Eugene Cho

we should all be enraged about bullying especially to gay/lesbian students

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.

For those that have read my blog, you know where I stand on homosexuality, but without any reservation, Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: christianity, church, pastors, religion, seattle, , , , ,

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one day’s wages | video

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Recently, I had a chance to speak at an event in Washington DC and it was particularly special because my 80-year-young father was able to travel with me. As a young child, I had always wanted to travel with my father on one of his frequent work trips but that opportunity never came. When he once asked me when I was a teenager...it was, by then, too late. I had grown increasingly distant from him. So, this trip was special and at his age, I'm not sure how many more opportunities we'll get.

My Dad had especially wanted to see the famous Lincoln Memorial with his own eyes. The weather was perfect and while it wasn't part of the plans, we ended up walking 8 miles that day and eventually culminating on the final stretch through the Mall towards the Lincoln Memorial. (Pretty impressive for an 80 year old!) But as we made this walk, I had forgotten the presence of the Korean War Memorial that was just a few hundred yards away from the Lincoln Memorial.

I had seen it several times before but I didn't anticipate the impact that it would have on my father. When he realized what it was, he just stood there and I could tell he was deep in thought and memories. Eventually, he began to share some of those memories and stories. My Dad was born in what is now called North Korea and fled south with the rise of dictatorial powers. He was fourteen years old when the Korean War broke out. He shared stories of how the bridges connecting Seoul were destroyed and thousands upon thousands of people were stranded. He shared stories of poverty, hunger, sickness, suffering, and even death... And then, he just stared at the memorial. At the statues. At the soldiers. And I could tell he was fighting back some tears. He went on to say how grateful he was for the American soldiers who fought another country's war. He went on to say, "I'm here because of them. We're here because of them." He was actually so moved by the memorial that he walked towards the assigned "Park Ranger" on site and kept profusely saying, "Thank you so much for helping us. Thank you so much for helping us." Umm, I'm not quite sure if the younger Park Ranger knew what to do.  He eventually nervously and awkwardly Say hello to our mesmerizing moon. Recently met an astronomer who had his big toy telescope that allowed us to take photos using the smartphone. Desert hiking. Made it. Barely. But worth it. Such are many of life's challenges. Sabbath. Soaking in a desert sunset. A new experience and interestingly, very spiritual. Happy Earth Day. Enjoyed this epic hike through the woods last weekend with my family. "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” - Isaiah 55:12 Soaking in this view and taking a moment to pray for our nation.

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