Thursday, March 9, 2017

An Open Letter to Modest Mom

Dear Modest Mom,

I read your recent post about your choice to cancel your family trip to Disney.  I have to say that I feel bad about your choice firstly on the principle that a trip to a Disney park is an amazing experience.  Even when my wife and I traveled there without children it was exciting; with our kids it was down right magical.

I am also saddened by the nature of the response you've received.  Bullies are an ever-present problem and no one deserves to be demeaned in the manner you've shared on your blog.  My heart fell for you and your family.

As a fellow Christian I want to talk to you, frankly, about what I see as a disconnect in your words and your deeds.

This tea-pot-tempest began when you posted your reasons for not wanting to take your family to Disney and spend $6000 to support a company that promoted an agenda you disagreed with. This agenda is, at its most basic, the normalization of homosexuality.

So let's sit down and talk, okay?

You say:

  • "No matter your preference of life, I believe in kindness, compassion, and brotherly love."
You are operating here on the assumption that being gay is a preference, much like I might prefer sausage on my pizza over pepperoni, or may prefer wine over beer.  It makes it sound like being gay is a simple matter of "if I had my choice I'd date a red-head over a blonde, but I could fall in love with a brunette". 

And that's not, we are finding out more and more, the case.  There is an ever-growing body of evidence that being gay (or really any of the LGBTQ+ group) is something that runs deeper, much deeper in a person's character.

With that in place, I concur with you:  kindness, compassion and brotherly love are essential in our society and a core principle in a Christ-led life.
  • "LGBT people are humans. I don’t think they are bad people. I don’t shun LGBT people. I don’t fear them. I believe that all humans should be treated equally, and with respect."
This, right here, if it is sincere is the best thing I read from you in your blogs.  They are humans.  They are not bad people.  They deserve to be treated equally.  They deserve Respect.

But then you also posted this:
  • "Let’s let our children be children. Don’t include them in your efforts to create a politically correct stance."
This, MM, is where we separate.  What you see as a "stance", I see as no more, nor less, than an acknowledgement of existence and respect.  LGBTQ+ people are here.  They are our brothers, sisters, children, parents, neighbors and friends.  If we want to treat them equally, if we want to treat them with respect, then they deserve inclusion in our media.  

Your concern was that the character of Lafou has a crush on Gaston, a point you will see in the cartoon (if you look for it) and in many productions of the Broadway musical.  This isn't really well hidden and to be honest I'm a little surprised you're just now seeing it. You also go on to lament:
  • "This move made Disney’s first LGBT moment in a kids animation. Last fall, the creators of “Moana” mentioned in an interview with a liberal media source that they wouldn’t rule out an LGBT Disney princess. Director Ron Clements said, “It seems like the possibilities are pretty open at this point.” WHAT?!"
What I am reading in your words is your concern that being gay will be seen as, well, something deserving of respect.  What I am reading is that being gay will be seen as being given a chance at equal time.  And that only works as a point of concern if being gay is a choice, if it's a "lifestyle".  

If being gay is how God made someone, then you lose a lot of the ground you've claimed.

And let's talk about Elsa's coming out, can we?

What is it about Elsa that stands out?  She can make ice and snow, amazing creations with ice and snow.  When she "let's it go" as it were she can build an entire palace.  But instead of being who she is, she's taught to hide it.  "Conceal, don't feel."  This is the same emotional place a lot of LGBTQ+ youth find themselves.  They find happiness with someone, or simply with themselves, but they don't dare show it to the world.  They feel, but they conceal.  People will be afraid of them; people will shun them.

Is it any wonder that so many people talked about Elsa as a closeted gay princess?  Consider what kind of life she led (if you can do so with a fictional character) constantly hiding who you were from the world.  But again, you have to accept that being gay, or being transgender, is how God made these people.  Expressions of "gayness" is no different than your hugs with your husband- it's who they are naturally.

At this point I imagine you're disagreeing with me but before we go there I want to talk about something else you said in your response:
  • Maybe I’m just digging myself a deeper hole for you guys to throw me into. But hopefully, you see that there’s a real person with feelings behind this screen. Hopefully you know that your words hurt. Hopefully you’ll see me in a different light.
Yes.  Words hurt.

And to a young person struggling to figure out why they are interested in other girls, or why they don't feel right about themselves in the role of "a boy", being reminded over and over again that they are "wrong" also hurts.  They look to popular culture, movies, TV, books, games, to see what's normal, to see what's acceptable-- and they don't see themselves very often.

When they do come up, often it's people saying "those gay people don't belong" or "keep that away from my kids" as though kids will learn how to be gay by seeing it.  And those words, as you said, hurt.

Good intentioned "I'll pray for you to not be gay" are words that hurt.  So are "all this acceptance is just an agenda".  No, MM, it's an effort help people in our community, in our schools, in our markets, in our churches feel like they belong and as you said "deserve to be treated equally... [and] with respect"

So let's get to the words that hurt, words like Bigot, and "guilty for suicides".  Those kind of suck to be slung at you, I don't doubt.

But, I'm sorry to say, they aren't unfair either.  Your stance that "the gay agenda" doesn't fit in because it's morally wrong is no less a bigoted stance than that of the last generation who said "black and white people shouldn't marry; it's just wrong".  Saying that gay characters don't belong in things your kids see because it's morally inappropriate fits right next to "it's a moral truth that African's just aren't smart enough".  It's a generalization against a group of people based on more than who they are.

Your apparent stance on homosexuality is the same parallel as the writings of those who say that women just don't have the minds for science.  It's bigoted.  Sorry, but stay with me a pinch longer please.

I want to end on one of the most important parts:
  • "It seems as though agreeing to disagree is a sign of weakness."
In my life I've learned that there are times where, no, we cannot agree to disagree.  There is a right, and there is a wrong and acceptance of a wrong is never right.  Espousing a wrong is not right.   30 years ago it was not right to "agree to disagree" about women in engineering.  50 years ago it was not right to "agree to disagree" about how all people should have equal access in society regardless of skin color.  100 years ago it was not right to "agree to disagree" about humans owning other humans.  There will always be issues for which, no, there is no middle ground of shrugging and saying "well just don't agree, let's part with respect."

No, MM, this is one of those places where the side of right is say "we need to create a society where all people feel welcomed and acknowledged" and that means once in a while your daughters will see a boy kiss a boy on TV.  The right thing for us as a people is to acknowledge that while we may not agree about what we find attractive in another, homosexuality is a real thing that happens and does not need to be "boycotted" because it appears in media.  The right thing, MM, is to call you out.

And I am not alone in this:

As spoken by Christ in Matthew 22 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (emphasis mine).

When you demean others for being who they are by saying "They are banking on corrupting the purity of a child’s mind for the 1%" and "At this point, Disney is proudly looming over your morals and values and eerily cackling like a villain in one of their own classic fairy tales." you are not showing love for your gay, for your transgender, for your queer, for your bisexual neighbors. 

I believe that different views are what make discourse great, but the line is drawn when those views vilify and defame others.

I pray for you and your family, that your hearts will not be hardened and that you will come to love your neighbors as Christ commands us to.  



Rob Osterman is a failed author, a middling husband, a decent teacher, and a pretty good dad.  He enjoys board games, his work teaching, and time with this family.  

This post may be edited at any time for clarity and for grammar.

No comments:

Post a Comment