There have been several teen suicides in the news lately. These deaths are high profile news because of the particularly hateful and public circumstances. But these suicides happen everyday. The suicide rate among gay, lesbian, bi, and Transgendered (GLBT) teens is alarmingly high. We all need to work not only to stop the bullying, attacking, and humiliating, but to give our kids a place to turn other than death.
There is now a renewed call to action to let these kids know they are loved and supported regardless of those who taunt them and make them feel flawed and worthless. But, the taunting and making these kids feel unworthy of life is not limited to their classmates. Our society has to take responsibility for the hatred, ignorance and lack of support that leads these kids to such despair that they consider death as their only way out.
What part do you think the church plays in this tragic issue?
20 questions to church goers
(Please feel free to answer in email, on my blog or facebook, some or all, individually or all together or just for yourself. But, PLEASE consider these questions.
1. Could your church be an environment that could contribute to the suicide of a GLBT teen? (This question is revisited after you have answered the others.)
2. What message to these children comes from your church's pulpit, and congregation?
3. Young people are already struggling with growing up issues, how sensitive or insensitive is your church to gay and Transgender teens?
4. What kind of support does your church offer them.
5. Does it only condemn?
6. Does it tell them they are not loved by God?
7. Does your church tell them they displease God because of the way they are?
8. Does your church insist or infer that there is something wrong with them?
9. Does your church tell these children they must change to please God or that God made them and loves them the way they are?
10. Even if your church believes children "choose" to be gay or Transgender, how sensitive to the child's feelings is your church?
11. Does your church tell these children that their feelings are false? Sinful? Wicked?
12. Are GLBT people embarrassed and humiliated and condemned in sermons at your church?
13. Does your church support these children when it is obvious they will not change?
14. Does your church have people that can talk to them without judgement?
15. Does your church allow or encourage counseling that would help the child accept him/herself the way they are?
16. When parents turn away from these kids, does your church offer support to the young people?
17. Does your church standby supportive parents of GLBT children?
18. Have you ever given thought to your church's effect on GLBT children and teens?
19. Whenever an attacked, humiliated, embarrassed, internally tortured gay teen commits suicide, we cry out that it would have gotten better, they could have talked to someone! Does your church present God as a safe haven or another source of condemnation for that child?
20. Now that you have answered these questions, could your church be an environment that could contribute to the suicide of a GLBT teen?