The new message given to gays these days by evangelical churches is one of acceptance– with a catch. Several mainstream evangelical churches have begun preaching that, as long as gays stay celibate, they can be fully accepted by the church. Unfortunately, this message has convinced straight Christians, and some gay Christians, that gay sex is the problem.
The history of the church’s reaction to gays
Clearly, churches have been much worse to the GLBTQ community. They used to burn us. Certainly early Church fathers condemned us, saying that we were aberrations (at best) or the devil (at worst)–with a midscale reaction that lasted through my lifetime, that gays were normally heterosexual people who got seduced by the devil to turn to homosexuality which was unnatural. (As if no normal person could ever BE gay…this fooled me for a long time.)
In my lifetime I have seen that stance change. It went from condemnation, saying that God never created gay folks, to an acceptance of the fact that gay people might be innately attracted to the same-sex–or born that way. Created gay–but abnormal, in the sense that some children are born with defects, and that gay is just another defect. Right now, pastors are calling it “not God’s best”–and they are willing to embrace gays if they remain celibate. Well, it just so happens that Evangelicals have stumbled on an accidental “agreement” with a smaller percentage of gays, called Side B Christians, who believe the Bible has “no room for gay sexuality.”
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When I was living in Canada under a Student Visa, I was constantly being asked to stop doing this or that for fear of deportation. You couldn’t make money at that time off campus. Unfortunately, it seemed the interpretation of those laws was arbitrarily decided–and I didn’t know, nor had I seen, the laws used against me. The breakthrough that happened for me was being able to SEE the book that Immigration was working from. Once I had their book, I could know where they were coming from–and find loopholes to use to survive.
Echoing this article, let me emphasize how important for the GLBT community to know their Bible well. It is the language of this gay struggle. It is even the language of the gay struggle in Canada–the one that everyone thinks we’ve won. If we don’t convince SOME mainstream churches to re-examine the biblical evidence, changing the laws makes little difference on suicide rates, hate crimes and discrimination. Yes, Canada allows Same-Sex Marriage, but bible-believing people can still wield a lot of power and authority, and can hurt a lot of gay people unintentionally with their intolerance and skewed ideas of the bible. Let me recommend a book for GLBT Christians.
The Newsweek article: Our Mutual Joy, one of the best articles in a mainstream magazine that looks closely at the biblical and evangelical arguments around Same Sex Marriage–and they ARE different.
Bulletproof Faith: a Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians by Candace Chellew-Hodge; an awesome book on how to cope with evangelical attacks. Both how to answer them, but also how to protect yourself inside from the demoralizing effects of that kind of attacking. It’s not only for believers, but for everyone who is hurt by “christian” attacks–it damages your character, your soul, your well-being. This is a good book for building the armor.
Reconciling Journey: a devotional workbook for gay and lesbian christians. Specifically for recovering your spirituality–something that may have been ripped from you.
Start there. Read up. Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, give these books a chance–what’s at stake is your personhood right now. And God is a greater advocate than Christians right now. And knowing the book used against you is always helpful.