Since the new LDS restrictions on children of gay parents were made public yesterday, there have been many angry denunciations against a church that punishes children for the sins of their parents. That will change, I think, when people think through the issue more carefully. I’ll try to help with that process.
Let’s start with the premise that same-sex marriages are unnatural and thus evil and with the fact that what we know to be evil is now legal and increasingly natural in the United States. That makes it harder and harder for us to make people understand that gay marriage is evil.
We have a special problem with children being raised by gay parents. A child whose parents love and support it — and feed and care for and challenge and correct and nurse and weep with and celebrate it — will, unfortunately, understand the goodness of those parents. Their family life may even seem natural to those children. They may love their parents. That puts them in a position of inevitable opposition to the principles of the gospel we are trying to teach, namely, that their parents are engaged in evil and unnatural lifestyles. Were we to allow them to be blessed and baptized and to enjoy full fellowship with the rest of us, they might attend church and express their admiration for their parents in ways that would undermine our valiant efforts.
Some of the anger being expressed today is aimed at the fact that while these children can’t be baptized, children of murderers and rapists can be baptized and welcomed into the church. That is good logic, if you think about it for a minute. Children of murders and rapists will easily recognize those acts as illegal and evil and will not be inclined to defend them in church. But children whose gay parents love them are more problematic.
The only way, then, to protect the delicate faith and true belief of the members of the church is to discipline and punish people in same-sex marriages and to keep their sympathetic children away from our meetings and out of our fellowship.
That makes perfect sense. The LDS leaders who have announced the new policy understand the problem well and have taken appropriate action.
They haven’t, however, thought this through to the end. In coming months, as the fruits of their actions are manifest in more fully correlated and homogenized congregations, inspired leaders will realize that additional restrictions are called for. Heterosexual parents of gay children often sympathize with their children and are grateful when they find a supportive and loving partner. And when they marry the parents are no longer out-laws but in-laws. That can’t be good for anyone. The church will be better off once all parents of gay children are disfellowshipped for the good of the congregation.
Additionally, siblings of gays and lesbians often know from long and intimate experience that their brothers and sisters are good people. Better disfellowship all of them too. And while we are thinking in that direction, friends of gays and lesbians cannot be trusted.
In short, while the new restrictions on the children of parents in same-sex families are a good start, parents and siblings and friends and acquaintances must be excluded as well. Appropriate signs can be posted at all entrances to our chapels: gays and lesbians, children of gay parents, parents of gay children, siblings… LDS public relations will come up with something inoffensive and still effective, I’m sure.
As this retrenchment is enacted, new policy will have to be drafted concerning the words “congregation” and “ward” and “fellow citizens” and “fellowship” and “community” and “saints.” None of those old words fit what will be the new reality: henceforth Sunday meetings will be attended by a few bitter and fearful white guys, unless, of course, there is an important football game on TV.