The Letter the Reitan Family was Trying to Deliver to Focus on the Family

Reitan Family. Ben, Jake, Phil, Randi, Josh, and Britta.Phil and I have a gay son, Jake. When Jake first came out to us we knew nothing about homosexuality. We had to educate ourselves. We read many books but, more importantly, we talked to psychologists and psychiatrists about understanding homosexuality. We were told to love and accept Jake as a gay man. We were told that reparative therapy is harmful.

We listened to their advice and we began a new journey of understanding as parents.

There was never a moment we did not love or accept our dear son. But we struggled with how best to see the day Jake is loved, accepted and understood by society. As parents and Christians, we felt called to work for justice for all in the gay community.

Jake wanted to come out right away. We had been told that it would be best to wait until Jake was out of high school as students can be very cruel. But Jake felt the need not only to come out but, to bring an understanding of what it meant to be gay to his classmates. He came out the summer before his senior year and he started the first gay/straight alliance at his high school in Mankato. We are so proud of all the work he has done to bring understanding to the issues.

But we worry for Jake. He is a courageous young man who feels a passion for justice. We have had "fag" scrawled on our driveway, raw eggs in our mailbox, pink paint balls peppering the front of our home, lamp posts broken, unsigned letters filled with terrible messages mailed to our home and Jake’s car window smashed into a million pieces.

People are taught to hate. People are taught to be intolerant. As Christians, we must teach God’s love for all his beloved children by our love and our actions.

We know that God loves Jake just as he is… a gay man. We know that Jesus is with Jake each day as Jake works to see the day all in the gay community are respected and given the same rights and privileges we all enjoy. We pray that day comes soon.

And as we read in Micah 6:8… "What does the Lord require of thee, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

From the day Jake told us he was gay we have been on a journey. It is one that has filled our hearts with love from so many dear people…people we never would have known if we didn’t have a gay son. We have been blessed time and time again on this journey to justice.

We give thanks each day for the love we share as a family, for our four dear children and for the sure and certain knowledge that God is with us every day. On the days I feel most weary on this new journey, I read a passage from the Bible that was my family’s favorite when I was growing up.

Philippians 4
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

In His peace,

Randi Reitan
Minnesota

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