Rick Sweeney
3 min readFeb 12, 2021



There were times when his parents worried that Jeff might have some mental developmental issues. As he tried to learn how to write, his hand was unsteady and weak. When he tried to play baseball with the other kids in the neighborhood, he was terrible at the game. He could not hit the ball. When he did make contact, he couldn’t get the ball as far as the pitcher’s mound. He could not throw the ball at all.

Jeff was miserable. He was always picked last. He was almost at the point that he did not want to play ball anymore. He was sure that he would hate school as well.

Then, one of the dads in the neighborhood was watching Jeff try to play. He interrupted the game and talked to Jeff. “The next time you go up to bat, try to hit from the other side of home plate. Hold your hands like this and see it that helps.“ ”Jeff took the suggestion and started to hit line drives. Then the helpful dad gave him his old lefthanded glove and told him to try throwing with his left hand. The difference was amazing. Jeff could throw the ball as well as any of the other boys. Soon he was being picked first when they chose teams.

The dad saw Jeff’s dad at the gas station. He told him about Jeff being left- handed. Jeff’s dad was angry.” No son of mine is going to be a lefty. I raised him right.” When he got home, he told Jeff that he was never to bat left-handed ever again. When he saw Jeff trying to write with his left hand, he scolded him and forbade him from ever doing that again.

His teachers told him that it was unnatural and wrong to use his left hand. His father even asked the preacher to talk to Jeff. The minister said that God would not be happy with him being lefthanded. Jeff tried to pretend that he was right-handed for a while. He did not want to make God or his father angry.

But when his father was not around, Jeff would bat lefty. When the teacher was not watching, Jeff wrote lefthanded. As he grew, Jeff decided that he was not going to try to hide it anymore.

The preacher told him it was wrong in God’s eyes. “There is no mention of anybody being left-handed in the Bible. There are special camps that can help you learn how to be right- handed as God intended.”

. “His dad said, “You have just been influenced by some of the wrong people. This is just a phase you are going through. You are doing this to be different and to get attention. If you persist in this unnatural lifestyle, I will disown you.”

Jeff was so confused. He could not understand why God would make him this way if he didn’t want him to use his left hand. He didn’t understand why his father’s love was conditional upon his dominant hand. Why would they not let him be what he was born to be? Why should he pretend to be right-handed? “I was born this way. How can it be wrong? How is it hurting anyone else?

He remembered the neighbor who had shown him how to hit and throw left-handed. How was it that he had a left-handed glove? Soon he began to discover that there were others like him. Many of them had shared the same stories of disapproval and rejection.

Would Jeff’s experience have been any different if he had been born gay? Let the one who has ears, hear.



Rick Sweeney

The Reverend Dr. Richard Sweeney, Rick, is a retired Presbyterian pastor and author. Rick lives with his wife, Prudy, in Greensburg, PA.