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Topic: Totally OT, but.... (about kids and religion)

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Subject: Totally OT, but.... (about kids and religion)
Date Posted: 1/30/2008 6:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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I needed to get thoughts and advice, I know in CMT I'd get our more conservative thinkers jumping down my throat for this.

As you all know we are raising our son to love and accept everyone regardless of orientation, race, religion, etc.  He has wonderful examples of love before him at home and at church, with both hetero and homosexual families.  We also think he should be exposed to many different thoughts and religions. (I'm handling the eastern and pagan ones, DH the Christian, etc).  One of his best friends invited him to a church concert this week. Now he's been before to a concert there, and to their summer bible camp, BUT he will never go to the camp again... because the church is extremely conservative (as in minister studied with Falwell, and is friends with Falwell's son)... but we also do want him to see other churchs and learn that we love everyone no matter what they believe about God (or not believe).... here's my delimma.... we'd said yes he can go a few weeks ago.  The concert theme is "love", now reading the pastor's blog I see that this church is presenting a very one sided version (not to mention the fact they are very anti-gay) about how you should only marry or date a Christian cause being involved with a non-believer will ruin you.  I'm torn. I want my child to go and have fun with his friends, and i want him to know there are other beliefs out there, but I'm worried about 2 things- the hate message may stick with him, or even worse, he may mention that it's okay for two men to love each other and then be "attacked" by the homophobic members.  Should we talk to him before hand about  the fact that this church has beliefs very different than ours, but we still like his friend and his friend's family, and then warn him not to say anything?

 

ALSO on a totally (but not much) different note- next month we are hosting an "open" singing group that sings about God's love for EVERYONE and in the course of their performance they discuss how hard it has been for them to come out and find God's love. We in no way want to censor them, cause we feel their message is very important (not to mention they are very talented), but being in the Bible belt of the north, I'm worried about what will be done and said about us and our business after this performance. I feel we should prep them about the fact this can be a very homophobic town... should we?  ... if you all could just send us your good vibes next month, that'd be awesome! :)

Date Posted: 1/30/2008 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,002
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Boy, I am torn about answering this one. Part of me thinks that this one event will not make or break your son's beliefs as you continue to discuss inclusion/acceptance with him. On the other hand, I would have a hard time letting him go to be exposed to such bigotry knowing beforehand that it is part of their agenda with the event.  I think since you already are aware of the content and it is not something you personally agree with I would end up not letting him go. The issue, of course, is how to explain to him your reasons if you have already agreed he could go.

Maybe you could allow him to go, tell him that if there are things said he does not feel are the same as what he is being taught he should not ask his questions there but, bring them home to you .

As far as the other issue...I would assume that most of the people attending would also be aware in advance of the openess of the program and that only those willing to hear the message will come anyway. Maybe making it clear in the advertising somehow will help avoid conflict. I would not want to ask anyone performing/speaking to have to censor their comments.

My 1.5 cents.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 1/30/2008 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Kids are impressionable.  Unless your son is old enough to discuss the issues with him in advance, and for him to understand the bigotry, I'd not let him attend.

As for the concert - host it willingly and openly - I am sure the group knows that prejudice is everywhere.  Your open support will mean more to them than any hatemongers in the crowd.  Advertise it where you are likely to attract like-minds.

 

Date Posted: 1/30/2008 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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thanks guys.  I think DH is with me on not letting the kid go, in light of the pastor's recent us vs. them blog... now how to tell our friends.  They're nice people, despite their religious belifs.. hee hee ;0 

The group is coming as part of our 2nd Friday open events, so there really isn't any advertising per se.. They have us listed on their website, and we'll put a poster up, and we'll email some folks.  We'll also have lots of folks from our chruch here.  It's not a sit down concert though.. they'll be performing while folks are shopping, so some of our more conservative customers may be a little taken aback and offended.. but my thought is we really don't want close minded folks like that hanging out here anyways... I'm more concerned with the after effects (eg... Chick tracts were left posted on the doors of the businesses in town that sold Harry Potter books, and letters to the editor written in the paper... this was before us though, somaybe my fears are for nothing, just bracing myself....)

thanks guys & gals! 

Date Posted: 1/30/2008 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2007
Posts: 269
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I am all for you exposing your children to different faiths but I have to say if I were in your shoes I wouldn't let him go. 

I would also try to explain why.  Show him the blog and explain why this is against what you believe.  Explain that you aren't doing it to punish him, but its because you fundamentally disagree with the pastor who is using a religious forum to spread discrimination and hatred which is not tolerated in your home.  In reading your post it seems that the pastors views go against your core beliefs.  To me this is not really a question of religion its a question of hatred.  By keeping him home in my opinion you are just respecting your core beliefs of tolerance. 

Date Posted: 2/4/2008 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2007
Posts: 487
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I am a Christian and would not let my child go.  Jesus taught us to love everyone.  I am sort of sick of my fellow "Christians" forgetting that.