Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tyler Clementi & Dr. Laura but really about Hope and Faith

What?  You are asking, does Dr. Laura have to do with Tyler Clementi the 18 year old who jumped from the George Washington Bridge after video of him having sex with another man were posted on the Internet?

Well I have this weird love-hate relationship with Dr. Laura.  She can be so wise and so right on in one sentence and so wrong in the next.  She talked about Tyler Clementi on her show today.  She was very sympathetic, having had nude photos of herself posted on the internet.  She expressed how that feels to be so humiliated that you just want to disappear.

What I liked about what she said was her insight as to what is is to be a teenager when every horror and pain is magnified and you don't have perspective of years of experience of weathering and surviving difficulties.   It brought to my mind the nature of faith - the clinging to the promise of a light in darkness even when you cannot see that light.

Now don't get me wrong  because I'm not saying if Tyler had just had enough faith, he would not have killed himself.  But I am saying that hope and faith can save your life.  Sometimes all you have is the promise that it will be better.  Is that not the promise of the Kingdom of God - that there is a better way, there is justice, there is love, there is kindness, there is hope even when you see nothing but cruelty and injustice right before you?  Why some people receive the gift of this saving hope and why it eludes others is a heartbreaking mystery to me.

But back to Dr. Laura and where she was wrong.  She said it was not about sexuality.  Of course it's about sexuality and homophobia.  Certainly it is wrong to invade someone's privacy.  As my son says "even if he was just sitting there watching TV it was wrong".  But you cannot tell me if Tyler was straight and had been taped having sex with a girl he would have been so devastated as to commit suicide.  This is what happens when we use words like "abomination" and even "love the sinner, hate the sin" when it comes to gay and lesbian people.

Oh the other thing that drove me crazy about Dr. Laura's commentary~  She went on and on about how she knew "exactly" how he felt.  No she didn't.  Having naked pictures of you posted on the internet when you present yourself as a moral upright citizen is humiliating but it's not the same.  You never know exactly how anyone feels.  I learned that when other widows tried to tell me they knew how I felt.  No they did not.  They were not married to Loren.  They did not know how if felt for ME to lose LOREN.  Everyone's pain is their own.   

Dr. Laura seemed to be certain that if she could have just told him she knew how he felt and what he should do about it, she could have saved him.  She really does have a Messiah complex.  Yo - Laura - it's not about you.


  1. Not only is Dr. Laura wrong about knowing exactly how he felt, it's offensive. Dr. Laura does not know what it's like as a young gay man trying to navigate your way in a heterosexual (and too often anti-gay) world. And it is offensive because she has so often been, and continues to be, a part of the chorus that makes that navigation so difficult, a chorus that endangers lives. Tyler is one of a stream of suicides of teens who were gay or were targets of anti-gay bullying that has been making the news of late. It's heartbreaking. And Dr. Laura makes light of it (even if her tone was oh-so-serious) by saying that this wasn't about sexuality or homophobia. The passive sacrifice of our young people (through their own hand) at the altar of sexual "morality," "Christian faith," and "family values" must stop. The continued drum beat of the so-called "Christian conservatives" and "family values" crowd against gay and lesbian rights, relationships, and, finally, persons themselves, betrays how bankrupt the phrase "family values," as they use it, really is. It certainly isn't valuing the lives and health of real people who happen to be gay, and it is killing our kids.

  2. Even though I don't listen to "Dr" Laura, I can tell you are wiser than she is.