Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Mt. 10:37)
The homosexual activist group FCKH8 has recently published a letter by a grandfather to his daughter, who has disowned her son after he said he was "gay," and the news has since been picked up by news outlets. What are we to make of this news?
First of all, there is no context whatsoever given for why and how the woman disowned her son. We are not told why she disowned him (besides that he claims to be gay), whether she has tried to talk him out, or whether the son defiantly pursued his "lifestyle" despite the pleas of the mother. All we have is the spin by the homosexual activists that the woman, Christine, disowned her son Chad because he claimed to be a homosexual, which may or may not be the full case.
The questions therefore are (1) Are there grounds for a parent, any parent, to disown their child?, and (2) Does this meet the criteria for legitimate disowning?, and (3) Does the grandfather have any right whatsoever to write that letter?
The first question is an interesting one. But let's look at a few hypothetical scenarios. If a son were to leave his parents destitute, would that be grounds to disown him? How about if a son were to assault his own parents? What about selling the parents into slavery? I would guess that it seems to be the case that heinous crimes could merit possible disowning of children by their parents.
The question then arise as to whether this case provides sufficient grounds for the daughter to disown her son. Again, we are here not provided many details about the case. So it is possible that the daughter was wrong to disown her son. The bigger question however is whether it is possible for any parent to disown his or her child because of homosexuality, and to that I would certainly say yes.
It must be stated that homosexuality is a heinous crime against God. It is first of all, a sexual sin, and secondly, it violates natural law to a great degree. Homosexuality (together with pedophilia, beastiality and necrophilia etc) are considered extremely debased sins (cf Rom. 1:24-27), worse in degree compared to other sins like theft. Now of course, we admit that all sin is sinful before God. Yet there are graduations of sin. For example, it is definitely better to lust than to engage in rape, although both are sinful. Likewise, it is better to covet than to commit a robbery. The failure to understand that there are horizontal graduations of sin is what gives us the generic "evangelical" eisegesis of Mt. 7:1, and the false idea that no one can judge sins (yet ironically they judge the one who judges as committing a worse sin). It gives rise to the specter of the sinner coming before God and praying, "Dear Lord, I thank you that I am not a judgmental person like those Pharisees. I sin openly and proudly, since I know that your blood covers my sin, unlike those self-righteous, narrow-minded and bigoted people."
If parents are to be parents, they are to rear their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Sin has to be reproved and discipline meted out. Homosexuality is a most grievous and wicked sin, and parents ought to discipline any child who moves in that direction. Certainly, discipline has to be meted out with compassion, but it is discipline nonetheless. But what if the child does not listen? The parent should probably continue trying and praying to God for his deliverance. But let's say all avenues have been exhausted. I would then suggest that the parent may have to apply the last measure of discipline: disowning their son/ daughter. Note that I am not saying that parents MUST do that, but they MAY do that. Disowning a child in this instance is analogous to excommunication in a church. Just as the family is like a little church, so likewise to a persistently rebellious child, the only way forward may be disowning the child, and handling the child over to Satan so that his soul may, in God's mercy, be saved. (1 Cor. 5:5).
Now, what is established is that the parent, after exhausting all available avenues, MAY disown their child. This does not necessarily be applicable in this particular case. What is established is that having a recalcitrant unrepentant child who has decided to become a homosexual is a legitimate grounds for disowning. This brings us to the issue of the grandfather.
A nuclear family unit is the basic family unit in Scripture. In Gen. 2:24, it is written that both the man and the woman will leave their families and become one flesh. This does not mean that suddenly, either the husband or the wife is cut off from their parents and have no obligations to them. What it does mean is that the new family unit is in itself subject directly to God. This is a change in the relation between parents to their married child, as compared to their relation with their unmarried child. As a family unit before God, the husband is to protect his wife, EVEN from his mother (her mother-in-law). Parental authority over their children functions in a similar paradigm. Parents have the primary responsibility to raise up and discipline their children, not the grandparents. This does not mean grandparents can't help, but they are not the parents and should not be. Grandparents are also not to usurp the parents' authority by contradicting express instructions given by parents. If parents tell their children, "No sweets before dinner," the grandparents should NOT insist on giving them sweets before dinner. Of course, such things do happen, but the point is: they shouldn't.
In this case, we see the grandfather is giving his daughter a dressing down regarding her decision to disown her son. Here is a blatant case of usurping of parental authority. The grandfather has absolutely no rights to tell his daughter how to parent; he has the same rights as any other person i.e. advice. Of course, what is more grievous is that the grandfather by his actions is promoting immorality. He has the right to take in the grandson, as he has the right to take in anyone off the street into his house if he so pleased. But to castigate his daughter for an action that he has no authority to dictate to her about, and then disown her for disowning his grandson, is preposterous. If he says that disowning is wrong, then he himself shouldn't disown his daughter, otherwise he would just be doing the exact action he claims is wrong. If however he says that disowning is wrong because he thinks that homosexuality is normal, then the problem is in his view of morality. By promoting homosexuality, the grandfather is promoting wickedness in his family. He is one of those stated in Rom. 1:32 who gives approval to those who practice wickedness. So besides his grandson, the grandfather is the one who brings shame upon the family, just as all homosexual activists who promote gross wickedness in the land do to their own families.
In conclusion, there is nothing inherently wrong with disowning a homosexual son or daughter. Parents MAY disown recalcitrant rebellious children; doesn't mean they should but they may. And if any Christian thinks otherwise, let him meditate on Mt. 10:37 and 1 Cor. 16:22, which reads: "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!" Fidelity to God requires privileging our love for God above all others including familial ties. Whoever does not do so, is not worthy of Christ.