In response to Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s LGBTQI Listening Tour: An Open Letter to Our Bishops in the USA and Canada of July 1, the following comments were sent to us as a private email from a bishop in one of the jurisdictions represented by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.
At our request and upon prayerful consideration, he has given his blessing for us to publish it anonymously.
Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s work is dedicated to the memory of gay Orthodox suicide victim Eric J. Iliff. May his memory be eternal.
What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.
You need to take into account how frightened the bishops are of each other. Even if one of them agreed with Orthodoxy in Dialogue much of the time, they would still have to live in fear of what the other bishops might say.
What is really horrifying to me are those who know that you are right—and I have confronted a few of them directly, every time a young Orthodox Christian commits suicide, especially when they go almost directly from confession to suicide, and I mention how their blood will be on our hands for persecuting them because of an ideology, an ideology we know very well is wrong.
This is a really horrifying thing, that they know we are causing young people to commit suicide, and at best we are destroying the lives of other young people, but because of fear of each other, they will go on causing this death and destruction, and never so much as repent even in private for it. I cannot describe how horrifying I find this.
Even in the 1970s, when I used to travel extensively around the US by Greyhound as a young man, there were always young kids taking shelter in bus stations across the nation.
I remember the Chicago terminal especially, because I was so shocked to see how many kids were hanging out there. I mentioned it to a security guard and he told me:
Don’t even think about it or you will lose your mind. These kids are here because their homes have become unlivable. Some of them were thrown out by their parents, some of them had to leave home because the situation was too terrible for them.
It turned out that kids as young as 11 years old had been thrown out of their homes or pressured so much that they left, because they were gay or transgender. So many of them were victimized on the street—and a number of them were tortured and murdered.
When I interviewed many of them, and when I saw the BBC study done on American street children, it turned out that the ones who had been thrown out of their homes onto the street, as young as 11 years old, generally came from “good Christian families.”
I never encountered a child who had been thrown out on the street for being gay or trans by atheist parents. Only by good Christian parents. I learned this first-hand from travelling on the bus and from layovers and bus depots across the whole nation from coast to coast, from north to south.
Yet, when I have brought it up among clergy and hierarchs, even though I have it from first-hand knowledge, they will adamantly swear that it is not true, although it has been proved and proved and proved.
When people are locked into an ideology, which they seek to justify from one or another holy book—particularly a fear-based ideology—one is howling at the wind when one tries to discuss matters with them. I had mentioned first-hand knowledge of kids who committed suicide, going almost directly from confession to killing themselves, and right-wing clergy will swear that nothing like that ever happened—even though we have personal direct knowledge of it having happened.
Ideology is the Grim Reaper.