mind. We wanted to know what God's Word said about this subject instead of age-old bible thumping thinking. So my wife and I searched the Bible and theological studies and read on this subject from both, gay and straight professors of religion and Theology.

    It took us some time (two years plus) and lots of study, but we had to know what God revealed to the church by contextual Bible study. There's been too many Christian churches making statements regarding people's color, race, nationally and sexuality. Much in error on their thoughts and revelations and it cost lives in death because of their wrongful interpretations of scripture. With our study and prayer to God and interviewing gay and lesbian people, we discovered that God created all peoples.

    My son leads a Bible study each week to study God's Word on all facets it teaches, not just homosexuality. He has encouraged gay and lesbian people not to think that God hates them as some churches and Christian organizations have shown and proclaimed.

    Anthony loves God with all his heart and with his body, mind and soul. I see the fruit of the Spirit in him as Jesus said should be in all His followers. My wife and I, after searching God's Word and much prayer rejoice that our son is counted worthy to proclaim the WORD and LOVE that God has for all of God's created beings.

    So in conclusion of this long letter I want to encourage you, as a parent, and as a grandparent to a gay child to not judge the child. But to love them as Jesus does. And rejoice that they have sense enough to run to Jesus and know that Jesus really loves them as they are.

    Let's allow God to be the final judge of believers and let us be those who display the fruit of the Spirit and follow our Lord's two commands that the law hinges on, and that is to love God with everything we are and to love one another without reservation.

    I hope and pray this letter will enlighten you and cause you to go to the Word on your own and see what "Thus saith the Lord". Pray, and God will lead you into truth as he has us. Don't be afraid to learn the TRUTH of God's Word. God bless you is our prayer.

    In Gods service,

    Anthony J. Badami (Tony Badami)
    If you desire to contact me, email me at, "[email protected]"

    Posted by: Eric | Aug 7, 2012 5:18:26 PM


  9. "This is a terrible letter than any son would be crushed to receive, for any reason, especially in regards to an attribute of choice, such as a homosexual lifestyle."

    Being gay isn't a choice. Nor is it a lifestyle. There is no such thing as a homosexual lifestyle.


    "But can you put yourself in the father's position- clearly an overwhelmingly rigid man who is no more perfect than you or I?"

    Perfection is a red herring, used to wrongly situate everyone on the same moral plane. None of us are perfect, but many of us are better people than this man.


    "This father most-likely feels disowned by his son's lifestyle- a lifestyle he doesn't understand. A lifestyle he doesn't know how to righteously contribute to."

    Again, there is no lifestyle. More importantly, it is incumbent upon the parent to try and understand the child, not to instinctively raise bars.


    "A lifestyle he has no experience with. This choice seemingly compromises his own way of life- ie. the life he has taught to his son, the resources he has shared, and the investment he has given to his son, who is now walking down a path the father deems treacherous."

    Then he is myopic for seeing how little has changed. His son was always gay. He was gay when he was inculcating all those lessons to his son. His 'way of life' always involved imparting lessons to his gay son.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 7, 2012 5:21:08 PM


  10. I'm sorry, James. I can't imagine how painful it must have been to receive this letter. I hope the future brings better things for you, even reconciliation if that is possible.

    Posted by: Ben Rosengart | Aug 7, 2012 5:24:37 PM


  11. I hope his father choked on his chicken sandwich last Wednesday. Dan Cathy doesn't give tacit permission for this type of behavior, he encourages it through his donations

    Posted by: Rob | Aug 7, 2012 5:26:55 PM


  12. This letter makes me miss my dad all the more today. He may not have been comfortable with my homosexuality, but he never judged me for it either. Rest in peace Dad.

    Posted by: Kenneth | Aug 7, 2012 5:29:21 PM


  13. i bet cash this psycho bastard dad is gay too

    shame!!!!

    when evil haters like this teach your children to hate homos

    they may be teaching them to hate themselves

    even jeff dahmer's homohating parents still loved him...shame!!!!

    http://www.amazon.com/Fathers-Story-Lionel-Dahmer/dp/0751513105/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1344375030&sr=8-1&keywords=jeff+d

    Posted by: ALICIA BANKS | Aug 7, 2012 5:33:59 PM


  14. The only upside is this naive, sheltered and delusional generation with it's discriminatory views is dying out. Most young people have an open mind, at least in North America. The people will move forward and evolve.. are evolving.

    Posted by: Chaos | Aug 7, 2012 5:34:09 PM


  15. I read the comments after I posted a comment earlier. First, "Did the father exhibit "Family Values" when he shunned his good son for being gay?" I get a kick how these folk call marriage sacred, get divorced, but monagamus gay couples are excluded from an institution that they share. Second, a comment said that Christ would not be in Ptown or Fire Island. We were called adulterers by the person and told not to sin. Jesus ate with tax collectors and not with the priests at the temple. He ignored them and ministered to the persecuted. Besides the priests were boring more concerned with power and respect than with the love of God.

    Posted by: Steven | Aug 7, 2012 5:34:22 PM


  16. This is really sad. I know that my late dad did not approve either but he always told me that he loved me and wanted me to be happy. RIP, Dad.

    Posted by: Peter | Aug 7, 2012 5:42:18 PM


  17. “When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each others’ presence."
    Fredrick Buechner

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 5:49:27 PM


  18. @Joe

    What is this homosexual lifestyle you keep referring to? Because I can tell you from experience it's a term that was made up to further distance oneself from "the gay."

    You say it's "A lifestyle he doesn't know how to righteously contribute to."

    Hmm... how about trying LOVE? Wouldn't that be the best way to contribute to anyone's life? So strange that the concept should be so difficult for people to imagine.

    Posted by: Elias Barton | Aug 7, 2012 5:53:14 PM


  19. > None of us are perfect, but many of us are better people than this man.

    You have never met the man, how do you know who is "better"?

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 5:55:59 PM


  20. That letter is tantamount to child abuse. If you strike your kid you face the legal system and you're put on the 6:00 news. If you disown him for being gay, there's zero societal consequence.

    I'm glad this was posted online, and I hope some intelligent documentary maker puts a camera in this "man's" face and forces him to explain himself.

    Posted by: Steverino | Aug 7, 2012 5:56:00 PM


  21. "Hmm... how about trying LOVE? Wouldn't that be the best way to contribute to anyone's life? So strange that the concept should be so difficult for people to imagine."

    Go back and read the comments again, and then come back here and talk about LOVE. All I see are some extremely judgmental people screaming "OFF WITH HIS HEAD" and various versions of that madness.


    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 5:59:27 PM


  22. "That letter is tantamount to child abuse."

    WTF is wrong with you people?!?!?

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 6:00:58 PM


  23. "There is no such thing as a homosexual lifestyle."

    What about homosexual tendencies? Is there such a thing?

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 6:07:12 PM


  24. I was issued an ultimatum at 16 by my mom. After a year of psychiatric therapy my doctor told me that I was not the one with the issues and advised me to move out of my toxic home environment. So at 16, a junior in high school, I was set on the curb. I declared myself to be my own custodian.....turns out this is not at all uncommon. Why I told my high school couselor the situation she very knowingly advised me what to do......Some thirty odd years later, my mom and I mended fences. I take cold comfort at the fact she's locked in a wordless, mindless state of Alzheimers. I sometimes wonder if she remembers the pain she cauused.

    Posted by: Hdtex | Aug 7, 2012 6:10:45 PM


  25. Sad.It's unfortunate to witness religion destroy a relationship between a father and his son,and manifest hatred where love should be.

    Posted by: Miguel | Aug 7, 2012 6:11:31 PM


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