Stand Up, Straight Christians. It's Time For You To Come Out Of The Closet.

Key in Lock


“I’ve been a Christian my entire life and I’ve never been able to ask these questions because I feared how I’d be treated in my church. Reading your writing today gave me permission to push back, to start conversations, and to ask for better answers than I’d been given.”
– A reader

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months that I’ve read a variation of these same exhausted, religion-weary words from people all over the world, from every denomination, every theological tradition, and every church setting.

And though the language and the story and the circumstances may change slightly from person to person, one idea has surfaced over and over and over again; a familiar melody reprised nearly every single day: permission.

Straight Christians, many of whom have spent the entirety of their faith lives unable to address the nagging, persistent, terrifying questions about the way the Church and her theology has laid waste to the LGBT community, have felt like they’ve been given some consent to speak, if only through hushed tones in the protected sanctuary of my email inbox.

Good, God-fearing, faithful heterosexual followers of Jesus who’ve lived for decades feeling that something is terribly but unquestionably wrong with the havoc we’ve wreaked in the lives of gay people in the name of God, are moving ever so slowly out of the shadows and into the bright light of open divergence from the violent, bullying faith story they’ve inherited and been complicit in.

Now I’m here, asking you to move faster; you whose eyes have seen things differently, you whose hearts have been irrevocably altered.

It’s a sobering and telling thing to see someone in a place of power and privilege, identify with a marginalized, quieted, oppressed group of people, simply as they feel empathy for that group—and that’s exactly what’s happened in the Church.

For far too many straight Christians, their compassion for the LGBT community has ironically kept them in a closet of silence themselves; a voiceless space in their own faith communities, where their thoughts stay unshared and their questions remain unspoken.

These are parents, siblings, children, family members, friends, and coworkers of gay people; whose life experiences are yielding an ever more clear disconnect with the party line and practice of their religion regarding “homosexuality”, but who’ve kept that truth hidden from their small groups, family dinners, ministry teams, and social media profiles.

If this describes you, perhaps you’ll consider this your coming out party?

History teaches us that whenever entrenched and systematic discrimination, bigotry, and hatred have been overcome, it’s only happened when those within the ranks of the oppressors have found the courage to speak difficult, direct truth into their own. It’s happened as those on the inside risked alienation and isolation from their very tribe, in order to defend the powerless, bullied, outnumbered outsiders.

This is such a time, Church.

It has to be, because LGBT people are dying from the wounds our religion has inflicted; not just figuratively, metaphorically, poetically dying, mind you; but brutal, real, bloody, final, no-longer-living, kinda dying—and it’s a flat-out sin.

And yes, let’s use that sin word we all love to throw around so easily in our interactions; a word whose original meeting is, “to miss the mark”, because when it comes to really loving our LGBT neighbors in any meaningful way, we in the Church have missed the mark completely. In fact, we haven’t just failed to love, we’ve actively and willingly harmed people and then simply passed the buck to God, (or at least, to the Apostle Paul).

All this “love the sinner, hate the sin” talk is just a pretty, painted, cheap facade nailed overtop a destructive, hateful, hurtful expression of fear, allowed to be called Religion.

It’s not fooling the LGBT community who receive the damage daily; who are driven to the very brink of hope (and many times well beyond it) by people claiming to follow Jesus; professing faith in a God of love, while speaking and doing violence to them.

It’s not fooling the Christian families and friends of those who love LGBT people; who’ve watched them be overtaken by a cancer of self-hatred and shame that doesn’t come from God, but from God’s people.

It’s not fooling many of the people sitting in our churches; those whose questions are growing louder and more clear and more frequent by the day.

Most importantly, it’s not fooling God; who sees those callous hearts hidden beneath the veneer of sweet and flowery words of “love for all people”, while treating the LGBT community as disqualified contestants, ineligible to receive that love.

Maybe it’s not fooling you either and maybe it’s time you said so.

This is not a theological debate, it’s simply an invitation.

This message isn’t to the believer who feels Biblically justified in condemning a child or excluding a teen or persecuting an adult or shunning anyone for their sexuality. This message is for those within the Church whose love for Christ and whose personal faith convictions ensure that they no longer can.

I have no desire to, nor will I argue or debate with those who believe that God is perfectly OK with the depression, cutting, suicide, addiction, isolation, and hopelessness that the Church is actively sowing into LGBT people’s lives, but I am challenging you followers of Jesus, who are very much not-OK with it and who believe the same of God.

I’m asking you to speak; to bravely use your “outside voices” and ask all of the questions that you share with me in secret and hold in solitude; to challenge your pastors, parents, coworkers, cousins, friends, and churches to be accountable for the collateral damage of our theology on sexuality.

I’m asking you to publicly state your conscientious objection to joining the vicious, unprovoked, one-sided war the Church has been so very willing to wage on the LGBT community; from pulpits, through politics, and across picket lines.

I’m asking you to bring your feelings fully to the light in your small groups, family dinners, ministry teams, and social media profiles, where your voice matters and where it has power to start conversations and to give life.

I’m asking you, straight Christian, to make the bold, costly, risky decision to stand with LGBT people in whatever way your personal faith calls you to, regardless of the cost.

Too many gay people have been abused for far too long in the name of Jesus, and too many of those people have lived miserably and have left too soon. That’s simply not acceptable.

Ultimately, the greatest evil is never the injustice that exists in our world but our silence in the face of it.

And incidentally, heterosexual Christian; this “coming out” that I’m inviting you to? It ain’t even in the same universe as what the LGBT community faces. For them, telling their hidden truth may cost them jobs and livelihoods and friends. They may be forced out of churches and social groups, and be subject to verbal, emotional and physical abuse that you and I will never understand or experience.

The worst consequences you’ll likely face by speaking out will be some awkward conversations on Facebook and a judgmental glance or two in the commissary. So while I use the words “coming out”, it’s admittedly in the most inferior way and only to illustrate the truth that for you, simply being honest in support is the most minuscule expression of solidarity with their incredible struggle that you can make—so make it.

For them, for those LGBT people hanging by the thinnest of threads right now and for those who love them, I’m begging you: stand-up, straight Christian and come out of the closet. It’s the very least you can do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

114 thoughts on “Stand Up, Straight Christians. It's Time For You To Come Out Of The Closet.

  1. The word “abomination” is found, of course, in the King James translation of Leviticus 18:22, a translation which reads, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination.” Yet this is a thoroughly misleading rendition of the Hebrew word ‘toevah’, which definitely does not mean “abomination”, besides the fact that it actually says 2 males shall not lay together in a woman’s bed.” An “abomination” conjures up images of things which should not exist on the face of the earth: three-legged babies, oceans choked with oil, or Cheez-Whiz. And indeed, this is how many religious people regard gays and lesbians.

    Yet a close reading of the term toevah shows an entirely different meaning: something permitted to one group, and forbidden to another.Though there is (probably) no etymological relationship, toevah means taboo.

    The term toevah (and its plural, toevot) occurs 103 times in the Hebrew Bible, and almost always has the connotation of a non-Israelite cultic practice. In the Torah, the primary toevah is avodah zara, foreign forms of worship, and most other toevot flow from it. The Israelites are instructed not to commit toevah because other nations do so. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 makes this quite clear:

    “When you come into the land that YHVH your God gives you, do not learn to do the toevot of those nations. Do not find among you one who passes his son or daughter through the fire; or a magician; or a fortune teller, charmer, or witch… because all who do these things are toevah to YHVH and because of these toevot YHVH your God is driving them out before you.”

    Elsewhere, Deuteronomy 7:25-26 commands:

    You shall burn the statues of their gods in fire. Do not desire the silver and gold on them and take it onto yourself, else you be snared by it, for it is a toevah to YHVH your God. And you shall not bring toevah to your home

    Deut. 12:31, 13:14, 17:4, 27:15, and 32:16 further identify idolatry, child sacrifice, witchcraft, and other “foreign” practices as toevah, and Deut. 20:18 says that avoiding toevah justifies the genocide of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanaites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. So, toevah is serious, but it is serious as a particular class of cultic offense: a transgression of national boundary. It is certainly not “abomination.”

    Toevah is used four times in Leviticus 18—once to refer to specific male, but not ‘general’, homosexual acts, and then three times as an umbrella term. As in Deuteronomy, the signal feature of toevot is that the other nations of the Land of Israel do them: “You shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit these toevot… because the people who were in the land before you did these toevot and made the land impure (tameh)” (Lev. 18:26-27; see also Lev. 18:29). The term is repeated with reference to specific homosexual activity in Lev. 20:13.

    Similarly, the Books of Kings and Chronicles use toevah nine times to refer to acts that other nations did in the Land of Israel:

    1 Kings 14:24 (general);
    2 Kings 16:3 (child sacrifice);
    2 Kings 21:2 and 2 Kings 21:11 (idolatry);
    2 Chron. 28:3 (child sacrifice);
    2 Chron. 33:2 (idolatry);
    2 Chron. 34:33, 36:8, and 36:14 (general). (Ezra 9:1, 9:11, and 9:14 use the word in exactly the same way.)

    In all these cases, toevah refers to a foreign cultic behavior wrongly practiced by Israelites and Israelite kings.

    And likewise, the prophet Ezekiel uses the term toevah a record-setting 39 times to refer to idolatry (Ez. 5:11, 6:9, 6:11, 7:20,14:6, 20:7-8, 22:2, 44:6-7, 44:13), usury (Ez. 18:13), haughtiness and pride (Ez. 16:47-50; the “Sin of Sodom”—more on that in a future article), heterosexual adultery (Ez. 22:11, 33:26), and violence (Ez. 33:26), as well as a general term for foreign acts (Ez. 16:51) or transgression, often in a cultic context (Ez. 5:9, 7:3-4, 7:8-9, 9:4, 11:18, 11:21, 12:16, 16:2, 16:43, 18:24, 20:4, 33:29,36:31).

    In one extended passage (Ez. 8:1-18), Ezekiel is taken on a visionary tour of toevot, all of which have to do with idolatry and each, Ezekiel says, is worse than the previous one, beginning with an image on the door of the gate of Jerusalem, to idols and imagery in a house of worship, to women weeping for the god Tammuz,* to men worshipping the sun within the Temple itself. This extended passage, with six mentions of toevah, links the term in every instance with avodah zara, or idolatry.

    In five instances, Ezekiel mentions toevah together with both idolatry and zimah or znut, “whoredom” (Ez. 16:22, 16:36, 16:58,23:26, 43:8), strongly showing that the nature of sexual toevah is not mere lewdness, and certainly not loving intimate expression, but sexuality in a pagan cultic context.

    Now, so far, it is unclear whether a toevah is detestable because it is foreign, or foreign because it is detestable. This question is resolved elsewhere in the Bible, because Israelites are not the only ones with toevot. There are several examples of things which are toevah for Egyptians but perfectly acceptable for Israelites.

    Genesis 43:32 states that eating with Israelites is toevah for Egyptians. Gen. 43:34 states that shepherds are toevah to Egyptians—the sons of Israel are themselves shepherds. In Exodus 8:22, Moses describes Israelite sacrifices as being toevat mitzrayim (toevah of Egypt), although obviously Israelite ritual is not an objective “abomination.” If toevah means abomination, then eating with shepherds, eating with Israelites, and Israelite sacrifices themselves must be abominable! Since this clearly is not the case, toevah cannot mean “abomination” in any ontological sense—it must be a relative quality.

    Toevah can also mean other things. It can refer to ritual imperfection: Deut. 17:1 uses it to refer to the sacrifice of a blemished animal, and Deut. 19:19 bans as toevah sacrifices bought through prostitution or “the price of a dog.” Deut. 22:5 calls crossdressing a toevah (incidentally, in Orthodox Jewish law, this includes women wearing pants). Remarriage (i.e. of the same two parties) is toevah according to Deut. 24:4. The sole ethical use of the term in the Torah is in Deut. 25:16, in which the use of unequal weights and measures is called toevah.

    In the Book of Proverbs (which comes late in the Bible but which scholars believe to have been composed prior to the Deuteronomic and Levitical material), toevah is used twenty-one times to refer to various ethical failings, including the ways, thoughts, prayers and sacrifices of the wicked (Prov. 3:32, 15:8-9, 15:26, 16:12, 21:27, 28:9), pride (Prov. 6:16, 16:5), evil speech (Prov. 8:7), false weights (Prov. 11:1, 20:10, 20:23), devious heartedness (Prov. 11:20), lying (Prov. 12:22, 26:25), scoffing (Prov. 24:9), justifying the wicked and defaming the righteous (Prov. 17:15). Interestingly, Proverbs 13:19 says that “to turn from evil is toevah to fools,” again suggesting that toevah is something relative in nature. Similarly, Prov. 29:27 says poetically: “An unjust man is toevah to the righteous, and the straightforward man is toevah to the wicked.”

    Finally, other books of the Bible adapt the meaning of toevah in accord with their overall literary agendas. Isaiah uses it to refer to the sacrifices of hypocrites (1:13, 44:19), as a taunt against earthly power (41:14), and idolatry (66:3). Jeremiah associates toevah with idolatry (Jer. 2:7, 7:10, 32:35) and unspecified transgression (Jer. 6:15, 8:12, 44:22). Malachi (2:11) uses it to refer to the Israelites’ having “married the daughter of a foreign god.” And Psalm 88:9 poetically uses the term to refer to being alienated from one’s friend: “You have taken me far from my acquaintance; made me a toevah to him, put away, and I cannot come out.”

    Even these variant uses, in most cases, point to the nature of toevah as something foreign or, more generally, something which is or ought to be far away from oneself. Proverbs’ use of toevah is the exception, rather than the rule; in the overwhelming majority of cases, toevah has nothing to do with ethics, and everything to do with cultic behavior, idolatry, and foreign ritual. However we may understand this type of transgression, it is certainly not “abomination” in the modern sense.

    Indeed, “abomination” itself is an inexact and extremely poor translation, used by the King James and other biblical translations for multiple terms. The KJV uses the word twenty-six times to refer to sheketz, an analogous term to toevah which refers usually to idolatry and occasionally to other taboos such as forbidden animals (Lev. 11:10-13). Likewise, Leviticus 7:18 describes leftover sacrificial meat as pigul—but King James again says “abomination.” And 1 Samuel 13:4, speaking of King Saul and the Philistines, uses the term nivash, yet again rendered as “abomination.” And so on, including 1 Kings 11:5-7, 2 Kings 23:13, Isaiah 66:17, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11(sheketz), and many more.

    The KJV even uses “abomination” six times in translation of New Testament texts (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14, Luke 16:15, and Revelation 17:4-5, 21:27). All these biblical terms refer to different violations, yet the umbrella term “abomination” eludes any distinction between them. As a result, the KJV lists exactly 150 occurrences of the term “abomination,” though only 103 of them translate toevah.

    Now, if by “abomination,” the King James means a cultural prohibition—something which a particular culture abhors but another culture enjoys—then the term makes sense. But in common parlance, the term has come to mean much more than that. Today, it connotes something horrible, something contrary to the order of nature itself, or God’s plan, or the institution of the family, or whatever. It is this malleability of meaning, and its close association with disgust, that makes “abomination” a particularly abominable word to use. The term implies that homosexuality has no place under the sun (despite its presence in over 1,500 animal species), and that it is an abomination against the Divine order itself.

    Christians who want to be true to the original spoken Word should stop using the word “abomination” to refer to toevah. The word plays into the hands of fundamentalists on the one hand, and anti-religious zealots on the other, both of whom want to depict the Bible as virulently and centrally concerned with the “unnatural” acts of gays and lesbians. In fact, toevah is mostly about idolatry, and male homosexual behavior is only as abominable as remarriage or not keeping kosher, and only within specific situations. Whenever we use the word “abomination” we are perpetuating the misunderstanding of biblical text and the religious persecution of LGBT people.

    • Just one quick point. Ezekiel actually separates toevah as being self sustained without idolatry. God, in giving what Israel did for sins and that they did the sins of Sodom but Sodom did not do their sins, lists toevah in 16:50 as singular. The only singular stance of toevah is male with male intercourse. Also all of Leviticus 18 is called toevah in complete, while male with male intercourse is quantified as distinct in its acknowledgement of being toevah. Meaning if the reference to homosexuality is to be discarded by Christians because of cultic practices then so does incest, adultery, beastiality etc. Toevah defines idolatry. Idolatry doesn’t define toevah. To God it is abomination to Him. Just like what was toevah to the Egyptians. That is why God gave the original examples of toevah with the Egyptians. To let arguments like yours have no grounds to those who study to show themselves approved. Your point is the equivalent to saying “fabulous” describes things gay because gays use it most. So all things “fabulous” have a gay meaning. Instead of simple English where fabulous simple describes.

  2. Thank you for writing this. Even before I realized I was gay, I felt that the Christian hostility to the LGBT community was strange and uncharitable: were we not told to love all men, and, if it came to such a point, to love our enemies and to rejoice when we are persecuted? And when I did realize that I was gay, and began seeing the issue from both sides (for I could never leave my faith behind, though I tried to), it gave me a burning longing to see reconciliation and peace between us. Some people think that’s impossible, but, well, so’s a man coming back from the dead. 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for writing this. Even before I realized I was gay, I was puzzled and saddened by the harsh, angry language that was all I heard being directed by Christians toward the LGBT community; principled opposition I could understand, but not the weird mixture of hatred, disgust, and panic that seemed to be coming from Christian lips. It was so out of accord with the fruit of the Spirit. And then, when I realized I was gay myself, and started to see the issue from both sides — for I could never desert my faith, though I tried to — I was filled with a burning longing for reconciliation and peace between Christianity and the gay community. Some people (on both sides) think that’s impossible, but, hey, so is a man coming back from the dead.

  4. John,
    Something that I wish people understood more is that LGBT people aren’t just speaking about their sexual identity but also their gender identity. I work in an office that works to bring awareness and education to a college campus about LGBT affairs. When I first started working here I took a training session to better learn what the office did and to learn about the education practices. The first we learned was that being Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, etc. (there are a lot more letters to that sequence) is not just about the sex. It’s also about gender identity, which seems to always be left out of the conversation when it comes to Christian teachings and the LGBT community.

    I wish I could speak as eloquently as our LGBT Affairs director does on this subject. Eloquent, educated, and compassionate. Since the training I’ve talked to so many people about their identity and sexuality. I have become convinced that God has created us all in His (non-gendered because I have a hard time believing GOD is just a guy, no offense) image, that we are all created equally and that the Church, in its fear, has held people of color, women, children, and the LGBT community at arms length.

    Speaking Out is just the tip of the iceberg of the conversations we need to be having as Christians (not as Methodists, Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, Pentecostals). We need to start talking about privilege and women and children and people of color. How are we letting each other down and how can we begin to utilize God’s purpose for all of us to the fullest extent without the walls of gender and race and age and sexuality stand in the way.

    • You said that LGBT people are speaking about sexual identity and gender identity. I’m not quite sure what you mean by that, unless you mean all heterosexual, cisgender people are doing so as well.

      LGB is about sexual orientation, not gender identity. T is about gender identity, not sexual orientation. Thus, a person who is transgender or cisgender (gender identity) may be heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, (sexual orientation). Gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

      Sexual orientation is not all about sex either: it’s an enduring pattern of attraction on various levels, one of which is sexual. People are still gay, lesbian, bi, hetero, etc., even if they’ve never had sex.

      I completely agree with you that gender identity/expression is often left out of the conversation.

      • You explained it so much better than me. In my head this is exactly what I wrote. But yes, i agree with you completely; and I htink we do need to encourage people to talk about their gender identity/expression more. People think it’s all crazy sex. LOL

  5. As a mom of a daughter who is gay, I have NEVER understood the “love the sinner, hate the sin” statement, with regards to people who are gay. How is it a sin, when you are born gay? Im tired of people saying “it’s a choice”. Long before my daughter was born, I felt that being gay is not a choice. If it were, who would choose to be picked on, made fun of and made to feel like there is “something wrong with you”?
    I’m a Christian and the God I believe in doesn’t make mistakes!

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  7. I think the following news is worthy of being acknowledged as well:

    Op-Ed- ‘How anti-gay Christians evangelize hate abroad’, by Kapya Kaoma. Rev. Kaoma is an Anglican priest and the senior religion and sexuality researcher at Political Research Associates in Boston. He wrote the reports “Colonizing African Values” and “Globalizing the Culture Wars.”

    If you live in the United States, it’s easy to be lulled into thinking that the battle for broader civil rights for gay people is nearly over. The last few years have brought important victories in courts, legislatures and at the ballot box, and momentum is firmly on the side of increased equality.

    That’s not true, however, in other parts of the world. The hateful vitriol that has fueled U.S. culture wars for so long is now being exported, and some of our most ardent culture warriors are finding a far more receptive audience abroad.

    The people of Uganda, Nigeria, Russia and elsewhere are leading their own struggles for human rights. Their fight is difficult enough without campaigns of vilification designed by American preachers who distort the meaning of the Gospels to justify the criminalization , and even murder, of innocents.

    In nations such as these, an insidious homophobia engineered in America is taking root. I have seen this hate being spread with my own eyes. People who are gay, or suspected of being gay are being rounded up, beaten, murdered, and even burned to death by ‘Christian’ mobs who have learned such hatred from preachers and pastors in the U.S., who have exported such teachings abroad.

    In March 2009, while in Kampala, Uganda, researching reports of U.S. right-wing evangelical involvement in attacks on LGBTQ equality and reproductive justice, I was invited to a three-day conference on homosexuality hosted by the Family Life Network, which is based in New York. The keynote speaker was Scott Lively from Springfield, Mass., who introduced himself as a leading expert on the “international homosexual agenda.” I filmed Lively over the course of two days as he instructed religious and political leaders about how gays were coming to Uganda from the West to “recruit children into homosexuality.”

    Some of his assertions would have been laughable had he not been so deadly serious. He claimed that a gay clique that included Adolf Hitler was behind the Holocaust, and he insinuated that gay people fueled the Rwandan genocide.

    In the United States, Lively is widely dismissed as an anti-gay firebrand and Holocaust revisionist. But in Uganda, he was presented — and accepted — as a leading international authority. The public persecution of LGBTQ people escalated after Lively’s conference, with one local newspaper publishing the pictures and addresses of activists under the headline, “Hang Them.”

    Lively was also invited to private briefings with political and religious leaders, and to address the Ugandan parliament during his 2009 visit. The next month, Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati unveiled his Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which in its original form called for the death penalty as punishment for a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality.”

    In recent years, millions of dollars have been funneled from anti-LGBTQ evangelical conservatives to Uganda, funding local pastors and training them to adopt and mirror the culture-war language of the U.S. Christian right. Bahati and a notorious anti-gay pastor, Martin Ssempa, were personally mentored by U.S. conservatives. And powerful Christian right organizations such as the Family Research Council lobbied Congress to change a resolution denouncing the Uganda legislation.

    Other prominent right-wing evangelicals have also made Uganda appearances, including California’s Rick Warren and Lou Engle, who founded TheCall ministry. They met with politicians, hosted rallies and public meetings, and used their influence and credibility to contribute to a culture war in Uganda much more intense and explosive than anything seen in the United States; Lively himself described the work as a “nuclear bomb” in Uganda.

    In December, the Ugandan parliament finally passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and last month President Yoweri Museveni signed it into law. The death penalty provision was removed, but the law includes life sentences for homosexual “repeat offenders” and criminalizes advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ Ugandans.

    Uganda has deservedly received widespread attention, but it’s not the only country with a culture war that carries the fingerprints of U.S. campaigners. Nigeria has passed a bill almost identical to Uganda’s, and Cameroon and Zambia are enthusiastically imprisoning LGBTQ people.

    In a country where 85 percent of the population identifies as Christian, Ugandan pastors have been the most vocal supporters of the new bill that mandates life-imprisonment for gay people. As a result, homophobia has become almost universal. Several prominent American evangelical pastors, including Scott Lively, a minister and self-proclaimed expert on ‘the gays’, traveled to Uganda and were the main reason for the creation of this horrific legislation.

    Kampala, Uganda – Auf Usaam Mukwaya is a 26-year-old gay man and human rights activist. Because of that, he has been arrested, jailed, abducted and tortured. He endured constant homophobic taunts from his neighbors since he was outed in one of the local papers and his face was shown on television following creation of the anti-gay bill that was created at the request of American pastors. It became impossible for him to fight back, so he had to flee the country for his own safety. In June 2010 he arrived in France, where he received political asylum.

    In one particularly high-profile incident, a Kampala tabloid, Rolling Stone, outed several gays and lesbians under the headline “Hang Them” after passage of the bill. Among those pictured were an Ugandan bishop supportive of the gay and lesbian community and a lesbian who was later stoned to death by her neighbors.

    And let’s not forget Russia. In 2007, Lively traveled throughout Russia to, as he put it, bring a warning about the “homosexual political movement.” He urged Russians, among other things, “to criminalize the public advocacy of homosexuality.” Last year, President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that criminalizes distribution of “gay propaganda” to minors, including any material that “equates the social value of traditional and nontraditional sexual relations.” In Russia, because of this law, gay people are being beaten and even murdered now, with no response from the authorities.

    As to churches here in the U.S., here’s just one example: Pastor Steven Anderson, a Baptist pastor from Tempe, Arizona; is going viral for a sermon he preached 2 months ago. No, the sermon isn’t going viral because of him preaching the good news of scripture. It’s going viral because the pastor called for the murder of every LGBT person as a solution to end HIV and AIDS, even though HIV infections among women are primarily attributed to heterosexual contact (84% in 2010) or injection drug use (16% in 2010).

    His sermon titled “AIDS: The Judgement of God,” which was given the day before World AIDS day, evoked Levitical law saying “gays should be killed.” And soon in order to have an “AIDS-free Christmas.”

    “Turn to Leviticus 20:13 (which is completely mistranslated in most English bibles) because I actually discovered the cure for AIDS,” he said as his congregation laughed. “This is the cure for AIDS. Everyone is talking about ‘let’s have an AIDS free world by 2020.’ Look, we can have an AIDS free world by Christmas,” which evoked more laughter from the congregation.

    Click here to read the story: http://elielcruz.rel…free-christmas/

  8. Great post. It is high time the church practices the main teaching of Jesus to love God and love others. I don’t remember seeing any asterisk with an exclusion for LGBT individuals!

  9. I love God and I love all people but what you are saying is wrong it is an abomination. And until they truly repent and turn from their sin they can not and will not be saved read your bible then let’s pray for all people that they might truly find and love the only true God with love Rev. Bolin

    • “I love God and love all people BUT…”

      There’s no “but” in the commands of Jesus. When you place them there, it usually means you’re trying to put a caveat where none is allowed.

      Keep reading, studying, praying, and living. God may give you for yourself, what you pray for others.

    • Hi Rev. Bolin, you are mistaken on the word and concept of ‘abomination’.. I suggest you read the detailed information about it a few posts up.

  10. Reblogged this on Barking Shaman and commented:
    I’m obviously not Christian, but I do have a horse or two in this race. For starters, I’m weary of seeing my LGBTQ siblings who *are* (or more often, *were*) Christian suffer terrible emotional, spiritual, and sometimes physical abuse in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s even an obstacle sometimes as a polytheist pagan in my interactions with folks who follow Christ, as decades of being told by the Christian media that I’m a disgusting, horrible person, whose quest for equality will lead to the down fall of society – and Jesus says so, has left me with an impression that the Christian god and messiah is a hateful, vengeful being who offers hope only to those that fit into a narrow category of existence. That’s such a radical difference in perspective from that of many of the Christians that I know personally that it is hard sometimes to find common theological ground on which to have a discussion. It’s like the opposite of the (probably apocryphal) Gandhi quote: I loath the Christ that I’ve been shown, but quite like some Christians, who are as the saying goes, quite unlike their Christ.

    But leaving all of that aside, I’m hoping that more LGBTQ affirming Christians will “come out” so to speak, simply because as a person of faith, I’m dead tired of being painted with their brush. I was raised in an LGBTQ affirming faith, and I belong to a *different* LGBTQ affirming faith, yet simply by virtue of being a religious gay person I’m assumed to be self-hating and/or contributing to a system of oppression, because so many LGBTQ people’s ONLY understanding of religion and faith is that to be a person of faith is to be filled with vileness and hatred towards LGBTQ people. That’s been their experience, both of their milk religion of Christianity, and of how faith is portrayed in American public life by the outspoken Christians whose faith is inseparable from both political activism and their hate of anyone who is different from themselves.

    • Well said, Wintersong. Again, the problem is that those Christians who came out of the closet as supportive of LGBTQ folks (or were never in that closet) don’t make for good, controversial news stories. It is becoming clear that people who are homophobic are in the minority in this country, just like conservative Christians are, but the media prefer stories of anger and exclusion. On the other hand, I believe those ugly stories have helped to turn the tide on gay rights/marriage because real people came to know how destructive those attitudes were for many of their friends and loved ones.

  11. Because of the way our family has and continues to be treated when my son came out at 16, I want nothing to do with religion. He was kicked out of his Boy Scout troop in Moraga, Ca and we have been treated unkindly by people who identify as Christians. I no longer want a cross on my tombstone, but a heart to symbolize love. It amazes me how many believe some book that was written long ago and think this gives you the right to discriminate even when there’s no proof????

  12. I have read ur articles and am grateful to see what u have to say. My question however if you are a christian who has lovingly accepted gay friends but still feels that gods word says its sin. I have come to a deep heartfelt realization their sin is no diffrent than my sin. W that being said as beleivers are we not to daily bring them to christ and ask him to give us strength to overcome. Our teen daughter is currently struggling w her identity. We have been very upfront we love her know matter what but that gods word says god created man and woman to be together. That right now she is too young to date anyone. And as she gets older she can figure out who god created her to be. But for now focus on being a kid and let god make u what he wants u to be in life. It has been ruff time for my husband and i not really knowing how to go about this we know what gods word says. weve made it our goal to love the person not what they are on the outside, to be the example jesus would want us to be. Still so confused about how to help our daughter. We cant help but inside feeling this isnt gods design. But again i sin daily so who am i to judge. But this is my daughter and her soul is my responsability. With our gay friends we accept them love them and show them that they are important. And that is what god has asked us to do. But at the end of the day its there desicion. But my child is another story. How do we know truly without any doubt that gid is really ok w this.

    • There are some resources that can help you. PFLAG is an excellent one.

      I too was told similar things to what you told your daughter. Because of that, I believed that I was destined to never find love, to never have happiness in my life, and that I was sin. I prayed every night that I would not wake up in the morning. I wanted to die.

      Eventually, I looked past what I was taught. I read the Bible and studied it. I found that there are very few verses–and none said by Jesus–that said anything negative about being LGBT. I also found that the one saying of Jesus that is often used was in fact a very specific answer to a very specific question, and that it required a great leap of logic to claim that excluded everything else. It’s like walking into Subway, asking them about turkey sandwiches, and claiming that the answer about turkey sandwiches meant that no other kind of sandwich is sold at Subway.

      Jesus mentioned a lot about love, about acceptance, etc. If being born gay was such a sin, wouldn’t He have mentioned it at least once? If being in a same-sex relationship was such a sin, wouldn’t He have mentioned that at least once? He never did, not in the gospels included in the Bible, nor in the ones excluded from the Bible.

      I pray that your daughter is able to accept that she is exactly who God created her to be. I pray that you find the peace you need.

      Again, I strongly recommend PFLAG.

    • Please watch the movie “For the Bible Tells Me So”. And remember that you can find a Christian church that is open and welcoming of you and your daughter–and will affirm for all of you that her attraction to women is NOT A SIN according to the bible. All of your lives can be transformed by following a Jesus of love and inclusion.Too many young people have committed suicide because of the church’s teaching on this subject–please don’t let your daughter be one of the ones whose lives are ruined by false teachings of some Christians. Get out of the bubble–find a loving congregation!

  13. Pingback: On Being a Straight, Christian Ally » The Path Less Taken

  14. What is really needed now is to come out for the truth: God’s church does NOT persecute gays! Certain individuals do. There are four areas of truth here: biological, ethical, spiritual and historical.

    First, all persons should be treated with love and dignity: straight or gay. As Christians, we should make the clear distinction between the PERSON and the ACTION. Love the person; dislike the action (the “action” is NOT tendency or “identity,” but adultery–sexual relations with someone to whom you are not married; a Supreme Court decision does not change this). Of course, a person can be gay and not commit adultery, just as heterosexuals can. They can stand clean before the Lord.

    Second, homosexual action betrays truth in 8 ways:
    1 – Biological (natural law): it takes a male and a female to propagate the species. That is a simple foundational truth; actions contrary to it conflict with that natural law. (Another natural law: 2 + 2 = 4).
    2 – Biological (natural law): male parts do not fit male parts; female parts do not fit female parts; only males and females “fit” biologically–another simple truth–dare we admit and come out for it?
    3 – Ethical: The simple ethical test of the categorical imperative asks: (a) would an action be right if EVERYONE participated in it? This is the universal rule. (b) The corollary is: we cannot make ourselves an exception to the universal rule. If, then, everyone adopted homosexuality, the human race would cease to exist in a single generation, so it is ethically wrong. And, since this is the universal rule, we cannot say we are the exception and go ahead and practice it anyway.
    4 – Spiritual: God (in all religions) has declared that homosexuality is wrong. If we have faith in God, we must follow his law. Can we call ourselves disciples if we act as though our opinion is greater than God’s?
    5 – Spiritual: we all have our own personal trials and temptations (you have yours, I have mine, LGBT people have theirs); God wants us to rise above them, not succumb to them; he knows the joy is in the overcoming, not in the capitulation. Can we condone the destructive behaviors of some without condoning all sin? God doesn’t tell us whatever we do is OK–he has far more for us than this approach to life will yield!
    6 – Spiritual: in the eternities this temptation, as with all others, will be removed; can we exercise self-control now, coupled with faith in God that this will change?
    7 – Statistical: LGBT people suffer from much higher rates of STDs, depression, suicide, and other harmful social and psychological maladies; this is what God’s law warns us against.
    8 – Historical: homosexual behavior has not been accepted by any culture at any time in history because they have known the other 7 truths.

    These are the truths about homosexual behavior. Our common ground: love those who identify themselves as gay! We should treat them no differently as any other child of God. God’s gospel is not made to excuse our actions; it is to lift us to be better than we could otherwise be; God’s love will help us overcome the personal damage to which a homosexual lifestyle will lead. The lesson for us: accept them and perhaps loving an LGBT person means showing him or her a better way! Let’s do this together and show love to gays AND to Christians, both of whom may need reminders of the points in my message. And if you are not Christian, “Come and see” who Christ is and what he has done for you.

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