We All Think We’re Right

We all think we’re right.  I was reminded of that fact  yesterday as I watched a video that has gone viral of a toddler in church, wearing his Sunday best, gripping a microphone in his pudgy little hands and singing “Ain’t No Homos Gonna Make It To Heaven.”  Only a few seconds into his performance, the pews of parishioners started to cheer and applaud and I clicked the “X” on my computer screen.  I couldn’t watch a moment more.

That Video Boy’s parents think that they are raising their child right.  I’m sure they were proud of their sweater-vested tike as he sang a church solo up on stage.  My guess is that they were beaming with pride as out of his mouth tumbled words of hate, judgment and homophobia.

Whatever happened to “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world?”

The viral video was off of my screen, but not out of my mind.  I got up from my desk and indulged myself in a simple pleasure of the working mom: a walk to the overpriced, underwhelming deli in the lobby of the next office building to grab a sandwich to eat as I worked through lunch.

“I think that Video Boy’s parents are doing a shitty job of parenting,” I thought to myself.  Then, I realized that they’d think the exact same thing of our parenting of both of our sons…especially C.J.

To me, they are bad parents.  To them I am we are bad parents.  They are raising an LGBTQ hater and I’m raising an LGBTQ lover.  Tit for tat.  Agree to disagree.  One step forward, one step back.  I wonder…in this great big world…do our families cancel each other out?

I thought of something that I posted on my Facebook page recently.  It’s a quote that says “No child is born homophobic.”  True that.  No child is born full of hate.  Video Boy’s parents are making him homophobic.  They are feeding him hate for breakfast, especially on Sundays.

The equivalent in our family would be to pump ecclesiaphobia into our children; to instill in them a fear of church, organized religion or holy people.  I refuse to do it.  In our house hate will not breed hate and fear will not breed fear.  Sometimes it’s a daily struggle that goes against every urge in my sassy soul.

As I ate my chicken salad sandwich, I thought more about Video Boy and his family.  I read some of the comments about the video that people had left on my Facebook page and other comments found online.  Some people believe that it all docmented a form of child abuse.

Do I think it’s abuse?  No.  I do think that kids shouldn’t be forced or persuaded to make big statements about big topics that they can’t possibly understand, let alone develop an opinion on.

How much of our agenda can we push on our kids?

I’ve been accused of abusing C.J. because I let him slide all over the gender spectrum….and I (gasp) write about it!  But, I have never so much as encouraged either of my sons to take a stand, make a statement or advocate for my position on anything, unless they can understand it and can determine how they (not me) feel about it.

I do insist of my childen – as I do of the people who matter in our lives – that they have an open heart and an open mind.  Poor Video Boy is all closed up already.  Locked in his body with fear and hate.  God was not smiling down on Video Boy’s homophobia…his parents, the parishoners and the pastor are fools for thinking differently.

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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38 Responses to We All Think We’re Right

  1. davida michaele says:

    you have a gifted knack of pointing out the obvious bigitry that is in some church preachers teachings … knowing the difference of right and wrong myself i can assure you that you are much more correct then many of the presumed experts in the field…. and your able to convince others your right with such logical integrity it follows the main teaching i find to be my faverite do unto others as youd have them do unto you . please keep up the good work .

    davida

  2. roneydapony1 says:

    The worst part of this was watching all the adults cheering and clapping.
    Cheering for HATE.
    I’m sorry, but if this (rather lax) Jewish chick knows that Jesus would not be pleased, it’s definitely not Christian behavior.
    Vomit.

  3. whatyouwant says:

    OK, it’s taken me a little while to think of a response to this, but here goes: No one living on earth TRULY knows who makes it to heaven and who doesn’t. Some may disagree with me, but that’s what I believe.

  4. Gian Marcelletti says:

    I do not think that this is an “agree to disagree” situation. Those awful parents may THINK they are right but they are NOT right. For starters the bible never says anything about homos never going to heaven. The only bouncer at heaven’s pearly gates is God himself and the bible makes this clear- only God can judge people- not other people. Also the bible makes it clear that love is right and hate is wrong. So those parents are dead wrong and horrible people. How dare they force an innocent child to sing such hate- the child has no idea what he’s singing about. Can you imagine if it turns out that child is gay? How he will feel when years from now he sees this video? And to all those people clapping and cheering- shame on them! You and your husband, on the other hand, are WONDERFUL parents- so full of love and acceptance! You are RIGHT. And NO, that hateful family does NOT cancel your loving family out! Your family rises to heavenly status and (ironically) I believe that THEY are the ones who won’t be going to heaven. Your family is the model of the future, the kind of family every child should have a right to have. So congratulations you can pat yourself on the back knowing that you ARE right!

  5. Argggh! Things like this video make me so flippin’ angry!

  6. lilflurdtess says:

    Reblogged this on lilflurdtess and commented:
    Wow, I had not seen this video. It is not Christian to teach your children to hate, I pity this child, his parents are ignorant. This is just sad that such an adorable little boy is being taught to hate. I don’t know what God they worship but my God loves and I would not want to be the parent standing on judgement day before God when he replays this little scene.

  7. It’s crazy what some parents try to instil in their child’s brain…and it’s sad that they feel that way. You brought up good points that no parenting tactic is the ‘best’ but the one’s that strive closest are those parents that don’t breed hate and fear, but those who teach love and openess. <3

  8. Ria Ria says:

    If I ever become a mother, I wish to have your wisdom and strength.

  9. Lymis says:

    I think you make a wonderful and important distinction here, because a lot of people try to make an equivalence between teaching a child that it is okay to be gay and teaching a child that it is not okay to be gay.

    And yes, one of the parallels would be teaching your child ecclesiaphobia, just as you say. But the other parallel would be teaching a gay child that everyone else is wrong for not being gay, or teaching CJ that there is something wrong with other boys who don’t want to wear dresses.

    There is a huge difference between teaching your child that it is okay to be themselves, wherever that takes them, as long as they don’t demand everyone else makes the same choices for themselves, and teaching your child that not only is there only one way that everyone is forced to be, but that their eternal salvation hangs in the balance.

    Even when two views are morally equivalent, if one view is held by a significant and powerful majority and the other is held by a tiny and relatively powerless minority, it’s a false equivalence to claim that the views are “equal.” Saying, for example that “Jews are just as free as Christians to have their religious symbols and traditions supported by public money and government action, all they have to do is get people to vote for it, just like Christians do,” is absurd.

    This isn’t teaching that boy the same thing at all. If he had been singing “Amazing Grace” or some other standard, and his parents were teaching him that this is their way, and others are absolutely free to make their own choices and follow their own paths, and organized Christianity turns out to be where his heart takes him, that would be the parallel. “No homos in heaven” is not.

  10. Ecclesiaphobia will happen soon enough on its own, thanks to all the “christians” spewing hate at and for anyone on the LGBTQ side of the fence. Here in North Carolina, a preacher in Catawba County proposes building a prison camp for all “homos” and imprisoning them. He has not yet mentioned having the prisoners wear pink triangles on their sleeves. Interestingly, he want to segregate the Lesbians from the gay men, and have all the women in one side of the camp and all the men in the other side. I think he might be missing some crucial understanding of the meaning of the word “homosexual.”

  11. Rob says:

    Not much to add, except to point out that many of us who belong to “mainstream” religious traditions are fighting within our communities against this kind of hatred. And although I’m not the kind of guy who has a Bible verse for every occasion (believing the big picture of a God who loves us is more important), the video of the child singing puts me in mind of Jesus’ warning about what we teach our children in Luke 17:2, one of the harshest such warnings in all of his teachings – “It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.”

  12. Dagny T says:

    Rodgers & Hammerstein dealt with this when they wrote ‘You Have to Be Carefully Taught’ for “South Pacific”. Although that song was about being a racist, the idea is universal.

  13. Denise says:

    I feel sorry for that little boy. I can only hope that he grows up to be a rebellious teen who turns his back on his parents’ and communities’ hateful ways. I hope he is not gay himself as he already has no support system to speak of.

  14. My family are homophobic too. They raised me that way. But they didn’t know that I would grow up to be a bi-sexual woman. I am attracted to both genders. I think what those people are teaching their child is horrible. They should not have him spewing hate, or saying horribly offensive words like ”faggot”. Children should be ignorant of sexual orientation, if you let children be who they are, they are not naturally homophobic or racist. Children have an innocence. Adults shouldn’t take that away from them. Your son is so lucky to have you. I pity that poor boy.

  15. jessica says:

    When I was growing up every time there was a gay couple on TV my dad would always make the comment “That’s a sin” and then shiver in disgust. Since then I have grown up and made my own opinions and don’t think that being gay is a sin. Hopefully this boy will grow up and make his own opinions as well.

  16. I showed this video to my 5yo and my 6.5yo. We discussed it, but I did not bring in religion. I also tried not to lecture or really talk too much at all, but rather, I asked THEM questions that made their little brains turn. Also, I couched it as “that boy’s parents don’t think a boy should be able to love a boy” However, I suspect I have it easy because my kids naturally “get it” — we have friends and neighbors are gay. In fact, my kiddos get to experience a loving family unit right next door.

    I still showed my kids this video, though. Sadly, they are already encountering homophobia and I want them to be comfortable discussing the topic. I want them to not only have the “right words”, but also the confidence to stick up for those they love. For example, my 5yo has already had an argument with a classmate over this (Imagine it: “Boys can’t marry boys! Yes, they can!”) At the Pre-K level, it was cute to see my daughter so indignant over the injustice, but I know the Cute Days will soon be over and it will get more serious.

    In my own family, I do have members teaching their children this sort of hate. Some are doing it in the “love the sin, not the sinner” gentle way, others are not so gentle. Regardless, I know that my family members love their children and are trying to do their best. Even though I get angry and disgusted with my family, your posts of understanding and compassion help fan MY flames of fury.

    So. Thank you for speaking out on this and posting your thoughts on it. Seriously, THANK YOU for putting yourself out here and sharing your thoughts and experiences …… even though you encounter hatred yourself because of it. Thank you. And most importantly, thank you for reminding me that *I* need to stop being so damned angry myself and maybe sit back and THINK before I speak. Thank you.

  17. DannyG says:

    I don’t know that video boy’s heart and mind is all closed up. At some point in his life, he will begin to question all that he’s been taught. Maybe he’ll decide that his parents and his church are right, but I think (I hope?) it’s more likely than not, that his life experiences over the coming decades will open and grow his heart and his mind. I suppose only time will tell.

  18. Right ON Raising my Rainbow! Very disturbing post indeed. Appreciate that you bravely posted this disturbing video. Another example of ignorance and hate, only made uglier by taking advantage of the innocent. Parents, teach your children well….
    I hope you feel supported and the love from your readers. XO

  19. ghfool says:

    I’m not sure about “No Child is Born Homophobic” because I believe that children are born with a lot of their parents dna/genes etc. But I do know that my generation appears to be opening the window more than any other before us and it will just continue. So God bless us all, regardless of our choice in life and so long as we thank him for making it happen. It’s all part of a great plan…so we need to seek, enjoy and be patient. We will all be rewarded in the end as long as we are respectful of others and nature.

    • Interesting and not completely invalid in your opening quote, but there is no gene or strand of dna that exists which passes on a homophobic view. I think in the nature .v. nurture debate, nurture is definitely the cause for homophobic thoughts.

      • ghfool says:

        We are in agreement there. I just remember as a child I was presented with a lot of decisions (church, band, sports, clubs etc,) that I avctually took a position about and it wasn’t considered because I was a kid> A smart kid. But parents have their own agenda and I did’nt always win. Just saying.

  20. I think you are doing a marvelous job rasing your rainbow. If anyone tells you differently, whether they think they are wrong or right, it doesn’t matter. Right is an opinion. You do the best you can and hope things turn out as good as possible for your child. And it sounds like CJ is happy being who he is, so it’s best that you let him be that way.
    Now, from the few seconds I was able to watch this before stopping, I think- not that the parents believe their child is right- but that it is funny. Which I believe is even a higher mistake on their part. That is nothing humorous about that.
    Just keep doing what you do!
    XoXo Radium Rollercoaster

  21. Emma says:

    Children are born with the capacity to love and accept everyone for who and what they are, it is our prejudices and perceptions as adults that corrupt this innocence.
    It is so distressing to watch adults applaud a child who innocently sings hateful words about a group of people they neither know nor understand.
    It makes my heart hurt.

  22. Uncle Uncle says:

    “The Apostolic Truth Tabernacle is in Greensburg, Indiana. That’s the town where Billy Lucas was bullied to death for being perceived to be gay by his classmates. I wonder if they stood up and cheered at Apostolic Truth Tabernacle when Lucas died—hey, another homo in hell.

    I wonder if any of Lucas’s tormenters attend services at Apostolic Truth Tabernacle. And remember: I’m an anti-Christian bully for pointing out the connection between what straight kids are taught about ‘homos’ in the shithole mega-churches they’re dragged to by their parents and what they turn around and do to ‘homos’ they encounter in classrooms. And what if that precocious little four-year-old singer is gay? Praise the Lord and pass the barf bags.” -Dan Savage

  23. Tiffany says:

    Personally, I think it’s abuse. What if that poor child is gay? Raising a child in an environment of hate is abuse, whether or not he ends up being harmed by it.

  24. graciamc says:

    It makes me so sad to see such hate taught in a church. I am a proud member of an open and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ where every person is accepted and loved just the way they are.

  25. mark says:

    From Wikipedia, the easiest source, but one that I researched in college because it was the beginning of the bastardization of words, twisting them to whatever one wishes to project.

    “Squaw is an English language loan-word, used as a noun or adjective, whose present meaning is an indigenous woman of North America. It is derived from the eastern Algonquian morpheme meaning ‘woman’ that appears in numerous Algonquian languages variously spelled squa, skwa, esqua, sqeh, skwe, que, kwa, ikwe, exkwew, xkwe, etc. At present, the term is often held to be offensive, though controversy surrounds the historical evidence claimed for such a view.”

    In recent times it has become fashionable to call squaw a vulgar term meaning vagina or the more crude forms of that word, but it is only in context that that is true. That squaw means woman, and one can extrapolate further on that theme, it wasn’t really until the feminists of the 70’s ran with that, and the media did too because it was fashionably trendy to be in support of native americans AND women at the same time, too bad NA’s weren’t considered black and practicing Judaism as that would have been the media equivalent of the quadrafecta. sorry, perhaps my little tweak to the media was offensive to some, didn’t intend for that, except if you belong to the media.
    At any the interesting part here, and you’re not alone in keeping this controversy alive, that the writer fervently hopes it was a typo in your description is epidemic and sincerely contributes to the continuation of inflamed jusgments. I’m sure the writer did not intend to advance such flame, but education, rather than mere recital is the important key to turn this around. Which is what you’re talking about in this marvelous post.

    That you saw both sides of this so quickly is really really great. Your way makes better people. Their way makes better institutions. I prefer yours. Good job.

    • Erika Gillian says:

      Mark, had you read the whole of the wikipedia article you would have found that although the roots of the word ‘squaw’ are based on the word for woman in Algonquin languages, and perfectly fine for Algonquin speakers to use, for white and other colonizers to use it is not a good thing. Just because the roots of the n-word is the latin word for the color black does not change what it means now. And I’m not talking about what the Mohawk peoples who may have mis-read the source as their word for vagina but the sourced uses of it as a slur against Native American women.

      You may use the word all you want. You may call me a slut should you like. Or even worse. Slut used to mean a bad housekeeper and god knows I am that, but I believe as a white person in this country I have to listen to people of color when they say ‘this hurts me.’ It is not my decision to make, it is theirs. And as the writer of this blog is a loving woman, who is doing a difficult and loving task, both raising her great kids and writing about it so other parents and kids don’t feel so alone, I thought she might like to know that this word can be offensive. She can decide whether she wants to use it, whether she wants to complain to the deli, or if she decides it’s not her problem, up to her completely. That’s why I brought it up. If anyone wants links about it by Native Americans, I can find them some.

      • mark says:

        Actually I did read the whole thing, and as you read too, the slang version became out as the result of an activist in 1993 on oprah. My point is merely that one person makes it so and for various agendas it becomes reality. And today our culture is being run by activists, some good, some not so much.

      • erikagillian says:

        Mark, this will be my last post on the subject here since this seems to be a thread hijack or derail but that Wikipedia article also lists a lot of things about how the word was used derogatorily long before the woman appeared on Oprah. In fact, I remember it being used derogatorily all my life on tv and elsewhere. But since you don’t seem to like any activists but your own, I shall use the article we both read: One author, for example, referred to “the universal ‘squaw’ – squat, angular, pig-eyed, ragged, wretched, and insect-haunted” (Steele 1883). And later: Perhaps in view of such uses as those above, one early-20th-century dictionary of American usage called squaw “a contemptuous term” (Crowell 1928).

        Those are all pre-‘activist.’

        There was a misunderstanding by the Mohawk speakers that the word was derived from their word for lady parts, but it’s from the Algonquin morpheme for female. The word isn’t insulting or demeaning based upon that but upon its usage since we colonized this continent. So if you care what your words do to other people, listen to what the Native Americans say, and don’t use the word.

        If you want to continue this, my email is erikagillian at gmail dot com or I have a livejournal at erikagillian also, I can start a post there if you’d like to continue in semi-public (because I don’t know how many people read it, possibly just my family :) but I don’t think this is the place to go much farther, unless our host asks us to :)

  26. Ben says:

    Although personally it would seem I’m a lot more anti-religious than yourself, this was a very good read as usual. It was disturbing to see and hear the child say those things, but to see a standing ovation from adults – that’s much more disturbing. The post saying ‘No child is born homophobic’ really sums it up; of course the church and parents have indoctrinated this child. Something which people never seem to notice is the smilarity of this modern day religious idoctrination of children with the Nazis indoctrination of the youth, whom of course were also extremely homophobic. So it makes one think: should action not be taken to prevent this indoctrination of the youth? Anyway, as a gay teen I want to thank you for clearly being an wonderful parent, if only the little video boys parents were as open-minded and progressive as yourself.

    • Julie says:

      Ben – I hope you already know this, but there are a lot of religious folks out there who are not only accepting of you but actually VERY HAPPY that you are living as who you were created to be. I don’t mean to push religion (i.e. I believe God created you, but I totally accept if you don’t believe it). Regardless, it’s so hard to try to continue to be a truly loving Christian with all the hate spewed out there by other so called Christians, especially when it contributes to some people being “anti-religious,” as you say you are. It’s hard to be an accepting, liberal, loving Christian when so many people see “religious” as meaning conservative/fundamental/hateful/judgemental…

  27. Miriam Joy says:

    Agreed! I think if everybody learned to be slightly more open minded, the world would be a better place. They don’t have to agree. I’m not saying one opinion is right and one is wrong and it’s up to me to choose – it’s not. But if people could just … gahhh, just THINK. And to be honest, even if one opinion is ‘right’ and one is ‘wrong’, it’s not our place to judge which is which. If you believe in God, then you should also believe that it’s God’s place to judge people, not US. (Which is my personal opinion.) I don’t know you, I only know your blog, but it sounds to me like you’re doing a good job of parenting because you’re raising your kids to make their own decisions and not to live your lives over again.

  28. Erika Gillian says:

    I truly hope this is a typo: As I ate my chicken salad on squaw,

    Usually love your blog, but to talk about instilling love and to use that word? Even as a reference to bread? Maybe you’re Native American and reclaiming the word? I’m white through and through, but from what I’ve read that’s one of the worst of the slurs. I’m very noticing of that stuff lately, having been reading both about the stupid Tonto of Johnny Depp’s and how utterly, utterly awful the sexual abuse situation is for Native American women is, so this just bothered me. Feel free to kill this comment if it offends you.

  29. sheriji says:

    While we all might think we’re right, I think you’re more right than Video Boy’s parents. Just sayin’.

  30. It’s painful to watch, especially realizing that there are countless others who are raising their children in exactly this way. It’s likely that this child diesn’t even know what his words mean, but he will know, all too soon.

  31. Very well-written. At least you demonstrate the consciousness and awareness to think of these issues and consider both ends of the spectrum. I hope “video boy’s” parents learn to do the same.

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