I received my share of taunts, slurs, beat downs, and bullying – particularly in elementary and middle school. But when I hear my kids come home and speak of some taunts or bullying, I can’t help it: I get enraged. It pains me immensely.
And so when I read this news from the NY Times about two young 11 year old boys – Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera – who hung themselves because of “gay” taunts at their schools, I was enraged. There’s couple issues here: bullying and specifically, the bullying and abuse specifically targeted to gay and lesbian students.
What does it all mean?
And if we have 11 year old kids committing suicide, we have to ask the question: Are we doing enough to protect kids and punish those that bully?
Locally, (as I’m sure nationally), there are pastors and others leading, organizing, and encouraging parents to not send their teenagers to schools on (the now passed) Day of Silence – a peaceful demonstration representing the silence many gay and lesbian students feel they must maintain to avoid harassment and bullying at school.
While I can understand the anxiety that some parents may have in our homophobic culture, I completely disagree with the action to boycott school and in recent years in Seattle, for rallies against or taking out full page ads encouraging parents to keep their kids out of school.
What is the message we are conveying? Can’t this be an opportunity for parents – while one honor their personal convictions – for a teaching moment to their kids?
So, while Christians and churches should certainly have the right to exercise their freedom with their views, all Christians and churches should be enraged at the bullying and verbal, emotional, and at times, physical violence against our gay youth.