We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible, the Word of God, should say:I wonder what kind of parent could say any of that to their child. Afterward, he turned to drugs, then died of an overdose.
We love you. We will always love you. And this is hard. Really hard. But we know what God says about this, so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.
We love you. We couldn't love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We'll get you their books; you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.
We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you've had for other guys don't make you gay. So please don't tell anyone that you are gay. You don't know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay; it is that you are a child of God.
We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is not an option.
It's hard for me to read something like that and not want to punch a wall. As harsh a poison as drugs were to that young man, religion and his struggle with self hatred was far more damaging. It was his guilt and self loathing that drove him to what eventually killed him. A guilt which, instilled by organized religion into each follower, keeps them 'in the fold.'
The horrific existence required of Christians, Muslims and pretty much any other organized religion, save maybe Buddhism, has driven more wars, facilitated more self hatred, and silenced more voices than any other single cause I can think of.
And that these parents still can cling to this fantasy, despite having witnessed what it did to their son, is beyond my ability to understand, except to write it off to extreme brain washing. They are touring and telling the story, in hopes of preventing it from happening to others. That, in itself, is good I suppose. But that they can still see value in the warped sense of reality fostered by organized religion is unfathomable.
For some, this story will be satisfying. For me, it was infuriating, and has reawakened my hatred of religion on Ryan's behalf, and those like him who have suffered the cruelties of self-doubt and self-hatred, and who now look differently and judgmentally on themselves and their fellow man because of their own religious indoctrination. It would jazz me to no end to be able to witness the crumbling of every church built in homage to such a god.
All of that from a reformed, formerly-obsessed Christian who lived the life, and damaged a lot of decent people. That is a guilt I will have to live with for a long time.