As an anecdotal example of the trauma caused in families by the rigid and literal interpretation of selected scriptures on homosexuality, one woman put her religious dilemma into words for the StarTribune online. Randi Reitan and her family have decided to leave the Lutheran Church.
This is not an easy choice for Randi:
Our family has been Lutheran for generations and it is hard to leave behind our heritage in this church.
Phil’s family has Lutheran clergy in all generations. His great-grandfather preached in Swedish many years ago in Minneapolis; both his grandfathers were pastors here for many years; his father started as a pastor at Oak Knoll Lutheran Church, and his brother’s first parish was in Minnesota after graduating from Luther Seminary.
My family life centered around our small Lutheran church in northern Minnesota. My dad was a surgeon and he wanted us to experience the mission field, so he took our family to Madagascar for a summer while he did surgery at Manamboro Lutheran Hospital. My mom was one of the pillars of our congregation, as well as leading programs on the conference level. There was never a Sunday morning our family wasn’t sitting in the fifth row on the left side in our little white church.
When it was time for me to go off to college, my dad said I could pick any college as long as it was Lutheran. Phil and I met and fell in love at that Lutheran college. We wanted to start our marriage in service and we spent a year teaching on the mission field in Chieng Mai, Thailand, through a Lutheran organization.
For people whose lives have been defined in many ways by the religious organization to which they belong, it isn’t easy to just give that all up. The pressures to conform to what you have always believed are tremendous; these pressures are the backbone of the ex-gay movement.
Fortunately, there are families like Randi’s that, when faced with the decision of what is really important to them, decide that love, acceptance, and valuing their family are more importance than blind adherence to ill-contrived dogma. Rather than insist that her son go through ex-gay indoctrination, Randi’s difficult and painful decision was:
We know without a doubt our gay son is God’s beloved. He is precious in God’s House. Now we must find a church home that truly understands that most basic truth.