Another Evangelical Pastor Comes Out Of The Closet

A Commentary

Jim Burroway

December 11th, 2006

Another evangelical pastor has apparently come out of the closet:

In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, the senior pastor of a thriving evangelical megachurch in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit.

If the Denver Post article is accurate, this case appears to be somewhat different from that of Ted Haggard. Rev. Barnes is described as an “introvert who avoided politics,” staying out of the debate over Colorado’s Amendment 43 which banned same-sex marriage.

The Denver Post’s account of Rev. Barnes’ struggle will be very familiar to anyone who has tried to conceal or bury their sexuality. When he was a teenager, his only talk about sex with his father ended with his father describing what he would do if a “fag” approached him, driving the younger man deeper into the closet. And while he converted to Christianity at 17, his feelings for other men never went away. He married, and is the father of two girls. But at the same time, he’s described as someone who is struggling with the biblical teachings of homosexuality with “hope for a future where one can ‘be who you are’ and be accepted and loved in the Christian community.”

And yet, he says that homosexuality is a sin.

I’m afraid that many gay advocates will see in this a simple morality tale of the mighty laid low, the hypocrite exposed, and, of course, schadenfreude. But in this particular case, I can’t quite see it that way.

This is a very deep struggle that many gay men and women must contend with, especially those who are themselves people of faith. We’ve seen Daniel Gonzales at Ex-Gay Watch describe some of his own struggles, before he was able to come out the other side as a fine young gay man. His story is not unique. There are many stories like these that we can all reflect on — those of us who have spent a large measure of our lives trying to reconcile who we are with what we profess to believe. And to believe that being who you are requires a separation from the very God who created you, well, there’s nothing more devastating for someone of faith. The sense of abandonment can be very powerful.

There is a way out of that hopelessness however, and it is the way of profound faith. Faith in the goodness of creation, including your own. And faith in the love of a benevolent Creator and the mercy of a just judge. Perhaps Rev. Barnes will discover that it really is possible to be gay and Christian. Because in the end, love can never contradict Love, and truth can never contradict Truth.

There are no comments for this post.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.