Letter to Dr. Dobson From A Gay Man

I am gay, and I am writing on behalf of many thousands of gay people in this country who havegrown to hate the church because of organizations like yours. First, however, I would like to give youa quick background on myself.
I grew up in the home of a minister. It was a very happy, nondysfunctional environment. I grew upas a Bible-believing Christian, and I always tried to put Christ first in my life and live by Hiscommandments. Most of my childhood was spent where I knew of no other gay people.
I loved the Lord, the church, and my family--in that order. I left home and attended college, where Ispent hundreds of hours studying the Bible, theology, and the history of the church. My parents wereproud and thought that everything had turned out perfectly when I graduated. That's when I toldthem I was gay. They were devastated!

You see, from day one of puberty, I was attracted to the same sex. I never changed. Of course, I triedto change because I thought I was the only one in the world like this, and my father preached againstit. So from the sixth grade to my junior year in college, I tried everything I could to go straight--counselors, prayer vigils, reading countless books on the evils of homosexuality, and attendingHomosexuals Anonymous; nothing worked. The more I tried to change, the more it seemed justnatural for me to be gay.

I decided to come out of the closet. The first person I met in a gay club was the choir director's son atmy parents' church! He introduced me to many other gays--students in seminary, Sunday schoolteachers, church pianists, ushers, and many preachers' sons. There were gay people all throughoutthe church, but no one really knew because, like me, they were silently living their lives far from theminority of loud activists that you see on the evening news.

In the next few months, I took a course at college in Pauline Epistles, and one of our textbooks had alengthy chapter regarding what the Bible says and does not say about homosexuals. To oversimplifya complex argument, it concluded that the Bible did not take a definite position on what we knowtoday as committed gay relationships. I am sure you have read some of the discussions, and they arequite sophisticated. Nothing to be dismissed lightly, I'm sure you'll agree-- especially when people'slives are at stake.

I write this letter on behalf of my many friends who come from a similar background but hate thechurch because of organizations like yours. Sprinkled throughout all your programs are derogatoryand demeaning references to gay people. You support legislation to take away our rights and spreadmisleading, inaccurate information. If you are really concerned about winning people to Christ, thenlook to the gay community. They are ripe for harvest. They would be attentive to a voice thatpreaches hope, forgiveness, acceptance, and sexual morals--as long as you understand we are notperverted in our feelings of love for one another.

Dr. Dobson, I remember watching your first videotape series in my dad's church, and I felt so strongfor your message. I still do-- basically. My partner and I, as well as thousands of other gay people,just wish you would be more inclusive.
Dear Sir,
More than anything else, I appreciate the respectful and conciliatory attitude you conveyed in broaching anextremely emotional and controversial subject with me. You have made your case sensitively and intelligently. Thank you for that. I honestly believe that if more of us would adopt your approach, we mightbegin to make some headway in the business of understanding one another!
In response, I want to begin by telling you how strongly I feel about the mandate we have as Christians tolove and care for people from all walks of life. Even those with whom we disagree. Even those involved inlifestyles we believe to be immoral. My first reaction to your honest sharing of yourself is a sense ofacceptance for you as an individual. I mean that sincerely.

Regardless of what the media may say, Family Talk has no interest in promoting hatred towardhomosexuals or any other group of our fellow human beings. We have not supported, and will neversupport, legislation aimed at depriving them of their basic constitutional rights--rights they share with everycitizen. On the contrary, we want to reach out to gay and lesbian people whenever and wherever we can. IfI had the time, I could describe for you many situations in which we've done exactly that. It's acommandment we've received from the Lord Jesus.

Beyond that, I have to acknowledge that you and I have a very different understanding of Scripture. It is myfirm conviction that sex outside of marriage (whether homosexual or heterosexual) is not permitted bythose who call themselves "believers."

Yes, I'm aware that some biblical scholars have conducted elaborate studies to show that Scripture takes nodecisive position on the issue. This is neither new nor surprising. Biblical studies have been done to supporta wide variety of unbiblical ideas!

But from our perspective, the truth remains clear. You've obviously been over that ground, and I will notuse this reply to belabor the point.

Let me simply say that the same Scriptures that condemn homosexuality and premarital heterosexualityalso tell us to accept those who are in violation of these ordinances. Jesus was more compassionate towardthe woman caught in the very act of intercourse--a capital offense in those days--than He was toward thehypocrites in the church. This is our model and our mandate.
Whereas we have never attempted to hurt or ridicule the individual homosexual or lesbian, I do find myselfin sharp disagreement with the more radical elements of the movement. The effort to redefine the family,qualify for adoption, promote the homosexual lifestyle in the schools, etc., are objectives with which Idisagree. And I will oppose them when the issues are raised. Does that make me a hatemonger? I think not.

Concerning the passage of Amendment 2 here in Colorado (which would have prohibited ordinances andlegislation creating "special rights" for homosexuals, equating them with those needing civil rightsprotection), let me explain why we strongly favored that legislation. To understand our position, you mustknow that many Christians also feel they have been victimized by society's hostility to traditional religiousviews.

A dear friend of mine, Bob Vernon, former assistant chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, wasdriven from office because of his faith. No charges were ever brought against him. The pressure waspolitical, resulting solely from his fundamental beliefs. He is but one of thousands of people beingdiscriminated against today because of their Christian beliefs.

How would you and your homosexual companions feel if we, as Christians, began lobbying for special,protected legal status? How would you react if we asserted that we should be given a job and shielded fromtermination just because we are Christians? I can predict that you would fight such ordinances tooth andnail. Why?
Because when one person wins in these kinds of struggles, someone else (the nonbeliever) loses. Thus, wemust be very careful before creating new "minorities" based on behavior or beliefs--as opposed to thosewho have been discriminated against historically based on their race.
That raises the question: Have homosexuals faced this kind of uphill battle? Perhaps in the past, but there isno evidence of which I'm aware that they are disadvantaged now. The average homosexual earns $55,000per year, compared with $32,000 for heterosexuals.
1. Gays also have a much higher percentage of college degrees than the straight population.
2. And when itcomes to political clout, how can they claim to be shortchanged? Dozens of objectives of the gay andlesbian community are being achieved today.

Look at the issue of funding for AIDS research and treatment. I had a heart attack several years ago, and Iam very concerned about support for research on coronary artery disease. After all, heart attacks andstrokes kill more people than AIDS, cancer, TB, and several other diseases combined. But as you mayknow, the federal government spent thirty-nine times as much on AIDS last year as it did on heart disease.
3. Why? Because of the clout of homosexuals who turned their powerful guns on Congress and the WhiteHouse.

My point is not to decry money being spent on the horrible AIDS epidemic. I'm simply making the pointthat the homosexual community is hardly an oppressed, powerless minority seeking protection under thelaw. You have Hollywood, the press, the media, the universities, the publishers, the professionals (in theAmeri- can Bar Association, American Medical Association, etc.), and the judiciary enforcing your"politically correct" agenda.

Conservative Christians, by contrast, are stranded pretty much on their own. Given this undergirding, Ihope you can see that our opposition to the gay and lesbian tidal wave is not an expression of hate but oneof social justice and common sense.

One more thought about expressions of hatred. The question is: Who is endeavoring to hurt whom? Havewe brought caskets to your front door? Have we thrown bricks through your windows? Have we left bloodyanimal parts on your property? Have we spread untrue rumors about your activities and motives? Have wespray-painted your buildings or made bomb threats at your offices?
No, but all of these hostilities have been inflicted on us by the homosexual community and its supporters inColorado Springs. Nevertheless, we have not returned evil for evil, nor do we intend to do so. Thus, thecharge that we are hateful is simply not rooted in fact.

I hope this clarifies my position for you. Again, I'm grateful that you cared enough to write, and I want youto know that we're here for you if you need us. God bless you.
Dr. James Dobson
1. Joan E. Rigdon, "Overcoming a Deep-Rooted Reluctance, More FirmsAdvertise to Gay Community," Wall Street Journal, 18 July 1991, 1B.2. Ibid.3. "Invest in Heart and Stroke Research: Ensure the Future Health of OurNation, Our Families, Our Children," American Heart Association Office of
Public Affairs, 1996
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