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A Lament for Bullied Children
This sermon was delivered at the Second Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia on 20 April 2009. The full text and lessons are attached after the excerpt... In our world, this month, this week, this very day, children are dying. Children are being bullied to death. Children are killing themselves. Children are bullying other children into killing themselves. These children are not aliens. They are us. Not our future, but our living, dying present.
Child society is a reflection of adult society, minus some of the trappings of civilization. Children are brutally honest mirrors of the world we have created for them and placed them in. Children use vicious language because we use vicious language. Children abuse because we abuse. Children hate because we hate. And children kill because we kill. We kill their dreams, hopes and spirits. Or stand by as others destroy them saying, “that’s just the way things are,” or “kids are just mean sometimes,” or “Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you.” Words hurt and they can even kill. Is it any wonder that our children think so little of killing themselves?
Let me say up front that it does not and ought not matter what the sexual orientation of these children would have been had they grown up and figured it out for themselves. These children – and eleven year-old boys are not little men – killed themselves because they could not bear the though that someone might think that they were gay.
Our children, and they are all our children – including the bullies – our children are killing themselves because they believe that they are better off dead than living in the world we have created. They would rather be anything – including dead at their own hands – than to have one more person call them by a gay slur. They believe that their parents will hate them, that God will hate them and they already hate themselves, because that is what we have taught them with our jokes and sneers and eye-rolling and name-calling and not so quiet conversations of “grown folks business.”
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