Evangelical Christians | Evangelicals | News

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.

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. "It's pathetic that you think a father who abandons his own son deserves any sympathy."

    I never said he deserves anything, much less a useless emotion like sympathy.
    I am merely pointing out the hatred and self-righteousness that is exhibited by most of the comments here is about as hypocritical as it gets.
    I'm not arguing whether Dad is right or wrong, that's not for me or anyone else but he and his "Maker" to sort out. I'm saying that he spoke HIS truth, and whether you agree with it or not, if you don't respect others truths then you have a lot of work to do on yourself before pointing out the flaws in others.
    How many of you are perfect beings?
    How many of you are willing to accept only imperfections that YOU approve of?

    Get off of your high horse, apparently the rarified air prevents introspection.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 1:58:57 PM


  2. "Nat, is your Google button broken?
    Or are you just intellectually corrupt?"

    No, you made a series of claims about Nelson Mandela that did not correspond to historical reality, either pre- or post-Apartheid. When you make the claim, you are the one who is required to provide evidence, not your opponent.

    And you have yet to support your point with reference to Mandela. Mandela didn't offer unconditional forgiveness to everyone who wronged him, nor was that the mandate of the TRC that he and Tutu propagated. The TRC provided a forum for perpetrators to confess their crimes under Apartheid - sometimes - in return for amnesty. The hope was that an openness of dialogue, coupled with public expressions of pain and remorse, could heal South Africa.

    I'm not going to get into the efficacy of the TRC, beyond pointing out that for many Black South Africans - particularly those such as Biko's family, who experienced direct tragedy - it provided no sense of healing whatsoever.

    I will point out, once again, that amnesty - not forgiveness - only came in the context of acknowledgement of one's crimes. Amnesty was conditional. For Mandela, forgiveness was also conditional.

    Unconditional forgiveness in the face of a manifest wrong from an unrepentant wrongdoer is not justice. It trivializes the harm the victim suffered. It degrades their own moral status vis a vis the wrongdoer.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 8, 2012 2:13:05 PM


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

    Elias Barton says: 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."

    Towleroad says: Before Towleroad, he was Editor in Chief of Genre magazine, a nationally distributed gay men’s LIFESTYLE publication (emphasis mine).

    You guys really need to get your story straight, pardon the pun.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 2:13:07 PM


  4. Nat says: No, you made a series of claims about Nelson Mandela

    I did?
    Show me this "series of claims" I posted.
    I merely pointed out the Mandela forgave his captors and regardless of your opinion on the matter it was the first step towards peace. All that other smoke you're blowing is a bunch of noise you are creating to cover up the fact that you are wrong.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 2:17:00 PM


  5. "I'm saying that he spoke HIS truth, and whether you agree with it or not, if you don't respect others truths then you have a lot of work to do on yourself before pointing out the flaws in others."

    He didn't simply state an opinion, he removed his son from his life.

    In any case, it is fallacious to regard all worldviews as inherently worthy of respect. I don't have respect for truths that champion the kind social and legal marginalization being exhibited by this man's father. I don't respect the 'truths' of racists, or those who support child sexual abuse in any of its myriad forms.

    Do you? Do you think the truth of someone who advocates child bridges is equal to other truths?

    "How many of you are perfect beings?"

    Red herring. No one claimed they were perfect. Being imperfect doesn't mean we lack moral faculties, including the ability to tell right from wrong, and the ability to distinguish between a magnitude of wrongs. The entire notion of justice is based on a gradation of wrongs.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 8, 2012 2:24:31 PM


  6. Nat, you are free to carry all of that bitterness with you all of your days, it's not up to anyone but you to free yourself from your self imposed tyranny. Just don't expect people like me to buy into it, nor to pretend it isn't there.
    I'll leave you with this, how you read it and what it means to you is out of my hands but I think it explains my position better than I can:

    Nelson Mandela forgave Harvard. Not in so many words; his presence was better than words. His presence signaled a refusal to be bound by past wrongs of commission or omission. When Henry Lewis Gates spoke of Mandela's always being a free man, it was the man's freedom from any need or desire to pay back that shone through him. Nelson Mandela wiped the slate clean acknowledging a new day not only for South Africa but for Harvard as well.

    As I listened, I was ashamed of my self-righteous grumpy attitude. Nelson Mandela was liberating me too. If this man who had spent 27 years in prison could be so magnanimous with Harvard, who was I to harbor a lesser attitude.

    Ever since his release from prison, Mandela has given the whole world a demonstration of forgiveness. He has shown us that it takes more courage, more stamina, more humanity to forgive than to say “let my people go.” And his attitude can be applied by each one of us.

    http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/mandela/22_forgiveness.html


    I wish you peace.
    All of you.
    Selah.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 2:24:39 PM


  7. "Show me this "series of claims" I posted.
    I merely pointed out the Mandela forgave his captors and regardless of your opinion on the matter it was the first step towards peace."

    You repeatedly alluded to Mandela in relation to notions of forgiveness within this thread.

    Also, the first steps towards peace in South Africa occurred in the 1980s, not after the ANC came to power, as you claim here.


    "All that other smoke you're blowing is a bunch of noise you are creating to cover up the fact that you are wrong."

    No, it's a series of assertions backed by substantial evidence.

    To reiterate:
    i. You keep making assertions regarding the necessity for forgiveness and compassion.
    ii. You cite Nelson Mandela as an example demonstrating the efficacy of forgiveness.
    iii. I point out that your example doesn't actually correspond to the propositions you make in point i. In fact, Mandela's life and decisions actually reiterate my point, which is:
    iv. Forgiveness requires remorse, a desire for atonement, and a confession of crimes committed against the victim. For emphasis:
    v. Nothing in Mandela's life remotely corresponds to the argument you're making. Mandela was driven by strong notions of justice, and when he viewed it as necessary, he would answer aggression with aggression.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 8, 2012 2:31:28 PM


  8. "I'll leave you with this, how you read it and what it means to you is out of my hands but I think it explains my position better than I can: "

    Indeed it does, though not in the way you think. From the same article:

    "In order to acknowledge that you are being forgiven you have to admit to and acknowledge that you have done something that requires forgiveness."

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 8, 2012 2:37:35 PM


  9. Nat, you are intellectually dishonest, you have now proven it beyond doubt.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 2:42:15 PM


  10. Nat, are you a lawyer by chance?

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 2:43:18 PM


  11. "Nat, you are intellectually dishonest, you have now proven it beyond doubt."

    Provide what you have yet to provide: evidence.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 8, 2012 2:43:31 PM


  12. "Provide what you have yet to provide: evidence."
    You first.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 2:49:46 PM


  13. Towleroad says: Before Towleroad, he was @Truth in regard to the term "homosexual lifestyle," you said: "Editor in Chief of Genre magazine, a nationally distributed gay men’s LIFESTYLE publication (emphasis mine).

    You guys really need to get your story straight, pardon the pun."

    C'mon Truth, you are obviously an intelligent person. We were never debating the existence of the world "lifestyle." However, while Cosmo maybe a women's lifestyle magazine, it most certainly doesn't represent the female lifestyle.

    I can tell you as someone who was once married to a woman and has seen both sides, the only substantial difference now that I live honestly and with integrity is that my partner of 9 years has male genitals (that and the relationship is a lot healthier).

    Posted by: Elias Barton | Aug 8, 2012 2:55:03 PM


  14. "You first."

    ... no, that's not how it works. You make a claim that I'm being intellectually dishonest. Provide examples from the statements I've made thus far to demonstrate the claim.

    "Nat, are you a lawyer by chance?"

    I currently work for a UK company - which I will not name here - normally out of Nairobi. In the past I've worked in a human rights capacity for several organizations and directly for two countries, most often either working in Kenya or Tanzania.

    Oh, and I have a father who worked with the TRC. I've never met Mandela, or have even seen him in person, but my father has. I have met and conversed with de Klerk though. So it's more than a singularly amusing when someone makes bold claims over having a superior grasp on Mandela or South African politics.

    "Nat, you are free to carry all of that bitterness with you all of your days, it's not up to anyone but you to free yourself from your self imposed tyranny."

    It's hard to take someone seriously when they resort to personal attacks.

    For the record though, as I said, I have spent long years working in a human rights capacity. My older brother has worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo - probably the most dangerous place on Earth - since 1999. I've interacted with men who have done terrible, terrible things - read Stearns's Dancing in the Glory of Monsters and you'll see the kind of people you can run into when you working in certain fields in Africa - and I continue to do what I believe is important work. The idea that I am either bitter or in self-imposed tyranny - two qualities that make it near impossible to do the kind of work I or my betters - such as my father and brother - do is laughable.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 8, 2012 3:15:25 PM


  15. @Truth
    Enough of your pseudo-philosophical nonsense. I'm not making the claim that I am any better than this guy, but I would never disown my son for who he loves. That's wrong, and he hasn't done anything to make up for this misdeed so frankly he deserves every bit of contempt he gets. I'd respond to thee rest of your drivel but Nat has already done so far better than I could.

    Posted by: Logan | Aug 8, 2012 4:09:29 PM


  16. It sounds more like your father was an unfeeling jerk. Don't tie it into the Cathy situation. It may make you feel better, but there is no connection.

    Posted by: Gabe | Aug 8, 2012 5:57:13 PM


  17. It sounds more like your father was an unfeeling jerk. Don't tie it into the Cathy situation. It may make you feel better, but there is no connection.

    Posted by: Gabe | Aug 8, 2012 5:57:14 PM


  18. "... no, that's not how it works. You make a claim that I'm being intellectually dishonest. Provide examples from the statements I've made thus far to demonstrate the claim."
    We could start right here:
    "No, you made a series of claims about Nelson Mandela"
    Where did do that?
    Show me the evidence.


    "So it's more than a singularly amusing when someone makes bold claims over having a superior grasp on Mandela or South African politics."
    Where did do that?
    Show me the evidence.

    "It's hard to take someone seriously when they resort to personal attacks."
    Where did do that?
    Show me the evidence.

    "Forgiveness requires remorse, a desire for atonement, and a confession of crimes committed against the victim."

    You have it backwards. Forgiveness requires none of that, ACCEPTING forgiveness does.

    BTW, your time and effort would be much better served trying to address some of the hate in here.

    Good luck with that.

    I'm out.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 6:07:31 PM


  19. Hey Logan, :gfys.

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 8, 2012 6:08:16 PM


  20. It's your father's loss. Live a happy and healthy life.

    Posted by: noteasilyoffended | Aug 8, 2012 6:34:35 PM


  21. Well Truth, if you want evidence of a personal attack you just performed one against me. It seems that you are a hypocrite. How sad that you can't even be bothered to respond to a comment and instead sling an insult. It just shows that you have nothing left of substance to say (but I guess you didn't in the first place). My comment calling you out for your bs must have gotten to you more than Nat's comments have, seeing as you bothered to come back after saying "I'm out". That's not very truthful, perhaps you should change you name to "childish insults and lies". Maybe you were really just a desperate attention-seeking troll this whole time, in which case I hope all this attention is bringing some satisfaction into your empty life.

    Posted by: Logan | Aug 8, 2012 7:07:26 PM


  22. You should have forgotten about it, and spared us having to read it.
    It's between you two. Keep being strong and independent. This is something many have had to face. Don't waste your energy being angry at the homophobes. They go away in time, believe me. Find the love you're worthy of.

    Posted by: Paul | Aug 8, 2012 7:10:55 PM


  23. I know too many lesbians and gays who have rec'd this same message since I came out in '85. I was disowned by my entire religion only when I wrote about my sexuality publicly in '97. I wish my abuser father (11 yrs of sexual abuse) had disowned me - he has written me hundreds of letters since '76, including on Facebook...I too have a whopper of a letter from my father posted on my web site: Imagine this public letter: http://fatherstouch.com/Pedophile.htm

    Posted by: Donald D'Haene | Aug 8, 2012 8:39:16 PM


  24. The bright side is that BIGOTED, HORRIBLE, THOUGHTLESS people raise wonderful gay kids all the time...

    Posted by: Hollywood, CA | Aug 8, 2012 8:39:42 PM


  25. it was a very brave act, don't know when i will have courage to do so.

    Posted by: @luth_beluth | Aug 9, 2012 4:37:23 AM


  26. « | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 »

Post a comment







Trending


« «Playwright and Tony Award Winner Mark O'Donnell Dies Suddenly« «