The stories are piling up. A gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person is drawn to a church that brands itself as “welcoming”. They search the church website to see whether they are welcome without conditions and find nothing. Instead they often see code words that suggest full inclusion–words like diversity, justice, multi-cultural, etc. In a surprising number of cases, they speak with a pastor who assures them they will be supported. But later, they learn the pastor was fudging his answers. No, they cannot serve in this or that position unless they commit to lifelong celibacy. No, the pastor cannot perform a same-gender wedding, “for the sake of church unity.” For lack of a straight answer up front they endure a kind of psychological torture, falling in love with a church that cannot love them back. Continue reading
In an effort to be seen as loving, friendly, and welcoming, religious organizations put out the welcome mat for LGBT people. But once in the house, the reality of donor-distress-driven policies emerge. A kinder and more honest approach would be to say, “You’re not really welcome as you are. Enter at your own risk.” Read the latest example in Time’s piece by Julie Rodgers.
Brian Houston, leader of the global Hillsong movement, recently sounded what has become the new evangelical refrain on the gay issue: “Welcome, but.” It claims the language of embrace while continuing exclusionary practices that stigmatize gay people—a welcome refrain that ends on a sour note. Continue reading