culture,  God,  homeschooling,  religion,  the ethical life

the biggest problem in homeschooling circles

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The biggest hesitation I had in writing yesterday’s post was a line near the bottom of the post, the one mentioning that the organization Kids Need To Read offers a special package of LGTB friendly books. I hesitated mentioning that because I know people would view that in different ways. Some people would think it is a good selling point while others would be turned off by it. I’m not sure which way my audience here leans so why bother mentioning it? Why not just ignore that detail about the organization and focus on the less controversial aspect of sharing simple picture books with kids?

I left the line in. I mentioned it.

Today sitting at church, I found myself realizing I should write about it. I should write about the decision to leave it in. I should write about belonging to the United Church of Canada, a church that does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation with regards to who can become a minister or not. A church that has more and more affirming congregations.

I should write about attending theological classes at McGill University, and having an Anglican professor stand at the front of the class and say that the Bible NEVER speaks about homosexuality. It never speaks about sexual orientation. It speaks about particular sex acts that took place in a particular context. What it condemns are not loving acts between two adults but acts of power and rape, and it condemns them alongside other prohibitions that Christians regularly ignore (such as not wearing mixed wool and linen) so there is absolutely no reason to pull those passages out and treat them like they alone give us the right to judge others.

I could write about John Douglas Hall’s book and how he wrote that Christians should not care about sexual orientation because people are not defined by their sexual orientation. Lesbians are not just lesbians they are our sisters, daughters, mothers, friends, coworkers etc, and the same goes for gay, transgendered and bisexual.

I hesitated to mention LGBT friendly books in a blog post because we live in a divided world where certain issues have become very emotional, very political and are used like litmus tests.

 Are you left-wing and liberal? You must accept gay rights.
  You accept gay rights, then obviously you can’t be Christian, right? At least not a real Christian!

In some circles I’m involved in it is taken for granted that everyone is accepting of gay rights. Then in other circles people are less so. Homeschooling circles are often less accepting, and because my webpage is focused towards homeschooling, I’m scared of alienating myself from other homeschoolers, even those I don’t know and will never meet. I am scared because I wish I could be accepted by many religious people, even though I think their very hesitation to accept that homosexuality is not evil makes them some of the cruelest people out there. It isn’t that I think people shouldn’t be able to doubt, question or hold their own religious beliefs, but making one particular question of other people’s sexual identity into a Shibboleth, well, that’s cruel.  I am a coward or at least I have been. I am sorry for every time I have not spoken up clearer, more firm and lovingly. I am sorry that I hesitated to write that one line.

The organization Kids Need to Read gives out books to programs working with children in disadvantaged situations. Sometimes they give out books that help to normalize the fact that there are homosexual men and women out there, raising families and living their lives. That is a good thing.

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  • Magic and Mayhem

    Thank you. 🙂

    As a homeschooling mother of 5 in a small, ultraconservative town, I know the feeling of not knowing if you’re up to all the eyes on you when you speak for what you think is right but know might not be popular. Last month, our state was in a fierce legislative battle over denying gay couples the right to marry. My 14 y/o daughter asked if we’d put up a “vote no” (opposing the proposed amendment banning gay marriage) sign. I am very private and shy, and knew how unfavorably it would be viewed by many. Then someone down the street put up a “vote yes” sign and I contacted a friend, paid my $10 and stuck that bright orange sign right in our front yard. We live across from the high school. I kept thinking of all the LGBT teens who walked our block every day and what it would say to them if the only sign they saw was one that said that they should not have rights. I had to speak up and let it be known that I supported them. When my 9 y/o son excitedly told my friend Nancy, “Did you see our sign?!!!” with a big smile, I realized I had a lot to learn from my kids. 🙂 One of his good friends is a little homeschooled girl with two moms in another city in our state. I’m happy for their family that the amendment was defeated, though there’s still a long way to go.

    I’d love to see the list of books or a link about where to find it. Thanks for the post and for leaving in the line. 🙂

  • Lisa (in Ontario)

    I’ve been enjoying a few of your posts this evening on the topic of religion. I’m a homeschooling parent (a ‘reluctant homeschooler,’ at least initially) and find myself in a strange new world of very religious people that I don’t just see on Sundays. 😉 I have come to the recent conclusion that I can only feel remotely spiritually fulfilled when I shake off the current notions of what a Christian has to be and embrace a much simpler, child-like faith. I will not be anti-gay. I will not tell women that they need to submit to their husbands, or that they can’t control their own bodies. I do not think the bible is the inerrant word of God. I was beginning to think I’d just have to keep faking, or give up and become an atheist, until I discovered that there ARE other progressive Christians out there who share some of my beliefs (or unbeliefs, as the case may be).

    Anyway, keep on thinking aloud and I’ll keep on reading. 🙂

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