I feel like this topic is way too heavy for a Friday, but with several high-profile youth suicides in the past few weeks, I just feel like I can't ignore it.
Thirteen year-old Asher Brown killed himself because he was bullied for his size, religion, social status, perceived sexual orientation.
Tyler Clementi, an eighteen year-old Rutgers student killed himself because he was recorded having sex with another man and that recording was broadcast over the internet.
Billy Lucas committed suicide because he was teased for his perceived sexual orientation.
Seth Walsh hanged himself after being bullied for four years about being gay. He was thirteen.
I don't even know what to say about these tragedies. All I do know is that this is unacceptable. These young men did not have to be in a place where they felt that they had nothing worth living for. They did not have to endure years of torment. They did not have to see their lives as having no value. These young men did not have to die.
I think I'm sad in part because I don't see the Church offering the hope that I believe that it can. Instead, I see efforts to curtail bullying being met with scare tactics and half-truths. When I looked for Christian crisis hotlines to help with suicidal teens, none that I found dealt with bullying or LGBT issues on their websites (I hope that they are trained to deal with those teens on the phone, but the sites wouldn't lead me to believe this). And a suicidal Christian teen runs a strong chance of being told that suicide is sinful and may result in the loss of salvation (or an indication that they were never saved in the first place).
What if, instead of fear, we taught our children love? What if, instead of lies and half-truths, we introduced our kids to people who are different from us? What if, instead of name-calling (like "radical homosexual"), we taught our young people to learn to address the actual area of disagreement?
What if we learned to do those things ourselves?