Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's Time for the Bullying to Stop

The news has been filled with reports lately about teenagers who have committed suicide because they were bullied for being gay. Let's be clear: this isn't a new problem. It's just finally getting the attention it deserves. We've also seen news that an Assistant Attorney General in Michigan is being prosecuted for cyber bullying a courageous University of Michigan student, bullying that he tries to hide behind the veil of free speech.

I hope that our society is finally starting to see that we have a serious problem that has gone ignored for far too long.

I am a Christian who does not believe that being gay or having a same sex relationship is a sin. I respect my brothers and sisters who disagree with me, but I believe we can respectfully disagree while still affirming the sacred worth of the persons in question. All persons are of sacred worth and bear God's image, and thus do not deserved to be degraded and bullied simply because they are different.

This is bigger than liberal v. conservative, Republican v. Democrat, or any other of the constructs we use to divide ourselves. This is a choice of love or hate, and we've been turning a blind eye to hate for far too long.

I preached about similar issues last year when the sexual orientation issue was, sadly, successfully used as a smoke screen to get people to vote against a number of proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United Methodist Church.

You can listen to the audio of this sermon on our podcast, or read the text here.

Or you can just listen to Ellen Degeneres, who says it way better than I ever could

Ellen Degeneres/ Important Message from Ryan Glorioso on Vimeo.

or, for that matter, Sarah Silverman (just be aware she drops an F-bomb here)

Life is hard enough as it is when you're a teenager. Let's take a stand and help our young people learn how their actions can have unintended consequences.

Would Jesus bully the gay kids, or would he step between them and the insecure bully who's probably secretly struggling with his own sexuality?

Answer that question and you'll know where to stand.


Monica said...

Well said, Matt. I just pray that the bullying conversation does get reduced to a homosexual or racial platform. There are many young children of all races and yet to be discovered sexual orientation bullied daily. Many schools have adopted "zero tolerance" policies against bullying but are unsure about how to be effective in stopping the bully. Children are afraid to come forward and I have noticed the school personal developing fatigue in dealing with the investigation, counseling and corrective measures. I fear it is a bigger problem than they ever dreamed.

Unknown said...

Thank u for bringing this to a light where all who can, read. If it wasnt such a personal issue in my own life, I would still so agree with ur beliefs and thinking of this issue...
God Bless u Matt.

Brad Smith said...

Thanks for posting an issue that is at the heart of every counselor who works with children or families. Bullying has always been a part of the lives of young people, but most people turn a blind eye because they think that once someone grows up it's no longer an issue. Bullying is not teasing, it's abuse. It's not just hurtful, it's damage to the psyche on a level that can cause LONG term damage. It's damage that can completely ruin someone's life, and can often cause violent outcomes. We need to see this for what it is, not teasing, but physical and emotional abuse.

Cindie said...

It is so sad that this is being done to young people are are opting for permanent solutions to problems that we hope, will only be temporary. The very fact that they are taking their own lives should be enough to make a person think twice about bullying! It is wrong at any age! My parents told me a bully will only pick on people who they think will not stand up to them. They are really very cowardly

Karla said...

NKJV: (New King James Version) "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them."

B Smith said...

Matthew 7:1-5 NIV

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.