Betty Greene Salwak

Christians Apologize At Chicago Pride

Filed By Betty Greene Salwak | July 03, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Andrew Marin, Chicago Pride, gay Christians, gay pride, I'm sorry shirt, Marin Foundation, Michelangelo Signorile, Moody Bible Institute

Nathan Albert, the Director of Pastoral Care for the Marin Foundation, attended Chicago Pride wearing a shirt that read "I'm sorry." He and his fellow foundation members held signs apologizing to paraders for "how the church has treated you" and that "Christians judge you." Nathan writes about his experience on his blog.

Apologies:maladjustedmedia.com.png

The paraders' response to the group ranged from shock to kisses to hugs. For those in the crowd who had felt rejected by the church as a whole and Christians in particular, the message of the Marin Foundation is unexpected, welcome, and overdue. Thousands of people across the country--gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight--have been uplifted by this story.

I was excited and intrigued when I first linked to Nathan's blog and from there to other stories about the event. I wanted to know more about this foundation and its goals. But the more I read the more troubled I became. This story should be about God's love, but instead it's about deception and greed.

The Marin Foundation was started in 2003 by Andrew Marin, a straight conservative Christian who says that he is reaching out in unconditional love to the LGBT community. Marin relates the story that, stirred by the coming out of his three best friends in college, he eventually established the foundation to reconcile the divide between the LGBT and Christian communities.

I jumped into the website, combing it for details. The foundation offers classes on how to express the uncondtional love of God--but its theological statement declares

"The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, God breathed by the Holy Spirit through human authorship (2 Ti 3:16). Our organization does not attempt to rewrite scripture so as to either affirm, or declare judgment on the GLBT community."

While this second statement is bridging both communities, I want to know what Marin believes by "inerrant." This hot button word is so vast in its interpretations that without further clarification it means little.

The rhetoric on the foundation's site sounds reasonable, refusing to take sides that will divide or cease conversation. I like that Marin will not address the "sin" with a simple yes or no, but he has ample opportunity to discuss it and does not. I find it troubling that his theological background comes from Moody Bible Institute, a bastion of extremely conservative religious values. I looked at the course offerings of the foundation and the bibliographical sources. While I am not currently a seminary student, those authors whose names I recognized are very conservative in their theology. (Perhaps readers can find a more liberal name among them?)

Michelangelo Signorile's 2006 story about Marin is quite troubling, stating a number of conflicting stories about Marin from acquaintances who challenge his version of events. Marin was forced by HRC, GLAAD, and GMHC to take down false claims of support by those organizations. According to Signorile's sources, Marin apparently trained participants of the Love and Truth campaign in 2006, organized by the Illinois Family Institute, at which Peter LaBarbera presented. Several acquaintances who know Marin claim that his motivation is money. From Signorile's article:

"'He always said he would make a lot of money and his foundation would make him rich,' says Melissa Garvey, a former college classmate, talking about the months preceding the foundation's inception."

The two women friends whose coming-out story is integral to Marin's conversion claim that it never happened.

Signorile also found several sources who heard Marin declare that homosexuality is a sin. Looking through the foundation's website, I can find nothing to dispute that belief. Has Marin simply found a way to people's wallets through their hearts, like so many "Christian" shysters out there?

So much of what the foundation professes to believe is important to people who are LGBT and Christian. Marin claims that grace is the response called for by Christians and that the discussion of sin is divisive. I believe it, too, but it is a discussion that must be had. There are those who genuinely believe homosexuality is a sin and genuinely offer grace, because we are all sinners. Hug:maladjustedmedia.com.pngThis is not the same as the condescension of "love the sinner" hubris in which grace is offered from above. But there is one step further to take, and that is the recognition that this is more a cultural issue than biblical. We are all human beings; we are all equal; and we are all loved exactly as God made us to be.

This is so disheartening to everyone, especially to Christians who want genuinely to show an affirming welcome to everyone and to those LGBT persons who want to be an integral part of a faith community. Please take note of the overwhelmingly positive response around the country to what this appears to be. Christian leaders need to steer the momentum to established religious organizations that affirm and welcome. (You can find such a list on the Institute for Welcoming Resources, one of the most comprehensive sites I've found.)

I think the greatest moment in Chicago Pride was not from the members of the Marin Foundation, earnest though they might have been. It came from the young man in the parade who quietly stated, "I forgive you." Such genuine grace from one who has every right to withhold it. His is the example I seek to follow.

Photo credit: Michelle at maladjustedmedia.com


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More "Christians" apologizing for "Christians."

We do not need to be "affirmed and welcomed," that is just marketing. We need some Christians to officially end the traditional Christian belief and teaching that "homosexuals are wrong, sinful and deviant." Until then, we will continue to bear the negative branding invented and promoted by Christians.

We don't need to be accepted or tolerated - there is nothing "wrong" with us. If Christians, especially the so-called "gay-friendly" ones want respect from the LGBT Community, formally declare that your particular denomination has parted with that traditional belief. All the hugs and rainbow flags and fabulous choir singing means very little if you continue to allow the teaching that we are wrong, sinful and defective.

These Christian denominations (eventually) rejected the belief that slavery was wrong and that blacks were cursed (curse of Ham):

Episcopalians (with an apology)
Lutherans (half of them)
Presbyterians
Catholics (reluctantly)
Methodists
Baptists (some)

None of these same Christian organizations has ever rejected the belief and teaching that homosexuality is wrong. That "belief" has defined us and created all of our suffering and discrimination. It won't end until some Christians have the courage to reject that belief OR religion goes out of business. The latter is projected to occur within 50 years. We'd rather not wait.

Surely some Christian organization is willing to officially reject that belief? We're still waiting.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 5, 2010 9:36 AM

I think that you overlook that all the religions of the "God of Abraham" feel the same within their right wing (Jews, Christens and Muslims) What is needed of course, is a secular state Rather than one that kowtows to any religion.

Incidentally, fine to be a Buddhist.

Reincarnation anyone?

Andrew, you and I rarely agree on anything, but on this - and the rest of your comments in this thread - I'm with you 100%. Well said. Until these institutions are shamed into teaching the inherent worth of every human person and the breadth of human experience, none of us will be free and equal.

I belong to the United Church of Canada, and I know that it has officially rejected the belief that homosexuality is wrong (it's the main reason I chose that Church in fact). There are several Christian Churches (and by Churches I mean sub-categories of denominations) that celebrate same-sex marriage, which I think is a pretty strong indication that they too have officially rejected that belief. Christianity still has a long way to go, but it's not as far behind as you think.

Untied Church of Canada has been "split" since 2003 when the Church agreed to ordain homosexual ministers. The denomination "welcomes and affirms" the LGBT community, but they haven't rejected the traditional belief/teaching that homosexuality is wrong. They have said formally that "the Bible was written by humans, inspired by God and that some stories are from a different time." I think that is intended to cancel Leviticus.

It does make you wonder why they won't simply say "Homosexuality isn't wrong."

Jay Jonson | July 7, 2010 5:56 PM

You are wrong about the United Church of Canada. In 2000, the General Council affirmed that human sexual orientations--homosexual no less than heterosexual--are "a gift of God and part of the marvelous diversity of creation." The Church also heavily lobbied in favor of same-sex marriage. In contrast to the Anglican Church, which remained neutral on the issue, the United Church of Canada issued statement after statement in favor of same-sex marriage and actively lobbied MPs. Their lobbying efforts were crucial because they made it clear that not all Christian organizations were anti-gay or opposed to marriage equality. (In addition, the United Church of Canada is the country's largest Christian denomination.) See the article on the denomination in www.glbtq.com, the online encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer culture..

I understand. At the same time the United Church of Canada believes that the Bible is the literal Word of God. They haven't really dealt with the explicit condemnation of homosexuality in the Old Testament. Members are still trying to accomplish that.

To officially part with the traditional Christian belief/teaching that homosexuality is wrong, that must reject that belief.

They do come close. This is from their website about their beliefs:

We often refer to a passage as "the Word of God." By this we mean the writer was inspired by God. Yet we also know the various books that make up the Bible are the stories of two ancient communities trying to be faithful to God under difficult circumstances-ancient Israel and the early Christian movement-and some of what was experienced and written then doesn't fit with today's world. We don't condone slavery, for example, or stone those who commit adultery.

United Church of Canada may eventually reject the idea that homosexuality is wrong. It would be welcomed by many people - Christian and non-Christian.

They said "homosexuality is right" (a part of the wondrous diversity of creation). By my lights, that's the same as "homosexuality isn't wrong."

Well, then they should be anxious to reject the traditional Christian belief that we are wrong. When do you suppose they will adopt that position?

The Episcopal church has allowed openly gay bishops. The first being ordained in 2003 and an another just this year. This years following the moratorium they imposed after the initial Bishop was ordained; that was lifted in July of 2009. I know it's just the start and not much, but I believe the Episcopal is on that way. With any justice it will be sooner than later.

Joe-Allen Doty | October 4, 2010 1:57 AM

The 1st openly gay man ordained as an Episcopal priest was Robert Williams. That was in 1989.

I know this is in reply to something written a while back,but I need to respond. CHristianity is about following Christ. God's word doesn't change. You know that homosexuality is a behavior,deviant behavior. So Christians have to reject their beliefs to satisfy homosexuals? I feel sorry for you.

I know this is in reply to something written a while back,but I need to respond. CHristianity is about following Christ. God's word doesn't change. You know that homosexuality is a behavior,deviant behavior. So Christians have to reject their beliefs to satisfy homosexuals? I feel sorry for you.

Rick Sours | July 3, 2010 4:34 PM

In public individuals apologize for past comments/actions against the LBGT community and make us feel they really support us.

Yet regardless of what we are told to our face, in the privacy of the ballot box they vote overwhelming against us.

Have a Happy (and safe) Fourth of July!!!

That's because they were taught (typically at a very young impressionable age) that we are wrong, sinful and deviant.

LGBT Christians must insist that their denominations formally end the belief and stop the teaching. Otherwise, ALL Christians are still the same.

Good luck with that Andrew. We women have been asking for that from the Catholic Church for over half a century. They are about to silence women's champion in the Church, Joan Chittister, OSB.

They barely acknowledged any wrongdoing in the Magdalen Scandals, except to say that they did their best and meant well. For altar BOYS, they apologised, for the Magdalen WOMEN, they "meant well."

If women stopped attending and contributing - they would change. Money works.

No, in Ireland, government funds support the Church, just as government in the US funds many right wing religious groups

Renee Thomas | July 3, 2010 5:04 PM

" . . . I want to know what Marin believes by "inerrant." This hot button word is so vast in its interpretations that without further clarification it means little"

Considering that he hails from the Moody Bible Institute, "Inerrant" to him means the written word of (g)od revealed to humankind as utterly unchanging and without error - period - end of discussion.

So, as far as his "I'm sorry" is concerned, my personal indictment of Christianity remains in full force. If and until the faith as a whole recognizes that it is hopelessly mired in bigotry and xenophobia I'll have none of their crass, half-hearted and ultimately manipulative efforts.

True repentance comes when you seek forgiveness AND cease doing that which offends your brothers and sisters.

Notwithstanding their bellicose warrior, chieftain god of the desert wastes of Judea nonsense, I'll lean on what I know to be true - my Mother, who created and speaks through all living things, could not be so cruel and capricious as to make me thus only to allow my humanity to be mocked and ridiculed as somehow innately sinful and disordered.


Robyn Sheppard | September 29, 2010 7:43 PM

And may the same Goddess bless you, sister! I wonder how many followers of the Abrahamic religions realize that God was female for thousands of years before She was made male?

It isn't that religions need to be "dehomophobified" so much as the need to be "detestosteronized." Hey, if they can make up scripture, I can make up words, right?

There is so much that could be said on this topic but so much has already been said. What a let down.

I'm glad that you have exposed their scam.

Given how we all love to remake God in our own image, I can only imagine that He weeps at our blatant manipulation. Either that, or He's thrown up His hands in disgust and moved on to another project.

I suspect the latter.

Or, as someone else puts it:

http://docandraider.blogspot.com/2009/11/gey-terrorists.html

Renee Thomas | July 3, 2010 9:10 PM

Perhaps when we are each willing to entertain the possibility that "He" or "She" (as it pleases me) are both relational constructs that are essentially nonsensical - to the extent that we can really know anything about the Ineffable.

The fool's errand of making (g)od in our image invariably suffers from our profound lack of imagination as a species as well as our all too frequent impulse to ignorance, bigotry and misogyny.

Better we should comport ourselves with gratitude for what we've been given and do our level best to leave this creation in better shape than we've each found it.

Amy Hunter Amy Hunter | July 4, 2010 6:59 AM

Interesting...My father (deceased) attended Moody--sang 1st tenor in one of the choirs, in fact. I've never delved into it's teachings.

The discussion around the nature of Grace, I think, is particularly important. To those of us who are believers in something larger, this is a basic and all too often perverted concept (as you point out). I was asked to speak last year at the United Church of Christ (UCC) Gathering. The Gathering is an LGBT coalition convention that precedes the UCC synod. Attendees included not only LGBT people but, many straight UCC menbers, ministers and people who attend other churches. There, I found many people who seemed to understand the HUGE difference between the condecension of "Love the sinner, hate the sin" and we are all "Fearfully and wonderfully made..."
The experience was amazing.

My partner (Cindy) and I belong to a UCC congregation, where Cindy is the director of music. The pastor there has become a great friend, he posits that as a transperson, I embody a closer resemblance to the true nature of "made in God's image" than non-transpeople.

When we first joined, I did get the feeling from some congregants that we were "accepted" and "welcomed" because it is "the christian" thing to do. This has since given way to a true sense of belonging--not just inclusiveness. We have developed friendships with many of the congregations' members and see them socially as well as participating in church activities together. Cindy, a recovering catholic, especially will tell you that membership at UCC has clarified the markings on her spiritual compass.

Thank You Betty for your post and the important topics it addresses.

phyllis nowacki | July 4, 2010 9:39 AM

I agree with you to a point Christianity on a whole will never accept us a a group and that dream is way down the road. People use the bible as a baseline to explain the unexplainable in reference to what they do not understand. Maybe trough groups such as this a break in the wall of prejudice can happen this making ploy if it is could be the start of Berlin wall to come down. I have pity on those whom criticize us.

Christianity will never change and abandon the belief/teaching that "homosexuals are wrong" until it impacts their business. Half of all Catholics believe there is nothing wrong with us - imagine what would happen if they withheld their attendance and contributions? The same is true for most Christian denominations. A little courage by members could go a long way.

What is becoming very clear is religion must change in order to survive. Less than one-third of people under the age of 25 take religion seriously. Unless religion changes, they will slowly go out of business.

FurryCatHerder | July 28, 2010 1:46 AM

Christianity is declining. Islam is not.

Which is harder on queers?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 28, 2010 5:37 AM

It's a draw.

Islamists and christers differ, not in what they want to do to us, but in what they can get away with doing to us.

Religion is the enemy.

Religion is humankinds greatest tragedy.

I really hope people share this on Facebook and Twitter. Three people have written me to say they sent money to that guy's church since they were so "gay friendly." How many other community members need to read Betty's piece before realizing they've been duped out of their hard earned cash?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 4, 2010 11:42 AM

Every aspect of superstitious cultism and religion is a scam.

Cults should be taxed, forcing cultist scam artists like priests, imams, ministers, rabbis, pastors and grand gazebos to get productive jobs.

Cult schools and medical facilities should be secularized to prevent rape.

Der Papenfuehrer and hundreds of his bishops and thousands of his priests and nuns should be arrested on charges of raping children, conspiring to rape children and being abettors, accessories accomplices to the rape of children.

http://jesusneverexisted.com/

Andrew's been at this for a long time, I would dismiss stupid statements he made as a dumb college student--we all say flippant things we'd like to take back when we're older and wiser. I fret over dumb things that I said when I was 10, 11 years old still, knowing that I was a child, but still wishing I'd never said it. Hell, there are things I wish I'd never said when I was 26 and 27 (like... you know... now).

I'd like to know where Andrew stands NOW, and that we do know as he's very active at traveling and speaking. Andrew tends to target very conservative organizations with his message, which may be why he plays his cards so close to his chest. If he's hitting anyone up to make him rich with his message of LGBT inclusion, its these uber-conservatives, not us. More power to him.

My good friend who writes the joemoderate.blogspot.com blog has had a tremendous amount of contact with Andrew over the years, and have had many email exchanges. Ultimately my queer Quaker friend gives Marin the thumbs up after parsing out some of his murkier statements.

I, myself, am a fan of Marin's mission. He's not trying to evangelize LGBT people, he's trying to reach the Conservative Christian community, and for that he should be applauded. I appreciate your digging, here, Betty, but I'm yet unswayed. Is he a flawed leader--yeah. No less or more flawed than almost every other. Even Dr. King failed at sainthood. I appreciate what Andrew is trying to do to shift the paradigm away from condemnation of LGBT people, and if he is successful, the world will definitely be a better place. Other than that, i could care less about his inner feelings of "sin or not sin."

And I believe the ONLY thing that makes gay sex a sin is the fact that its done outside of marriage in 24 states, and therefore, its the Pentecostal, Catholic, Baptist, and Mormon Church's fault I'm sinning every day, sometimes twice.

I think the problem with your argument is that "targeting conservative Christians" is a complete waste of time, energy and money. These particular Christians have immutable beliefs about homosexuals because they literally believe God told them so. They represent about one-third of all "religious people" and should be ignored and marginalize. The other two-thirds are "savable" (forgive me Christians) and will support our full equality if asked.

As a movement we continue to focus on the wrong "religious" crowd. Our very vocal "literalist" enemies will never change, but those who see religion as an "ideal" or part of their spirituality have the good sense to understand and support the simple human principle of equality.

We can obtain our equality without relying on help from Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Zeus or even the Easter Bunny.

The Marin Foundation is a waste of time, energy and money. It does not deserve support from the LGBT Community.

Phil, I appreciate that this is not a black-and-white subject or situation. I am concerned that the Marin Foundation website intentionally obfuscates the beliefs that drive their members' actions. Either the conservative Christians or the LGBT people attracted to their message are going to feel deceived, because it ultimately does come down to this in the Christian faith on the subject: is a homosexual act today sin or not?

I would ask Andrew, whose apparent goal is evangelism, what happens after a church or Christian follower has drawn in, say, a lesbian to commit her life to Christ? Will he then point out that, in literalist or conservative terms, she may not have any sexual relations if she is to avoid a sinful lifestyle? Or will he encourage the celebration of God's gift of sexuality in a faithful relationship of her own choosing?

There will always be those Christians who will believe that acting on "the urge" is a sin. A gracious welcome without affirmation will be the most we can ask of them, and I suppose that will have to do in this early stage of awakening for the church. But stopping there is like bringing a person with blue eyes into your church and telling her she can't have an emotionally and physically satisfying relationship with another person with blue eyes; but she sure is welcome to worship here. The "welcome" is on a level that cannot grow to acceptance without a paradigm shift of faith.

Rather than stop at welcoming, let us be radical and show the love of Jesus for ALL, no matter what, and affirm what God made each of us to be. Sexuality is a gift, not a curse, and it can be used to God's glory. God gives us free will to choose him or not, to sin or not. We answer to God, not to humans. When we prescribe behavior requirements of others based our our interpretation of scripture, we put ourselves in God's place. We are here to serve, not rule, and what I believe is the majority of Christians needs to speak up -- like Marin's group is doing so well -- and show the LGBT community what God's love really looks like.

I would be eager to hear from your friend or from Marin to clarify the doubts that his website has created. I would like nothing better than to be totally wrong about this.

"Rather than stop at welcoming, let us be radical and show the love of Jesus for ALL, no matter what, and affirm what God made each of us to be."

How is that "radical?" Many of us without Jesus are already all about love, compassion, fairness and equality.

What about being courageous and asking (or requiring) that Christian denominations STOP teaching that we are "wrong, sinful or deviant?" How about withholding your participation and financial support until they reject those teachings/beliefs? Being a "super-Jesus" type Christian doesn't end the cycle of bigotry which is the result of the traditional Christian belief. Why not have the courage to end the negative branding of homosexuals?

Please answer those questions Betty.

AndrewW, thank you for waiting while I found the quiet time to ponder your questions. I wanted to give them the time they deserved.

How is an affirming action radical? Any action is radical that is a considerable departure from tradition. The attitude against the LGBT community has its roots in cultural tradition, and frankly I believe that change will happen in civil arenas before it happens in the church. Those who cling to the certainty of literalism in these uncertain times find it a means of security and community. The fundamental community (of several major religions) has found a common "enemy" around which to gather. We who do not need certainty to find comfort in our faith must lead by example and speak up and affirm all people as God made them to be. We are doing so in countless churches and denominational gatherings (witness the current General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA).

However, we cannot make demands on how other people believe any more than they can demand that we follow their beliefs. To do so makes it tyranny instead of faith. We CAN urge thought, discussion, reading and action to change hearts. I'm doing my damnedest to do exactly that, and in doing so I am making myself a target of BOTH audiences, Christian and LGBT. Sometimes I feel like I'm painting a big red target on myself when I write these posts and when I speak up at church and gatherings. The time I spend on this is causing some conflict at work and at home. But I know it's right -- and besides, I can't NOT do it. This is not an intellectual exercise for me. I understand that, literally, lives are at stake. I am especially concerned for children growing up in our churches.

Please understand that making demands in a church setting is not the same as in a civil setting. It doesn't work. If it did, I'd be in their faces. Instead, we allies and LGBT persons are toiling to change hearts. And it IS working; I've seen it. It keeps me going.

Thank-you for your very thoughtful and insightful response. I think everyone supports your efforts, even in disagreement.

Let me put "demand" in its appropriate context. Each year hundreds of young gay men and women take their own lives. This is primarily the result of Christian teachings that they are "wrong, sinful and deviant." These young people not only feel "defective," they feel shame. Many times their families reject them. This loss of innocent life is the result of "teachings." To save those lives I think Christians can and should demand that those teachings STOP.

Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists and even some Catholics are engaged in a very slow process of change within their denominations. Several denominations are splitting just because they ordain/employ homosexuals. At the same time polling data indicates that a quiet majority exists in many denominations that support same-sex marriage and non-discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This isn't speculation, but a very real changing of attitudes by those that define themselves as "religious."

You stated:

Please understand that making demands in a church setting is not the same as in a civil setting. It doesn't work. If it did, I'd be in their faces. Instead, we allies and LGBT persons are toiling to change hearts. And it IS working; I've seen it. It keeps me going.

From Lutherans to Catholics to Methodists those hearts have changed. They have changed sufficiently to redefine "Christian." There is enough support within denominations to demand they reject the belief/teaching that has defined us for centuries. I am not trying to demean any Christian organization, but waiting for them to change could take decades. They must be pushed and now is the time. If enough Christians withheld their financial support the denominations would have to choose between survival or extinction. Literally 'hanging in the balance' are the innocent lives of hundreds or thousands of young people. I don't think anyone should tolerate the loss of innocent life or the continued support of an institution that is directly responsible for that loss of life.

Wouldn't it be great if we had some "New Catholics" and "New Methodists" and maybe even "New Baptists" that very clearly embrace the human principle of equality? Lutherans and Episcopalians (Anglican) are dividing now - because of "us." Because of disagreements about homosexuality. They are dividing into two very distinct camps - literal or spiritual. This is helpful.

So, for me, being "radical" would mean LGBT Christians demand that the denominations they support formally redefine their beliefs/teachings and save those innocent lives AND remove the religious-taught "stigma" of homosexuality that has been the primary cause of all LGBT discrimination. 2,500 years of being branded as "wrong, sinful and deviant" is enough. We need to reject that belief, not continue to support it. Courage would demand that.

Soon, Christians are going to be redefined by whether or not they embrace equality. Radical behavior by LGBT Christians will hasten that development by standing up and saying "we've had enough - change or we're leaving." They WILL change.

I have three degrees in Christian theology- and with all my education, the best I can come up with is this:

"Tho one who intends to love, loves." ~St Augustine

It may not be inerrant Scripture, but comes from the mouth of one of the most 'conservative' christian theologians of all time.

If people want to love me, as a gay man, they must be open to my experience. They must accept it as real. Otherwise, they get no more of my attention because theology is the articulation of the human experience of the divine- and mine counts as much as anybody else's.

Thanks, Betty. I'm grateful for your love and care.

Maybe, after 1700 more years, we can forgive them.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 4, 2010 10:03 PM

Or... maybe not.

We have no more right to apologize for the christer or islamic cults than we have a right to apologize for the Nazis.

Let the dead tell their story about the Crusades, the witch burnings, the 'faggot' burnings, the Inquisition, the genocide of the conquistadors or their 'abstinence' genocide in Africa.

Let's just let the records and verdicts of 1700 years of murder and mayhem for profit stand shall we.

This kind of behaviour, where an opressor class shows up at an event for an oppressed class and demands forgiveness - is just so FULL of obnoxious privilege that it's kind of a relief to hear this is a scam.

If they want my forgiveness, they don't get to show up to my parade and demand it.

Don't you realize that the RC Church would rather close its parishes than admit to real change? They will let it go only so far then stomp out anything close to change. Someone said that the change should come from its priests but they are to chicken hearted (for want of a real terminology) to come out into the light of day. I don't believe that would even have any real effect on business as usual. Heck I get an average of 3 letters a week from the archdiocese wanting money you can bet where they go and still they don't get it.

Some Christians have immutable beliefs about homosexuals, but it also sounds like some of you (I'll nod to AndrewW specifically) have immutable beliefs about the Christian community as well. That's the sort of impasse that this article highlights. How do we as a community get past that?

By leaving religion out of the conversation for equality. It doesn't help.

Equality is a human principle, not a religious one. Some Christians have the sense to support equality and not let the intensity of their religious beliefs cloud or dictate their judgement.

Trying to rationalize religious beliefs with our equality is futile. We don't need to explain equality in the context of religion. It is a very simple yes or no question. Introducing religion complicates that - it isn't helpful.

I do not have "immutable beliefs" about the Christian community, but I do understand that their are more than 2,300 different "brands" of Christianity. You cannot sew a successful fabric out of so much disagreement. Plus, it isn't necessary. Either an individual believes we are equal or they do not. Adding religion just complicates a very simple, very human principle - equality.

As a community we shouldn't invest in LGBT related "religious" initiatives. It's a waste of time, money and energy.

PLEASE read this ONE quote from ANDREW MARIN. He's speaking in a seminar to church leaders who work with kids.

'We have a window here, of 13,14,15 years old. And that window gives us the realization of attraction of the same sex, and there's a quick two years before they totally come out and say 'hey, I'm GLBT'. And we all know when someone comes out and declares their orientation they tell everybody, family, friends. And what happens is that then their identity becomes wrapped up in being gay.

How much more difficult is it for someone who identity is already wrapped up in being gay? Than it is for someone who might have a SSA and their identity is not wrapped up in being gay. There is a huge, huge period with those two and half, three years.

And what we have to do is to start deconstructing the integration.

Because once everything is integrated, and I'll touch on this construct in a couple minutes here. Once everything is integrated, it is going to be...rough. It's going to be rough for us, it's going to rough for them, it's going to be rough for parents, families, and everybody.

So, if we can hold off the integration part the better off we are going to be with all this. So, just understand, once again, 13,14, and 15 years old."

=============
A year ago these were sent to me anonymously by a concerned adult who works with kids in a church.

VIDEO clip: ("At 15, it's to late")
http://www.4shared.com/video/LTLwenzm/Andrew_Marin_At_15_Its_to_late.html

AUDIO CLIP: ("At 15, it's to late")
http://www.4shared.com/video/fzXF-J76/At_15_its_to_late_Deconstruct_.html

The ENTIRE SEMINAR AUDIO: How to Answer LGBT Q's
http://www.4shared.com/audio/eDbW2N_4/How_to_Answer_LGBT_Qs.html

And another ENTIRE SEMINAR: "Building Bridges With the LGBT Community"
http://www.4shared.com/audio/QsYBg058/Building_Bridges_with_LGBT.html

Anyone with any doubts about Marin's faith foundations needs to listen to these. He believes that acting on same-sex attraction is a sin and that orientation can be changed; and he believes that the change to heterosexuality (manifested by marriage and a family) is a move away from sin. Thank you, Jon.

We may disagree about this, AndrewW, but I'm not sure religion is any less a human issue than sexuality. Both are institutionalized, both are policed, and both (rightfully or not) are matters of public and private discourse. Religiosity and sexuality are in contact with one another, so any meaningful cultural transition on the issue of sexuality will engage with religion.

To wit, the concept of equality is not insulated from ethics, nor ethics from morals, nor morals from religious beliefs. Since sexuality is a human trait, all human capacities come to bear on it.

I would like to note, by way of caveat, that I'm thinking of cultural discourse on the individual level. At the legislative level, for example, I adhere to a strong division of church and state.

That said, jon's previous post makes Mr. Marin sound like a scam artist. Alas, our world has those in plenty these days.

The "principle" of equality (not concept or idea) is a simple yes/no proposition. It isn't an argument to be "won," it is a simple position to either embrace or reject.

People can keep their religious beliefs to themselves and still support equality. If they choose not to, we shouldn't waste time with them. Two-thirds of our fellow citizens will support equality if asked. That's the target, not those who are incapable of moving beyond what they were taught as a child.

Wow, this really has moved me. I'm really glad these people realized how their hatred was wrong.

The hatred that has been spewed from the pulpit is wrong no matter how you try to justify it.

I listened to the audio. He is totally wrong about SSA being able to be changed. Marriage will not cure it. Having kids will not cure it. It is not changeable. I am living proof that marriage and having kids will not change your predestined course of sexuality. I have three kids. I was gay then I am gay now.

After 13.5 yrs of marriage and being a pillar in my community and my church. I could no longer live the lie of my trying to be straight.

That life style was enough to make me consider suicide. I was in anguish constantly. Not until I excepted myself, My SSA and my sexuality did I have a life worth living.

Christ wants us to live a life in truth. Who's truth? Our own truth. Living opposite of who I was caused much turmoil.

I am married again. To a man this time. My life is abundant. I have great friends. I gave up religion and all it stands for. It meant condemnation from my fellow bro/sis in Christ.

I today I have a relationship with God outside his fold. I find little with in it to glean from. I have learned to love myself and truth. I am finally happy.

Here's an interesting postscript on The Huffington Post, an article by Frank Schaeffer (former fundamentalist leader who had a complete change of heart):

"Understanding the 'Reason' Why Fundamentalists Must Exclude Gays (and Other 'Sinners')"

Gay clergyman blocked from becoming bishop

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/08/gay-clergyman-jeffrey-john-bishop

A gay but celibate clergyman has been blocked from becoming a bishop for the second time, following a row over his inclusion on the shortlist for the choice to run the Anglican diocese of Southwark.

Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, was under consideration for the post and would have replaced the Right Rev Tom Butler, who retired earlier this year. In 2003 Dr John had been forced to stand down from his appointment as suffragan bishop of Reading.

Reform, a conservative evangelical group, was one of the groups claiming the church could split if John were made bishop for the south London cathedral, one of the more liberal dioceses in England.

"To appoint him bishop would send two very clear signals. First, the diocese of Southwark wants to walk in a different direction to the Church of England's doctrine; second, there is now little to stop the church proceeding in the same divisive direction as the *Episcopal church in the US."

*Episcopalians in the US are splitting because of "ordaining gays.".

And, like I said in another post, less directly, some of us who are quiet people of faith, aligned with no church, are getting tired of Atheist Preaching:

Religion is the enemy.

Religion is humankinds greatest tragedy.

I ultimately don't see a big difference between that broad brush and "All Homosexuals are going to burn in Hell"

Both assume Godlike knowledge when they are both just opinions.That said, I respect your right to say it, over and over and over and over.....

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | October 4, 2010 8:00 AM

If you don't want comments don't proselytize and tell people of reality anything about your worship of thundergawds even if all you do is pray to 'whom it may concern". Your 'beliefs' are your problem.

Anti-religious comments are not bigotry and athiests are not bigots. Bigotry comes from the cults, from prehistoric, pre-scientific superstition and backwardness. Religion is composed of equal parts of greed and ignorance that comes howling straight out of the Dark Ages and prehistory. Religion is humankinds greatest tragedy. Anti-religious comments are not bigotry and athiests are not bigots.

These people were not bigots.

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the world ..." Thomas Jefferson

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind ... to filch wealth and power to themselves. [They], in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ." Thomas Jefferson

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches." Benjamin Franklin

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."
Thomas Paine

"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity." John Adams

"Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy." James Madison

"some of us who are quiet people of faith"

Then, please stay "quiet." I'm not an atheist. I don't "know" and I don't pretend to "know," that's religion's job. But, I do know that religion has branded homosexuality as "wrong." Christians. So, what are you doing to stop that?

Oh, "being quiet."

It's my opinion that what Christian people as individuals believe is a lot more important than what some rich white man waving his wallet says is right.

I wrote a response in late August to Andrew Sullivan's post on Andrew Marin. He posted it with several others. Here's my conclusion on this issue:

Andrew Marin's theology is conservative. His education comes from Moody Bible Institute, which has moved from a condemnation of homosexuality to an attitude of showing love to all sinners. The bibliography of Marin's Bible study offers such books as Welcoming But Not Affirming by S.J. Grenz and works from Mark Yarhouse, presenter at NARTH conferences to support the ex-gay philosophy, and Robert Gagnon, a conservative theologian whose fringe ideas are not taken seriously by many biblical scholars. Marin's website declares "The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, God breathed by the Holy Spirit through human authorship (2 Ti 3:16). Our organization does not attempt to rewrite scripture so as to either affirm, or declare judgment on the GLBT community." He states in a seminar to youth group leaders that it is possible and desirable to move from homosexuality to heterosexuality.

So make no mistake, Marin believes acting on same-sex attraction is a sin. He simply equates himself as a sinner to the gay community and offers an apology for those who act hateful. He may indeed be sincere in his apology and his version of a welcome. Marin can believe what he wants. And thanks, I suppose, for the welcoming smile; it sure beats the vitriol being spewed out there. Some gays are okay with his belief because his behavior is such a pleasant alternative. But he refuses to answer the question of whether he finds homosexuality sinful, finding the idea "divisive." In order for his welcome to be accepted, he has to refuse to answer, and he knows it. Let him stand up for his faith -- as so many affirming Christians do -- and see what sort of response he gets then.

I find it telling that not one affirming Christian group supports Marin's foundation. He is fooling people who have been victims of the conservative Christians for far too long. I'm a straight Christian, and I find his duplicity damaging. I know that he is offering the most we can hope for from a biblical literalist. But he will make more people turn from God when they learn of his true theology. Let him at least be honest about it and see how many want his hugs.

I'm just wondering when anyone is going to realize that homosexuality is not a sin in the Bible. The ACT of homosexuality is a sin. To simply be homosexual is not a sin, but to act upon those desires is. Catholic lesbian speaking here. I'm not standing up for Christianity as a whole. I believe that most Christians should take a closer look at their Bible. God loves each of us equally, so it says several times and is taught and preached to all of us. Jesus died for all of us to wash away the sin of the world. So it is said and taught several times to us. Are we seeing a trend? Homosexuals, like an old family friend (God rest her soul) of my mother's family, in the Catholic church tend to become nuns or priests or some other integral figure of the church. Homosexuality isn't frowned upon. Most churches just don't want to know your own sexual orientation. It is sad that we have to sit and worship in silence, but our time will come. Some day, a member of the LGBT community is going to stand up and proclaim themselves to their church and the church will accept them.