Originally posted on In The Parlor:
Today, there are 2 news stories that have been circulating all over my Facebook and Twitter news feeds. One you are probably aware of, the other maybe not. The two, though, are closely related. The first news story is the indefinite suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson due to the comments he made during an interview with GQ magazine. The second news story is about the “defrocking” of Pennsylvania UMC pastor Frank Schaefer after he performed the marriage for his gay son and subsequent refusal to submit to church law regarding this action. The link between these two stories is clear. The church’s views (or, in the case of Duck Dynasty, a certain understanding of the Christian faith’s views) regarding homosexuality.
The reaction to both of these stories has been…emphatic, to say the least. The debate over the “rightness or wrongness” of homosexuality has once again been fired up. The appeals to the Biblical passages have been made. The academic rebuttals to the interpretation of those passages has no doubt been referenced. The calls for freedom and tolerance (from both sides) have been shouted…or at least typed out with great gusto. The theological debate (and I am using that term VERY generously here) has been raging all day long, and no doubt will continue to rage in the weeks to come.
But I refuse to engage in it. The way I see it, the time for that debate has long since passed. The stakes are too high now. The current research suggestions that teenagers that are gay are about 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. That puts the percentage of gay teens attempting suicide at about 30-some percent. 1 out of 3 teens who are gay or bisexual will try to kill themselves. And a lot of times they succeed. In fact, Rev. Schaefer’s son contemplated suicide on a number of occasions in his teens.