How Do We Speak About Homosexuality? -- By: Denny Burk

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 17:1 (Spring 2012)
Article: How Do We Speak About Homosexuality?
Author: Denny Burk

How Do We Speak About Homosexuality?

Denny Burk

Associate Professor of Biblical Studies
Boyce College
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky


In September of 2010, a 15-year old boy named Billy Lucas was a high school student in Greensburg, Indiana. You might not have known it from looking at him, but Billy was as unhappy a student as you would ever meet. There was something about Billy that made him the target of relentless bullying. Billy was homosexual, and everybody knew it. Day in and day out, he went to school, and his classmates targeted him for cruel treatment. They would do unimaginably cruel things to him. On one occasion, one of Billy’s classmates pulled his chair out from under him just to see him fall to the ground in humiliation. And as he was sitting there shamed in front of his classmates, the person who pulled his chair out told him that he should just hang himself.

For Billy, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He decided he wasn’t going to take it anymore and determined to fight back. So in September 2010, he came back to school ready to resist. Like clockwork, his classmates started in on him, and he blew a fuse. He took his stand and just let loose with a string of obscenities that would make a sailor blush. If the bullies were subtle, he wasn’t. He got caught and was suspended before the day was out.

He was bullied, he resisted, and he got kicked out.

Billy lived on a farm with his mother. That night when he got home, Billy placed a curious call to 911. He told the dispatcher that he was “causing problems” for his mother and that the authorities should come to their home. The dispatchers called back to see if the call was legitimate. His mom told them she didn’t know why he had called, and she told them there was no problem and not to come. About 8:00 pm, Billy went out to his barn to put the horses away for the night. A little after 8:00 pm, Billy’s mom went out to the barn, and she found that he had hanged himself from the rafters.1

Some major news outlets picked up the story of Billy Lucas’s suicide, and the news spread around the world. A sex-advice columnist named Dan Savage heard about Billy’s suicide and decided to do something about it. Savage is a homosexual himself, and he launched a YouTube channel called the “It Gets Better” project. The point of it is very simple. It’s a place where gay adults upload videos of themselves telling their stories about how life “gets better” after high school. Their messages are aimed at kids like Billy Lucas who are losing hope. Their message is simple: Things may be hard now,...

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