An old friend found my reflection about gay marriage and Satan ridiculous and challenged me to consider what I would do if I found out my children were gay. My eldest daughter is now two years old and the other is just four months. I have about six years or so before their sexual awareness. So, I have time.
Nevertheless, it’s a very good question to explore, now.
Same-sex attraction is as natural as concupiscence. It doesn’t make them bad people just as my tendency towards sexual immorality doesn’t make me a bad person. We’re just broken in different ways. What will bother me the most is the vitriol thrown at homosexuals by self-righteous people.
Moral insiders often do not treat homosexuals with human dignity; I’d be even more sensitive to that if my girls were gay. I think it is an injustice, the way we moral insiders treat moral outsiders. I’ve been reflecting on the Parable of the Prodigal Son. As the elder brothers, we should be going out to find our wayward younger brothers who are squandering our Father’s inheritance. We should not be brooding in our Father’s house, objecting to His mercy.
My girls, if they are imperfect, need to be confident of my love for them – just as I am confident of Our Heavenly Father’s love for me, as imperfect as I am. They need to understand the true meaning of free will, and the reality of God’s prodigal mercy. Our goal in life is to become the best-version-of-ourselves. If my girls discover that they are gay, then my job as their father is to help them become the best version of themselves, despite the heaviness of that Cross. I am to be like Simon of Cyrene and help them carry their burden, not like the Pharisees who are ready to cast the first stone.
Maya drinks a bottle of milk and then a bottle of water or two before bed. So, she needs to go to the bathroom three to five times before falling asleep. My wife finds going potty that many times is excessive and that Maya is merely trying to avoid sleep. When Maya sneaks out of her room and finds mommy, she cries while being told “it’s the last time.” When she finds daddy, she gives a sheepish grin, takes his hand and skips to the bathroom.
Maya learns discipline from mommy, forgiveness from daddy (what Anne Marie terms “spoiling.”) In matters of the Spirit, our Mother Church teaches me what is right and wrong, and our Heavenly Father teaches me about His abundant mercy. Our home is our daughters’ first experience of the Trinity; if they cannot be accepted in our family for being gay, then we would have failed as parents to live out the Gospel message of love.
My love as a parent, though, doesn’t give me the right to define what is moral. If my daughters choose to live a sinful life, then I will continue to love and bless them as God even now continues to love and bless me in my broken, sinful state. How is their father any better as a Christian, any less of a sinner? How is their sexual sin any worse than mine? The sun will continue to shine on them as it does on me.
If they insist on gay marriage and children from that marriage, I will tell them that this is not what God wants. There will be consequences, but I will be there for them. I will continue to love, pray, fast and sacrifice myself for their sake. I will care for their spouse, when she is sick. I will babysit and cook for them so that they can have a break. I will love them and the new community they’ll bring into my life, even though they are living a life of sin because God loves me even though I myself live a life of sin. How can I do any less than my own Father? Christ surrounded himself with moral outcasts and gave them hope. Perhaps I am called to do the same with the help of my daughters?
Being a Christ-like example of love and mercy may not be enough to inspire my children to a life of conversion. They may harden their hearts against any religious message because it contradicts the life they’ve chosen. If that’s the case, then I will offer up my own life in exchange for their immortal souls. There will be consequences to their actions, but I will pay those consequences myself if, in the end, they do not repent. For God so loved the world that He gave up His only son for the expiation of their sins. For I so love my daughters, I will give up my life for them. What will my Passion be? That’s for God to decide. In the meantime, fatherhood is a training ground for that ultimate sacrifice.
So, to answer my friend’s challenge, while I cannot change God’s definition of marriage, I am willing to pay the price for His forgiveness of their sins.