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Christian attitudes and teenagers’ despair

by
16 January 2015

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From Mrs Christine Holt
Sir, - It is impossible to imagine the depths of despair that the 14- year-old Lizzie Lowe suffered, practically alone, before taking her life after battling "to reconcile her faith with her emerging sexuality" ( News, 9 January).

Lizzie is not the first, nor will she be the last, to kill herself in such circumstances. What, or who, caused her to believe that her sexuality was incompatible with her Christian faith?

Could it be that, like my son, she absorbed the negativity towards same-sex attraction and love which is still prevalent within some church circles today?

Young people such as Lizzie, in their anxiety, can turn to truancy, drink, drugs, and self-harming - so damaging to their future prospects and quality of life. Tragically, Lizzie chose to end her life.

I shall always thank God that our son, also nurtured within the Church, just about managed to survive his many years of anxiety and self-hatred before "coming out" to us at the age of 32. We learned, from him, that, throughout, he had feared that we, as Christian parents, would disown him.

So, what message is the Church sending to all young people within its pews, schools, and colleges? Is it that same-sex love is so sinful and unworthy that it is of less value than opposite-sex love, and should therefore be condemned? If so, it is little wonder that young people who are homosexual frequently become victims of homophobic bullying. Is it that the whole subject is just too distasteful to be talked about sensibly and openly in church?

It is too late for hand-wringing when a lovely and talented child cannot face her future and hangs herself; and when many people who are homosexual, like our son - christened and confirmed within the Church - choose to leave because of the judgement that they face about the quality and worthiness of their lives.

For decades, church leaders have discussed and debated the issue of homosexuality, although Christ himself seems to have had nothing to say on the subject. It is time to stop making an issue out of a non-issue before any more young lives are either seriously damaged by depression, loneliness, and self-loathing, or lost to us for ever.

CHRISTINE HOLT
8 Newcombe Road
Holcombe Brook
Bury BL0 9UT

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