A 98 Year Old Evangelical

“What is wrong with these people?” asks my Dad.

Glenn Cameron1My 98 year old father went on a concerted quest, as a young man, to find a meaningful relationship with God. His mother, an Irish immigrant, had no use for any religious belief that was not coupled with ritual. Despite my father’s weekly involvement in her church here, he did not find a meaningful relationship with God. Instead, he met God at a tent meeting in Newark, New Jersey. It changed his life: he finally found the personal relationship with God that he was seeking. As a result of this quest, he is invested in my own–in helping me towards a relationship with the loving God that he has come to know.

In a conversation today, Dad asked me, rhetorically, “How could a parent not love their gay child? Their children didn’t choose the way they are. Glenn, what is wrong with these people? Do they not know how rich God’s love is for us? You know, fathers are examples to their children of God’s love. A parent’s love for their children is powerful. How could they not love their children?”

He then went on to ask me how early I knew I was a “homo.” Got to love him – he doesn’t always have the socially acceptable terms.We have had this conversation many times before.  He just wanted to review the history again and let me know that he still loved me. I never doubt that.

Dad has extended his love frequently to those within his church who happen to be same sex attracted. He has quietly made a place for them publicly in worship and privately fought (without tact when necessary) those who wanted them “gone.” I can hear him saying to the Elder Board, “So you believe it’s a sin. Go ahead–you who are without sin, throw that stone.”

“We have had this conversation many times before.”

As his son, I am the lucky recipient of his love. I find myself in confused disbelief when I hear an Evangelical parent express hate or disdain for a gay child. And I ask, like Dad, “How can they do this? Do they not know they are one of the most potent examples to their children of God’s love?”

Dad knows we have different views on God. That’s irrelevant to him. He knows that he is an example to me of a loving God. As he loves me, he believes that I will experience a richer relationship with a loving God in my own life. And, he’s right – I have.

Glenn Cameron, BA, 1978

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