A Christian Teen Speaks Out Against Homophobia
Originally Published: March 4, 2011
Revised: September 5, 2012
As a Christian teenager, I get a good sense of “how” I should be from the Bible. In the Bible, it’s written that Jesus said, “Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.” Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, some other religion or don’t identify with a religion, you can probably agree that we should treat everybody the way we would like to be treated. No one wants to be made fun of or degraded, and most of us can agree that bullying is not OK. Whether the bullying is about what someone is wearing or who someone is attracted to, there is no way that it can be justified.
Just look at what happened to 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. His roommate used a webcam to stream footage of him having sex with another guy on the Internet. Tyler committed suicide not long after this incident. Did Tyler’s roommate think about how his actions would affect Tyler, or did he just believe that he was pulling a “funny” prank? Either way, he wasn’t aware of what Tyler would feel, and he certainly wasn’t treating Tyler the way he would want to be treated.
Regardless of your religious or non-religious beliefs, we can all agree that treating each other with respect is important. It’s a value. Few people could argue that part of their values includes verbally or physically harming someone because of who they are attracted to or for any reason.
Regardless of your religious or non-religious beliefs, we can all agree that treating each other with respect is important. It’s a value.
I believe my duty as a Christian is to accept everyone as God made them. But some Christians condemn same-sex relationships because of six or seven Bible verses. Certain aspects of sexuality were thought of very differently when the Bible was written, but one of the most well-known verses about same-sex sexuality comes from the Old Testament. In Leviticus 18:22, it states “thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.”
But the Bible also says we should condemn other acts that are common in our society today. In Deuteronomy 22:13-21, the Bible clearly states that if a bride is found not to be a virgin that she should be immediately executed by stoning. Do we stone brides for not being virgins in our culture? In Deuteronomy 22:22, the Bible also says that adulterers should be stoned to death. Do we stone adulterers? So why would we adhere to one particular passage of the Bible, but ignore lots of others?
Christ does not say, “Love thy neighbor as thyself, if he or she is strictly heterosexual.” In fact, there is no mention of sexual orientation in the New Testament at all. People constantly misinterpret the Bible and its message. As corny as it sounds, I sometimes ask myself, “What would Jesus do?” If you aren’t a Christian, think about what the overall message of your faith is (if you have one) and what the right thing to do would be. And I can’t imagine believing in any religion that would condone bullying or hurting anyone because of who they are attracted to.
So, how do you deal with homophobic bullying?
- Reach out to trusted adults—parents, guardians, teachers, administrators. Let them know what’s happening. Keep speaking up until you get the help you need.
- Think about what it would feel like to be the person you’re bullying, if you feel the urge to bully or make fun of someone for being different. Be aware of other people’s feelings. We all just want to be happy and feel accepted.
- Speak up the next time you hear someone getting bullied. It will do more good than you might think. If you aren’t comfortable with defending someone or it’s just not safe, get some adult help.
- Join or get information about your school’s gay–straight alliance. If your school doesn’t have one, start one.
We are all different. We think differently from one another, have different beliefs and have different backgrounds. Despite our differences, bullying and being abusive are never OK. But treating one another with respect—regardless of who we are attracted to or love—is something we should all be able to get behind.
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