I appreciate that you finally took down your “letter to a gay Boy Scout,” where you compared homosexuality to an eating disorder and worried that your hypothetical gay kid could be an inconvenience to national organizations’ funding schemes.
I really do appreciate that.
But you deleting something that was unpopular is not necessarily a sign of nobility. In fact, yesterday, you said, “I’m not sorry for the message.” You are — once again — sending mixed signals, which was actually the problem about your original post. By continuing to send mixed signals, you are just begging the question: whether you took your post down because people were getting mad, or if you took it down because you understand why people were hurt by what you said.
When you explained today why you decided to remove your original letter, a person named Jennie left this comment:
Let me tell you a little parable.
A woman goes up to a man and, with lots of love in her heart, hits him over the head with a baseball bat. The man gets upset and tells her to stop because it hurts.
The woman says, “No, I can’t. Because I love you. And this book says that I need to do this. I’m so sorry that it hurts, but I need to keep doing it. And stop being upset with me because you’re not seeing my heart.”
The man, bleeding from this woman’s “love”, goes and gets some help. He gets a crowd of friends and they start holding the woman down to get her to stop hitting the man with a baseball bat. The woman keeps apologizing for the hurt, but refuses to acknowledge that she was wrong to inflict it, that she was wrong to ever think it was a good idea. That she was wrong to think that she knew what that man needed better than he did.
Then the woman finally agrees to stop hitting the guy over the head with the bat, but she won’t admit she was wrong to do it in the first place. And she tells all his friends that they should have been nicer to her. They shouldn’t have gotten so mad because she did it out of love.
See, at a certain point, it doesn’t matter what your intentions were. If you had posted that letter and then taken it down and apologized as soon as someone told you how wrong and hurtful it was, I could have bought that your intentions were good. But your persistence and your refusal to issue a real apology even know show [sic] otherwise.
You see, Emily, I am similarly concerned. I am concerned that Jennie is right. I am worried that you still aren’t quite grasping what the problem was.
You put down the bat. That’s good.
I am so glad you put down the bat.
I am grateful that you were willing to see the necessity of removing the post.
But you still need to apologize for swinging in the first place. You still need to understand that “apologizing for swinging the bat” does not equal “apologizing for thinking being gay is a sin.” A lot of us disagree with you on whether homosexuality is a sin, but that’s not the crux of this situation. It’s what you communicated by how you communicated.
You still have not apologized for the communication itself.
You still have not taken actual ownership of the hurt you caused.
Real apologies come with efforts to make things right, not just efforts to re-title the wrongs (as you first did) or bury them in the digital trash can (as you did today). If you aren’t willing to go that extra mile to right the wrongs, “sorry” means nothing.