Kids who are engaging in homosexual behavior often look inward and know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, is immoral, and so they become depressed and the instances of suicide can rise there as well.
Of course, this angered anyone who has two brain cells to knock together, and now Barber’s back for a second round. Today, Right Wing Watch reported on a follow up interview he did with Truth* Academy’s Peter LaBarbera. As you might have guessed, Barber had no intention of backing down.
Right, as you know I’ve never been one to mince words or sugarcoat things. That’s how God hardwired me. I also shared my opinion that many of those caught-up in the homosexual lifestyle intuitively know that such conduct is sin – that it’s both immoral and unnatural behavior. Objective truth is objective truth. God has written His laws on the hearts of every man, woman and child. We’re all spiritual beings created in the image of our sovereign Lord. We are also all sinners. Scripture says that not one of us is righteous. When we sin, we create separation between ourselves and God.
God’s word also says that when we sin sexually, it’s particularly egregious because our bodies are the temple of Christ. This separation from God – a natural result of sexual sin – can lead to depression and even despair. It’s a no brainer. I pointed out that such despair and inner conflict can logically be one factor that might contribute to teen suicide. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to witness, but it’s a very painful reality.
Scripture warns that “the wages of sin is death.” Homosexual behavior is demonstrably destructive physically, emotionally and spiritually. The answer is never to take one’s own life. Life is God’s alone to give and to take away. The answer is to repent, make every effort to stop sinning and to find Life.
- If realization of “sexual sin” (which doesn’t include being gay, in the opinion of many) were a major cause of suicide, rates of LGBT people would be the same as non-LGBT people. It’s not.
LGBT youth are three to seven times (depending on environment) more likely to die by suicide.
UPDATE 04/01/2011: Newer studies show even more alarming statistics. LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers (Massachusetts Youth Risk Survey, 2007). LGBT youth from rejecting families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide than other LGBT youth (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009).
- What Barber means by “destructive physically” is undoubtedly diseases such as HIV/AIDS. As I and many others have said before, gays having sex doesn’t cause HIV/AIDS, nor does gays having sex innately spread the disease. What spreads HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, both in gay and straight communities, is unprotected sex.
It’s no shock that this is a bigger problem in the gay community. Sex education in schools is federally limited to abstinence-until-marriage, leaving gay boys and girls completely in the dark to a much greater degree than straight boys and girls. Homophobia and stigma related to being gay have also been shown to put LGBTs at greater risk than their straight peers.
- We have to remember that when Barber and company use the terms “homosexual lifestyle” and “homosexual behavior,” they mean sex. Carl Hoover wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Jaheem Hererra wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Eric Mohat wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Stuart Matis wasn’t having sex before he completed suicide. Neither, for all we know, were Billy Lucas, Cody Barker, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, or Raymond Storm Chase. It’s not about sex.
- Considerable research has been done on the higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among LGBT people. None of it points to God or “sin” on the part of an LGBT person. All of it points to the rhetoric of hate like Matt Barber’s. All of it.
Then there’s the part that incenses me the most, as a gay man and even more so as a Christian. It’s the part that led to the title of this post.
Scripture warns that “the wages of sin is death.” Homosexual behavior is demonstrably destructive physically, emotionally and spiritually. The answer is never to take one’s own life. Life is God’s alone to give and to take away.
Don’t rush by that statement. Don’t skim it. This is important. Really dig into it and see the visceral, vengeful hatred coming from this Religious Right leader.
In this context, what Barber is saying is not that gay kids shouldn’t commit suicide because God loves them and doesn’t want them to die. What he’s saying is that gay kids shouldn’t commit suicide because it’s God’s job to kill them.
And kill them God will, to hear Barber talk about it. He’s recently argued that gays having sex should be criminal, that it should be punishable by imprisonment, and that it should be considered domestic terrorism.
None of these are hyperbole on my part; that’s just what he said. He’s also made it clear that he sees HIV/AIDS as a just sentence for being gay.
I could give a whole angry screed on how Matt Barber is wrong and how what he’s doing is connected to the deaths of LGBT people. I could, but Julia Sugarbaker did it for me 24 years ago when a fictional character said almost exactly what he said this week.
Only two days left till the Truth* Academy. Matt Barber will be there to spread his vitriol in the House of God. If you’re in Ohio or surrounding states, I hope you’ll join me in protesting what he and his compatriots do to our community and our kids.