A Child is Listening
“Before you echo ‘Amen’ in your home or place of worship, think and remember…a child is listening.”
Mary A. Griffith
Original Transcript below
"Because of my own lack of knowledge, I became dependent upon people in the Clergy. When the Clergy condemns a homosexual person to Hell and eternal damnation, we, the congregation, echo 'Amen'. I deeply regret my lack of knowledge concerning gay and lesbian people. Had I allowed myself to investigate what I now see as Bible bigotry and diabolical dehumanizing slander against our fellow human beings, I would not be looking back with regret for having relinquished my ability to think and reason with other people...people I trust for truth and guidance in my life and in the life of our gay son. "God did not heal or cure Bobby as he, our family and Clergy believed He should. It is obvious to us now why He did not. God has never been encumbered by His child's genetically-determined sexual orientation. God is pleased that Bobby has a kind and loving heart. In God's eyes, kindness and love are what life is about. I did not know that each time I echoed 'Amen' to the eternal damnation, referring to Bobby as sick, perverted and a danger to our children that his spirit was broken until he could no longer rise above the injustice of it all. Bobby ended his life at age twenty. "It was not God's will that Bobby jump over the side of a freeway overpass into the path of an eighteen-wheel truck, killing him instantly. Bobby's death was the direct result of his parent's ignorance and fear of the word gay. "An injustice has been done not only to Bobby but to his family as well. God knows it isn't right that Bobby is not here with loved ones. Correct education about homosexuality would have prevented this tragedy. There are no words to express the pain and emptiness remaining in the hearts of Bobby's family members, relatives, and friends. We miss Bobby's kind and gentle ways, his fun-loving spirit, his laughter. Bobby's hopes and dreams should not have been taken from him, but they were. We can't have Bobby back; if we could we would say to him, as I say to all gay and lesbian people around the world, these benevolent words of Leo Buscaglia: ' Love yourself -- accept yourself -- forgive yourself -- and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.' "There are children like Bobby sitting in our congregations. Unknown to you, they will be listening to your 'Amens' as they silently cry out to God in their hearts. Their cries will go unnoticed for they cannot be heard above your 'Amens'. Your fear and ignorance of the word gay will soon silence their cries. Before you echo 'Amen' in your home or place of worship, think and remember...a child is listening."