What If My Son Was Gay? What Would I Do As a Father?

Wouldn't you say to them that while you love them, their relationship was sinful?

My need to write this piece comes from a jolt I got from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who faced the same question and gave an answer I could not agree with. Here is what he said if one of his own children were to be gay and fell in love with another person of the same sex, and asked his blessing, how would he react? ‘Would I pray for them together? You bet I would, absolutely. Would I pray with them together? If they wanted me to. If they had a civil service of marriage, would I attend? Of course I would.’

 

Over the years the question has been posed to me by a number of people, some from straight folk, others from homosexuals living in relationships deemed unbiblical by Scripture and the Church for two millennia. What would you do or say if your son came to you and said, “Dad. I’m gay.”

(For the record my two sons are robustly heterosexual, but that is not the point of this story.)

My need to write this piece comes from a jolt I got from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who faced the same question and gave an answer I could not agree with.

Here is what he said if one of his own children were to be gay and fell in love with another person of the same sex, and asked his blessing, how would he react? ‘Would I pray for them together? You bet I would, absolutely. Would I pray with them together? If they wanted me to. If they had a civil service of marriage, would I attend? Of course I would.’

But, I challenged him, conscious of what many evangelicals believe, wouldn’t you say to them that while you love them, their relationship was sinful or inappropriate?

‘I would say, “I will always love you, full stop. End of sentence, end of paragraph.” Whatever they say, I will say I always love them.’

I have pondered Welby’s response. Without question it is a compassionate and loving response as any father’s should or would be. But is it the right answer?

So the question comes home to me, what would I say and do as a father. (For the record I am older than Welby and my children are now 40-ish with two of our three married with children.)

Here is how I would respond.

Dear Son,

“I want to say to you that your same-sex attraction did not come out of thin air. You were not born gay, there is no gay gene. I want you to know that you are not to blame for the way you have turned out, THAT falls squarely on my shoulders. During your adolescent years I was absent from your life. I travelled and I neglected you. I was not there when you needed me. I told myself and your mother that it was more important for me to write about the state of the Anglican Communion than it was to be with you. I never hugged you enough as I should have. I never gave you the emotional, psychological and spiritual support that you desperately needed during those critical teenage years when you needed me. We never went to ball games together, I was always too busy. We never sat at McDonalds and ate hamburgers, drank milkshakes and chewed the fat. We did none of the things fathers and sons should have done together. I am responsible and I am guilty, and I must, one day, answer for my sins to God because of my neglect of you. I AM GUILTY, I AM WRONG, and I failed you. I want you to hear that loudly and clearly. I FAILED YOU. You did not fail me. It was all made worse when your mother and I got divorced. You were the one who got hurt. I didn’t see it at the time, but that’s the truth. We fought, we lost each other and you took the brunt of much of it.

“I want you to know that I loved you through all those years, but I did not show or express it in those developing pubescent years when you desperately needed me. Quite simply, I failed you.

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