I love to watch The Voice. Tonight, I was in tears, my heart was racing and I couldn’t move on without some internal processing. Vocal music is a beautiful thing and on this show the coaches encourage the contestants to sing through their stories.
On this episode, a woman named Stephanie Rice shared her story. She was the daughter of a Baptist pastor. Her father happened to be doing a series on the sin of homosexuality when she actually realized that she was lesbian. She was just 17 years old.
In response to their daughter’s situation her dad exhibited abusive public verbal attacks against her at school and her school counselor had to remove her from the room to protect her from further abuse. Her parents refused to allow her to accept awards for her high school accomplishments, which were amazing. They subsequently gave her an option; either she sought counseling to change or she could go to college and they’d no longer affiliate with her and she’d be history to them. She chose to be honest with them and she took the consequences. (more of her story)
Her response was to dig into her schooling and work hard. She got her degree in biology and began working on a project with HIV and AIDS. She became a published author in the Scientific Journal. She discovered how healing her music was to her deepest wounds and began to seek out a music career.
As I continued watching the following contestants perform my heart was more and more impacted by her story. I became tearful as I thought about her situation. It’s not new for me to hear that parents disown their LBGT children. But for some reason Stephanie’s story was so real, so raw that it just hit me once again the reality of how conservative religion can be so harmful at times.
I became furious! A Baptist pastor turned his teenage daughter out and completely separated from her because she’s a lesbian! As her most significant reflection of God in her life, her parents completely rejected her and said she would become history to them. As I reflect on my own experience with fundamental Christianity I’m so ashamed and embarrassed that I ever bought into such rejecting and ignorant ways of thinking and the all too common heartless response to humanity.
Sadly, many teens that endure such pain turn to drugs, addictions, and suicide. Thankfully Stephanie used her intelligence and turned to her talent to become productive. I know for certain that Stephanie will have helpful support and she’ll be surrounded by people who will love and accept her. But the gnawing and rejecting absence of her parents and siblings, whom she said she practically raised, will not go away. One can only hope that they’ll see the true light of God and learn how to love their daughter rightly, regardless of what their own personal convictions are.
I really look forward to hearing more of Stephanie’s musical talent. The depth of her wounds came through her first song and I’m sure with experienced coaching it will only become better!
THIS HAS TO STOP!