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prolificus's avatar

Hypothetically speaking, if a surge in suicides among Christian teens were to occur due to bullying, how do you think the Christian Community would respond?

Asked by prolificus (6492 points ) October 22nd, 2010

It’s been several weeks since several gay teens committed suicide due to bullying. There has been much support from the LGBTQ community and allies to counteract bullying and its effects. The Christian community, however, has remained relatively silent with the exception of the few denominations which have historically offered support.

I was thinking this morning that if there was a surge in suicides among Christian teens, it would spark all sorts of discussion and action from the Christian community. Hypothetically speaking, some would even consider those teens to be martyrs.

This line of thought made me consider the possibility of the martyrdom of those gay teens who committed suicide. In a sense, their deaths have been sounding the alarm, warning those who will listen, that there must be something tragically wrong in our society if young people see no hope to be themselves.

So, what do you think?

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69 Answers

GracieT's avatar

I know that many members of my church have been silent about the issue of LGBTQ teens, much to my surprise and shame. Desite agreeing or disagree with the issue they are still troubled teenagers dealing with a difficult issue. I expected more compassion and support.

marinelife's avatar

How do you know that the teens who committed suicide were not Christians?

josie's avatar

There is really only one rational reason for suicide. The conclusion that all hope for achieving any sort of happiness in one’s life is lost forever.

I can understand if people who are severely disabled, or imprisoned unjustly with no hope of release, or in constant severe pain etc. might actually contemplate it.

However, committing suicide because life can occasionally be difficult or unpleasant,or because one believes that it creates an opportunity for life elsewhere is a sign of a cognitive and/or emotional disorder.

So the question, as I see it, really is not which “community” is racking up more than their fair share of suicides.

The question in my mind is what is the emotional or cognitive disorder that some of these young people have?

prolificus's avatar

@marinelife – I don’t, nor am I implying that they were or were not. I’m speaking about bullying targeted specifcally at teens for being a Christian. I’m making a distinction between the type of bullying, its consequences, and how different communities respond.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@marinelife I think the OP is insinuating that the bullying would revolve around their Christianity.

Very much like the OP posted a little faster than I did.

I imagine they would react just as most groups would, by fighting back, raising awareness, attempting to pass or alter legislation. Except that there might be more prayer involved.

prolificus's avatar

@josie – I’m not speaking about the tragedy of suicide or about which community is racking up more suicides. I’m talking about how different communities respond or don’t respond.

marinelife's avatar

I think the outcry would be huge if there were a rash of teen suicides who had been persecuted for their faith.

I think the silence now is shameful.

CMaz's avatar

Rapture.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Wouldn’t they “turn the other cheek”?

Cruiser's avatar

Hypocrisy and denial. What you are seeing is the same public response the Christian community gives to their priests who molest kids.

crazyivan's avatar

They would blame the gays…

BoBo1946's avatar

You cannot judge the herd by one cattle!

Christians would be there to support the families and give them love. We would not be their to judge, but only there to give comfort and love.

BoBo1946's avatar

Not sure how anyone could determine the Christian community has stayed silent. There are lots of communties across this country. Seems like any event that happens people always want to point their fingers at the Christians. Imagine that.

BoBo1946's avatar

excuse me, you cannot judge the herd by one cow! loll i’ve my moments!

CMaz's avatar

“Hypothetically speaking…”

With laser beams shooting out their eyes. Of course.

prolificus's avatar

@BoBo1946A new survey says not so much, regarding the message of support from the Church.

Aster's avatar

The answer is it depends on what you mean by “Christian community.” That’s a lot of people and a lot of churches. If there were a surge in suicides they would be handled quite well by some and not at all by others and mildly in others. Some would preach from the pulpit; some preachers would offer counseling (most do) for the families grieving , some would do nothing. You cannot make a blanket statement and condemn all Christians for potentially neglecting troubled people nor can you predict how it would be handled esp based on the Catholic Church’s response to abuse by clergy. There are Christians and non Christians in schools. I know that schools offer counseling for depressed kids or refer them to counselors.
I believe authorities from all walks of life would rise to the occasion in anticipation of the next potential surge in suicides. This has absolutely nothing to do with abuse in the Catholic Church. That’s a whole other set of questions.

BoBo1946's avatar

@prolificus God loves gays, sinners, reptiles, murders, me, you, etc. Churches are like people, they are not perfect. Don’t know about the people that took the survery, but it would be interesting to know the demographics of the survey.

Aster's avatar

@BoBo1946 Oh, boy: “God loves gays, SINNERS , REPTILES, MURDERERS, ” Booboo just made a big booboo.
The 2nd half was good, though.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Aster how is that? When Noah build the ark, God included all living creatures. The man who committed murder next to Jesus was forgiven on the Cross!

Aster's avatar

@BoBo1946 check your messages. I don’t wish to inflame a potential flame war Just a sec…

prolificus's avatar

@BoBo1946 – How and whom God loves can be, and usually is different from how Christians demonstrate such love. Yes, I’m making a blanket statement, knowing that there is variance among individual Christians and churches. As a whole, Christianity has not proven itself to be the pure model or reflection of an all-loving God. Even though there are pockets of individual Christians and churches who reach out to show love and support to the gay community, even those individual Christians and churches are outsiders among their peers who disagree with homosexuality. I’m saying this to say, one would think the all-loving God would be a uniting force within the Christian community, that there wouldn’t be major differences between various Christian groups when it comes to loving as God loves. But, this is beside the point. This question isn’t about how God would respond to suicides, whether they are of gays or Christians or of any other group. This question is about speculating how the Christian Community as a WHOLE would respond to a suicide crisis among their flock – if Christian teens were suddenly committing suicide because they were being bullied in school for being Christians.

PERSONALLY, I speculate that the leaders of the Christian Community would unite, march on the steps of Congress, and demand radical changes in the education system. I speculate that the Christian Community would rally against their foes, especially those who speak against Christian values and beliefs. I speculate that they would not sit by quietly, and continue to allow our society to look down upon Christians. I speculate that they would do everything within their power to counteract messages causing Christian teens to consider their place in this world not worthwhile. It would be a fight to the finish in order to protect the sanctity of life and dignity of being a part of this country. This is what I believe the Christian Community would do if the world suddenly turned on Christians and their teens were being bullied in schools relentlessly for their faith.

And, as I think about this more, it makes me angry to think we (whoever “we” is) aren’t demanding, rallying, uniting against the injustices in this world – that we passively allow our elected leaders to dictate whose life is more valuable than another’s. We are the ones who ultimately send the message to teens that they are not worthy of a full, whole life – we allow this to happen by either not fighting hard enough for equality or by remaining silent. As for those who are against equality, who speak against homosexuality, they are just as guilty.

As long as our government says LGBTQ people are not allowed to fully be human (in the form of banning or not supporting same-sex marriage, by not allowing openly LGBTQ people to serve in the military, etc.), we as a nation are saying to LGBTQ teens: “there is no place for you, there is no hope.”

Imagine if our government said the same to Christians? I imagine Pat Robertson and Rick Warren would be on YouTube offering their “it gets better” messages to teens.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Aster not going there…inflamed war is when I’m out of here.

I’m included with the reptiles, murders, etc…. just a case of emphasis!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If these Christian teens killed themselves because they were bullied for being Christian, you bet there’d be support and plenty of outrage.

Aster's avatar

^^^^^^^^^^^ agreed, Simone. Agreed. GA.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir there should be outrage regardless of being a Christian or not…. I think anyone would be against bullying.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@BoBo1946 Well, of course…but I was answering the question given.

BoBo1946's avatar

@prolificus God loves gays, sinners, reptiles, murders, me, you, etc. Churches are like people, they are not perfect. Don’t know about the people that took the survery, but it would be interesting to know the demographics of the survey.

If this offends anyone, it was not meant to be that way… just stating that God loves everyone, even a reprobate like myself.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir oh, got’cha…my bad!

Aster's avatar

(rolls eyes)

BoBo1946's avatar

(>_>) (¬_¬)

prolificus's avatar

Really?! I’m staring at all y’all! o.o

BoBo1946's avatar

loll got’cha @prolificus

BoBo1946's avatar

@Trillian really like the last one. Good stuff T!

YARNLADY's avatar

In our community it’s the Christians who stand on the street corner and taunt gays with Bible slogans. They take a few words out of the Bible and yell at people passing by, all the while they are in violation of the same passages a few words later, about not wearing mixed clothing. It’s just plain crazy.

We also have a lot of Christian graffitti, where people paint crosses on everything in the neighborhood.

lloydbird's avatar

I don’t think that they would be happy.

mandybookworm's avatar

Maybe that is what it will take for some Christians to take action against suicide. If people of their own religion start committing suicide the ignorant ones that didn’t do anything before may start to help out.

mandybookworm's avatar

@YARNLADY that sounds horrible. Hopefully it doesn’t taint your views on all Christians.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mandybookworm In defense of the Christians, one group called C-Teen formed a community clean up day and went around covering over the graffiti.

BoBo1946's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m a Christian and hate that stuff…after all, he who is not guilty of sin throw the first stone. Judgemental Christians (if they are Christians..have my doubts) do more harm than anything I can think of…them and TV evangelist who always have their hand out!

cockswain's avatar

They might launch a campaign against the liberal media.

Patamomma's avatar

I would think that since in their bible that suicide is a sin, that maybe there could be a discussion on how we should approach teens contemplating suicide in general. Because of bullying, etc. But, the “Christians” think that everyone else is out to get them anyway. Or at least going to hell.

rooeytoo's avatar

This is kinda like the moderate muslim community not publicly decrying the extremists and terrorists.

truecomedian's avatar

The suicides I believe are the backlash from the part of the gay agenda that says people should come out, and just be themselves. Well these people did and they paid for it. Christians, you mean Roman Catholic or the diluted version. Who do you think is doing the bullying. I think that it would take more than bullying to make a person kill themselves, had to be some kind of predisposition. Now that I’m taking both sides, I would like to point out that the label “Christian” gets a lot less attention than “queermo”. And besides the LGBT is much better at the job of keeping track of all that’s going than the Christians.

Aster's avatar

@YARNLADY what on earth is “mixed clothing?”

YARNLADY's avatar

@Aster It refers to a passage in the Bible forbidding wearing of garments containing both animal and vegetable components, such as cotton shirts and leather belts, or wool and linen.

palerider's avatar

Wait just a freaking minute, there have been numerous bullying situations that caught the national attention in the last few years, physical and emotional, online and in person, that didn’t have any homosexual innuendos attached. What is so very ironic, is that the super-sensitive gay community and their Hollywood allies have jumped on this issue only when one of their own was involved.
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3882520&page=1
http://www.examiner.com/parenting-issues-in-new-york/sexting-and-bullying-leads-to-yet-another-teen-suicide

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@palerider Yeah, wonder why the gay community feels ‘super-sensitive’ rolls eyes

crazyivan's avatar

@palerider So you hadn’t been hearing the deafening cries about bullying that led up to this? I mean, you mention them in your response so I have to assume that you did hear about them…

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Brian1946's avatar

Gosh, I wonder who posted the Flame-Bait.

palerider's avatar

@crazyivan There was no national public outcry, PSAs, nor the many commercials with the Hollywood crowd starring in them. Yes, I did hear about them, in the news and nowhere else.

palerider's avatar

@Brian1946 I could tell you the truth that it wasn’t me that posted the Flame-bait and still you wouldn’t believe me, maybe just roll your eyes like Simone.

crazyivan's avatar

@palerider Sorry, partner. My company received a $1.4 million dollar federal grant to help develop and implement an anti-bullying school assembly in 2009. You’re trying to make the facts fit into your preconceptions, but the truth is that bullying has been a hot button issue for several years now and this is just the latest chapter.

And no, the person who posted the flame bait wasn’t you. I’ll back you up on that. You were more the baitee.

palerider's avatar

@crazyivan Just so that I’m implicated in there somewhere…..
My point was that there were no PSAs or Hollywood involvement until a homosexual was picked on. Bullying has been in the headlines for over a decade, remember Columbine? Though I am not at all condoning their actions, those guys (and the subsequent copycats) felt like they had been bullied and were seeking revenge. The results were wa-ay worse and there were no PSAs and no Hollywood glam crowd commercials about how to avoid it.

crazyivan's avatar

Well, comparing a rash of suicides and a rash of homicides and then asking why the reaction was different seems a little silly. I’m not sure what “Hollywood Glam” has to do with anything, but if you Google “Anti-bullying PSAs”, the first 3 videos Google offers were all produced more than 6 months ago. The fact that “Hollywood” (and I put it in parenthesis because I don’t know that I count the cast of Jersey Shores as Hollywood) is getting involved is a logical step in a long progression.

To say that the “super-sensitive gay community and their Hollywood allies have jumped on this issue only when one of their own was involved” smacks of bigotry and ignorance. Are you saying there was no media blitz about anti-bullying before Octboer of 2010? I’m sure that some of the millions of activists that have been involved in the anti-bullying efforts of the last 4 years were gay.

truecomedian's avatar

More Christians commit suicide than homosexuals. Simply because there are more Christians than gay kids. I think that it must be scarey to be openly gay and I think that people promoting openness are not taking into account that some places in America aren’t so gay friendly.

crazyivan's avatar

@truecomedian well said. I grew up in one of those “not so gay friendly” places in South Georgia. I had a friend that was openly gay and despite all the crap he took from the bigots around him, he stayed upbeat and proud.

He was murdered (for being gay) a few days before his 20th birthday. We should all be doing everything we can to promote acceptance and to tamp down on prejudice wherever it rears its ugly head.

palerider's avatar

@crazyivan sure, i said there PSAs against bullying. the reason those come up 1st, is because they have had more hits, because they have been a round a little while longer. now try “antibullying PSAs, homosexual” on youtube. notice the discrepency between the clout/notoriety of the actors involved?
why is it that it’s always the other person that has to be tolerant and accepting? aren’t you being quite bigoted in your views as well? i can be tolerant, i’ll never be accepting. why is it that gay people think that they have to conscript straight people?

cockswain's avatar

“why is it that it’s always the other person that has to be tolerant and accepting? aren’t you being quite bigoted in your views as well? i can be tolerant, i’ll never be accepting. why is it that gay people think that they have to conscript straight people?”

That’s an equally valid argument for slavery.

truecomedian's avatar

Let’s go back to where I was saying something at least a bit useful. This question is flame bait. Aren’t Christians the majority, and gays a minority, in a sense, there is a surge of Christian suicides, and there has been for a long time. The only interesting thing about this, is that in the present time, gays seem to have a disproportionally loud voice when it comes to their issues. Understandably so considering they are a target for hate, where as some of the Christians are doing the hateing, case in point. It must be scarey for gays in America, still, and it shouldn’t be like that. Globally, gays are highly persecuted, and many die promoting or not, this idea of coming out and being accepted. I think that America should be accepting by now, but that doesnt mean you can go and push your sexuality in anyone’s face either. I know a few gay people, and they are some of the most decent people in the world, well, at least compared to me. The question says something about these kids being martyrs, they took their own lives, that’s wrong, I dont believe it was just from bullying, a suicidal person is a special person. To actually take your own life, is the LGBTQ community trying to say it’s a trend, gay suicides?? What about all the other suicides that happen everyday?? I’m a suicide, and I feel like a chump, I know now that it’s wrong, and that there is no forgiveness for killing yourself. Forgiveness from life, if that makes any sense. I’m marked for life because of what I tried to do. I was molested when I was a kid, I thought that doing gay things made it seem not such a big deal. I was going to kill myself and I was trying to find a way to stop me. I could have been classified as a gay suicide if it wasnt for some kind and understandinig people that put up with my insanity. I would have rather die than face what was done to me, and that I thought I was gay because of what happened to me. I’m not sure where Im going with this. Maybe someone will read this and get something out of it. Thanks for letting me vent.

iamthemob's avatar

I’m pretty sure that both Columbine and general sexting-online bullying issues captured national attention.

truecomedian's avatar

Is it just me or do we talk about things today that would have been taboo fifty years ago??

crazyivan's avatar

@palerider Yes, my call for universal acceptance was quite bigoted. Sorry about that. And the reason it’s always “the other guy” that has to be accepting is because people don’t tend to discriminate against themselves. Not sure if you wanted on honest answer there or if you were just putting words next to each other. One way or the other, “why is it that it’s always the other person that has to be tolerant and accepting?” has just taken over as my new example of stupid questions.

mattbrowne's avatar

This thread seems full of out-group homogeneity bias.

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