Phil Reese

Gay Tithe: Assuring your donation doesn't work against you

Filed By Phil Reese | August 24, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay ally, gay friendly, spirituality, tithe

Back in Detroit, I grew up in the Catholic School system. I was raised a very strict Catholic, and even in school we were given collection envelopes in which we were encouraged to give 'the price of a comic book, a milk shake or a candy bar' (you can tell whoever made the envelopes grew up in the Davey Crockett raccoon hat era, it was funny to me even at 7), at our weekly Children's Mass. I've been tithing since a very early age.

I now hop around from church to church. I'm no longer Catholic--nor even really Christian, for that matter--but I still have a strong sense of spirituality and feel the need to explore that part of my life on a weekly basis. Somehow, the Catholic church was able to instill in me a love of tithing: giving feels good.

However, for many gays, its difficult to tithe in good conscience because you can't possibly know in many cases (unless you're Unitarian, Quaker or a member of a UCC church) if your tithe will be used to help feed the homeless or be used to try to force you back into the closet of submission and second-class citizenship (or worse--"Ex-Gay" therapy). You want to give to your church but you want to give for good.

If you do attend a church whose use of your donation may be questionable, consider giving, then, to the National LGBT-Affinity group for your church, rather than a direct tithe at Offertory time. Most major denominations have LGBT-Affinity groups and you can be assured that your donation will most certainly not be used against you. However, these Affinity groups often support more than just lettin' the gays in. Most Affinity groups also involve themselves in other Social Justice issues, so you know that the spirit of giving to the weekly parish basket is still being kept alive.

Consider giving a tiny amount to one of the following groups once a week, and then on Sunday--instead of dollars--put a note in your envelope: "I gave $10 to the National LGBT-Affinity group this week in place of my tithe. God Bless."

Baptist: Rainbow Baptists organized the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists as a resource for LGBT Baptists looking for Inclusive places of worship.

Catholic: Dignity, USA is the Catholic LGBT-Inclusion group that was created in New England in the 70s by Catholic churches looking to be more inclusive. The Vatican has since explicitly forbidden any Catholic church from allowing Dignity to meet on church grounds, but that doesn't stop churches from getting involved. The local student Catholic church where I did my undergraduate studies actually used to donate to our Pride week, published an LGBT resources guide available in their sanctuary, and--under the late Father Jeff--had previously made public an inclusion statement (which has since been removed). Donate at the top of the page.

In addition, Catholics can check out New Ways Ministries, seeking to foster stronger welcoming and affirming parishes.

Eastern Orthodox: Axios' website is a little difficult to navigate, but their mission is very clear. There is no donation link to speak of, but you can learn more about the organization.

Episcopalian: Integrity, USA has a "Support Us" link on the left side menu making it easy to support this LGBT-Inclusion group.

Evangelical (general): Evangelicals Concerned is group working for LGBT-inclusion in non-denominational Evangelical churches.

Jewish: Keshet Ga'avah--the World Congress of GLBT Jews--is a fantastic organization for gay jews. I love this group so much, they inspired my first tatoo: Ga'avah!

In addition, The National Union of Jewish LGBTIQQ Students does a lot of great work for Jewish young-people and LGBT converts.

Lutheran: Though the ELCA has affirmed gay clergy, there is still a ways to go before the Lutheran church is as welcoming as, say, Metropolitan Community Churches. But Lutherans Concerned, North America, is working tirelessly to that end. Become a member or donate on the left side.

Methodist: Reconciling Ministries has a beautiful and colorful page to match their beautiful and colorful worshipers. Make your donation at the top right of the home page.

In addition, Methodists also have Affirmation working for them pursuing full inclusion in the church.

Mormon: Affirmation is a beautiful organization that's fighting the good fight in the LDS community. Over the past few years, I've been hearing more about Affirmation in the media than any other denomination's LGBT-inclusion group--which says a lot to me.

Muslim: Al Fatiha allows Queer Muslims to donate to this budding group on the lower part of the page.

Seventh Day Adventist: You can give to SDA Kinship by first clicking to enter their site, and then finding the "support" link at the very top of the page.

Pentecostal: Though it is associated with a specific church location, gaypenecostals.org seems to be a marvelous and oh so affirming resource!

Presbyterian: More Light Presbyterian Director Michael Adee is a really amazing, hard-working man who came to town here in Champaign a few years ago during 'Coming Out Week.' He's tall and charismatic--who wouldn't be convinced!

Very Welcoming Denominations

If you're tired of your denomination's demonization of gays altogether, check out these super-affirming faiths:

Additional organizations:

I'm not advocating for all LGBT people to go to church. Nor am I advocating for them not to. Many people find fulfillment in a spiritual pursuit, but its not for everyone. Anyone who feels inspired to explore their spiritual side, however, should have the ability to do so without the fear that the contributions that they make will be used against them.


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Hey, cool idea to tithe to a LGBT organization rather than an anti-gay church :-)

Thanks for the great reminder. I'll review my giving patterns immediately.
Churchy or not, charitable giving is a must for an educated life. It's imporatant to give also to causes that don't benefit me. Otherwise, I'm just giving to myself. And that's not even charity.

Brethren Mennonite Council: Homepage

Brethren Mennonite Council for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender interests.

www.bmclgbt.org/

I just wanted to add United Centers for Spiritual Living (aka Religious Science) to your list of "super affirming" churches. Many of the bigger churches have a special GLBTF ("F" is for friends) ministry team, and this year there is a national conference for GLBT Spiritual Folks!

http://www.liberation2010.com/

Thanks, Phil, for a very relevant cautionary piece. The Washington Blade recently reported how the bishop of Portland Maine has funneled $100,000 of church money into the referendum to repeal gay marriage in that state. Catholic Charities groups in New Mexico and Indiana also have sent money to Maine political campaign. I'm sure that's a great comfort to the hungry and homeless in Albuquerque and Evansville.
A small gay-affirming Christian denomination not included in your list is International Christian Community Churches, an Asheville, NC, alliance of ex-MCC churches and others. Web site: www.intlccc.org.
A huge master list of 5,700 gay-friendly churches, broken down by country and state, can be found at www.gaychurch.org. Many are small independent churches that don't get much publicity but are doing good grassroots work.
As reported earlier, Focus on the Family is in the midst of transferring its ex-Gay brainwashing program to Orlando-based Exodus International. Beware if your chuch is supporting Exodus.

Thanks to everyone who added more, and I welcome even more additions!