By Hermes C. Fernandes
“The family is like smallpox: we have it as a child and it is marked for the rest of our lives.” Jean-Paul Sartre
The paladins of morals and good habits attack once again. According to them, it is the traditional family that is under a severe attack from those who aim to destroy it, imposing on society its nefarious agenda, whose main objective would be the implantation of a kind of gay dictatorship.
What, then, would be an ideal family? Where would we look for a perfect model? They would certainly answer that in the Bible. So, let’s go in search of an ideal family model in the sacred pages.
How about the first family? Yes, the one formed initially by Adam and Eve. There was the father, the mother, and the children. Perfect family, isn’t it? Too bad the older brother decided to kill the youngest.
If we go a little further, we will come across Noah’s family. It was with her that God would have restarted the human race after the catastrophic flood. There was also the figure of the father, the mother, accompanied by three children and three daughters-in-law. Perfect, isn’t it? As the costume says! Just don’t forget that one of the brothers decided to attack his father after catching him drunk. Yes, my people … it happens in the best families. Result: ended up cursed! Muffle the case.
What about Abraham’s family? We are talking about the great Hebrew patriarch, commonly called by Christians as “father in the faith”. The problem in his family nucleus is that offspring were lacking. Therefore, the family was not complete. At least, not according to the defenders of such a traditional family. Old Abraham, advised by his equally elderly wife, decided to have an affair with the Egyptian slave. Result: a bastard son. It was a fuss.
And what about Jacob? Four women. Twelve children. Ten of them planned to kill the youngest José. It doesn’t seem like a family to serve as a model, right?
Let’s jump to David. Man after God’s heart. In addition to his jumping over the fence (which gave him serious headaches), he had the displeasure of bittering all kinds of conflict between his children, from incest to murder. His own son usurped his throne.
I could mention other examples, but it is better to stay here, at least for the time being.
The family is the first of the institutions created by God. And as such, it was created for the good of man. The same principle applies to the family as Jesus applied to another divine institution: the Sabbath. According to the Galilean master, “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mk.2: 27). Similarly, the family exists to offer man some security and not to become extra weight. You cannot place any institution above the value of human life. So Jesus said that even on the Sabbath we should help those in trouble. It was not for nothing that most of the healings he performed were on Saturday.
It is interesting to note that whenever he came to Jerusalem, the place where he used to stay was in the home of three bachelors in a village called Bethany. Lazarus, Marta, and Maria were brothers. None of them had married. Therefore, they did not constitute a family of the traditional models according to what has been pointed out by the defenders of Christian morality. For a Jew of that time, being single in adulthood was considered a dishonor. Fava beans with traditions! It was there at their house that Jesus felt welcomed.
But what most intrigued the religion was that Jesus was very poorly accompanied. They called him a “friend of sinners”. Prostitutes and outcasts sat to listen to him. He never reproached them. He even went so far as to say that they would precede religion in the kingdom of heaven.
One of the few well-frequented houses he entered was that of a religious man who was scandalized when he was presented with perfume from the hands of a harlot. What for the hypocritical religion was the desecration of the sanctity of his home, for Jesus it was the most solemn expression of love. I dare say that Jesus had never felt so loved as he was by that prostitute.
Returning to the initial question of this post: what should be considered an ideal family? My answer is that formed by human beings who love and respect each other. What legitimizes a family is not the presence of a father, a mother, and her children, but the pure feeling that unites human beings in perennial bonds.
If there is love, God is there. But, if there is no love, not even blood ties guarantee a welcoming and healthy environment for its members.
The ideal is that every home should consist of the father and mother figures and their offspring. However, we live in a world of contingencies. Children are abandoned. Parents split up. Family nuclei dissolve. In an imperfect world, imperfect families can be the setting where lives will be rescued and loved.
There never was, nor will there ever be, perfect families. But every family, regardless of the model, must be perfectly capable of loving and welcoming its members.
Unfortunately, many traditional families despise and abandon their children when they discover their sexual orientation. I know the case of a pastor who sent his son abroad so that the church would not discover that he was gay. Another case that became notorious in the United States was the son of a famous pastor who committed suicide after his father publicly excommunicated him.
The family should be the place where the individual is accepted regardless of sexual orientation or anything else. Real parents never give up loving.
I confess that I am touched to see a homosexual who, even though he was despised by his own family, wants to dedicate his love and care to an orphaned or abandoned child. He set out to give what he never received. Was there anything more commendable than that?
The fear that many have is that a child raised by a homosexual will end up embracing the same sexual orientation. However, practically every homosexual I have ever met is from a traditional family.
Most sexual abuse against infants occurs in traditional homes, some even religious.
Honestly, I prefer to see a child welcomed by a homosexual couple a thousand times to see him living in the open, without affection, without education and deprived of his dignity.
Our religious hypocrisy is such that we prefer to see a homosexual living promiscuously with multiple partners than to see him forming a family in a monogamous relationship. While moral champions rise to the stage of marches for Jesus, sporting a third or fourth wedding, or displaying a front wedding where the lover’s place is secured, gays are fighting for the right to enter into a stable union.
It is high time that we left our ideological trenches and saw this social demand with love.
It is not by depriving gays of their rights that we will be able to attract them to the gospel. On the contrary. We should defend them, even if their lifestyle challenges our religious scruples. Above all, they are human beings, creatures of the same God whom we declare to love and serve.
Therefore, love them and let them, love, welcome them, and let them welcome you.
Sin is anything that violates human dignity, thus insulting the Creator. Homophobia is a sin. Prejudice, whatever it may be, is also. Thankfully, “love covers a multitude of sins”(1 Peter 4: 8) and that “mercy triumphs over judgment.” However, “the judgment will be without mercy on him who has no mercy” (James 2:13).