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Saddleback Church To Welcome Gay Dads?

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2008

Not quite. But that’s one half of two conflicting messages coming from Timothy Egan’s New York Times blog. Egan reports that:

This Father’s Day, one of most popular pastors in America will open his megachurch to homosexual dads, an event that would usually signal an extreme weather alert from old guard Republican evangelical leaders.

But by welcoming gay fathers into his Southern California flock, Rick Warren, author of the “The Purpose Driven Life,” is not just living up to the highest standards of Christian fellowship, he’s turning the page on a particularly embarrassing part of our politics.

Which would be great news, if the story were accurate. Egan uses that story to launch a celebration of conservatives generally appearing to abandon the culture wars. But then after he’s done celebrating, Egan has this little postscript appended to the end of his post:

POSTSCRIPT: Following news of the plan by gay fathers to attend Saddleback Church this coming Sunday, the church’s pastor, Rev. Rick Warren, has issued a statement clarifying the church’s role. “We did not invite this group, and I will not be meeting with them,” he said, adding that he had a previous commitment and would not be in church on Sunday.

So much for celebrating.

Comments

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Ryan K
June 13th, 2008 | LINK

I also found it interesting that some of these evangelical preachers are deciding to “sit out” this election cycle.

From the article:

“Joel Osteen, the feel-good Texas optimist who is perhaps the nation’s most popular minister, and Warren have both disavowed politics this year. They will not endorse a candidate, allow politics in the service, or issue thinly disguised election “guidelines,” hint, hint.”

queerunity
June 13th, 2008 | LINK

i think there mere presents of gay families will be healthy for the church

Bob Schwartz
June 15th, 2008 | LINK

Soulforce continues to provide cover for antigay teachings at the mainly “soft” targets chosen for this latest “dialog” tour. These mega-churches teach against gay humanity and relationships, but do not make this a centerpiece of “ministry.”

While smiling Joel Osteen and some others have met with straight Evangelical Jay Bakker and the touring Soulforcers, they have not agreed to change their teachings which continue destruction and death for gays caught in the web of self-hate religion.

Soulforce aids and abets these “love the sinner, hate the sin” charlatans. Far better to demand the end of death dealing gay hating, thereby winning respect from religious and non-religious alike.

Timothy Kincaid
June 15th, 2008 | LINK

Bob,

SoulForce recognizes that opening dialog does not start with accusations of death dealing gay hating.

I have learned that placing a face on gay people in the minds of those who don’t know us is FAR more effective than ranting and railing and fighting. While those who make demands get to feel all righteous and angry, the hard work – the work that works – is done by those who don’t lash out but instead try and teach.

I have nothing but respect for SoulForce and their commitment to building bridges and finding common ground.

Bob Schwartz
June 15th, 2008 | LINK

Timothy,

I agree with Soulforce that stopping “spiritual violence” against gays is a worthy objective. But experience shows that beginning with “dialog” is not the way to stop antigay teaching. Not one of the mega-church leaders who met with Bakker and Soulforce has agreed to change its antigay message.

Soulforce likes to identify itself with the non-violent movements of King and Ghandi. But, MOVEMENT is the key word. Although I have a fundamental difference with non-violent resistance as THE social change strategy, at least King and Ghandi led masses of people, hundreds and sometimes thousands, demanding change and sometimes engaging in sit down resistance to obstruct business as usual.

Soulforce, on the other hand, goes hat in hand asking for “dialog,” substituting media attention for numbers. But those on the other end of the “dialog” who don’t either ignore Soulforce or refuse to meet, smile for the cameras, shake hands with the gays, then continue with business as usual. [Falwell himself did this following the meeting with Mel White when White essentially threw the late demented bigot a life line as everyone was laughing at him in the wake of the Tinky Winky farce.]

Evangelicals like Rick Warren are under pressure from younger congregants to speak to a broader range of issues and to avoid antigay hate mongering. This is a right time to make demands of the leadership, not to go asking for a “dialog.”

Timothy Kincaid
June 15th, 2008 | LINK

I believe that making demands of religious leaders that they change their theology is not only a counter-productive effort but an affront to their religious freedoms.

I don’t like it when they make demands on my church, my faith, or my morality.

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