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  • Promises From A North Carolina Minister: 'If I Have Gay Children...'

    Read the four promises a Christian minister made, should his young children turn out to be gay. 

    kids.jpgJohn Pavlovitz is a Christian pastor in North Carolina, but he is not what we have come to expect a Christian pastor in North Carolina to be. He's married and is dad to two small biblically-named kids, (left) Noah and Selah. That's the Pavlovitz picture perfect family portrait above.

    John keeps a well-named blog called: Things That Need To Be Said, and last week, what he thought needed to be said caused quite a sensation in the lgbt community. John envisioned a furure when one of his children came as gay, and made four solemn promises about the way he would react in that circumstance. His four promises engendered thousands of responses.

    "I was prepared for some people to applaud it, and for others to condemn it." John reflected on the response. "That's what happens whenever you put an opinion out there. I was fully prepared for the waves of both support and hostility that accompany any vantage point, especially on a controversial topic like this. What I was not prepared for in any way, were the literally hundreds and hundreds of people who have reached out to me personally to thank me for bringing some healing and hope to their families; for giving them a message they rarely get from Christian leaders."

    Have a look at John's promises and see what all the buzz is about:

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.

    I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.

    Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
    Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
    Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.

    For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…

    1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.

    My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret.

    I won’t talk around them in conversations with others. I won’t speak in code or vague language. I won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and I won’t try to spare the feelings of those who may be older, or easily offended, or uncomfortable. Childhood is difficult enough, and most gay kids spend their entire existence being horribly, excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’m not going to put mine through any more unnecessary discomfort, just to make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier for a third cousin with misplaced anger issues.

    If my children come out, we’ll be out as a family.

    2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.

    I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal.

    I won’t pray that God will heal or change or fix them. I will pray for God to protect them; from the ignorance and hatred and violence that the world will throw at them, simply because of who they are. I’ll pray the He shields them from those who will despise them and wish them harm; who will curse them to Hell and put them through Hell, without ever knowing them at all. I’ll pray that they enjoy life; that they laugh, and dream, and feel, and forgive, and that they love God and humanity.

    Above all, I’ll pray to God that my children won’t allow the unGodly treatment they might receive from some of His misguided children, to keep them from pursuing Him.

    3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them.

    I don’t mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm’s length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing-them-in-the-school cafeteria, kind of love.

    I won’t love them despite their sexuality, and I won’t love them because of it. I will love them; simply because they’re sweet, and funny, and caring, and smart, and kind, and stubborn, and flawed, and original, and beautiful… and mine.

    If my kids are gay, they may doubt a million things about themselves and about this world, but they’ll never doubt for a second whether or not their Daddy is over-the-moon crazy about them.

    4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children.

    If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are.

    God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them. Psalm 139 says that He, “stitched them together in their mother’s womb”. The incredibly intricate stuff that makes them uniquely them; once-in-History souls, has already been uploaded into their very cells.

    Because of that, there isn’t a coming deadline on their sexuality that their mother and I are working feverishly toward. I don’t believe there’s some magical expiration date approaching, by which time she and I need to somehow do, or say, or pray just the right things to get them to “turn straight”, or forever lose them to the other side.

    They are today, simply a younger version of who they will be; and today they’re pretty darn great.

    Many of you may be offended by all of this, I fully realize. I know this may be especially true if you are a religious person; one who finds the whole topic disgusting.

    As you’ve been reading, you may have been rolling your eyes, or clicking the roof of your mouth, or drafting familiar Scriptures to send me, or praying for me to repent, or preparing to Unfriend me, or writing me off as a sinful, evil, Hell-bound heretic… but with as much gentleness and understanding as I can muster; I really couldn’t care less.

    This isn’t about you. This is a whole lot bigger than you.

    You’re not the one I waited on breathlessly for nine months.
    You’re not the one I wept with joy for when you were born.
    You’re not the one I bathed, and fed, and rocked to sleep through a hundred intimate, midnight snuggle sessions.

    You’re not the one I taught to ride a bike, and whose scraped knee I kissed, and whose tiny, trembling hand I held, while getting stitches.
    You’re not the one whose head I love to smell, and whose face lights-up when I come home at night, and whose laughter is like music to my weary soul.
    You’re not the one who gives my days meaning and purpose, and who I adore more than I ever thought I could adore anything.

    And you’re not the one who I’ll hopefully be with, when I take my last precious breaths on this planet; gratefully looking back on a lifetime of shared treasures, and resting in the knowledge that I loved you well.

    If you’re a parent, I don’t know how you’ll respond if you find out your children are gay, but I pray you consider it.

    One day, despite your perceptions of your kids or how you’ve parented, you may need to respond in real-time, to a frightened, frantic, hurting child; one whose sense of peace, and identity, and acceptance; whose very heart, may be placed in your hands in a way you never imagined… and you’ll need to respond.

    If that day should ever come for me; if my children should ever come out to me, this is the Dad I hope I’ll be to them.


    John admitted he was overwhelmed by the emotional responses his post drew:

    Many parents, children, and siblings have confided in me – some for the first time anywhere – telling of the pain, and bullying, and shunning they're received from churches, pastors, and church members. They have shared with me their stories of exclusion, isolation, of unanswered prayers, of destructive therapies, of suicide attempts, and of being actively and passively driven from faith, by people of faith. This is why I do what I do; to let people who've been damaged or excluded, feel seen, known, and loved."

    I am not a believer in gods or religions and I usually look at ministers the same way I look at con-men. But in this case, I truly hope John Pavlovitz keeps on doing what he does. Maybe Christian compassion will catch on. 


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    • commented 2015-01-30 06:07:37 -0500
      As I see it, it is completely clear in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. I have read arguments on both sides and studied the Bible for years as all should. One good read I recommend is “Can you be gay and Christian” by Dr. Michael Brown
      So… If I have a gay kid.
      1. They will have already known my greatest of all morales: I love them unconditionally and will always treat them with honor, respect, kindness, not backstabbing, never ashamed, always, and I repeat always loving them.
      2. They will have already been taught, very lovingly, all the ways of the Lord and they will know that I would never force them to follow God’s ways. They are free to choose.
      3. I would discuss with them why I believe they are feeling that way. They would hear my biblical view that all are born into sin and this feeling is a result of fallen mankind.
      4. I would insure in them that though I might disagree with decisions they may make in life, I will always love them, never ostracize them, always respect their views, and never be ashamed of them.
      If anyone is to challenge me saying I’m hateful, a bigot, stupid, full of condemnation. Why? Because I believe something different than you?
      The world is full of disagreements. Why does a disagreement make you or I evil?
      I disagree with many people and yet anyone, from any belief, or any background, that knows me, knows that I treat them with respect and love.
      Why must their be such hostility towards one another when we are all searching for truth? This is why I RESPECTABLY disagree with others at times. How would I dare condemn another when Christ forgave me? I who was once sinful and has now been set free from sin. How could I ever treat someone as below me?! As a follower of Jesus if I then speak in insults and in condemnation I would be doing the greater evil of any sins! To misrepresent Jesus. Far be it from me. And yet He told us that unless we follow Him with all our life, we will be condemned in the end. So because I fully believe this, I say it, hoping that others will be open minded and search out truth for themselves. Just as I am open minded and I read other people’s views with respect and love and I try to discover if there be truth in what they say.
      The main point is my kids would know I love them. I’ve been a youth pastor for 7 years now. There have been kids that have gone on to college and turned away from Jesus. They know I disagree with ways they are living, because I taught them the truth, and yet the greatest thing I instilled in them is my unconditional love for them. All of them that have kept in contact with me still respect my views and have told me how much my love means to them. I respect their new views and love them as well.

    • commented 2014-10-09 10:46:27 -0400
      @ Nathan Foss: Where is homosexuality condemned in “the bible”. The word was not even coined/created until 1863. It was not used until Richard von Kraftt-Ebing released his book " Psychopathia sexualis : with especial reference… by R von Krafft-Ebing … " edited by Charles Gilbert Chaddock in 1894 for publication: Philadelphia : F.A. Davis. The word “homosexuality” does not appear in any bible until 1954. If you know Greek, the word used is “effeminate” and was a reference to the Hebrew Qadesh that refers to using sexuality as a form of ritual worship mostly in keeping with the cult of Asherah. The bible does not and never did before 1954 condemn homosexuality, nor did the early community of believers before Constantine I created his “catholic [universal] church” at his Council of Nicaea in 325 CE (Eusebius, Ekklesia Historia). To tell fables is as bad as to pretend to have knowledge of a fact that cannot be substantiated.

    • commented 2014-10-09 10:09:21 -0400
      Mr. Foss, the bible was mostly written by people who never met Jesus. How do we know what God wants anyways. If the people who wrote the bible never got to meet nor talk to Jesus then how did they know what to write. Simple they wrote what they wanted us to believe. Second the bible has been translated so many times and things have been added over the years. Do your research. I believe in GOD I believe in Heaven but I do not believe in people like you who think that being gay is a sin. Sleeping with men was a very common practice until the church stepped in. I don’t fallow the bible because I don’t believe its the true word of God and Jesus. Its the word of the people who wrote it. Jesus was born in the spring around Easter but yet the bible was changed to say it was Christmas. How can you believe a book that has changed its words to suit the rich who could publish it. That has been proven. The bible also states that Jesus was never married but the first bible written in Hebrew says otherwise. Each time the bible is translated some of the original writing is lost. I don’t believe that an all loving God would say that loving another man or woman would be a sin. He creates everyone, HE MAKES THEM PERFECT IN EVERYWAY. To say other wise would be going against creation, wouldn’t it? Men and women are born gay and GOD created them. Answer that one.

    • commented 2014-10-09 05:50:00 -0400
      My question is simply how is he able to quote the Bible and yet not take into account the simple fact that the Bible is against homosexuality. How is he able to believe parts of the Bible but not all of it? Something to think about.

    • commented 2014-10-04 13:40:33 -0400
      Authur IDE
      I have read your entire comment and I have to say I agree with You !00 % , not only that But I find your information Very interesting . Where Can I get My Hands on a Copy of Your Book , and it there another Book listed right after yours . I would Really like to Read up on this . Funny I was Raised Catholic and Went to a Catholic Grade school and was never taught about any of this , and here i am 51 years old ,with my Partner for 25 1/2 years now and needing to know this to Support our way of Life . I am Very Proud of Who I have grown up to be and So Are my Very Catholic Parents .

    • commented 2014-10-04 08:36:41 -0400
      Joe Wells’ comment is not only absurd, it is biblically, historically, and scientifically false. Wells continues the evangelical extremism screed on “sodomites”. This is a coined word in reference to the citizens (men and women) of the city-state of Sodom. It was never destroyed because of sodomy (Ezekiel 16:49: “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.": הִנֵּה־זֶ֣ה הָיָ֔ה עֲוֹ֖ן סְדֹ֣ם אֲחֹותֵ֑ךְ גָּאֹ֨ון שִׂבְעַת־לֶ֜חֶם וְשַׁלְוַ֣ת הַשְׁקֵ֗ט הָ֤יָה לָהּ֙ וְלִבְנֹותֶ֔יהָ וְיַד־עָנִ֥י וְאֶבְיֹ֖ון לֹ֥א הֶחֱזִֽיקָה׃).

      Wells’ biblical ignorance and total lack of understanding of historical reality is equally reprehensible. Heterosexuals, equally, participate in anal sex, and biblically it was considered a form of early worship (Qetesh: a fertility ritual among Canaanites and Egyptians that transmogrified linguistically into Qedesh: it means “sacred”—from the Semitic word vocalized as Q-D-Š; I recommend Wells reads my book “Yahweh’s wife” and The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts by Mark S. Smith – Page 237). I know of no heterosexual couple, including my parents, who have not had anal sex.

      Medically, AIDS is a result of a lowered immune system and was discovered by the Austrian dermatologist Moritz Kaposi—among African women in the middle of the nineteenth century. His mythological “statistic” is skewered: over “50% of gay men” only applies to a few major cities like Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Houston, and San Francisco, The only thing Wells, grudgingly, got right was that it is among promiscuous men—and yet those in a committed relationship, and now those who are married to other men show little to no signs of AIDS development, especially in rural states such as the Dakotas, Kansas, etc. I would invite him to read more recent records, as it sounds like he is repeating my books on AIDS in the 1980s published in response to the hysteria of Reagan and Falwell to win political votes among the ignorant.

      Wells does disservice to the readers as not a single thing he has written can be justified or substantiated as seen by his absurd (a la James Dobson and Scott Lively) reiteration of the disproven thesis that “sodomites” “are created by outside forces. Sodomites can only replicate themselves through seizing and corrupting children.” LGBTQI people do not recruit and Wells exposes himself and his evangelical extremism in this essay.

    • commented 2014-10-04 00:01:32 -0400
      Mr. Lowe is correct, regardless of any thoughts to the contrary. As a group, sodomites are less than 3% 0f the population http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/health-survey-gives-government-its-first-large-scale-data-on-gay-bisexual-population/2014/07/14/2db9f4b0-092f-11e4-bbf1-cc51275e7f8f_story.html They are created by outside forces. Sodomites can only replicate themselves through seizing and corrupting children. God does not create sin or cause us to sin, and once sin is accepted as normal the battle is over. ****"In 2005, over half of new HIV infections diagnosed in the US were among gay men, and up to one in five gay men living in cities is thought to be HIV positive. Yet two large population surveys showed that most gay men had similar numbers of unprotected sexual partners per year as straight men and women".

    • commented 2014-10-02 11:26:56 -0400
      Mr. Lowe. Supidity and close-mindedness have also shown to go hand-in-hand.

    • commented 2014-10-01 20:17:18 -0400
      Well said! Mr. Lowe, your sexually orientation has nothing to do with HIV. There is a man where I live that is now sitting in Jail for knowingly sleeping with and infecting multiple women with HIV. Your thinking is basically saying don’t have sex at all. All walks of life can have HIV, STDS. I pray you don’t have kids. And if you do I pray none of them are Gay or they will lose their father, or maybe they should. Then maybe your eyes will opened. If my children are gay I will love and support them all of their life! If my grandchildren are gay I pray that the world will have changed and people like Mr. Lowe have opened their minds. Look through history Mr. Lowe many great men were gay! It was common practice for men to sleep together. Its not sexually orientation that has changed it people like you Mr. Lowe who force people to hide who they truly are! I hope God helps you open your mind and heart!

    • @racaltagirone tweeted link to this page. 2014-10-01 17:17:34 -0400

    • commented 2014-10-01 14:12:03 -0400
      And many atheists accuse all Christians of being narrow-minded and bigoted.

    • commented 2014-09-30 22:47:59 -0400
      Mr.Lowe Where are you getting your information , because Not all Homosexuals are Running around and having Sex with ever one that they can get into a bed or Asking People on the Street to Share an IV needle . You making it sound like we’re all out to live our lives in the Fast lane and Die before we’re 40 . Sir You need to Open your Eyes and Take a Good Hard look around You , If you check with a few of the Hospitals the HIV/Aid’s Patients are Predominately Str8 ,and married with children and their IV drug users , and other’s Got their HIV/AIDS from a Hooker that had it and never told him and opted not to use a Rubber . I’m not saying that there aren’t Gay men in the Hospital’s Dying , their just not there in the number’s that Your Claiming to be . This Following Statement is from one of your Post’s " Literally thousands of ex gays testify to their voluntarily leaving the homosexual lifestyle. This proves that it is possible to choose to avoid what often turns out to be a death trap." I Live in the State on Delaware and I would like to know how to get in touch a few of these Thousands of “EX-GAY’S” I want to meet some of them , I have been out for about 37 years and I have never met anyone that has ever told me that they were an Ex-Gay , That they Could turn off the Desires that we have and change them to now Desire Women . I am not Being A Smart ass Or trying to make you look bad but I am genuinely interested in this Subject . I have been with my Partner now for 25 1/2 years now and I don"t think that We’re going to do anything but Spend the Rest of our Days together as We are in love ( Still after all these Years ) but I would Like to know if you could Really turn off the GAY button and turn on the Straight one.

    • commented 2014-09-30 22:02:04 -0400
      Keep praying, Wesley. Maybe your God will make the scary homos go away.

    • commented 2014-09-30 19:47:15 -0400
      Ms. Janice: It is that kind of spin that doom so many thousands of homosexuals to sickness and early death each year. Promiscuity and homosexuality have shown to go hand and hand, and lesbianism has shown to have their own health risks as well. And so long as they are promoted and encouraged, the deaths will continue with no social or natural benefits to offset them. Thus, I pray.

    • commented 2014-09-30 19:09:37 -0400
      Mr. Lowe: I feel the need to address your comments. Being gay does not cause HIV; risky behavior does. Engaging in unprotected sex or IV drug use are the most common causes of HIV. This is true for both gay and heterosexual people. HIV is preventable by safe behavior. By the way, if one is to use your logic that children should be discouraged from being gay based on health risks, then all female children should be encouraged to be lesbian as lesbians have the lowest HIV rate of any population. This is consistent with your “logic” is it not? Bottom line is all children should be encouraged to be healthy, caring, thoughtful people, regardless of their sexual orientation or any other identifying characteristic. What Mr. Pavlovitz’ children need is basic health education; not to be shamed for who they ARE. As for your praise of the practice of so-called conversion therapy, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has, rightfully, condemned this practice as they recognize that homosexuality is not a disease and, therefore, does not need to be cured. As for conversion therapy “curing” homosexuality numerous studies have shown that, while some participants experienced a lessening of same sex attraction these instances were “rare” and “uncommon” (source: Wikipedia/conversion therapy). Not only is conversion therapy ineffective for changing sexual orientation, it often causes great harm to people as seen by anecdotal reports by participants of increased depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts. My hope for this world is that all children (and adults) be respected and loved for exactly who they are, rather than treated as a disease that needs to be cured.

    • commented 2014-09-30 16:57:08 -0400
      While you’re heart’s in the right place, and I agree that you should still love and pray for your children, I fear that encouraging them to embrace those feelings would be unwittingly sending them down the road to an early grave.

      Too many people have their heads filled with the urban myths about homosexuality and are completely unaware of the serious health risks associated with that activity.

      The Center of Disease Control reports that one out of five homosexuals are HIV positive and that over fifty percent of new HIV/AIDS cases each year belong to gays. And these AIDS cases are increasing among them at a rate of 8% a year.

      Literally thousands of ex gays testify to their voluntarily leaving the homosexual lifestyle. This proves that it is possible to choose to avoid what often turns out to be a death trap.

    • commented 2014-09-30 11:05:18 -0400
      From a minister in North Carolina, I am shocked—and delighted to know that some ministers have minds of their own, can understand and accept reality and do not go with the flow of hatred so common in the religious community. John Pavolvitz is rare, inspiring, and welcomed, as should all people who realize that all people are special and that no particular lifestyle is better or more deisrable than another. If it is true that all people are created in the image of a god(dess), then this is just a statement of the plethora of reality. Wonderful! I salute John Pavlovitz!

    • commented 2014-09-30 01:33:37 -0400
      John Pavlovitz I Admire You Sir , That was Absolutely Beautiful to read and I have to Say that I Wish there were More "DAD’s " in this World just like you when it comes to a Child Facing the Fact that He or She is Gay . I have read some pretty bad coming out Stories and a few good one’s but should one of Your Lovely Children turn out to be Gay it’s Great to know that they will have the Love and Support of Loving Parents Enjoy their lives with . Very Respectfully , Stephen in Delaware , A Sometimes Catholic

    • commented 2014-09-29 21:55:13 -0400
      I admire him for establishing such convictions, before the fact… I also love the way he so eloquently explains his promises, backed by a Christian upbringing/philosophy. While the whole issue has always been a no brainer for me, I could never even hope to be so well expressed, as he, when making a point. Beautiful!

    • commented 2014-09-29 21:42:52 -0400
      Simply put, thank you. My children are my world. I always said, when i was younger, i would accept my child gay or straight. As it turns out, i have been blessed to have done both. As long as she is happy, i am happy. When those who are ignorant try to hurt her, well i like them forget my Christianity or at the very least follow eye for an eye. I cant always protect her, but she knows regarldess of what she has done she is safe with me and although random things she does may make me upset or yell, its never because if her sexuality.

    • commented 2014-09-29 20:50:19 -0400
      Or, better yet, maybe it will become increasingly irrelevant in an age of reason and enlightenment, and finally die off like it should have done a millenia ago.

    • commented 2014-09-29 12:32:55 -0400
      I wish my dad was like him. Some day his children will understand how much they were and are loved.
      I hope more people see this and understand.

    • commented 2014-09-29 12:22:33 -0400
      Yes. Please read what he has to say. It’s a fantastic piece that counters the narrative of the bigoted, hateful families who throw their LGBT kids out or cut off support for them.
      In a better world, his comments wouldn’t mean much, as ‘treating your kids with love and support no matter their sexuality or gender identity’ should be the default. You shouldn’t get a cookie for displaying basic levels of human decency.
      We don’t live in that world however. We live in a world that is, at times, horrifically cruel towards people who are different, especially LGBT people. A great many of the people who are homophobic and abusive of LGBT youth cite their religious beliefs as justification for their actions. That’s why John’s promise is important. His love for his kids is what is paramount in his eyes. He loves them no matter who they are or grow up to be.
      I was driven to express my happiness to him on his blog and to thank you. I think other LGBT people ought to do the same.

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