Yesterday, as I sent by boys off to school, I sat down with a cup of tea to watch the today show before my workout…which usually means a lot of dancing around pulling too tight things on just to sweat in. I stopped half-clothed as they did a story on a young man who had recently come out as gay to friends and family and while he tried to be an advocate for anti-bullying by posting on the internet, the bullying escalated and ultimately he ended up committing suicide. I always am sad when I hear about bullying, but what literally made me break down and sob, was when Jamey’s mother told Anne Curry that on the night of the wake, their daughter wanted to be with her friends at the homecoming dance, and a Lady Gaga song came on that Jamey liked, and his friends started chanting for him, the bullies that had been harassing him started chanting “We’re glad your dead” and “you’re better off dead.” What kind of miscreants are we raising today? In the name of what God is this kind of behavior ever acceptable?
I know I’ve stormed the principal’s office when my sons were the victims of bullying and did what I could do to protect them, but I know that reprimands or punishments don’t change hearts or minds. It isn’t enough for me that they have a safe haven at home, and that we encourage them to be exactly who they are. They should be able to do that out in the world as well. We adults can, though, say loud and clear that this kind of brutality and intolerance will never be ok, and it really doesn’t matter where you stand on the issue. The challenge is to show young people by our own behavior that different is good, and diversity is even better. God has graced us all with specific potentials…I am reminded by that great metaphor of the body of Christ that Paul uses in 1st Corinthians. But when one part of the body has the audacity and arrogance to defame that grace and goodness of another part of the body and snuff out their potential, the whole body suffers. One of Jesus’ last commands was that his disciples love one another, so that the world would know who sent them. Somehow, by placing moral judgment ahead of love, that authority is lost….and the proof of that can be found by the divisiveness of the very people who were charged to bring a message of good news and eternal love.
I do apologize for pontificating, and I seem to do a lot of that these days. But I’m just so frustrated and sick of hearing stories like this, and Jamie and his family moved me to speak. You cannot call your self a Christian and not be scandalized by this tragedy…and if you’re not religious, you cannot call yourself civilized if this story didn’t make your blood boil. And if you feel nothing or engage in this kind of reprehensible behavior than even hell isn’t good enough for you. I know that righteous anger won’t solve the problem, to hate the haters is no less cancerous to the body. I do pray that the hatred stops, and is replaced by a spirit of decency. Most important was the conversation that I had and will continue to have with my own boys, it appears being against bullying is one thing we can agree on.