We received a variety of responses to the article, Compassionately Caring for LGBT Persons in Your Faith Community. As the editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing, I knew it was a big risk to write on this topic.
One reader responded on the NCF Nurses Blog: “I am delighted to see the issue being addressed by NCF. I worked with AIDS patients in the mid-80s and my father gave me great advice: Do not change your values, do not impose your values – do the best job you can as a nurse.When we truly reach out to others with unconditional love, our own lives are changed and enhanced forever.”
Another upset reader thought we were promoting a gay lifestyle and wanted to see us mention some approaches to this problem to help people be freed from the oppression of sexual sin. We thought about including the resources he recommended but we didn’t for two reasons:
1) The point of the article wasn’t about changing a patient’s sexual identity; it was about understanding people who are gay and their health concerns—not endorse their lifestyle. As nurses, we can recommend resources for people who ask for help, but it is in the context of an established relationship.
2) We wanted to be sensitive and reach out to the gay community with Christ’s love and not give a typical approach they often hear from many Christians, so we did not include resources for dealing with homosexuality.
Interestingly, as a result of publishing this piece, I have had the opportunity to listen to some very personal and painful stories from gay healthcare providers. I am moved by their stories. In these conversations, I have tried to listen carefully and respond with God’s love. I pray that I can continue these relationships and help them experience, as I have, our wonderful Savior who offers healing to us all.
by Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, JCN Editor
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