Friday, January 20, 2012

It Gets Better?

It's not often that a teen boy's suicide makes national and international news, but that's exactly what has happened in the case of 19-year-old gay teen, Eric James Borges. EricJames - as his friends knew him - died January 11, 2012 in California.

EricJames was a source of strength and encouragement to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community. He spoke out on his "It Gets Better" video, where he shared his own story of being bullied from an early age, and eventually being disowned by his fundamentalist Christian family.

He says his mother prayed for him and tried to exorcise the evil spirit of homosexuality from him. He was kicked out of the family home just a few months before he killed himself.

I have no intention of entering into a debate about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality. This isn't about that. This is about the tragic death of a young man, who apparently felt hopeless, lost, disenfranchised, marginalized, and bullied to the point of desperation.

One of our favorite Christian bumper-sticker-isms is "Hate the sin, Love the sinner." Did EricJames know he was loved? Were the Christians in his life able to separate "the sin" from "the sinner"? I can't answer those questions, as I wasn't there. All I know for sure is that a young man is dead - and it should not have ended this way.

Today I'm praying for EricJames' family. I can only imagine the broad range of emotions they must be going through - brokenness, sadness, loss, guilt, anger, fear, and the dreaded "what if's".

Please get off the bully pew. Is there an EricJames in your life? I ask that you love him (or her) and please, please love his parents. Get off the pew!

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