If My Son Is Going To Hell, So Am I

I used to like going to church. My entire youth and early 20s were spent at church. I was there once, often twice a week, learning how to be a good Christian, playing broom hockey, taking gently worn shoes to kids in Mexico, singing “My God is an Awesome God” by the campfire and turning bible verses into SNL-worthy skits. For a solid year in middle school, I went solely to catch a glimpse of the pastor’s son, who was my age and hot in a way that only an eighth grader can be. Peach fuzz, the onset of acne, braces, you know the look.

My dad is an ordained pastor, I went to a Lutheran college, I live in the shadow of a mega-church and I have a gay brother and a gender variant child. Needless to say, I’m conflicted. I’m not the first mother to feel this way; I know that.

I was discussing religion the other day with my mom. She told me that when she revealed in conversation to a few members of her bible study that her son/my brother is gay they shook their heads and said “Oh, I’m so sorry.” She says that that is, more often than not, the response that she gets from her church-going friends. She will never get used to it. When it’s time to share prayer requests and praises, she feels like she can’t share anything good about her son/my brother because her feeling is that the others in the prayer circle will be thinking “yeah, but he’s gay.”

She encourages me to not give up on God. I really do believe in God and Jesus and occasionally like going to church. It all holds some sort of nostalgic power over me. It reminds me of my childhood and I remember it fondly; the days of good, clean fun. But, then there’s that not-so-little matter of my religion not accepting members from the LGBT community. It’s a community that I live with and may be raising.

The other night, as I lay in bed thinking about religion, God and C.J, it came to me. If C.J. is going to hell, then I am too. I told my husband that he has to go to heaven with C.J.’s Brother. It’s like splitting up when one kid has a gymnastics lesson at the same time that the other one has soccer practice.

That night I was also thinking about Leviticus, where a list of rules is written out. It’s portion of the bible that my church (which I’ve been attending for more than 20 years) refers to often when the topic of homosexuality is broached. Then, the other Sunday, C.J.’s Dad and I were sitting in our church’s worship center watching a video encouraging people to get baptized. There were pictures of recent baptisms and Christian-pop-rock music blaring. Onto the screen popped a picture of a cross intricately tattooed on a church member’s forearm. People clapped.

Now hold up just a moment. In Leviticus, not too far from the whole a-man-should-not-lay-with-another-man verse is a verse about not tattooing your body. I guess that tattooing verse wasn’t for real, but the same sex verse is super for real.

I’m not saying I’m anti-tattoos. I have one and a half myself. Yes, I have a half of a tattoo. It’s a long story that involves me not sticking to my tattoo removal schedule. Anyway, if there is leniency on some of God’s laws, but not all, I’d just like a breakdown of what we are taking seriously and what we aren’t.

Is it right to pick and choose which part of religion I agree with? Is that what most adults do?

I often think to myself, “God doesn’t make mistakes.” My gay brother is not a mistake. My gender creative son is not a mistake. A friend sent me a verse from Psalms that says that “God knitted us in our mother’s womb.” I like that. God knitted C.J. (with rainbow, glitter yarn) in my womb.

My son is a miracle, knitted by God. If Jesus died on the cross for people’s sins, he died for C.J.’s sins too. I’m demanding it.

The other day, while we were driving, C.J. asked me, “Mommy can God hear me?”


“Even when I whisper?”

“Even when you are thinking something but don’t say it.”



“I just told God a joke.”

I wonder how God and his followers could hate the person my sweet, red-headed jokester may grow up to be.


About raisingmyrainbow

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71 Responses to If My Son Is Going To Hell, So Am I

  1. I can’t believe I’m half a year behind in your blog. I also can’t believe that I’m friggin commenting on a commentary half a year ago… but so it is.

    Rather than concede Scripture, demand they read it. Seriously. Demand that your church read the gospels and ask “what does it mean not to be bound by the Law of Sin and Death to a people for whom the ‘Law’ was Leviticus and for whom ‘sin and death’ meant ‘God has consequences for breaking his rules’. No, not according to scripture.

    And finally, read it yourself. Again. With new eyes. And ask yourself why the very first Christian covert was a black queer. Was that accident? Or did God have something bigger in mind.

    Non-bible people are going, “huh?” But according to scripture (Acts 8:26-40) the first convert to Christianity was an ethiopian eunuch. And good Christians flinch and look aways cuz, well, a eunuch was a castrated man, poor fellow.

    Except they are wrong. Eunuch wasn’t limited to castrati, but was a vaguer term (like today’s “queer”) for any man who didn’t fit the heterosexual, child-producing, norm. There was a whole eunuch community, and it was well known in ancient times who belonged to it.

    Phillip’s convert might have been born without whole organs, he might have been intersexed, he might have been transgender, he might have been castrated, he might have had no sexual interest in women, or just was a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous man. Whomever he was, he most definitely would not be welcome in most churches today.

    But God picked him to be first.

    Who do you think got it right?

    And all this “Jesus never said anything about..” stuff, while good intended, is also wrong.

    So the next time some holier-than-anyone-on-GCB whips out their Bible to talk about Jesus and marriage and ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’, tell them to keep reading. Only four verses later he said this:

    “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    And then smile and say, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I guess you are one of those who can’t accept it. I’ll pray for you.”

  2. Meg says:

    Yes, there’s a biiblical injunction against a man wearing a woman’s clothing. But that has been interpreted as meaning “wearing a particular woman’s clothes.” So get your son his own clothing, and he’ll be fine.

    One other thought: one day, when CJ’s brother and father are in heaven, they will be in eternal misery if you and CJ are not there. So you and CJ have to be there. And those you love have to be there. And on and on.

    So someday, I’ll have the pleasure of meeting you.

  3. Callie says:

    I thought you might want to check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezQjNJUSraY&list=UUg_AAlIDrZ6ymrPYAlT3-lA&index=1&feature=plcp . It’s a sermon that repudiates all the claims that homophobes make about the bible. The person giving it is a young gay guy who took two years off from college to really study what the bible has to say about homosexuality. I really recommend it 🙂

  4. Allie says:

    I love your blog. I just found it and am reading it backwards start to finish! Don’t give up on Christianity yet, though. I’m a young, queer woman who grew up in a denomination that sounds lots like yours. I’m now an Episcopalian– we are a wonderfully queer denomination. (I’m using queer to define everybody who doesn’t fit in to the heteronormative, cis-normative mainstream label.) The Metropolitan Community Church is deliberately all queer. The United Church of Christ is good, depending on where you are. The ELCA Lutherans are getting better. Anyway, just wanted to say– it sounds like you’re doing an awesome job with C.J. and think about trying us out! 🙂

  5. fueston says:

    I am wonderfully surprised by the show of support in these comments. CJ is a beautiful creation of God and mama, you are doing an amazing job!
    I do hope you are able to find a friendly church for your family. It may do a world of good for all of you to have an intricate web of support and understanding.

  6. Kate says:

    i love this blog because of your honesty. i dislike it because of your bias against religious people. not all catholics/christians are hateful, prejudiced, ignorant monsters- like any other group it’s the loud ones that give the rest of us a bad name :). honestly, on the topic of homosexuality, i really do not know where my belief stands because i cannot find a clear passage in the bible that supports or opposes it. what i have found though, straight from jesus’ mouth- “love thy neighbor.” so that’s the plan i’m sticking to. i just ask that you not count all of us out. i look forward to your future adventures…

  7. Rebecca says:

    I like to think that God wouldn’t actually want people to stone all 97% women who aren’t virgins on their wedding nights (oh Deuteronomy), own slaves, or believe Genesis literally because hey, 1 & 2 are completely contradictory. With the amount of picking and choosing parts of the Bible to follow that goes on, nobody can really claim to be living a Biblical life anyway.

  8. Aurora says:

    Your C.J. has a beautiful sparkly heart and I’m sure that God laughed heartily at that joke 🙂
    I think it’s so very unfortunate the number of things that are acted out in the name of religion, any religion. I was raised in a Catholic family and now, telling people that, they look at me and say things like “but you seem so normal”. It’s frustrating to know how my religion is viewed because of the things that certain members have done. I’m a person that carries with me at all times, my rosary, and a deck of tarot cards. Believing in one thing does not limit you to not be able to be accepting of other things, whether those be people or ideas. To me, Christianity is just about being loving and being kind, and you and your family express those ideas beautifully. Don’t change a thing. And someday I hope to meet you and C.J. in heaven and we will dance around in pink glitter.

  9. Char says:

    Not that you asked for this, but a friend of mine is a pastor at a church in Costa Mesa that is open and affirming. This church is a community advocate for GLBT community. It’s a beautiful thing!!!
    And praise God for you and your unconditional love!

  10. cmbg says:

    You can find an everybody-loving church! 🙂 My church (age-old, traditional liturgy, Scriptures every Sunday, feed the poor and all that) is represented here, and I am so glad it is.


    Thank you for your blog. You are sparkly and wonderful. 🙂

  11. Mike.E says:

    If I can give you some encouragement, and maybe some insight into just how “Christian” your fellow church goers really are:
    There is not a single verse in the Bible that deals with homosexuality.
    I hear you say “yeah but…”
    I tell you there is nothing in there.
    The ONLY things that refer to homosexuality are all recent additions, mistranslations, things that were never part of the original texts of the Bible – old or new testament.
    The “lie with a man as with a woman” part? Nothing to do with homosexuality, Everything to do with “propagate the race, people, we need moar kidz!”
    And when ANYONE brings up Leviticus, compliment them on their nice haircut… they’re going to hell for that abomination.. and the bacon they had with breakfast.. and that lovely seafood dinner last week… and SO many other atrocities.

    As for anything in the New Testament? Ancient Greek has MANY words for homosexuality, and you won’t find a SINGLE ONE of those used in the original Greek texts. What translators of the Bible (those who initially translated it into Latin, and then into all the other languages, like English!) did, was replace the words for ritual sexual acts (which are NOT “homosexuality”… they are exactly what the words say: ritual sexual acts, condemned because they were parts of the pagan religious rituals) with a word that does not reflect its origin: homosexual.

    often, there are even translations which so completely distort the meaning that the “author” of that translation is walking a VERY fine line, toying wiht a very serious sin: lying! For example, you will often read “effeminate” when in reality the original words were related to “soft minded”, in other words: stupid and unable to think for themselves.

    So please, dear Miss, raise your wonderful rainbow, and love your brother, for you truly are a Christian.

  12. Bill says:

    Have you Googled Metropolitan Community Church and Unity Fellowship Church?

  13. Stephen says:

    if you are a Christian, Leviticus should not be your guide. Jesus states quite clearly (Matthew and John) that the reason for his ministry – this is the reason given by Jesus – is to temper the harshness of the mosaic law, i.e. Leviticus, with LOVE. This is the reason he was pursued by the religious establishment for blasphemy; the crime for which he was executed. This is the meaning of the story of the woman taken in adultery which is not so much about the forgiveness of sins but is a brilliant ploy on Jesus’ part to make the rabbis claim to be without sin – blasphemy. That is why they put down the rocks and go home. If your church teaches that Leviticus is some kind of reference for Christians you might want to get a new church that knows something about Christianity. I’m serious. The OT is more properly looked on as the place the new religion came from. The Primitive Church rejected it outright to embrace the New Testament. Think what the title means: a new way of relating to God.
    Read the intro to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. Jesus instructs his followers to listen closely. If he openly calls for reformation the meeting will be shut down and he will be arrested. What he tells them is what he speaks about is important – adultery, for example – what he leaves out can be ignored. That should be the basis for any Christian’s understanding of His teaching.
    Yes, I am an atheist but I have read the Bible and can appreciate the teachings of Jesus when they are not corrupted by the thoughts of our current crop of know-nothing pastors.
    Good luck, say hi to C.J.

  14. cminca says:

    I learned of Stacy Trasanco’s blog from they link you provided. I read her posting and then followed the links from her blog to some of those written in support of her position. These, not suprisingly, were heavily Catholic. I wish I hadn’t. I was, as a gay man, drawn to them the same way you stare at a car wreck. You don’t want to look, but you can’t look away.

    What I saw was hate. Vile, dripping, scornful, self-righteous hate. And they tried to mask it as “love the sinner.”

    My point is simple–you are practicing real Christianity. Not to worry. And thanks.

    (BTW–I think about Brother. Let us know how’s he’s making out–OK?)

  15. NomadiCat says:

    Every time I think I know which one of your blog posts is my favorite, you come out with a KO like this one. These are tough, occasionally world-shattering issues to tackle, and I’m sorry that you have to go through it. But I do think it’s wonderful that you’re dealing with these issues while CJ is still young and thinking about how it’s going to impact you all– and I wish you the best of luck with it.

    Two things, from my own personal experience. 1) I’ve got a number of gay friends who deep down would truly love to have a church home if they hadn’t been so horribly scarred by their experiences with narrow-minded, fear-mongering congregations who cared more about feeling superior and “more holy” over someone rather than about love or peace. I think what you’re doing now will go a long way toward CJ avoiding a similar fate when he’s older, if he decides he wants something like a church home. 2) To echo Rebecca below… I’m really, really, REALLY glad I found Unitarian Universalism. They’re a little hard to explain in a small space, but they’re Christian based, universally accepting of QUILTBAG folks, and have, like, the best religious education program for kids EVER.

  16. asintree says:

    You are the most awesome mom ever! Whenever one of my friends is pregnant I always pray that their child will be gay because gay children (and their will always be gay children) should be raised by people like my friends. People like you.

    I was raised in a church, as were you, deeply involved in choirs and youth groups, etc… My church family and my biological family taught me all that God had for me to learn and I never, ever heard a peep about homosexuality. I have no memory of even one sermon denouncing it. I did get lessons of love, forgiveness, grace, worship, honor, humility, etc…

    I spent some time reconciling my faith with my sexuality when I was in my 20’s and slowly coming out to myself and God, and then the world, and I am blessed to say that I succeeded in realizing that God created me as I am. As I always was and always will be. And I am even more blessed to have a family (save one) who loves me. Unconditionally.

    I think God gave you C.J. because He knew His special child would need special parents. There is a gift for you and your husband in the raising of C.J. and you have chosen to find and embrace that gift. And you are sharing it with those of us lucky enough to read your words.

    The tears come now. I am moved by your grace, by your amazingly flawed journey, by the wisdom you gain and pass along. By your love. I am sure that the moments of questioning are there and difficult but I am also just as sure that God has you in His hand and in His care.

    Be still and know that He is God. And that He loves you.

    And that you and C.J. will rejoice in heaven. Together. In pink. And I will rejoice with you. In pink. If that’s ok with C.J.

  17. What acne over the counter product is equal to chemical peel?

  18. Megan G says:

    a very interesting book of the bible, with many “rules”. Well, i have tattoos, i eat my steak at medium rare, and i’ve gotten my palm read before. see you in hell!

  19. Felisha says:

    Did you see this video? http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upshot/young-boy-wishes-join-girl-scouts-210130922.html

    I’m so glad this is being voiced more in news and discussed, whether there is a final conclusion now or in years ahead. I really LOVE the way the Doctor talks about the issue.

  20. I suspect like a “BILLION” people are going to send you this…

    However, If by some chance I’m first … 🙂 Yeah. If by all probability I am not, just let me think I am 🙂 Check it out, little tg girl invited to join girlscouts!


    Yes, Virgina and C.J. there just might be a Santa Clause (or a g-d if you must).

  21. Rachel says:

    This post was truly touching. As someone who is not religious (okay, let’s face it, I’m an atheist) I actually do understand your frustrations. The things you have discussed are some of the main reasons that I can’t adhere to a religion. What god would create everyone, but then say he hates some of them or their actions? It’s ludicrous to me (please note I’m not trying to “convert” anyone here).
    I’m glad to see that you also acknowledge some flaws within your own religion. I hope you teach C.J. and his brother about everything and all beliefs and let him know he is loved very much and wonderful just the way he is. In my opinion, that’s something greater than one can receive from any religion.

  22. ACH says:

    Check out the movie “For the Bible Tells Me So” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/For_the_Bible_Tells_Me_So

  23. Mitch Harp says:

    Organized religion is a terrible thing. I understand having faith, but the justification of hatred based on a belief system is awful. Period.

  24. Since 2001, I have had the worst time trying to keep any kind of religion/spirituality in my life. I was voted out of my southern baptist church in the country…led by the same guy I looked at like a father. It blew my mind to know that someone “called” by God to preach could lead a group of believers to hate and discriminate one single person and cast him out. I started going to a local church a few years ago, but even though they accepted me with open arms, there was still underlying issues that made me question whether it was a church or a business. It can’t be both in my eyes. At this point in my life, I have come to the conclusion that what I believe in my heart and my soul will have to do. In the end, that is what matters most compared to if I am sitting in a large room with many people who may have the same beliefs. In this arena, it all depends on the single person and not what everyone else thinks. They aren’t going to get you anywhere that you won’t deliver yourself to.

  25. god absolutely loves your son (and brother) DEEPLY! there are many many churches in america that are accepting of LGBTQI people, and future pastors like me are discouraged by the ones who won’t accept. however, don’t feel discouraged, and perhaps look for a church that is welcoming. they are around, and would be glad to have you and CJ. thanks for sharing and being honest and open.

    • It’s so liberating to not “give a shit” about g-d or have any need for it to “love me”. That there are some cults that are willing to take the LGBTQQI money is not something I consider to be a “plus”

  26. For fear of being “preachy” here, Biblical contradictions are vast. This is hardly the only one. It’s amazing how people can pick and choose what they like and don’t like when it comes to religion.

    For your sake, I hope that you break free of the mythical chains of religion. Just think – you would have nothing to worry about right now.

    Until then, I can only hope that other religious folks are as forward thinking as you.

  27. I wouldn’t worry about having to split up your family in the afterlife, seriously. God totes delights in your son on earth, he wouldn’t dare miss out on that in heaven 🙂

  28. Sage says:

    I’ve had such a positive experience with my churches and their POV on sexual orientation and gender expression that I’m always shocked to hear about any other experience. My first church, an Episcopalian church in NH, elected a gay bishop (and yes, there was some fallout, but overall, the congregation was extremely supportive and positive – most felt that a person’s sexual orientation only describes who a person loves, and never their character or ability to lead), and my second church, a northern baptist church, constantly preaches putting aside differences and loving ALL of God’s creatures. My personal opinion is that the most critical rule of Christianity is loving thy neighbor. To me, much of the Bible is fables and rules that made sense for the time period in which the Bible was written.

    Also, your son is so precious. I’m sure his joke made God’s day. 🙂

  29. joewcrabtree says:

    Someone in an earlier reply mentioned it earlier, but I think it bares repeating. Check out the movie titled “Fish Out of Water.” It is a pretty interesting documentary looking specifically at the main verses many Christians use to chastise those who are gay. It was a very eye-opening analysis. I was amazed and I think it can bring hope to so many.

    You are doing a great job with CJ.
    Much love!

  30. Mark says:

    personally, I think we’re making way too much of a gay or hetero thing out of really not much. I really don’t think God cares all that much about it one way or another, yet alot of us humans think s/he does. That billboard was right. After all, if God cared all that much, then why woulds/he allow the cutting off heads in our world over something as simple as what clothes you’re wearing? Makes no sense. But WE think we’re morally superior by thinking we’re fighting God’s fight. S/he doesn’t need the help. Trust me on this one. LOL!

    CJ is just a kid being himself, and that is wrong why?

  31. OC Native says:

    Because most people are indoctrinated into their religions at birth, we seldom step back and look analytically at them, but it is pretty obvious that all religions exist to explain our existence and the world around us. The ancient Romans and Greeks had their slew of gods and stories to explain the origins of the world. Some native Americans believed forests formed when trees were on their way to a dance and got stuck where they were. The Vikings thought eclipses were caused by wolves capturing the sun, and they would shout to scare off the wolves and thought they had saved the sun because it would reappear. We now consider these ancient beliefs absurd, except for whichever ones we are raised to believe are true. Science has explained the origins of the universe that people used to rely on the Bible and other stories to explain. I do not think it makes much sense to live life based on stories that were meant to explain our world before the age of scientific discovery.

  32. OC Native says:

    I always find it esepcially hypocritical when judgemental Christians site one thing in Leviticus while ignore all the rest. I thought when the New Testament came, all those old laws in Leviticus were thrown out in favor of the teachings of Jesus (that’s why it’s ok to eat pork and shellfish). And what did Jesus say about homosexuality? Nothing, but he said we should all love each other, which judgemental “Christians” do not take to heart.

  33. Mel says:

    I was raised Lutheran (WELS) and left the church in my late teens. I knew far before then though that it wasn’t for me but my mother forced me to keep going. Part of it was how they weren’t accepting of LGBT people, including myself, but I’ve come to realize the big thing is that they are a church rooted in fear, not love. I am no longer Christian and I am not going to be having kids any time soon, but when I do, I plan to go to a Unitarian Universalist church. It’s more about morality and a lot less about dogma, and they are welcoming of many faiths and types of people.

    In any case, you might want to search for a church rooted in love instead of fear. Change may be hard, but I still remember the hate and fear from my Sunday School lessons. From my point of view as a child, those were adults I was supposed to listen to and because of it I didn’t come out until late high school. You’ll never be able to protect CJ from all the bullies out there, but you can at least provide him with as many good role models and avenues of support as you can. It will make a huge difference.

    I don’t know if someone else already posted this but you might find it helpful: http://www.hrc.org/resources/category/religion-faith

  34. Brandy says:

    I’m a non-fundamentalist believe of Christ. I believe he’s there to love and support us. BUT, I don’t think he has any admonitions toward homosexuals. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a chemical matter that makes one person gay and another not. It’s not anyone’s “fault” and I believe Christians spend far too much time on hatred toward something that is not even a sin, according to God. We are expected to love one another. PERIOD. No where would it/should it say to judge one another. Sodom and Gomorrah and that whole ordeal… I do not believe was an act of homosexuality but of violence.

    Stand by your (little) man. Spoken from a real, live Christian. God doesn’t judge and we most certainly should keep our minds open… stupid church sign. Love that billboard as well.

  35. Cara says:

    I love that my (Episcopal) church is welcoming of all people and my church even has a (wonderful!) gay priest. There are lots of churches that welcome gay and gender variant people because, frankly, that’s what Jesus did. He didn’t hang out with the “upright” people, He hung out with the people who other people didn’t like!

    Anyone who says that they accept EVERYTHING in the Bible is lying or simply mistaken. There are lots of passages that endorse slavery, stoning people to death for various small sins, and not wearing clothing woven with two kinds of cloth. So all of us who wear poly-cotton blends are sinning. We all “pick and choose” what to believe in the Bible because you have to in order to live by it at all. I find it more important to figure out what I believe is the central tenent of my faith (Jesus came to Earth to be a mediator between us and God and taught us that the greatest commandment is to love) and work out from there. If something in the Bible disagrees with that, then I discard it.

    It’s very unfortunate that the church you grew up in and to which your parents belong isn’t welcoming, but there are others that are. You certainly don’t need to change churches if you don’t want to, but know that there are ones out there who will love and welcome all of you!

  36. amothersbrokenheart says:

    Theologically: depending on how one thinks about the term ‘Jesus came and fulfilled all the law’ is how you interpret the old test. laws. Jesus came to fulfill-meaning He lived without sin, didn’t yell at his mom, get a tat, sleep with another person.
    Some think the word fulfill means to negate or wipe out all the OT laws.
    Jesus had to come and ‘show the rest of us’ He was sinless, Gods true son, capable of making atonement for our sins.
    The commandments of loving God and loving neighbor SUMS up the OT laws.
    IF one is pick out OT laws to think they are still sinful, then one HAS to take all the laws, or it would be taking the Word out of context. I have tattoos and piercings, i know they are wrong and do not glorify God, but yet I did them.
    I also have a gay son, 18, who I know is being sinful. But he is nowhere any worse than me.
    We have all fallen short of the glory of God. Note the word ALL.
    Motherhood: as for you dear fellow mother, my heart aches for you. your fight will never end, fight for your sons rights, fight others who do not hold your same views, you will fight everyone at one time or another. The problem, you can not stop fighting. You are being the best mother for CJ. I did the same things you did with my son. I fought my husband and my family on it numerous times.
    I pray that God gives you the strength to fight the good fight with and for your son.
    You have a long road ahead of you and many many sleepless nights, you will need the shoulder of Jesus to rest on. You will need to cling to the cross of His forgiveness. You will need to be solid in what you think about God, Jesus and the Word.
    Hell: we do not know who is and isn’t going to hell. Only God knows and He is the ONLY judge of it. Not any person on this earth knows your heart or your sons heart. Remember too, that people often misuse the word judging to advocate their own way of thinking. Example: if i say ”homosexuality is wrong’.. I’m not judging, its my opinion. please look up the biblical word and definition for judging. it helps when people throw opinions at you.
    Son: you are doing a good job with son. He will grow up with a strong sense of love and courage if you continue on this road. He will need both when he is older.
    If you plan on living as a christian [going to church, bible studies, living by the Word, etc.] then it’s ok to have him know what other think about what the bible says.
    as you need to be aware of how other think, so does he. If he chooses to live by the Word then he needs to know the Word.
    i guess what i mean is, my son lived in a christian home since he was 5. we grew together learning about God and his commandments. He now, as an adult, has to make up his own mind how to live, what to believe and only to God is he accountable.
    Not anyone else on this earth.
    I feel like im not saying this right. maybe, teach all the religions in a general way [when he is old enough] so that he has a choice .
    well, on that note…. the hardest thing I’ve had to deal with is my son, being his own person. i watched a compliant, knowledgeable, God loving little boy turn into a God hating rebel.
    Now i don’t mean that in a crazy way, just that he grew up and had his own opinions, damn it!
    when kids are young we see them as little extensions of ourselves and when they ‘do’ something we don’t like, showing their autonomy, it kind of freaks us out.
    its a normal part of growing up. just jars us parents sometimes.
    My heart aches for you because I know what you will be going through in the future. It’s hard enough sending them out on their own, but knowing what this world, these people, can do do our sons is an added burden.
    I have been reading your blog since the beginning and pray for you often.
    I didn’t want to comment with something trite so i waited. read my blog, it’s another perspective on motherhood.
    Am i going to hell because i have tats?
    If i believe that getting a tat is a sin and i don’t repent of it, will i go to hell? If i get a tat, repent, and do it again, will go to hell? If i get a tat, repent and never do it again, will go to hell? It gets all so complicated, doesn’t it?
    Sorry this is so long, hope you can glean something from it. ❤

  37. Daniel Scott says:

    All I could think about when reading this post was lists like this

    There are so many things that are selectively ignored in the bible. I don’t consider myself to be religious, but I do have very strong faith. It’s about having faith in God and knowing that he never makes mistakes. We are who we are because he wanted us to be that way. As I said, I don’t consider myself to be very religious, but I know in my heart that no devine power would have left a list of rules around designed to pit us against each other.

  38. Pingback: Immeasurable cruelty | Thudfactor

  39. Jess Lower says:

    I love this post so much!!
    I came out at the age of 28 because I spent many, many years trying to “pray away the gay.” I had always been drawn to Christianity and felt like I needed to abandon it when I came out. I felt like the two were not meant for one another. Then a few years later I met the woman that is now my partner and one of the first questions she asked me was “what is your relationship like with God.” I was taken back! I asked her how she could make both being gay and being christian work. She explained very simply that God made her just how she was and He doesn’t make mistakes. She said that she and God were cool. It’s just his fan club that has a problem with her. I loved that explanation and I have taken it to heart.
    God makes us exactly who we are. I was born gay and He’s totally cool with it because that’s how He made me! 🙂

  40. Gabrielle says:

    I told my gay best friend many years ago that if he was consigned to Hell for being gay (even though he’s a devout Christian, a good man, and a peace officer who is respectful of his parents, kind to children, and as good a friend as anyone could ever ask for), then he’d better save me a seat, because I’ll be right there with him. As another commenter said, any god who would overlook all the other parts a person, ther good deeds and good heart, and focus solely on their sexuality, something innate and genetic, and send that person to hell just for that doesn’t deserve my worship. My Catholic grandfather is very firm in his faith, and still believes in gay marriage. I think most, if not all, of my Reform Jewish family members support gay rights. My dad and I talk a lot about Leviticus and how that one line about gay men seems to get so much attention when all the rest of it, like shellfish and cotton-poly blends, gets ignored. But my favorite part of your post was CJ telling God a joke. Who couldn’t love that precious, wonderful, glittery son of yours?

  41. blu4none says:

    There are plenty of people(especially the younger population, but even the older ones in my experience), that believe it is ok to be gay in the church or who are coming around to the idea. One book that I have seen help people reconcile some or understand some more the verses that deal with homosexuality is Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin. Marin has received criticism from both sides, but I genuinely believe that he wants to make a difference in the church and that his book does a good job capturing both what its like to be gay in the church and a new outlook on the LGBT verses that isn’t presented in most churches.

  42. Aileen says:

    This is something I have been struggling lately with… I believe in Jesus and God, but I believe in gay marriage too. I have yet to find a church environment that is accepting of this. It is becoming very disheartening because I’d like to practice my faith but I believe so strongly about gay marriage and that homosexuality isn’t wrong, I don’t want to compromise by going to a church that is constantly judging. My church friends would react the same way that your mom’s friends do. It makes my heart sad. My favorite article to share is this one: http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian
    It is written by a gay reverend and gives some great insight into those famous verses in Scripture that people use as their reasoning against homosexuality. I don’t have all the answers, just my convictions. When I answer to God for my life, I want to be able to say that I loved his creation, big, small, gay, straight, tolerant or intolerant not that I had my nose in a book and used that as my excuse for my actions.

  43. Communities of faith are all over the map. I’m fortunate that I’m a member of a United Methodist congregation in Houston that’s officially a “Reconciling Congregation”. My husband and I are out and accepted; our relationship is supported, affirmed and celebrated. I’ve intentionally identified as a Christian since 17.

    Are there people who would say I can’t possibly be a Christian and be gay? Sure. But then, I think they can’t possibly be Christian and be bigoted. Fortunately, we’re not in charge of who God loves and accepts. I’m comfortable leaving that up to God.

  44. Lyn~ says:

    Neither God nor any one who ‘truly’ understands God does not mistakes could nor would ever look upon CJ with anything but Love Acceptance and the Knowing that each of us is a slice of GodLight….

  45. I’m a Christian, and I follow your blog and support your family because I think what you’re doing, and how you are raising CJ, is EXACTLY how God wants us to be–loving, supportive, and not only accepting… but celebrating!… of all the differences in our world and the beauty of our children.

  46. Also love rainbows! says:

    I was raised Protestant but converted to Catholicism in college because I love the mystical and contemplative aspects that got me to step outside my rational mind and be more spiritual.

    Fast forward 20 years and I now have a gender creative son like CJ. I left the Catholic church so fast it would make your head spin. Nobody’s going to tell my son he’s “intrinsically disordered” unless they want to eat my fist for lunch.

    We’re in a middle-of-the-road Protestant church very much like the one I was raised in. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, I still miss the Catholic church terribly, warts and all.

  47. sam says:

    As the Bible says, I do believe that the gay lifestyle is sinful. With that said, I also believe that I sin more during the course of a day than many gay men and women. I have been given my crosses to bear and so has your Son. We are forgiven for our sins and are to strive to be more “Christ Like”. I do not judge your Son, as I hope he does not judge me. It is my job to love him as I love myself (though sometimes loving myself is a difficult thing to do). His sin is no greater than mine. Mine, no greater than his. We are called to live as He lived, and I know there are gays who live a more Christian life than I. As Jesus walked with the sinners, the prostitutes and the tax collectors, we are called to do the same. I have many gay friends and I would give my life for them without hesitation. This does not mean that I condone their lifestyle, nor does it mean that I avoid them in my life at all. They are welcome in every aspect of my life. I am also one who believes that (in a nutshell) homosexuality is a reaction to one’s environment. Not saying that the environment that a gay individual was raised in was a bad environment, but that the way they perceived and reacted to a situation, or series of situations caused them to feel and react to those of the same sex. Just as comments that were made to me in my youth that had absolutely no effect on me, had a life changing effect on others, and vica versa. I don’t claim to have all the answers, nor are my opinions so strong that they cannot be swayed or changed, I have read as much science vs. religion viewpoints that I can stand and now rely on my own observations as the determining factors. I am comfortable with my analysis, and it makes total sense to me. You and your son should be welcomed in any church and made to feel as any other member of the congregation. If not… time to find a church that reflects your own views and sticks to the word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. God Bless You.

  48. Simon says:

    You may have already heard of them or even seen them, but there are two excellent documentaries I’m aware of that deal with the issue of homosexuality and the Bible. One is called, “For the Bible Tells Me So,” and the other is called, “Fish Out of Water.” I would highly recommend both, as they analyze the scripture relating to homosexuality (what little there actually is) and come to a similar conclusion as you did. Christianity as a religion is not inherently opposed to homosexuality. Rather, it is certain practitioners and their interpretation of a very limited number of verses which give this impression. These two movies helped me come to terms with the intersection of being gay and a Christian, and further cemented my belief that God creates us just as we are meant to be, and He loves us as his perfect creation.

    I am continually touched by the story of your family. CJ sounds like an absolute joy, and God has blessed your life and the lives of others with his presence. 🙂

  49. Dear CJ’s mom…I am not a Christian or an Xtian, but I have studied religion as a lay person and especially how it related to politics in th USA. first of all, the original greek word in Leviticus refers to laying with a young male prostitute or sex slave not just another plain old variety guy. secondly, Christians are relleved of Leviticus, but I agree, it should not be cafeteria religion. Third, think about Faith in America, and/or PFLAG for fellowship . Finally, fourth, help your mom find a more welcoming church. They do exist. You can “have it all”, and you don’t have to be a celebrity! (just be true to yourself and your family – I am pretty sure any god “gets it”.

  50. MomOfSimilarChild says:

    We attend an Episcopal church that is welcoming. I know its hard to switch but I would try to find a church that is similar to what you know and welcoming at the same time. Great words about church holding a “nostalgic power” – perfectly said.

  51. mfarris70 says:

    As always, you state your case very well. People are always surprised when I tell them that I have no religious background and that as far back as anyone can remember, there was no religion in our family. My grandfather once said that because he grew up so poor, they didn’t have time for a luxury like religion. I was jealous of all the Catholic kids I grew up with because they belonged to a really cool club and I wasn’t invited. They dressed up, recited stories they memorized, had performances and really cool jewelry– and yet being gay was considered a sin. Hmm.

  52. Monica A. says:

    I love your blog. I, my husband and two kids are straight, but we have always strongly supported gay rights (actually, human rights for all). I am a librarian who believes that information can literally save lives and I believe that is what your blog is doing. You are making a huge difference. As regards to church, we attend a UCC church, United Church of Christ, and they are very open and affirming towards LGBT people. While occasionally there will be some members who are less so, the majority are supportive and the denomination itself is committed to this.

    Try to find a church that supports all of you. Neither my husband nor I were very religious, but once we had children we felt they deserved to make their own choices. We looked around for a church we could tolerate, and to our surprise we found a church we could love. Good luck!

  53. Kelly Vickers says:

    I love this post…thank you. I sometimes wonder how different I would be in I’d grown up in a church which celebrated who God created me to be…and yes, such churches are out there.

  54. Mark says:

    I think that what one, who believes in God, must always remember, is what you said in the posting-God never makes mistakes. That to me is the key. I don’t go to church in general, because when I was about 14 the priest was talking about God says this and that. I thought to myself “what can he possibly know about what God said, it’s not like he has a direct telephone line. he may know more about relion and beliefs but he can’t possibly KNOW what God says or doesn’t say any more than I do. That’s when it all changed for me and I became spiritual rather than religious.

    All of us at our core are trying to do the right thing, IF we can just get out from under other people’s shoulds and judgments, our fears of not being accepted, that little nagging “I’m just not good enough” routine cycling in our minds. What we all are is perfect for where we are right this minute, for what we are here to learn and to grow into at some point in time. Even those that hurt or lie, or steal from others, while not being their best, are learning for themselves, or giving us the opportunity to learn grace and forgiveness. I am not saying that they should not be held accountable for their actions in the secular world, but I am saying that there is a purpose and a dirrection behind all of this, and they along with us all play a part.

    With all the troubles around the world, one would think that a little boy or girl, or an adult for that matter, who expresses their own individuality without harming one other person in the process would be the least of all things to be concerned about. If one needed to be concerned about anything in the first place.

  55. Stephanie Baker-Harden says:

    Yes love him for who he is! I like that verse too. The issue is that people think the bible is a literal translation esp in the southern baptist religion. Oh and yes the thing you saw about them cheering a tattoo (i have some too) but saying theyre sorry about someone being gay is the wonderful way people pick and choose what they think is “right”. Here is how my church does it….God loves us and created us the way we are. He is a God of love not hate. Dont you love how people tend to forget the do not judge others part?

  56. bobito says:

    Dear CJ’s Mom – first of all, I want to let you know that I read ALL of your posts, even if I don’t comment on everything I read. Regarding your faith, beliefs and concerns, I want you to always remember: any god who would consign your wonderful son to eternal torment in hell for simply being who he is, or you for that matter for allowing your son to be who he is, is not a god worth worshipping.

  57. JK says:

    In case you’ve never seen The West Wing http://goo.gl/NCOak

    Totally with you – believe it all or question it all, there are no other choices.

  58. Laura says:

    I grew up in the Congregational church, which became the United Church of Christ, which is very welcoming to people of all sexual orientations. I’m sorry that you grew up in a church that cherry-picked the Bible like that. I just don’t understand how people can say that biology is a “lifestyle” or a “choice.” If LBGT people “choose” to be who they are, how come *I* never got to have the choice?

    No, I like my Mom’s church, which has a number of gay and lesbian families, with their children, and where everybody is loved for who they are and not for the gender of the person they love.

    • Amanda says:

      I would like to be alive when the society realize how unfair they have treated homosexuals in the XX and beginning of XXI century

  59. Rob says:

    Lots and lots of Jesus’s life and ministry was spent trying to break people out of the narrow theology suggested by Levitical law. Also, the danger of proof-texting is that it ignores context. I have to wonder how many of these Leviticus-spouters have tattoos, or eat shrimp, or do yard work after church… I don’t know what to call a religion that obsesses over shutting some people out so that they can feel that they’re in, but it ain’t REAL Christianity.

  60. richard cadena says:

    i have always believed that we are created by god –as we are–who we are. i do not allow others to define my faith nor my beliefs. they belong to me and my god—PERIOD.

    i have been following your blog and find your love for your two sons to be exactly what love should be about. i am impressed by your husband’s acceptance of c.j’s life.

    love the one’s that love you and keep your faith… those that do not accept you should look inward for love.

  61. Danny G says:

    Any idea what the joke was?

  62. Rebecca says:

    I was brought up in the Unitarian Universalist faith, which is embracing of gays and transgenders, so I am fortunate I don’t have to go down the road you are going down. It reminds me of Boy Scouts, not that I think my son would be interested in joining! Do you take what you like and just be satisfied that your troop doesn’t buy into some of the rules (no gays nor atheists)? There was one time I was at church talking with someone candidly about my gender non-conforming 7 year old, when one of the senior men came over to join us. I nervously continued with the conversation, wondering what he was thinking. At the close of the conversation, he said, “just let him be who he is”. My son’s Sunday school male teachers know all the Disney princess songs now. Now if the rest of the world could get on board!

  63. Jamie says:

    I’m a gay Christian. I attend a welcoming, Bible-believing church with my partner and our three sons. We are not the only gay couple at this church. There are gay men and women on the church board. Did I mention our church still manages to be Bible-based, not wishy-washy, wouldn’t-it-be-nice-based?

    Just so you know, we exist. We are out here!

  64. Isaiah A says:

    I wish people could be more accepting and loving, because this world needs it. Thank you so much for sharing, and God bless you and your family.

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