"With regards to
homosexuality and parenting, we believe it is clear in scripture that
practising homosexuality is a sin.”
I’m glad this comment is
specific that homosexuality is the sin. I’d hate to find out at this
late date that it’s parenting.
Well, perhaps it is in my case. I not only
practise homosexuality (actually, I’ve been thinking of
turning pro), I’m divorced (”The Bible also teaches
that divorce... is wrong”) and I can’t say my life has been totally free of lying and stealing (other
examples of sin offered by the same person).
It’s a wonder I haven’t been visited by any
pestilence or plague. The worst flood I’ve experienced was a
leaking hot water heater last winter.
Perhaps I’ve been spared because I’m not oppressing a whole
race of people but just one innocent child. And it’s so comforting to feel
pity for an innocent child that it’s almost a shame to
Pity is what I don’t want for my daughter, at least not with respect to my homosexuality.
Maybe with respect to my cooking or the fact that there’s no worn-out high heels
to play dress up in. But queerness is something I want her to take strength
from, to learn from, or at least be able to use for a racy autobiography when
she’s older. I like to think of it as an asset not a cause for shame.
But I doubt the
counsellors or directors at Medeba Summer Camp would feel the same, given their
perspective on homosexuality, divorce, lying and stealing. I’m sure that if my confident, outgoing, well-adjusted little girl were to
go to this camp for a glorious week of canoeing, swimming, campfires and
sing-alongs, she’d end up being pitied for, as the Camp
Director put it in his letter, “her family situation.”
Okay, finding all this
out about Medeba Summer Camp is mostly my fault. I had the stupidity to write
to a Christian camp and ask them, politely, about their position on
homosexuality and their policies for dealing with discriminating behaviour.
What was I thinking?
Well, I guess I was
thinking that a Christian camp might have an open door, non-discriminating
position on, well, anything that isn’t harmful to other
people. My father, who was an Anglican minister, was somehow able to actively
promote the acceptance of homosexuality in the church, even before any of us
knew there was a saucy little queer lurking in the family. Also, the Medeba
brochure is clear that the camp’s Christian philosophy is
not meant to exclude or frighten anyone: “God is not forced on
anyone. Everyone is welcomed and accepted.”
Besides, the brochure
looks fabulous. Smiling campers are pictured hanging off a damp, shining dock,
rowing bright kayaks, crawling through mysterious caves and soaring through the
air at the end of a braided rope over green-blue lake water. Never mind my kid
– I want to go.
Summer camp brochures
aren’t that easy to come by. I haven’t yet found any
clearinghouse for information on what’s available for kids in
the city, let alone what’s available in the
out-of-town, stay-away-for-a-week variety. It’s kind of hit and miss.
So when I found the Medeba brochure and saw my daughter’s excitement at the
possibility of being one of those happy campers, I decided to write them a
Their response, which I’ve quoted a bit here, was a big disappointment to both of us. Oh, not
that Medeba Summer Camp’s policy is closed door.
Oh no. We were assured that “the family situation
would be not be public information” and “put downs... would be handled in a mature perspective with the utmost of
care.” The Camp Director concludes his letter by saying that my daughter “would have a wonderful experience at camp” and that this is his “foremost concern.”
Funny how his
reassurances don’t reassure me, though I think my daughter is
willing to take him at his word if only for the thrill of letting go of that
rope high over the cool, bright water.
But I can’t send her now. It would be like, oh, what’s that story about going
into a lion’s den? Something like that – asking for trouble, going where you’re not welcome, where there’s a high risk of
I suppose if I shared the
faith, I would pray that God would protect her, would cloak her with a mighty
something to keep her from being devoured by the Christians. But I don’t.
So she’ll stick close to home for the summers until I can find the camp where I
don’t have to worry that if she says her mom’s gay, the noisy dining
hall will suddenly fall silent. Where dealing with “put downs” won’t mean telling some earnest little Christian not to make fun of other
people even if the Bible says their behaviour, or the behaviour of their
mother, is bad. Where my daughter won’t find out that her
mother, her mother’s lovers and most of our close family friends,
are sinners. Where everyone is truly welcomed and accepted, even religious bigots.
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