The Other Great Commandment: Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself
I found this open letter on Facebook. It is a courageous and inspiring effort to protect our gay children and neighbors in the BYU community. Since it is doubtful that the Daily Universe will publish it, I am taking the liberty to disseminate it on Main Street Plaza. It might be a good idea, if you share it on your own pages and blogs as well, not because you or I agree with it 100% but because it is a thoughtful contribution that deserves consideration.
We of the BYU community who are sympathetic to our homosexual brothers and sisters were extremely hurt by the ignorant articles in the Daily Universe comparing homosexuals to prostitutes and serial killers. Gay students are in every classroom, every ward, and every apartment complex at BYU and we want to reach out in love to help you better understand.
-Utah leads the nation in youth suicides and teen homelessness, a large number of which are gay youth. (Utah Suicide Stats Alarming, Salt Lake Tribune, 2007)
-Gay youth who are rejected by family or peers are 8 times more likely to commit suicide, 6 times as likely to be depressed, and 3 times as likely to use illegal drugs and engage in unsafe social behavior. (Ryan, Huebner, Diaz, & Sanchez. 2009. Pediatrics)
Attempts to “love the sinner and hate the sin” more often than not come across as rejection, hate, and hostility. The hostility directed toward anonymous populations instead spiritually wounds your brothers and sisters all around you. If you don’t think you know a gay person, you’re wrong. They just don’t trust you enough to tell you.
The attitude and environment at BYU represented by those articles creates and reopens wounds that the Son of God Himself died to heal. Gay members of the church struggle under the burden of self-loathing encouraged by a culture that inadvertently teaches that those attracted to the same sex are not worthy of God’s love. Only through much pain and the mercy of Jesus Christ are those wounds healed. And it is not your place to undo what He has done.
Some people believe that homosexuality is a sin, but what that have to do with love? The task of any religion is not to teach us who we’re entitled to hate, but who we’re required to love.
To our gay brothers and sisters at BYU you are not alone. We love you. There is a place for you, with us and with God.
For more information, see the Facebook group: ShameOnYou.