Weep, Don’t Weaponize
At first I was angry. How could parents do this to a beloved child? Framed in their Christmas greeting, the parents beam upon 3-year-old twins; look again, friends and family, mom and dad are employing the card to introduce the child formerly known as Claire as now ‘Clark’ who prefers ‘them’ as a pronoun. Mother gushed: ‘Clark asked us to tell our friends and family who “they” are now…we support whatever “their” journey might hold.’
Are our struggles to guide our children well becoming a weapon for identity politics? Another parent is editing and exposing her late daughter’s troubled life to propagate LGBTQ+ assumptions. Though different scenarios, both examples employ their children as weapons for an agenda.
To be sure, we all have one. And these two camps are at war: a Church-based approach (unashamedly my own) to chaste living and Christ-centered identity for persons experiencing a swirl of emotions and desires  and the LGBTQ+ community that identifies children according to ‘felt’ desires of sex and identity and confirms the rainbow child as an endangered minority.
The mother of the late daughter cited Desert Stream Ministries as a contributor to her daughter’s instability, though we never met her. By the time we did a conference in their city, the troubled daughter had long since forsaken a commitment to chastity, was in a lesbian relationship, and had replaced her Catholic community with an LGBTQ+ support system. She took her life that year.
The parent targets ‘conversion therapy’ as her daughter’s assailant. As usual, advocacy for a chaste life gets framed as coercive ‘change efforts’; in truth, the only clinical help that the daughter received was ‘gay-affirming’ therapy. Channeling the grief of such loss into advancing a questionable agenda while demonizing people like me made me angry.
Then just really sad. Instead of weaponizing our children’s suffering, why don’t we fall on our faces to weep for the lost? Instead of wild accusations, might we cry out to Jesus to make us witnesses of sexual clarity and compassion? We can only improve the quality of our chaste offering. And to prove ourselves a trustworthy bridge over which the broken can take ground in this one Body.
Last night at Immerse (our renewal meetings) in my parish the pastor invited 14-year-old confirmation kids to come and hear my story and the testimony of a cool young couple in our midst; we also high-fived St. John Paul II and ‘his love of human love’. It was sweet and powerful to see teens seek from the Holy Spirit a deeper work on the eve of their confirmations. Human. Humble. Born of God.
It is tough to come of age sexually these days. Sensitive kids can suffer in the crossfire between activists who rush to confirm a young person’s impulses as destiny and a Church that accompanies her child in the beauty and challenge of chastity. As a Churchman, I want to be both humble and resolute in that challenge, while blazing like a torch for the beauty of Jesus’ Bride (Is. 62:1,2).
‘A person is always free to accept or reject what the Church teaches, but it is not “conversion therapy” or “religious abuse” to teach about the beauty of a life of chastity.’Denver Archdiocese
 See empirical evidence of sexual fluidity: Diamond, L. (2014) Chapter 20: Gender and same-sex sexuality. In Tolman, D., & Diamond, L., Co-Editors-in-Chief (2014) APA Handbook of Sexuality and Psychology, Volume 1. Person Based Approaches. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association. Vol. 1, pp. 629-652