Thursday, December 16, 2010

Provocative Reality: "The Pain That Dares Not Speak Its Name"

As we consider the onward push for nation-wide same-sex marriage, and open homosexuality in the military, here is a question: Is our culture being shaped by the rule of law, or is it being molded to conform to some deep pain that can never be satisfied by law?

In 1895, Oscar Wilde spoke of "the love that dares not speak its name" in his public trial for homosexual conduct.

I once spoke of "the pain that dares not speak its name" to a crowded and astounded legislative assembly.

But the content was not original; rather I was speaking the words of others.

In 1988, while working on my Th.M. in Ethics and Public Policy at Harvard, I was in a class on feminist ethics. One day at lunch, three female classmates sat down with me.

One woman spoke, saying, "You know John, for an evangelical, you're a nice guy." As if encountering an oxymoron. She continued, "The three of us are lesbian, and every lesbian we know has been physically, sexually and/or emotionally abused by some man in her early years." I was stunned, as this was new to me.

I immediately prayed in my spirit, "Dear God above, has the church heard this, or do we just pass judgment?" This was an anecdote, not a statistical claim, but I have since learned how pervasive it is, and for male homosexuals as well.

In 2002, I was testifying before the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature, with 600 people crowded into the main room and two overflow rooms, and it was being broadcast live on CT-N.

I shared this story from my Harvard classmates. When I came to the line about the abuse, I could hardly hear myself speak due to the groans that then filled the room. Afterward, a friend told me that all the groans came from women wearing same-sex marriage stickers. They then literally held their breaths until I was done with that thought.

Despite the highly anguished response to my testimony, the media had no interest in follow through, and never even attempted to criticize it. Silence.

This is reality. This is the forbidden question in politics and media, for such abuse is far broader than just that experienced by people driven into homosexual identities. Unless those of us who are servants of the Gospel can speak to the pain that dares not name itself, to an undeserved shame imposed on so many children and teenagers -- giving love and hope for deliverance instead -- then our national politics will continue to get sucked into the cesspool.