Father’s Day - 1995

How one father dealt with the Gay Nineties

by H.L. Roush, Sr.

...Father's Day--that annual event when children gather to honor Dad, had come again. In Shadydale, a small midwestern town, Larry Wagner leaned back in his recliner, closed his eyes and reflected on his life. His three children would be coming soon, and he wanted a little time to think. His first thoughts were of his father and they brought a mist to his eyes. Father was a strong, determined man who struggled, to keep the family together through the lean days of the Great Depression. When he lost his job, he never complained, nor did he waver. Though his job was gone and his future dark, his self respect was intact. He pounded the sidewalks by day and chopped wood or done chores for food, in the evenings. Government welfare was unheard of, and Father considered self reliance and survival to be virtues. On Sundays, they attended church and prayed together. God blessed America and the country survived. God blessed the Wagner family and they also, survived.
...When World War II came along Larry went off to war fortified, by his deep family roots. In combat, he had not thought it strange to see strong men cry, pray, or clutch a Bible. The military served with pride, while the rest of America manned the home front, prayed and trusted in God. Entering college after the war, Larry earned his engineering degree and married Margie. She had been his childhood sweetheart and still was--three children and forty years later. American Electronics offered Larry his first job and times were good. He and Margie joined the church and became parents. When his first born, Randy, arrived, Larry wanted to be the champion father of all times. He determined to play with Randy, pray with him and instruct him in the truth. To prepare himself, he joined a Bible study group. His deep convictions soon advanced him to the teacher's job.
...When blonde Betty came (unexpected) three years later, being a father began to get complicated. Craig, their last child, was born two years later and the Wagner house, had become a home. Though the increasing pressure of Larry's job made it difficult, he still put family first. Church attendance was a way of life and family ties were strong. Family life wasn't always calm--they had their disagreements. Larry chuckled to himself, as he remembered some of the family growing pains. He involved his children in open discussion and sometimes, the sessions got stormy. Over the children's protest, he withstood the Beetles and Rockamania during the '50s. Larry had insisted that the new music was not music at all, but jungle emotion driven by drugs. Though he never admitted it, he was pleased when the young people called him an "old fogey."
...The dropout '60s of the "Hippies" came with violence, and young men went to Viet Nam, or fled to Canada. At home, while others were burning the flag and shouting obscenities, Larry stood proud, choking back his tears, when Old Glory passed. He told his family how the country felt in World War II; about the spirit of patriotism that swept America to victory. The Wagner family prayed that America, and all she stood for, would survive.
...The '70's came and the children went off to college. In the aftermath of Viet Nam when the country was wallowing in shame, the "Yuppies" ushered in a new social order. Larry watched in horror, as drugs swept America into La-La land. He stood by in pain, as the credibility gap widened in national politics. He observed the shifting ethics that made lying to the public the accepted standard. In the '80's he stood his ground, as the political and social thinking of America dramatically changed. When Larry protested that change was not always progress, others chided him for not coming into the mainstream.
...When the '90's arrived, Larry began to feel like a voice crying in the wilderness. He still preferred locust and wild honey, to pizza and Pepsi. He began to realize he was speaking for a minority, for he was not the average American. He once was but, while the face of America was changing, Larry stayed the same. He was a leftover from a forgotten age; a relic of antiquity. He was a reject of the assembly line of social and political change. The "Baby Boomers'" time had fully come and they ordered the old guard, to step aside. Larry, and others like him, were categorized as fanatics, lunatics and rednecks. He didn't mind. Like the last of the Mohicans he was still proud, to be a Christian and an old-time American.
...This year was special in Larry's life. The family had weathered many storms and it looked like more peaceful times were ahead. Larry retired from American Electronics and he and Margie were looking forward to wintering in Florida. Betty and Craig were still college students and Randy, was in his last year of law school. The only thing the Wagners lacked, were grandchildren. Though Betty and Craig were married, they had placed priority on finishing college, before starting a family. Randy was single, but he had always been a loner of sorts. His life had always been busy and he didn't seem to need the company of others. He lived in his own world and Larry admired the way he made it on his own. He had hoped Randy would follow engineering but, he had his own ideas for a career. Larry had taught the children to set their goals, and let no one discourage them. Randy had done just that and Larry was proud of him. He was brought to reality, by the sound of Margie's voice.
..."Larry, it's four o'clock and the children will be here soon. Better get ready to read those mushy cards and open your gifts."
...Larry smiled, as he wondered how much after shave lotion one man could use. He rubbed his eyes, laid the Sunday papers aside and went into the bathroom. As he stood at the mirror and combed his hair, he looked at the streak of gray.
...Time was marching on, he thought, but it had been a good life and the best was yet ahead. He heard the front door open and excited voices filled the house. He could hear Betty and Chuck, Craig and Misty and, in between, the confident voice of Randy. He had flown in from California and the others had met him at the airport. It sounded like the old days, when the family was all at home. Looking forward to this reunion, Larry squared his shoulders and went in to meet them.
...As the family saw him, they came one-by-one to hug him and shout,."Happy Father's Day, Dad!"
...They presented their cards and gifts and Larry was right--he'd have enough lotion for the next ten years. As the women scurried around the kitchen, preparing for the cookout to come, the men sat on the deck chatting. Chuck and Craig brought him up-to-date on college life, as Randy sat by quietly. He seemed distracted and did not show much interest in the conversation. Larry, sensing the situation, said,
..."Randy for a budding lawyer, you're sort of quiet. How's law school?"
..."Okay Dad. I'll be glad to finish and get on with my life. These next few months will be busy. Lots of decisions to make."
..."I'm sure you'll make the right ones, Randy. If I can help, all you have to do is, ask."
..."I know, Dad. I do want to have a serious talk with you before I leave tomorrow. There's something I need to tell you. Maybe later, after the cookout."
..."Fine! I'm looking forward to it. Been a long time since we had an old-fashioned father and son talk. We've got a lot of catching up to do."
...Randy looked at the floor.
..."You are more right than you know, Dad."
His last remark troubled Larry, but he brushed it aside. The women were calling them for hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, and it didn't take long for them to respond. After the food and the laughter had run out, the festivities drew to a close. Chuck, Betty, Craig and Misty were leaving; they had a long drive back to school. Randy would fly back to California the next morning. Good-byes and hugs were exchanged and, as the evening sun hid behind a blazing sky, another Father's Day was over. At least, Larry thought it was.
...Margie busied herself straightening up the house. When she finished her work, she was quite tired. She excused herself early.
..."If you men don't mind, I'm going to watch a little TV and go to bed. Randy, you and your Dad can talk men-talk and I'll see you in the morning."
Both men rose, said goodnight and, when she left the room, Randy said,
..."Dad, can we sit on the deck and talk?"
..."Sure, son, sounds good. I'm anxious to hear all about your career plans."
...They moved to the deck and settled into the deep, cushioned chairs. Randy couldn't seem to get comfortable as he shuffled his feet, then crossed his legs. Relaxed, Larry looked at his son with pride. Captain of the college football team, graduated with honors, accepted by law school and on his way to a promising career. His preppie garb veiled his two hundred pound weight and six foot, two inch frame. As Larry studied him, he concluded every father would be proud of such a fine, young man. Suddenly, the silence between them grew uncomfortable. Larry had the feeling Randy was trying to find a way to open the conversation. Before Larry could speak, Randy stared across the lawn, cleared his throat and, in a quiet voice, said,
..."Dad, I'm about to begin a new life. I've been offered a position in a law firm in San Francisco. They want me to come as soon as I graduate and this means I may not be seeing you and Mom for some time."
...Larry felt relieved and said,
..."So--that's the serious thing you had to tell me! I thought it was some bad news. I'm sorry you'll be so far away, but there's always the telephone. The important thing is knowing that you're where you want to be, doing what you want to do. You will always have my prayers and blessings, Randy."
..."Maybe you'll want to reverse that verdict when you hear what I have to say."
..."I doubt that, but speak up Son. What's really on your mind? Have you found someone you love?"
Still staring across the lawn, Randy said in a firm voice,
..."Yes, I have, but not in the way you think. What I have to tell you, will not be easy."
...Looking upward at the moon just breaking through the clouds, he said quietly,
..."Dad, I'm gay! You deserve to know and I can't keep it from you, any longer."
The words exploded in Larry's brain and the fallout burned his heart. Speechless, he fought the nausea that twisted his stomach and the repulsion that filled his heart. Holding up his hand, as though to keep Larry at bay, Randy poured out his confession.
..."Dad, for once in my life, please hear me out! I've wanted to tell you for years, but, well, knowing you, I was afraid. You're so bullheaded and you have never been willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint. Since high school I've kept this from you. For years I struggled with my conscience and, knowing your old fashioned ideals, made me ashamed. Because of you and the family, I thought it best to deal with it alone. I knew I was different, but when I went to California I found out I was as normal as anyone else. Now, it's time for you and the family to know who I really am. I don't want this to come between us, but I have to be honest with you."
...Larry tried to speak but his words caught in his throat like flies in a spider web. His mind was spinning out of control and Randy seized the moment.
..."Dad, whether you like it or not, this is the 'Gay Nineties'. Times are changing and the Queer Nation deserves public acceptance of their lifestyle. We are lobbying the government for protection from discrimination in employment, housing and other fields. All we want is to be treated as equal, not second rate citizens. The times are right; we are as normal as anyone; we have simply chosen an alternative lifestyle. It's time for the society to throw open their arms and welcome us, who are 'different', home. All we ask, is for the right to marry, adopt children, serve in the military and be a proud part of America. A new day is dawning and 'the old school' must make room for those who hear a different drummer."
...In his heart, Larry was asking the Lord for wisdom before he responded. Inside his mind, the battle was raging. On one side, was his deep Christian convictions, values and morals. At risk on the other side, was his relationship to his dear son. Only compromise could resolve the issue and Larry wondered how he, or Randy, could do that. He knew his whole life was at stake. When he did bring himself to respond, he spoke aimlessly, buying time for his thoughts to come together.
..."Randy, I have always heard a different drummer and never thought of listening for another. I have always marched to the cadence of my heart. You say I am bullheaded; if you mean my standing firm in my convictions, then I am. This trait has cost me friends along the way but, a friend lost because of right was never a friend I needed. I must be honest too; I feel the same way about a son. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision the 'Gay Nineties'. I know other civilizations have faced the homosexual crisis, but I never dreamed that America would, nor I."
...Randy's face flushed as he whirled around to confront Larry.
..."What's the big deal, Dad? It's not as though homosexuality has just been discovered, it's as old as the race itself. The ancient Greeks accepted it and considered it an ideal relationship. Catch up on the times, Dad, this is not the '40's; this is a different world. While you were remembering the 'good old days', an enlightened generation gladly welcomed homosexuals to the halls of Congress. Now the people have elected a President who appoints them to high office and promises to welcome them to the military. Thousands of Gays marched through the streets of New York City and, in a show of approval, the Mayor marched with them. Nearly a half million gays demonstrated in Washington with the President's blessing. The media defines homosexuality as 'sexual orientation' and Gays are only exercising their right of choice. The laws banning homosexuality are being rewritten in nearly every state. That's the American way, Dad. You're living in the past!"
...Larry was reeling from Randy's barrage of words. They weren't new to him. He had read and heard them all. Coming from his son, they stung like hornets. Larry felt defensive and he had never felt comfortable in that position. He let the words sink in and he tried to absorb the hurt, before he spoke.
..."We are historically a 'Christian' nation and hold to the moral and ethical truths of the Bible. I have been saying for many years that America was suffering from national insanity. I am sure of it now, as I hear the voices of the Queer Nation crying for equal recognition. It is not their voices that convince me of this insanity, it is the willingness of this society to hear them. You were raised in a Christian home and, when you entered puberty, you should have learned your sexuality by examples all around you. Where did you learn yours? From TV, the movies or some pornographic magazine?"
...Randy sighed in disgust and looked away. He got up slowly, made as though he was leaving the deck and sat back down. Facing Larry again, he said in measured words,
..."The latest scientific research has revealed what every gay person has known for years. Research has proven that homosexuality is a genetic problem. It is the way we were created. We didn't choose to be gay, we were born gay through no fault of ours."
...Larry's response was calm and collected.
..."This is not surprising, since science has convinced us that alcoholism is now a disease. Next we will be forced to accept murderers because they were genetically born to kill. All this advanced thinking is the fruit of a total rejection of God."
...Randy's answer was quick and sharp.
..."I knew, sooner or later, this would lead to religion and you would start your preaching. In case you haven't kept up with things, the major denominations are making new rules about homosexuals. They understand what I just told you and are ready to rectify their error. The church I attend in California has a Lesbian minister and two of the deacons are gay."
...Larry arose and walked back and forth across the deck. Sitting back down, he answered.
..."I'm not shocked to learn that the churches have abandoned the gospel of grace for a socially expedient one. The ministers of this nation have served their congregations with the fluff of a humanistic gospel, for years. Now that the gays refuse to remain silent, church leaders gather in little dignified 'fact finding' groups. They argue at length on how to rearrange their theology to accommodate society. They feel their vulnerability and know they're defenseless. As the divines pray and prattle, just as in Sodom, the Queer Nation batters at the door of the sanctuary. If the church refuses them, they will answer for their intolerant, loveless, insensitive stance. Worse than this, is the thought of destroying their self-righteous image. If the churches open their doors, they are admitting there is no truth and it doesn't matter what you believe. The course following such a decision, is frightening. The churches, once surrendered to the homosexuals, must also accept the pedaphiles, transvestites, necrophiles, and every other sexual deviant. All will demand their rights and we will be a society out of moral control. When will the churches recognize that homosexuality is an open confession of rebellion against God? How can those in rebellion to God, be called Christian? It is insane to talk about Christian Sodomites and Christian Lesbians."
...Hearing the indignation in Larry's voice, Randy knew the discussion was far from over. He shook his head sadly, sighed and looked away. Sliding down in his chair, he laid his head back, closed his eyes and said wearily,
..."Okay Dad, drag out the Bible and I'll listen to your sermon. I know what you're going to say, but it won't change anything. I'll listen, because you're my father and I owe it to you to hear you out."
..."Randy, I instructed you in the Word of God, but I've never pressed you to tell me what you believe in your heart. That is your private conviction, but I need to hear your answer to one question: Do you believe in God?"
..."Of course I believe in God! Do you think I'm an atheist or infidel? I'm surprised that you would even ask such a question!"
...Larry pressed his point.
..."What then do you think God feels about your homosexual lifestyle and has He said anything about it? Is the Bible His word? A Bible case revealing God's feelings about homosexuality, is so strong it's wearisome to recite it. To make this point, let me quote what God says."
...Reaching to the table by his chair, Larry picked up the Bible. After a few moments, he read quietly. "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. . . . If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done that which is detestable." The Apostle Paul describes homosexuality as unnatural, indecent acts motivated by shameful lust, and perversions. Those who practice it are called perverts , and sodomites, and are named with the ungodly, sinful, unholy and irreligious. The Bible includes homosexual offenders with the wicked, who will not inherit the kingdom of God. You say God created you homosexual by the deliberate arrangement of your genes. Is God sadistic? Would He deliberately create a human to be all He abhors, then take pleasure in detesting and condemning him? Do you think God detests others He created? Does He say to be black, or white or yellow, male or female is a sin?"
...His face white, Randy spoke in a trembling voice.
..."To answer your question directly, if that is your God you describe, then He is not mine, nor do I believe the Bible."
...Larry's shock was obvious. His insides were churning and his heart was breaking. It was as if he had heard Larry pronounce his own death sentence. It took him a few moments before he could respond.
..."By your confession, this ceases to be a religious issue, for Bible answers have no meaning for you. If you believed in God and His Word, this issue would never have existed, and this discussion would never have taken place. But, there is a different argument yet to be presented, Counselor. Hear it and judge for yourself."
...Randy nodded in mock respect and said solemnly,
..."Let the defense proceed, but let no more Bible references be given. That evidence, to me, is inadmissible."
...Larry spoke firmly.
..."I intend to proceed, but I am not the defense attorney in this case. I am the prosecutor and I pray I'll get a conviction. Homosexuality is not just one of many sins, it is a detestable sin in the eyes of God. I know that God loves sinners and His Son, Jesus Christ died for their sins. What needs to be said, is the difference between the detestable sin of homosexuality and other sins. It is not what you do, for that is the natural result of the path you have chosen. It is what you are that needs clarified. But first, Counselor, let me present a clear definition of the homosexual act. It is the act of Sodomy. I submit two definitions from Webster's Dictionary to define this act: SODOMY : A copulation-like act between male persons or between a person and an animal.' COPULATION; 'To unite sexually as in the act of mating.' This means to engage in sodomy, is to have sex with a man as though he were a woman. A Lesbian, or female homosexual, engages in sexual acts with other women. Men do this because they have left the natural use of the woman. Women do this because they reject the natural role of the man. Both do these things because they have rejected God."
...Randy raised his voice and interrupted.
..."Objection! Objection! You're implying that anyone who does not accept your view of God is a homosexual. Many of the world's great thinkers were atheists, but not homosexual."
...Larry continued as a surgeon using a scalpel--precisely and swiftly.
..."A point well taken. A person may deny the existence of God and still live by the law of God, written in his heart. A homosexual may acknowledge God's existence and even pretend to worship Him, but homosexuality is an act against the natural law of God. When you were a boy you did not believe in God or know His law, how then could you follow it? Yet, you found it natural to do some things written in the law. You never needed me to tell you that it was wrong to kill another human. You also knew that when you lied, you had done wrong. The law was written in your heart and your conscience was the witness of your wrong doing. The witness was your thoughts, one with another, accusing or excusing you. Conscience is the voice of God in the heart of every man, Randy, and that is the voice that convicts you now. The proof of your sinful way of life is the accusation of your conscience. No amount of argument will separate you from your guilt and shame. You said you were ashamed for years, because you were gay. Why were you ashamed? If you were sure you were right, you would not now need governmental, religious, social or family approval. Why is it so important that I approve of your lifestyle? The answer is simple: you can't live in peace with yourself. To have peace, you feel you must have the acceptance of those around you."
...Randy had been quiet, but now was ready to continue the case, though ignoring Larry's questions.
..."If I accept your argument, then I stand guilty of willfully choosing to be a homosexual, right? For this one choice, I am condemned by your God of love. I don't believe in that kind of God!"
...Randy could not hear Larry's pounding heart, nor feel the pain he knew. The renewed confession of Randy's rejection of God tore at Larry's insides. He took a deep breath and continued.
..."Your willful choice was one made after many other willful choices. The course that led to your choice of lifestyle began early in life. It started when you first ignored your conscience and held down the truth in your heart. You had an inner knowledge of God and you could have chosen to know Him, but you didn't. You observed the creation around you and saw the nature and existence of the invisible God. He was evident by His created works. God's handiwork testified to His Godhead and eternal power. When you ignored this, you were without excuse. When you failed to glorify and thank Him as God, your reasoning became vain and your foolish heart was darkened. You thought you were wise but a man who rejects God, is a fool. What was God's reaction to your choice? He gave you up to the lusts of your own heart. Feeling no further restraint from your God given conscience, you chose to dishonor your own body. When you began this practice, God gave you up to your vile affections. You burned in your lust and, in defiance of God, spurned the natural use of the women. God's response was to give you over to an immoral mind to live the life you chose. You may never confess to this, Randy, but each time you engage in your unlawful practice, you know in your heart that God will judge you. God did not reject you, nor did He give you up, until you had rejected and given Him up. Your conscience tells you that you are worthy of your eternal punishment, yet you keep right on doing these things and find your pleasure with others like you."
...Randy's voice was filled with resentment.
..."If what you say is true, then where were you and Mom when I was making that choice? Both of you will have to share the blame. You raised and taught me."
...Larry's eyes were filled with tears and, without shame, he allowed them to flow. He had tried to stay calm and unemotional, but he sensed the issue had gone too far. There was no turning back. Like a gunfighter called to the street, one of them must die. Trying to get himself together, Larry said in a soft voice,
..."Randy, this issue has nothing to do with environment or parental background. Your Mother and I are not to blame. Read the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis. Both boys were born to parents who knew and loved God. They were taught the truth at the east gate of Eden. In time, each made a choice. Abel chose to believe and Cain chose to reject God. Cain's first step in his disconnect from God was to offer God the work of his hands, thus denying the blood sacrifice and the guilt of his sin. In other words, Cain first rejected the revealed Word of God. His next step was to be angry with God for being rejected. In the bitterness of his anger, guilt and rejection, he murdered his brother and then lied to God. He was cursed of God Who made him to be a fugitive and vagabond. He was hidden forever from the face of God. Because Cain feared for his life, if others found out about his sin, God set a mark on him to keep men from killing him. Cain recognized this curse as punishment for his behavior. There were no written laws, yet Cain knew he had done wrong. He had never been taught that to kill and lie was wrong. How did he know? The law of God was written on the tables of his heart. His conscience told him it was wrong. Cain made his individual choice under perfect circumstances. A mark was placed in his forehead and he bore it forever. No society would forgive him and no rest could be found for his conscience. He remained a social outcast until the day he died. All who have followed him, are said to have gone 'the way of Cain'."
...It was hard for Larry to tell if Randy was shaking from anger, or from the effects of the truth. When he spoke, he raised his voice and shouted,
..."Then if God has written me off, where does that leave me?"
...Larry put his arm around him, holding him like he did when Randy was a little boy.
..."My son, only my love for God is greater than my love for you. I must warn you: if you continue in your disconnect from God, you will kill your conscience. When that takes place, you will be a walking dead man. You will be dead to God, family, society and yourself. Your only hope and answer, is to return to God. You must return to the Creator and His natural laws written on your heart. Obedience to your conscience will eventually lead you to Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for you. Whosoever will, may come to God through Jesus Christ and that invitation, includes homosexuals. If you take this course, you will see the darkness of your deeds for what they are, and you will be homosexual no more. If you do not return to God, your conscience will never be purged and the guilt of your deeds will always haunt you. You can run, but you will never find a place to hide. This guilt will not come from a disapproving father, it will be from an unforgiving God."
...Randy's decision was clear to Larry. He was visibly unmoved, untouched and untouchable. He drew back from his father as though he were a stranger. He stood, faced the kitchen door and with bitterness in his voice, said.
..."Dad, I'm not disappointed or surprised. I knew what you would say, but in spite of it all, I am your son. I only want you to understand that I am a person, too. I want to live my life as I have chosen, but I need your support and love. Can't you find it in your great Christian heart to give me that?"
...Larry slumped in his chair and buried his face in his hands. He began to sob and shake. He felt everything in his heart, mind and body was self-destructing. He did not answer.
...Randy paused at the door, turned and came to face his father. With outstretched hand, he said,
..."You're never wrong or sorry about anything, are you Dad? Is this good-bye forever?"
...Looking up and then away, Larry spoke softly.
..."If that's the way it is, then it is by your choice, not mine. If I raised you to believe that family relationship was an altar upon which every conviction must be sacrificed, I'm sorry. I am not wrong in believing there are some things more precious than earthly relationship. I am not wrong in believing there is a difference between opinions and convictions. The difference is never brought to light, until a man has to stand for what he believes. I stand tonight on the truth I believe. You can't have it both ways, Randy. I will not give you my blessing and fellowship, at the expense of my truth. I will not sacrifice my conscience to ease yours. Your willful choice has created an impassable gulf between us. I cannot be argued or shamed into accepting a shameful way of life. Right is still right and wrong is still wrong. As we part, I wish I could say, 'May God have mercy on you', but that is not possible. He has already poured His mercy and grace on you at Calvary. You have trampled the precious blood of Christ beneath your feet and counted the blood, that could have saved you, an unholy thing."
...His hand still outstretched, Randy remained as if he were frozen in time. Time stood still for a few moments and the silence was unbearable. Dropping his hand, he turned his back and said over his shoulder,
..."Good-bye, Dad. Happy Father's Day."
...Without looking up, Larry said softly,
..."Good-bye, whoever you are. Live your life as you have chosen, but you will live it without me and without God."

The End

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Copywrite 1995 by H.L. Roush, Sr.
Copywrite 1997 JESUS Loves Me Ministry