When Rob and Linda Robertson’s 12-year-old son came to them and revealed that was gay they did what they felt was right, what their church had taught them.
The Robertson’s let their son know that they loved him, but that he had to change. So they put Ryan in ‘reparative therapy.’ Ryan met regularly with their churches pastor and immersed himself in the bible, reports CBS.
This went on for six years, but nothing changed for Ryan. Now 18, Ryan cut his parents and his faith out of his life. He started using drugs and sadly in 2009 he died of an overdose.
“Now we realize we were so wrongly taught. It’s a horrible, horrible mistake the church has made,” Rob Robertson said.
For most, this type of tragedy would drive them away from religion, but the Robertson’s did not break away from their evangelicalism. Instead they took a different approach.
The Robertson’s stayed in their church. The difference is that now they protest any demonization of same-sex relationships that they hear or see and they encourage parents of other gay children to do the same, reports wnd.com.
“Parents don’t have anyone on their journey to reconcile their faith and their love for their child. They either reject their child or hold onto their faith, or they reject their faith and hold onto their child. Rob and I think you can do both: be fully affirming of your faith and fully hold onto your child,” Ryan’s mom Linda Robertson said.
It is too early to even guess if they can have a real impact, but they will not stop trying. Evangelicals usually dismiss fellow believers who accept same-sex relationships as no longer Christian.
Many of the parents of gay children are now finding each other online through faith-oriented gay or lesbian organizations.
Linda Robertson blogs about her son at justbecausehebreathes.com. Her Facebook page that she started just last year, for evangelical mothers of gays, has over 300 members
The Robertson’s do not stand alone in their efforts for change church beliefs, James Brownson, a New Testament scholar at Western Theological Seminary, published the book last year, Bible, Gender, Sexuality, advocating for a re-examination of what Scripture says about same-sex relationships. His son revealed that he was gay at the age of 18.
Chester Wenger, a retired missionary and pastor with the Mennonite Church, lost his clergy credentials because he officiated his son’s marriage to another man. Wenger penned a message urging his former church to accept same sex relationships..
The Rev. Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church in California, changed his outlook when his son came out. His congregation voted to keep him, but the national denomination cut all ties with the church.
A growing number of evangelical leaders seem to recognize that there is a need for a new approach.
Linda Robertson said that most of the moms who contact her on Facebook aren’t ready to accept that their child is gay. Many believe their child can change. Most she believes are looking for her view on how parents should respond when their child comes out.
“I got a lot of emails from parents who said, ‘I don’t know one other parent of a gay child. I feel like in my community, I don’t have permission to love my child. They have a lot of questions. But then they’re going back to their churches and speaking to their pastors, speaking to their elders and speaking to their friends, saying, ‘We have a gay child. We love them and we don’t want to kick them out. How do we go forward?'”
So readers what do you think how do we go forward?