Faith, Family, and God: Raising Children with Faith

May 5, 2011
By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Columnist
More LGBT families are adopting children. I’m not referring to the furry kind. According to the Family Equality Council, one million same-sex families are raising about two million children. Sometimes same-sex parents are challenged with whether to raise children with faith, religion, spirituality or a combination. Religion has scarred many in the LGBT and Searching community. Yet many gay and lesbian parents still have faith in something bigger than themselves and a spiritual hunger that is distinct from man-made religion that can obstruct rather than enhance an individual’s spiritual sojourn.

Raising children with a sense of a greater power can anchor them despite living in a world that is cold, complicated, unpredictable, and sometimes cruel. Despite the issues they will inevitably face growing up or as adults they can take comfort in an eternal supreme goodness.

Children sometimes have questions about life, purpose, and someone called God. _Does God wear a white beard? If God is a woman shouldn’t there be electrolysis in paradise? Did Golda the gold fish really go down the toilet after the flush or did she go to a heavenly pond? Does Killer the man-eating Chihuahua have a soul? What’s a soul? Is Diva the Siamese cat in heaven and is she telling God how to run the place? Did Grace(less) the Great Dane go to the same heaven as grandma? Is grandpa living in a different set of clouds (post-medication)? What’s an angel? Or is that something my two mommies call me when I’m not being a little devil? Who is the pope and why don’t my daddies like him? Is it because he wears white after labor day?_

What is faith and spirituality? After years of reflection I’m not sure. The ongoing questioning helps me to grow. It forces me to step outside myself and look at the world in different ways. Although I should warn you that Dante had it right when he said, _hell is an endless conversation with oneself._ I’ve been to hell too often. It’s best to call it a day at some point.

Although I have found no answers, let me share some thoughts. Science without faith is arrogance incapable of keeping fallible men and women grounded. It becomes its own god that lacks empathy, compassion, and humility. Faith absent logic, science, and common sense is ignorance and superstition.

Faith can be your child’s connection to the universe and each person in it. It can be a reminder that everyone (gay, lesbian, straight, transgender, liberal, conservative, atheist, agnostic, or believer) share a common origin and destiny. Spirituality can be mysticism and wonderment about life.

If you decided to send your child to a religious school, it doesn’t mean you accept the dogma, but you may find the ritual, ceremony, and quality education important. You may want a child baptized or circumcised. You believe in the basic tenets of love thy neighbor.

The right religious community can offer you and your children a second family. In general, Unitarians, Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ are among those who are very supportive of same-sex families, especially those with people-children.

Children can be raised Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, Pagan, or other without belonging to a particular type or branch. Parents can share with children that they are part of a holy purpose. Together each person represents all that is good and noble. Collectively, positive energy as individuals and as a family helps give the universe its joy, its hope, its love, its soul.

* _Paul is an author, attorney, and a seminary trained, ordained priest in greater Albany, NY. He is a contributor to the book _Homosexuality in the Orthodox Church_, available on He may be reached at <>._

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