When people hurt us, why is it socially acceptable to hurt them back? A letter went viral on Facebook recently in which a grandfather reprimands his daughter, Christine, for kicking her son out after discovering he was gay. Most of us would agree that Christine was in the wrong, but what about Grandpa?

There it was in my news feed. Again. "A Father Reprimands His Homophobic Child In This Beautiful Letter." I finally clicked the article everyone has been buzzing about, and what I read made me very sad... and then angry. But maybe not for reasons you'd expect. Here's the letter, in case you haven't seen it:

Homophobic daughter disowned by father letterImage courtesy of FCKH8's Facebook page
Dear Christine:
I'm disappointed in you as a daughter. You're correct that we have a 'shame in the family,' but mistaken about what it is.
Kicking Chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real 'abomination' here. A parent disowning her child is what 'goes against nature.'
The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that 'you didn't raise your son to be gay.' Of course you didn't. He was born this way and didn't choose it any more than he (sic) being left-handed. You however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I'll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gays put it) grandson to raise, and I don't have time for heart-less B-word of a daughter. If you find your heart, give us a call.
— Dad
How is it the right thing to respond to aggression with more aggression?

The article, originally posted by FCKH8.com, has people talking. Many are applauding this grandfather for so steadfastly supporting his grandson. Even when I first read it, I thought, "Good for him. She deserved to be put in her place." But then it dawned on me: so, Grandpa disowns his daughter for disowning her son. That'll teach her!

Why on earth is Grandpa being hailed as some kind of hero? How is it the right thing to respond to aggression with more aggression? If someone wrongs me or my loved one, how does that give me a free pass to retaliate in kind? How is my wrong less "wrong" just because someone else "started it"?

To me, that sounds like a pretty screwed-up view of justice. Disowning your kid is not OK, no matter what they've done, whether they've made life choices you disagree with or made incredibly stupid and cruel parenting decisions.

There's been so much of this lately. If you can judge by the sort of posts that go viral on social media, we love to see people be "put in their place." We enjoy watching people suffer for their bad choices.

You could be the next unwilling internet sensation…
let your words be sweet.

All I can say is that I'm very glad that the great majority of my (many) bad choices have not found their way into cyberspace. I'm guessing yours haven't either. So instead of throwing stones, perhaps we can take a moment to thank our lucky stars that it's not us being publicly called out or shamed. You could be the next unwilling internet sensation… let your words be sweet.

More on tolerance

I can't tolerate the word "tolerance"
Why my kids support marriage equality
Love is love: Marriage equality is a no-brainer


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