Michael Hamar

Where Are the 'Good' Christians When It Comes to LGBT Rights?

Filed By Michael Hamar | March 19, 2011 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Colorado, false Christians, Focus on the Family, Jeremy Hooper, New Jersey

Some readers from time to time complain that on my personal blog I am too hard on Christianity and that there are Christian denominations that actually do good works as opposed to the politically motivated professional Christians - e.g., Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, et al - who can best be defined by who they hate. And it's a long list of who these hate merchants hate and despise, with LGBT citizens often at the top of the list followed in alternating order by immigrants, non-Christians, and many others.

I will concede that yes, there are Christians who do good works and actually try to follow the Gospel message - e.g., many are helping with relief efforts in Japan even as the Christianists trumpet that God is punishing that nation for being largely non-Christian. Unfortunately, when it comes to LGBT rights, most of the time these "good" Christians are on the side lines and never forcefully condemn and call out the professional Christian parasites and vitriolic anti-gay denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, the Roman Catholic Church or the Mormon Church.

Its one thing to occasionally publicly advocate for pro-LGBT legislation or to publicly oppose anti-LGBT legislation, Prop 8 being but one example. But where are these "good" denominations on a daily basis. My own ELCA parish, for example, does many good works. Yet on LGBT related issues, it remains mostly silent and measures go by the wayside out of a fear of upsetting the sensibilities of "conservative" parishioners. The same pattern can be seen in a leading Episcopal parish here in Hampton. No one has the backbone to call these conservatives out for what they truly are: bigots and homophobes - and false Christians. The silence is deafening most of the time and because of this silence spineless legislators allow themselves to be manipulated by the hate merchants who wrap themselves in religion.

A case in point. As Jeremy Hooper reports at Good As You, Focus on the Family is opposing a civil unions bill in Colorado, calling the measure that would afford same sex couples legal protections "unnecessary." Jeremy has this to say:

[L]et's get real: By "analysis," they mean "meticulous consultation of the same preconceived script from when Focus on the Family always operates." This organization has never shown even an ounce of willingness to consider something like civil unions. Hell, this is an organization that still puts "ex-gay" therapy front and center. For them, a compromise wouldn't be civil unions -- it'd be letting a gay person "change" yet still watch "Modern Family" on occasion.

I concede that there are Christian and other religious groups who have voiced support for the proposed civil unions legislation in Colorado. But where are the press conferences, media stunts and concerted actions to rally church members to support the bill with the kind of vigor that the haters utilize daily? Sadly, they are largely non-existent and the field is by default yielded to the groups that make religion a force for evil.

I subscribe to the theory that when good people do not actively and vocally oppose hate and evil, they become part of the problem. It's the "good German" phenomenon all over again. Too many of the "good Christians" continue to act like the "good Germans" did during the rise of Hitler.


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Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katherine Jefferts Schori is an outspoken supporter of the mainstreaming of homosexuality. Her good works are hardly done from the sidelines. Suggest you do more research.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 20, 2011 2:47 AM

When Jefferts Schori and the episcopal cult call for the arrest and indictment of Akinola of Nigeria and his gang as international criminals for formenting hatred and pogroms against GLBT people, a crime against humanity, then and only then will we stop calling them cowards and hypocrites.

Religion is the enemy.

Religion is madness composed of one part superstition and one part ignorance that comes howling straight out of prehistory and the Dark Ages.

Religion is humankinds greatest tragedy.

If anything I think we give far too much of a pass to religious based bigotry. Far too often we try to present bigotry as the exception - despite the heads of these churches being utterly bigoted.


We take exceptionsd of the homophobia of mainstream christianity and trumpet them, ignoring that the heads of most (if not all) of the most populous branches of Christianity are homophobes as are the majority of their leadership (but never soemthing that seems to bother their parishners that much)

We give this bigotry a pass, we shout the odd inclusive church from the rafters and ignore that this is the exception, not the rule.

Michael Triplett | March 19, 2011 1:31 PM

I'm not sure that the LGBT community always gives the "good Christians" a reason to get involved. I think the relationships tends to be fairly one-way, with groups like the UCC, UU, Episcopalians, and ELCA reaching out to the LGBT community to some extent, only to be often be greeted with hostility and anti-Christian attitudes. While grace can get you pretty far, there needs to be some sense of reciprocity.

I also think that liberal Christians (and UUs) walk a fine line playing attack dog with social conservatives because of tensions within their own denominations and because, well, it's seen as un-CHristian to be challenging people's faith in a hostile way.

While liberal Christians see conservative CHristians as "opponents," they see the conflicts differently than the LGBT community so the LGBT community is probably never going to be happy with the more compassionate approach to those differences.

Paige Listerud | March 19, 2011 2:34 PM

Unfortunately, the press give more air time to wild-eyed religionists running around with "God Hates Fags" signs than they do to calm, reasoned religious/clergy intelligently and sensitively reviewing and revising centuries-old, literalist, anti-queer interpretations of Scripture. Calm, sensitive and intelligent doesn't make for good television--if it bleeds, it leads.

So I'm not quite sure what the solution is. Do pro-LGBTQ Christians jazz up their act, learn to soundbite and employ a little sensationalism to get their message across? Will ranting against fundamentalists, raising the stakes by calling them "false Christians" (their tactic against liberal churches) really move Americans to be more supportive of LGBTQ equality?

Or maybe LGBTQ in their own reconciling faith communities should thank their fellows for support and comfort and then remind them of the risks they face in the outside world, so long as it's okay in the mainstream to treat LGBTQ like second-class citizens. Maybe a little more push from the pulpit to translate that LGBTQ support into political action is required. It's your faith community--where's the dialogue going from simply being a reconciling/welcoming community?

Unfortunately I think many PRO-LGBT churches fear being "too" open and outspoken about what they believe, because they may fear the backlash from those "christians" who will go ape-sh*t batty when someone puts "Christian" and "PRO-LGBT" in the same sentence.

Sadly, it will probably make them a target as they "come out" as LGBT-affirming Christian Churches, since the haters will feel an intense need to defend their ignorance and "bible".

Michael, this is a very important question that you pose in this post. JGary, above, mentions Episcopal Bishop Schori, and I would like to mention Bishop John Shelby Spong and the late American Baptist Rev. Peter Gomes, who we unfortunately lost on February 28. Regarding the good Christians speaking out, the situation isn't quite as bad as you paint it -- but I must admit it is still pretty bad.

To empower the good Christians (no double-quotes necessary), I would recommend we support groups such as Soulforce -- every LGBT person with religious/spiritual sensibilities (not just LGBT Christians) ought to. Our ongoing campaign for equality would be far better off if Soulforce were the core of Gay, Inc. and HRC were one of our miniscule clan cliques that financially limps along year to year. We are making a big mistake when we choose to take on the religious bigots only at the political level.

Unfortunately, our faults lie in ourselves, and not in our stars. Soulforce is so small that they do not have local chapters in many major cities. I fear that this is true because in the LGBT world, so many of us have rendered ourselves atheistic, or at least apathetic on spiritual matters. We can hardly expect the good Christians, presumably our straight allies, to speak up for us when we isolate and disempower the LGBT Christians within our own ranks.

Is it LGBT people who have isolated and disempowered Christians or near universal Christian hate that has driven off LGBT people?

The largest global denominations of Christianity are homophobic

The largest Christian church - in fact, the largest religion - in the world is grossly homophobic.

Whenever our rights are pushed it is always the church that pushes back

And then you blame GBLT people for not putting Christianity front and centre?

When the cross stops hurting us, then maybe we'll be less wary of it. But personally I've seen enough "christian love" to walk the other way when the crucifix comes out

Is it LGBT people who have isolated and disempowered Christians or near universal Christian hate that has driven off LGBT people?

It is both -- and two wrongs do not make things right.

You clearly mis-quoted me, and I feel that you also mis-read me.

First, your mis-quote: I did not point out that LGBT people isolate and disempower Christians in general, I pointed out that LGBT people isolate and disempower even the LGBT-accepting Christians, including the LGBT Christians within our own ranks.

Next, why I think you mis-read me at an even deeper level:

Michael Hamar asks (my paraphrase), Why don't more of the "good" Christians speak up for us?

Among other points, my response is, The LGBT community cannot expect straight progressive Christians to speak up for us, risking their own blood and treasure, when internally the LGBT population has such a pre-dominant cultural disdain for all forms of Christianity, even LGBT Christians who are accepting and proud to be LGBT.

If you, Sparky, want to be distrustful of all Christianity, or even all religions, then that is your rightful personal choice ...

... but I am not talking about anyone's personal beliefs, I am talking about the public culture that the LGBT population presents to the American mainstream. As a people, the LGBT community cannot expect progressive Christians to defend us, while at the same time being disdainful of the progressive Christians within our own ranks. Not only does the progressive Christian priority need to change, but the LGBT attitude toward those who choose to be religious (and gay-accepting) also needs to change.

Ultimately, because of the abuse that fundamentalist Christianity has heaped on us, our own LGBT attitudes toward religion in general are wounded. Thus both Christianity and the LGBT culture are in dire need of healing.

And the anger in you comment above, Sparky, demonstrates that almost perfectly.

And why should we empower Christianity in any form? Why should we allow the rainbow-washing for an overwhelmingly bigoted force?

The vast majority of Christianity is homophobic. yet we continually raise the exceptions on high and they are used as a shield and cover for the much

We are constantly expected to genuflect to Christainity, to overlook Christian homophobia or say it isn't bigotry because it's "bible based."

We are constantly chided for not doing enough for not reaching out. Well I have zero respect for that - if I have to REACH OUT to someone for them to treat me as a real human being, if I have to empower and support them for them to think my human rights matter then they are self-serving and prejudiced and just looking for me to stoke their ego


I expect Christians to treat me as a human being. And when their orgs refuse to do so, to be outraged at that because it is evil

Apparently that's too much to ask

Michael Triplett | March 19, 2011 3:51 PM

I also think that some in the LGBT community should consider giving back to our allies. Instead of expecting it to be a one-way relationship, how about helping out the church on non-LGBT issues. Volunteer at the food pantry or homeless shelter, walk in a hunger effort, volunteer for social ministry programs that aren't LGBT-related. Even if you aren't a member, it's a good chance your "good" Christian church in the neighborhood has a charity or social justice effort that needs volunteers from the neighborhood.

I can say with a high degree of certainty that members of the LGBT community are already working in and for their churches and that and if a project is not LGBT related, I would pose the question: how do you know how many parishioners go home to their same sex partners or were born a different gender?

I myself am an atheist but were I to subscribe to such a belief, I would be skeptical of the motives of those who preach love and forgiveness yet seem incapable of showing their fellow woman or man the same thing they expect from their God.

I honestly don't know how anyone can justify the argument that it's the LGBT community not doing enough for their church.

Michael Triplett | March 20, 2011 4:04 PM

So, Jessica, when was the last time you volunteered at the homeless shelter or food pantry at the church in your community. If you want their support, what have you done lately to support them? There's not a liberal Christian church in America that would turn down the help of an athiest who wanted to hand out food on Saturday.

Wow.

The church isn't treating gay people as full citizens and humanity - then it's gay people's fault for not giving enough to the church?

So we have to buy our humanity from Christianity?

Seriously? The local church isn't supporting GBLT rights - EQUAL rights - so we should go to the church and work for them until they decide worth worthy?

Michael Triplett | March 21, 2011 1:14 PM

You missed my point. If you want religious groups to be your allies, it needs to be a two-way street. If you aren't serious about engaging religious people (and voters), that's fine. Issues like same-sex marriage can just continue to lose over and over again in legislatures and at the ballot box because the LGBT community can't figure out how to engage religious voters (even allies).

Calling Christians bigots and using terms like "Jeebus" just turn-off your allies--the "good" Christians--and don't provide any incentive for them to take the risks within their own denominations.

It's interesting how much we talk about "cultural competency" when talking about engaging groups, yet there's no attempt to understand that motivates allies withing religious groups. The basic message is: you need to be with us no matter how much we offend you or treat your poorly.

I want religious groups to acknowledge I deserve respect as a person and that bigotry against me is wrong.

That's a 2 way street? I have to give something to them to get that to happen?


I don't talk about cultural competency or engaging. Far from it. I talk about my own humanity and my refusal to buy it

I talk about not being expected to be GRATEFUL because people will give me some rights

I talk about not fawning to people to try and get them to acknowledge my basic humanity

I talk about people who DON'T understand I deserve equality as bigots

Because to try and buy our humanity is to imply we're not owed it - it's to imply that every battle won is a gift from homophobic straight people - and it will end up with zero respect and zero regard

Wow.

The church isn't treating gay people as full citizens and humanity - then it's gay people's fault for not giving enough to the church?

So we have to buy our humanity from Christianity?

Seriously? The local church isn't supporting GBLT rights - EQUAL rights - so we should go to the church and work for them until they decide worth worthy?

Well, Jessica ... I will offer you the standard activist response: If your church isn't showing much change in its acceptance (or lack thereof) of LGBT people, then LGBT people aren't doing enough within your church.

Wow.

The church isn't treating gay people as full citizens and humanity - then it's gay people's fault for not giving enough to the church?

So we have to buy our humanity from Christianity? Great. Count me out - I'll continue to view the cross as an enemy if this is what it takes to be treated decently

You're seriously blaming lack of Christian support for our basic human rights on us not reaching out and playing nice with the Christians enough? Really?

"Good Christians" seem to be in the extreme minority - I'm not going to go out my way to seek them out if they find it so conflicted and so haaaard to acceptmy basic humanity

You mean we should BUY their support for our human rights? We need to proove to them we are worthy of being treated as full citizens?

We need to do something to convince Christians that hate speech and prejudice against us is a bad thing?

Really?

I'm not a Christian and never will be. And I certainly won't give to Christian charities rather than secular ones because Christians need me to BUY their acknowledgement!

I am becoming even more inclined to be wary of Christianity with each passing comment

You mean we should BUY their support for our human rights? We need to proove to them we are worthy of being treated as full citizens?

We need to do something to convince Christians that hate speech and prejudice against us is a bad thing?

Really?

I'm not a Christian and never will be. And I certainly won't give to Christian charities rather than secular ones because Christians need me to BUY their acknowledgement!

I am becoming even more inclined to be wary of Christianity with each passing comment

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 21, 2011 1:11 PM

Or, join a union and engage in a real fight to end unemployment and for decent wages and socialized medicine.

All that I have to say is this: When I tell members of my UCC church that I am bisexual, they are generally supportive. But whenever I tell members of the LGBTQ community that I am a Christian, they treat me like I am a traitor. Yes, there are people who use the Bible as a source for hatred and discrimination. But that doesn't mean that we're all like that. I am proud of the work my church does for justice and equality, and I wish that the LGBTQ community wouldn't pass judgement on me for my beliefs.

And here's a link to the UCC's LGBTQ Ministries page. You might find it helpful: http://www.ucc.org/lgbt/

Well, UU is about has harmless as gets as far as Christianity is concerned. Not having a definite creed really helps. There are outright agnostics and atheists who go to UU churches and are welcomed.

Belonging to any other denomination would be a source of concern though. I'd suggest educating people about what UU is when they react that way.

No, but the majority is. The biggest forces of homophobia in the world today is organised religion. The biggest Christian churches by far are homophobic. It's not unreasonable to be leery of the cross.

It's sad that GBLT people have been so wounded and frightened and hurt by the church that they react like this. They shouldn't, it's unfair and hard on GBLT people who are also Christian

But that is the church's fault.

Good comment -- you are saying something much closer to what I said in my second comment, above.

But you are not entirely correct when you say, "But that is the church's fault."

The LGBT knee-jerk response to religion (Christianity, in this discussion) is understandable -- but we do have the power to react differently: (1) We can reject religion entirely (atheism/apathy), or (2) we can continue to embrace spirituality but reject fundamentalism, or (3) we can work to change our organized religion at the institutional level.

Michael in this post is asking "good" Christians to do (3), while I observe that the greatest number of LGBT people seem to be selecting (1) or (2).

We cannot expect other people to fight our fights for us -- if we expect them to do (3), then we must do (3) ourselves.

That is why I endorsed an org such as Soulforce -- they are a group of both LGBT and straight allies who together are taking option (3).

You can't address a conflict by insisting that the other guy change first -- first we must change, in order to elicit a change from the other side. The old adage says, "Nothing will change until you change first."

I disagree with your definition of fundamentalism

The BIGGEST mainstream churches out there are anti-gay. this isn't fundamentalism. This is mainstream, normalised homophobia

And I have seen precious little proof that "good Christians" are doing 3 or have the numbers to manage to do 3.


I don't think the Christians who care about gay rights are numerous enough to change the homophobia in the church. We would not see such universal hatred if that were the case.

And I am more leery of us giving credence to the idea of hateful Christianity being the exception - because we are covering and protecting the bigots. And I am not sure that Soulforce avoids doing that

I think the silence from the "mainstream" Christians speaks volumes about their feelings toward gays, Muslims, and all of the other enemies of the extreme Christians. The only difference is that the "mainstream" is afraid to get they're hands dirty. I think they're perfectly comfortable with the hatred.

Rick Elliott | March 20, 2011 3:42 AM

There's a structural problem that bears some of the blame: the role of prophet is assigned to folks whose livelihood comes from those to whom they are being prophets. If the Church were to make prophets' livelihood come from a guaranteed source, regardless of the prophetic word spoken, there would be more energetic pro-GLBT spokespersons and the impact would be greater.

Christina Engela | March 20, 2011 5:38 AM

Great article Michael. In the course of activism here in South Africa, I often get accused of the same thing. This inspires me to ask:

Are good Christians "too forgiving"?

Good Christians welcome all people and treat people with respect and tolerance for their diversity in general - including the other sort of "Christian" - the Christianists who can best be defined by those they hate.

They repeatedly make excuses for them, and remain silent when these bigots and bigoted leaders make vitriolic statements and engage in inciting hatred against minority groups - speaking ambiguously and misleadingly on the behalf of "all" Christians.

"Good" Christians need to be reminded of the unmistakable fact that silence = death.

It's not that Christians aren't banding together, and in large groups roundly condemning the hate being spewed in the name of "Christ."
As was stated above, media producer LOOK for the extremes in presenting "both sides" of every issue.
These extremes are viewed as somehow including the moderate by some, but most just go for the outrageous ratings-getters. And the losers who can't think for themselves, who parrot this trash.

Many seem to listen to the words of the rocking song from "Guys and Dolls": Sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down! Sit down, you're rocking the boat. And so they sit.

Want to talk to your Christian friends about this subject? Come for some training April 9th. Equality Florida and Reconciling Ministries Network Training and seminar....
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=187624904605977

I'm quite confused and put off by the term "reconciling". As if any were needed more than anyone else. I think the adjective should be inverted onto the mainstream sect of the religion as they are the ones who need to reconcile their religion's past hate misdeeds, not the other way around....and if it's a sin reconciliation, why not everyone?

United Church on the Green, New Haven, CT:
"... we have made a commitment to be 'Open and Affirming' of all people, specifically including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons."

I am a Christian. You may judge me if you choose. I do not judge others. I do not judge those who condemn me. My relationship to God is mine alone and whatever God's relationship to another is I can not say.

I can not turn the heart of another by engaging in confrontations or arguing this or that doctrine. My life is my testimony. I live it. Loving others includes loving my enemies and those who would seek to do me harm. What value is there in loving those who are are like me?

From some of the comments it seems like being a "good Christian" would be to be just like being a "bad Christian" but with a different opinion on GLBT issues. I think not.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, right? If you "can not turn the heart of another by engaging in confrontations", then it shouldn't surprise you when you don't convince us to give you a pass just because you have this lame justification for not getting involved.

A pass from you Gene is worth exactly what? I send you love. I place my trust in God and not the works of men. If you have animosity towards those of us who are different please explain how you are any less wrong than those who have animosity towards you.

Wittingly or not, Mr. Hamar gives voice to Sam Harris's argument in "Letter to a Christian Nation", and I wholeheartedly concur. The exceptions noted above do not make the rule. They are just that, exceptions, while most "good" Christians, as Hamar points out "remain mostly silent ... out of a fear of upsetting the sensibilities of "conservative" parishioners." Congratulations Michael Hamar for having the courage to speak the truth.

I would agree that most pro-LGBT Christians are silent when they need to speak up. However, my experience is that most gay people are also silent when they need to speak up. When I compare the number of gay people I encounter at bars and "safe" (that is, anonymous) venues such as pride events in my home of South Bend, IN to the number who show up to council meeting to support GLBT-rights legislation, the results just make me sad. Better than 10% of the members of my open and affirming church showed up at the council meeting where the debate and discussion took place. Many of u spoke. Far fewer than 10% of the general LGBT population of South Bend bothered to show. I am disappointed so many people from my chuch sat on the sidelines, but I am equally disappointed that so many LGBT people - many of whom complain about the lack of "good Christians" - didn't show up to defend themselves.

I myself find syncretist-like cafeteria bhuddist, taoist sufi christian pagans are more often individually working for rights outside groupthink system like mainstream Christianity but I agree, where are the Christian "fighters"? I do think some groups are not very visible but who are nonetheless almost militant in support. They just aren't big news. Who's responsible for changing that (and more to the point, what are you doing then?)

Also, there are so many like yourself who might be critical this way who actually swing the momentum away. I don't expect a non-Christian to see much difference but amongst Christians, there are.

@JosephJ - With all due respect, that's a classic "change the subject" argument. Many of us have taken the often unsafe step of coming out to our families and co-workers; that in and of itself is a hugely courageous and political act. It's those "good" Christians who refuse to be equally courageous in their religious "families" who are the subject of the blog post.

(sent once but it didn't appear; my apologizes if there is duplication)

I understand the subject to be the lack of "good" Christian participation in the rights of LGBT people. Several commenters have taken the position that the lack of moral commitment on the part of "good" Christians creates this apathy. I am trying to point out that in my experience the rate of participation among "good" Christians is no better or worse than the rate of participation among LGBT people themselves. GLBT's singling out "good" Christians for their apathy is a pot/kettle situation.

Therefore, I have to call bullsh*t on the "hugely courageous and political act" of coming out. Securing civil rights requires political confrontation. When I speak to our local common council about the need for LGBT protection from discrimination, I am no more protected from resulting discrimination or harassment than the greater majority of LGBT people who decline to step up and do the same. "I've done my part by coming out" is another way to say "I'm too afraid to speak my truth in public." I understand that fear is hard to overcome, and have struggled with it myself. However, my faith as a Christian insists that fear not keep me from doing what is right.

To me it seems hypocritical to tell gay people that coming out can be enough of a political statement, while telling "good" Christians being a welcoming community is not good enough. Both need to do better.

I understand the subject to be the lack of "good" Christian participation in the rights of LGBT people. Several commenters have taken the position that the lack of moral commitment on the part of "good" Christians creates this apathy. I am trying to point out that in my experience the rate of participation among "good" Christians is no better or worse than the rate of participation among LGBT people themselves. GLBT's singling out "good" Christians for their apathy is a pot/kettle situation.

Therefore, I have to call bullsh*t on the "hugely courageous and political act" of coming out. Securing civil rights requires political confrontation. When I speak to our local common council about the need for LGBT protection from discrimination, I am no more protected from resulting discrimination or harassment than the greater majority of LGBT people who decline to step up and do the same. "I've done my part by coming out" is another way to say "I'm too afraid to speak my truth in public." I understand that fear is hard to overcome, and have struggled with it myself. However, my faith as a Christian insists that fear not keep me from doing what is right.

To me it seems hypocritical to tell gay people that coming out can be enough of a political statement, while telling "good" Christians being a welcoming community is not good enough. Both need to do better.

Wow Joseph. Nice job putting words in my mouth. Please show me where I said we should come out then do nothing else. I never said it; I never implied it. But...coming out is the first step, and a courageous step. If you don't GET that, then you, for instance, never heard one thing Harvey Milk ever said. Coming out was the thrust of his whole activism. It was, and is, a brave thing to do, and of course, we all need to do more. So, I call bullsh*t on your making up things, things I never said.

I was going to conclude with this, but maybe it should come first. I think "call bullsh*t" was a poor choice of phrase on my part, and belittled the courage that is involved in coming out. The phrase was inflamatory and I shouldn't have used it. Since you wrote "Many of us have taken the often unsafe step of coming out ..." I am going to assume your own coming out process required much courage, and I apologize if my words belittled that in any way.

I didn't intend to put words in your mouth, but I can understand why it read that way. Since you wrote "Many of us ..." in response to my suggestion that in my experience "good" Christians speak up at about the same rate as GLBT people, I assumed it was some sort of counter-argument or defense of GLBT people who choose not to speak up politically. Otherwise, I'm not clear on the point of bringing it up, since it does not otherwise equate to speaking up at city council meetings or participating in other similarly risky ways. Rather - it is more like churches who are open and affirming, but don't engage politically. That's the parallel I'm trying (seemingly unsuccessfully) to draw. I just know a lot of people who seem to get stuck in that place - people who don't speak up for themselves and then complain when others don't either. I'm not saying that's you or your point of view.

Having come out and living openly, I believe I "get" how courageous it is, and also how it's not enough. I'm also pretty familiar with a lot of what Milk said about the importance of simply coming out, but he also used confrontational politics to further progress toward equality.

This is what happens when anti-gay religious bigotry is an ingrained part of your life thanks to zealots and nutjobs.

Sparky, I appreciate the rejection from significant parts of the Christian Church. I've given my life to the organization and have many "bones I pick" with the institution. I can understand how you feel that rejection since the most powerful voice is the Religious Right (which is neither religious nor right).
However, the weakness in your condemnation is it appears that you deal with a Church as a monolithic entity. Just look at the fracturing of the Church into so many denominations and its monolithic nature begins to crumble. The Church isn't a monolithic institution any more than All Americans or all Texans is an institution with a single, all encompassing entity.
Though Jesus never spoke about 21st century homosexuality, it's pretty clear where Jesus would weigh into the debate. Jesus is consistently on the side of those on the outside looking in. Witness the impact women have in the early Church--nowhere else in the Semitic world of the 1st century dare women held in higher esteem than with Jesus. The word--sinner--has 1st century connotation that has been dropped. Sinner meant those who would be excluded from the Temple. Thus OUTCAST would be a more appropriate translation.
Christianist treat GLBT folks as a monolithic community in their condemnations. And none of us GLBT folks would be all alike anymore than all Christians is accurate depiction of the whole body.
Sparky, it makes me profoundly angry that Christianists have lumped you into a stereotype to reject out of hand. Their rejection is so out of tune with the message Jesus intended to express about God by coming to earth--an infant born to an unwed teenage girl in a livery stable, the lowest of places for a Messiah to begin.

I see many denominations

Around me I see the Anglican Church. I see the Catholic church. I see the Jehovas Witnesses and the Mormons and the Orthodox Church, a Methodist church and 4 different continental protestant churches in this city alone. And guess what? All that diversity, all those different denominations around me and every last one of them is homophobic

There are many denominations and much diversity. But the VAST majority of them are homophobic.

I'm not a Christian and don't buy your "this is what Jesus would say" it's back to the "no true christian" argument. The haters, the catholic church, the anglican church and all those churches around me who have the vastest Christian denominations would say you are the wrong Christian, that Jesus would condemn homosexuality. And the pope has the world's largest congregation backing that up or at least being indifferent to his bigotry.

You try to make a distinction between "Christianist" and "Christian" well, the "Christianists" out number you hugely and "Christians" may be an extremely rare breed.


And Outcast? I avoid the church because it is the coolective Christian churches that declare me an outcast and unworthy of more. The churches which accept em as other than that are rare and unusual compared to the overwhelming condemnation of the majority

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 21, 2011 1:02 PM

What our movement wants from judaists, islamists and christers who want to be our allies is to clean up your house. We want you to engage in concerted efforts to:

1) end the practice requiring that non-cultists pay taxes for cults and cult leaders. Begin voluntarily paying your share of taxes immediately.

2) secularize cult schools, colleges and universities and medical venues to prevent the rape of children, women and young people.

3) criminalize cult interference in civil affairs such as marriage and other forms of partnering.

And we'd like you to mount action campaigns to:

4) picket theocratic cults like the catholic, mormon and southern baptist cults and bigoted cult leaders on a regular basis.

5) demand the arrest and indictment of cultist scofflaws who use cult funds, accumulated because we're forced to pay their taxes, in political and electoral campaigns to oppress GLBT citizens.

6) expose centers that pretend to 'reeducate' LGBT youth as snake pits where sexual and other forms of abuse are common and an accompanying campaign to arrest and indict the cultists who run them.

If you want to be our allies that's what you should do.

If you want to be our allies you should never proselytize, attempt to recruit or condemn our sexuality. Lose the word 'sin'. Publish a new, much smaller bible that deletes all pages where the word 'sin' is used.

Then we can talk.

Bill are you familiar with the concept of equal rights? For 2 or 3 or 4 thousand years men have been treating women as personal property. Marry them, have children and then about 15 years later turn them out on the street to shack up with a younger woman. Oh, and there is the wage issue. Where are the men standing up to employers demanding that their pay be reduced and redistributed fairly to the female employees? These and many more inequities abound while you sit and complain. Should I make a list of 6 or more demands before we can have a conversation?

Seems to me you want to ignore huge inequities but demand that Christians do battle for your personal problems. I suppose you are correct. We have little to discuss. I will pray for you.

Wow Joseph. Nice job putting words in my mouth. Please show me where I said we should come out then do nothing else. I never said it; I never implied it. But...coming out is the first step, and a courageous step. If you don't GET that, then you, for instance, never heard one thing Harvey Milk ever said. Coming out was the thrust of his whole activism. It was, and is, a brave thing to do, and of course, we all need to do more. So, I call bullsh*t on your making up things, things I never said.

I am a manic-depressive queer with post-traumatic stress. They knew that when they ordained me. To their surprise, I am also the well-loved pastor of a church with a tenure of twelve years--remarkable by any measure--and I'm well respected by my peers.

I'm not out to my congregation because it is none of their business. I'm their pastor, they aren't mine. If I am "exposed" or "revealed," I have my track record to lean on. I see no problems whatsoever, but I'm prepared to accept any professional martyrdom. Doing the right thing is more important than doing the safe thing.

I hope there are good Christians. I hope the other gay pastors in my area are. I hope I am one, and I hope my parishioners are.