I don’t like my parents. For a long time, I could keep myself quiet. I let them call my girlfriends friends. I let them treat my relationships as illegitimate because they were struggling so hard. I let them be mean.
Evangelical Christians are stuck. They want you to believe that they mistreat you because they are moral. They believe these black and white things and this is a gray world and that’s why they pour money into anti-equality legislation. That’s why they support reparative therapists. My father has written a series of Letters to the Editor advocating reparative therapy. Decrying gay rights. Talking about the moral decay of our society.
His own daughter. He would have me reprogrammed. He would have my family torn to pieces. He would call that saving my son.
My parents are unkind. And for a long time, I felt I deserved their unkindness.
This weekend, I stood next to some of my favorite kids and the girl said, “That’s my grandmother!” She was pointing to a jubilant woman marching with the Giant Ass Drum Corps. Dancing and beating a paint bucket. The thunderous battle cry of equality. On the coldest, rainiest Pride in recent memory, we were all celebrating our community.
I don’t get a mother like that. I don’t get parents like that. And in this society, people shift uncomfortably and tell you, “Well, they’re moral people and —”
No. They aren’t moral people. Moral people don’t attempt to destroy families. Moral people don’t make others feel illegitimate. Moral people love despite everything. Moral people realize that parents cannot define children. That we don’t have to approve of situations to accept them. Moral people believe in a constructive society. One where we build together. Moral people recognize and celebrate the humanity of all their brothers and sisters.
I don’t like my parents. And I used to pity them. Their angry god. But at some point, I’ve had to protect myself. I’ve had to separate from them. I’ve had to recognize that I never deserved their miserable treatment of me. They are free to believe as they will. But that is never a license to mistreat me. That is never absolution to work against my family and my happiness. You would think, if you believed that we’re all made in Christ’s image, it would be simpler to recognize the goodness in one another.
I believe you have a soul. I believe you are worthy of grace. I believe you are good. And can be better. I believe these things about you, and I believe these things about me. The radical message of redemption is that we are all worthy. Every fucking one of us. We deserve love.