The Pope's Remarks About Homosexuality, and Why I Support My Gay Daughter
As the parent of a gay adult child, I often find myself in a battle of words and wit over homosexuality. Most of the time the discussion turns to "you know what the Bible says," to which I reply, "Yes, the Bible says a lot." Quite often the topic of whether homosexuality is a choice stirs the proverbial pot and causes heated debates and ill feelings. Knowing that the likelihood of me changing someone's mind is slim, I usually say, "Who are we to judge?" or "It is what it is." Imagine my delight when I heard that Pope Francis spoke on homosexuality and professed, "Who am I to judge?" It's no secret that I struggled at first with my daughter's sexuality, but the bottom line is I don't have any control over her, nor do I have the right to judge her.
While the pope was reacting to a question about whether or not gay men should become priests, his answer, I believe, should be relative to everyone, not just those in the gay community. Sticking firm to the Biblical teachings regarding homosexuality, the pope is providing a platform of nonjudgmental acceptance to everyone. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" In discussing the "gay lobby" within the Vatican, Pope Francis replied, "A lot is written about this gay lobby. I still haven't found anyone at the Vatican who has 'gay' on his business card. You have to distinguish between the fact that someone is gay and the fact of being in a lobby." The more I read about the openness of the pope, the more my heart ached not only for my own daughter but for the many gay people in this country (and around the world) who are rejected because of that one element in their lives.
In the past few years I have had countless discussions, and spent many sleepless nights filled with tears and sadness, not because my daughter is gay, but because she is judged. While no one has come out and said, "Your daughter is not a good person," they have indicated that in their actions and words. These comments and actions are no less despicable than those of people who use the "N word" or use racial slurs toward any other race or ethnicity or religion. A 16-year-old girl in my social-media circle posted recently that she was sick and tired of hearing about the gays and their rights. I asked her what she meant by that, and her answer was, "Why do THEY need to talk about it? Why don't THEY just shut up and live their lives?" Well, because THEY would like to be left alone and allowed to live their lives without judgment, condemnation and aggravation. Who are we to judge? THEY just want the same freedoms that we have. Who are we to judge? She didn't have an answer.
As a parent, I want nothing more than for my children to become faithful, responsible, respectable adults who live their lives without being hated by others just because of who they are. Being gay should never define a person, just like my being overweight does not define who I am as a person. When someone comes out and shares that they are gay, quite often others' reactions and comments are focused around sex, as if sex is the only thing that matters to a gay person. Sex, while an important element in any relationship, should not be the primary reason two people are together. Sex is not what holds healthy relationships together. A healthy relationship requires love, respect, honesty, sincerity, independence and compassion. Sex is just a small piece of the relationship puzzle.
When I look at my daughter and her girlfriend, I see two people with beautiful spirits, kind hearts and a deep passion for spreading goodness wherever they go. They happen to love one another in a deep way – a way that I cannot explain or understand but that I do not judge them for. With one wanting to be a neurologist and the other a speech pathologist, it is apparent that both have servants' hearts and want to help others enhance their lives. I am proud to share my life with both of them, and I have no intention of ever changing that. I am proud of them for who they are and what they stand for, and will never judge them for who they love. I would hope that I am not judged for who I love or have ever loved.
So who are we to judge? Who are we to say that the way someone lives his or her life is better or worse than the way we live ours? You can throw Biblical scripture at me as much as you want – I am OK with that. I have some I could share with you too. You can tell me that the gays are living a life of sin, but we all are. You can tell me that it's all wrong and I say, "Show me someone who is perfect." I think we can look to the pope and his words as an example of how to live a more peaceful existence. Bigotry, racism, discrimination and hate take up so much energy. It would be so much easier to drop all of the negativity and focus our energy on our own lives. Life is tough enough, so why waste time and energy on judging others and what they are doing?
For me, I will continue to share our story in hopes that others will understand that ours is a family that will stick together and love one another without judgment or condemnation. Who are we to judge?