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Father’s Hateful Letter To Gay Son After Coming Out Goes Viral

by David Badash on August 7, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,News

Post image for Father’s Hateful Letter To Gay Son After Coming Out Goes Viral

After coming out and being disowned by his father, a gay man published his father’s short, handwritten letter (image, above), which has now gone viral. The son, who goes by the name “RegBarc” on the Internet social sharing site Reddit, blames “zealotry from Bryan Fisher, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, etc.” for his father’s response.

The father’s letter reads:

“James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don’t expect any further conversations With me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You’ve made your choice though Wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad.”

The son’s thoughts, via Reddit:

“It’s important to know just what this zealotry from Bryan Fisher, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, et al., does to everyday people. I’ve never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn’t drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just 1 speeding ticket in my life. Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another. 5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: F**k you, Dad.”

Andy Towle at Towleroad, who first published the letter via Reddit, writes:

It’s an all too familiar situation for many LGBT kids out there.

He’s right. The Dan Cathys of the world are giving tacit permission to parents to act this way. Shame on them.

On Reddit, the post has over 4000 comments and 2270 “up votes.”

“Pretty nasty stuff” is what John Aravosis at AmericaBlog calls it, noting:

This is how the religious right, and the Republican party that enables them, quite literally kill people.

John M. Becker at Truth Wins Out shares a personal story, and adds:

The shockingly cruel letter below, from a father to his newly-out gay son, has been spreading like wildfire through social media. When I first saw it posted on the Facebook profile of Hudson Taylor, an all-star wrestler and outspoken gay rights supporter, I knew I had to share it with you because it serves as a stark reminder of why the fight for LGBT equality and against religious extremism is so critical.

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{ 31 comments }

thatsdrfreak August 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I was raised in an evangelical home, but my family did a pretty quick 180 when I came out. That father is sick and gives Christianity a bad name.

achrontimeless August 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

That father gives Christianity a bad name? So, it's not them pushing Uganda to enact a death penalty for gay people? It's not missionaries confusing African villages to the point that they're murdering children because they think they've been taken over by witchcraft or demons? It's not them throwing a tantrum every time they're told they can't force their beliefs on everyone else? It's not the constant and systemic molestation that is propagated through certain offshoots of their faith? It's not that they have one single "word of god" but over 33,000 different denominations with their own unique belief system based off of it?

Nope, it's just this one single man that's sick… right?

thatsdrfreak August 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

I choose not to reply to your comment. Have a nice day!

achrontimeless August 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm

The cognitive dissonance you folks swim in always intrigues me. You chose not to reply, by replying…

Is this the modern version of the "I'm not touching you!" thing that children do?

Also, I'm sorry if the current state of affairs involving almost everyone who practices your faith offends you. That's not my fault. Don't kill the messenger.

jmtodd28 August 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm

He may choose not to reply but I will. ….

So by your logic ALL Christians are the same right? Because some Christians pick and choose what they believe is "God's words" and you know them to be wrong then ALL Christians are sick in your mind?

Why doesn't that cut both ways? ALL gay men are serial-murders waiting to happen because Andrew Cunanan left bodies of gay and straight men from Minnesota to Miami? Because Jeffery Dahmar took eating to a whole new level? Because John Wayne Gacy wasn't just clowning around!

Your logic ignores the facts that there are Christians that have openly-gay bishops and ministers. You ignore the outreach of millions of Christians that don't have the myopic view of the fundamentalist evangelist or missionaries. I would say that your post ranks right up there with the father's letter to his gay son when it comes to tolerance and understanding. … But that's just my opinion.

lazerhaze August 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

A sure way to fail as a parent is to abandon your child. Every year thousands of LGBTIQ kids are kicked out of their family's homes, abandoned by their parents. These parents are failures and should not be allowed to have further children or raise any other children that they may have. They are child abusers and they should be treated as such.

edelbill713 August 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I agree with the son: "F*ck you, dad." The creep who wrote this letter may have contributed DNA to his son, but that's about all it seems he did. And don't bother telling me he supported his son for 18 years; that is is legal, moral, and ethical responsibility. He followed the law. Otherwise, the courts would have made him pay child support anyway. James is better off without this paternal albatross around his neck. Dear old dad will regret this decision, even if he never admits it to himself. The right-wing nut-job media should be tried for and convicted of sadism, assault, treason, and murder.

justthinkinbout August 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

It's a hard thing to live with…knowing that your family, the people who are supposed to love you, the ones that are supposed to have your back, find you so disposable. They are so willing to throw you away just because of who you find sexually attractive. My family threw me away 17 years ago. One day the discrimination will stop. I have hope.

MichaelR3491 August 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

How could any parent behave like this toward their child? Regardless of personal views or beliefs, this is his Son! I can't believe anything my Daughter could tell me about herself would result in my disowning her.

BearFlagCitizen August 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

A real family is built on LOVE, not blood. If you need evidence, this letter…. this sperm donor is the prime example. This man is not deserving of the title "Dad".

bgryphon August 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm

"The definition's plain for any one to see
Love is all it takes to make a family"
© 1991 Romanovsky & Phillips (from their album Be Political, Not Polite)

thomasophy August 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I think everyone needs to take it down a notch, the father is coping with it. we should give him time. Wasn't very wise of the son to make this public – makes recovering the relationship harder. Yes the father did something cruel, I am sure that the father still has love for his son once he realizes that his prejudice is not as important as his love for his son. Time will heal all hurts. If we are humble enough to change our point of view.

bgryphon August 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Sure the father needed an opportunity to 'adjust' but the son says it's been at least 5 years – how long do you think the son has to put his life on hold? How long before he is allowed to call out the hatemongers?

thatsdrfreak August 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Actually, I think its very helpful for the son to share what he has been through, not only for himself, but for others who are working through the same issues.

FrenchTwist40 August 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I don't see anything at all in that letter that would suggest that the father is "coping with it" or that he "still has love for his son." And the action that would make recovering the relationship harder (honestly, I can't imagine that this relationship could ever be salvageable) was the writing of the letter in the first place, not its publication.

Time may heal all hurts, but it doesn't efface them. I won't rehash my own parents' many, many failures, but I will say that one of the things that stands out most sharply in my memory is one single word. It was used in a very heated emotional situation, and — with prompting — that parent has apologized for its use. But the memory won't ever go away, and neither will the knowledge that that parent was both willing and able to use it.

Inis_Magrath August 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

A bit of wishful thinking, Thomasaphy. Nothing wrong with wishful thinking, sometimes optimism is useful. But I hope you recognize that not all wounds are always healed with time, that not all cruel fathers ever come around, that some fathers do not love their kids and that some people cling to their prejudices all their life.

Also, I think it is important that the son shared the letter. People need to know what the pointed end of bigotry looks like.

Mtb2012 August 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

As a parent, he should have realized that this was someday a possibility for his child to come out as a gay man. I have a son, and I know that this is a possibility, so if he comes to me with the 'Mom, I'm gay' conversation, I will not only be accepting, I will be ready to tell him I love him no matter what. There's no time to "cope" when your child needs you.

WiahDee August 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Father, Mother, Sister or Brother does not always come form biology. Sometimes we need to find family in people not related to us. Find fatherly love and acceptance from someone in your world who values you and loves you unconditionally…he will be your father.

labman57 August 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Another of Christianity's finer moments …

scarfyrre August 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Don't generalize Christianity with this horrible man's actions. Not every Christian acts like this. Some actually follow Christ's teachings.

I cannot imagine my child doing anything that would cause me to disown him. He is the light of my life, and I will have his back no matter what happens in his life. For shame on this "father".

Wizzy August 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm

It's hard when you grow up idolizing your Dad and then there comes a day when you realize he's an idiot and a bigot.

Diana Lee August 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm

What a heartbreaking letter. :(

MNMs77 August 8, 2012 at 8:26 am

I really hope this letter reaches everyone so everyone can understand why such "Chick-Fil-A National Appreciation Days" should have no place in our society since its not so much about free speech, but about promoting exclusion.

DonaldDHaene August 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I know too many lesbians and gays who have rec'd this same message since I came out in '85. I was disowned by my entire religion only when I wrote about my sexuality publicly in '97. I wish my abuser father (11 yrs of sexual abuse) had disowned me – he has written me hundreds of letters since '76, including on Facebook…I too have a whopper of a letter from my father posted on my web site: Imagine this public letter: http://fatherstouch.com/Pedophile.htm

achrontimeless August 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Apples and oranges. ALL "Christians" pick and choose. It's why they don't make rape victims marry their rapists, or why they can enjoy sausage with breakfast, or why they don't own slaves anymore. If you weren't picking and choosing, you'd be a monster.

P.S.: The whole thing is since you can't follow it word for word without being a sociopath, the entire foundation is useless and can be bent to either be nicer than it really is or a different kind of horrible. Didn't the very book mention something about building a house on sand? Odd that the faith itself doesn't take its own advice.

jmtodd28 August 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm

You should really stay away from arguing theology if you don't comprehend it. The very fact that a Christian is a follower of Christ is to believe that the canonical laws of the Old Testament all changed with the coming of Christ. Try comprehending John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." This is the reason LGBT Christians love the t-shirt that the statement: What Jesus said about homosexuality: Then it is a blank shirt.

That said, I am not commenting to convert you or anyone into a believer. My point is your original statement – as I said "…ranks right up there with the father's letter to his gay son when it comes to tolerance and understanding."

The example I gave is not apples and oranges but a clear correlation to the straw-man argument you put forth. You're free to not see it that way. I'll just agree to disagree.

achrontimeless August 8, 2012 at 1:42 am

You should really stay away from arguing theology if you don't comprehend it yourself. For example Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." spoken of course by your favorite fictional character. Now you don't often see that one quoted because it's a little inconvenient for people trying to put some of the worst of that horrid book under the rug. Also the fun fact that the threat of eternal torture for finite transgressions was never mentioned until his fanclub got started.

So, just to recap: the J man said the old laws were not abolished, and he brought the threat of the wonderful vacation spot of hell with him into the book. Don't argue if you don't even know the basis for your own faith. What, you thought I started off as an atheist? I've read that pile of tripe cover to cover, that's what made me an atheist because there's no way it can be real, and even if it were the god would be a monster.

I see why you think my argument was a strawman though, people often see their own flaws in others.

Some day, hopefully sooner or later, this whole mess will be treated just like Odin, or Zeus, or Mythra, or Ra. Cute story, but impossible to understand why anyone believed them. This one will eventually go down in history like thousands of gods before it, forgotten. The sooner the better, because when this particular god goes, it takes 3 religions with it. (You did know you, the jews, and the muslims worship the same god right? Odd how the books are all different…) In the mean time people will use it as an excuse to spread hate, and arguing that the hate is wrong but their justification is real just extends the cycle by legitimizing them.

jmtodd28 August 8, 2012 at 4:20 am

Like I said, I'll agree to disagree.

ful·fill   [fool-fil] Show IPA
verb (used with object)
1. to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise.
2. to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.
3. to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.): a book that fulfills a long-felt need.
4. to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time: He felt that life was over when one had fulfilled his threescore years and ten.
5. to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively): She realized that she could never fulfill herself in such work.

For Christians, the death of Christ for our sins is the Fulfillment of the laws and the prophets. We have free will. For you to read the bible and come to the conclusion that it is all a farce is perfectly acceptable. I don't question your lack of knowledge but the argument you put forth that all Christians are responsible for the actions of any Christian. That is the straw-man your original post builds up to tear down.

All people are capable of actions that are despicable. Christians – nor any other group of people – do not hold a patent on that.

achrontimeless August 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Yes, that is the definition of fulfill. I could be as petty as you and define "not" and "abolish" for you but I know for a fact that you're not an idiot, just delusional. That and frankly you keep side tracking with this petty shit and ignoring the entire point here.

Someone gets up in front of a room packed with people and says we need to break the wrists of effeminate children to straighten them out. Why? The invisible man in the sky commands it. It's not hate, it's just following orders. (that was Sean Harris before you say I'm making that up too)

Someone walks out of a building with the sentence "Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" fresh in their memory. But, they really can't stand gay people, so they pass the judgement off to a fictional character so they can think they're free of responsibility on that issue. Now they're free to "inform" people that they've already been judged since they can claim they didn't do the judging.

A decent person donates their time to a soup kitchen to help the less fortunate, they claim they were doing so to honor a cosmic carpenter zombie.

Now, let's take "god" out of the equation here. What do you end up with? Two hate mongers that no longer have an excuse and one person that would help anyway because they're a decent person. The idea of a higher power doesn't make you a good person, but it can twist a good person into an evil bastard over time.

A simple bit of evidence here is that on a gay rights blog I've gotten so many downvotes in the last few days just for pointing out the obvious: the only place anti-gay hate comes from is religion. The problem is, the very group of people being hated have also been sold on the same fairy tale and can't let it go when they realize this. If you're ever going to get past that excuse for hate, you have to remove the source not exalt it.

If a 40 year old man was running around with a hammer knocking people's teeth out on the subway because he was trying to get money from the Tooth Fairy, you'd want him locked up in a mental ward. But, if a 40 year old man stands in front of a group of people in a special religious building and says all gays should be put in what was effectively a concentration camp until they die out, well that's his faith and how dare anyone question it. [insert eye roll]

What the hell is wrong with all of you? I get it, you've been told this was real since before you could read or think for yourself. It's hard to let go of, but trying to maintain the system that constantly is the reason your own rights are taken away from you is lunacy.

If anyone actually believed in this many athletes would be kicked out of the Olympics for cheating if they prayed before they competed. If the US was really a christian nation, "god told me to do it" would be an iron clad legal defense because he apparently asks people to do some horrible things on a regular basis. Funny how neither of those happen isn't it?

The simple fact is that there's more evidence for your friendly neighborhood spiderman than there is for jesus. More books. Yet, I've never seen anyone beat someone to death in an alley because spidey would've wanted it.

Get your priorities straight. Peace and Equality or God and Hate. You can't have it all, and since there's literally no evidence for the hate route, maybe it's time to just grow up the same way you all did with Santa Claus already.

jmtodd28 August 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Apparently the only part of my comments you comprehend is the parts you disagree with. So I'll try to leave belief and religion out of this post.

Man is imperfect. All is rarely true. Some does not equate to all.

Lazy logic that relies on myopic world-views of entire groups, classes and/or races of people based on the actions of a few is wrong. That's all I'm saying about the premiss you advance.

The rest of it, I'll agree that we disagree on our different interpretation of the same text.

By the way, I believe that you have negative votes because the language and tone you use suggest that ONLY your viewpoint is correct and supreme. That is not so far from the attitude you prescribe to people who profess to believe in a higher power.

achrontimeless August 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm

You're amusing. Let's take a trip down memory lane shall we?

I was responding to someone's claim that this one man was making an entire religion look bad. I merely pointed out that we should give credit where credit is due since thousands of people daily apparently make the religion look bad, it's probably the religion that is bad.

He replied to say that he wasn't replying, which is just asinine, and then you decided to play white knight and run to his rescue in the name of your shared faith.

You compared using an unproven claimed authority to make life miserable for others was somehow unfair to point out and then randomly tried to equate a bunch of things to being gay that just don't stand up to even back of the envelope statistics.

I point out that this just doesn't work, and that the one and only source you folks claim authority from is full of horrible stuff.

You tried to say that a single character in the book somehow erases half of it with a single sentence and I managed to refute that with a quote by the same character.

This is where things get interesting. You throw the definition of a simple word at me which does nothing to refute what I'd just brought to the argument. In fact, you run away from it since you can't refute it and instead try to drift the argument somewhere else.

Since you seemed a little slow on the uptake I spoke a little more plainly about the direct correlation that religion, particularly christianity since I don't see any pagans shouting this crap, is the only source for anti-gay sentiment and that you still have no proof for the excuses you keep providing.

At that point the best you can manage is a personal attack.

Yeah, this is over and done with. I have facts, I have evidence, you have one moldy book that you've had crammed down your throat since before you could walk. Aside from the usual circular reasoning (the bible is true because the bible says it's true) you have done nothing but look for a fight.

Since you've clearly lost the argument, I shall no longer give you the pleasure of giving you one to engage in. Enjoy your fairy tale, maybe you can pray really really hard and you'll convert me to your religion. Not that you'd risk putting it to a provable test, but the opportunity is there anyway.

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