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Marin, Chambers, Others Respond to Prop 8 Decision

Jim Burroway

August 10th, 2010

Christianity Today has a roundup of responses from various Evangelical leaders to last week’s decision declaring California’s Prop 8 unconstitutional.

The most interesting response, to me, comes from Andrew Marin, who is often credited as being a “bridge builder” between Evangelicals and the gay community. Interesting, only because I’ve been listening to hours of his talks trying to figure out what he really believes, and I don’t think I’m any closer to understanding what he wants to accomplish than when I started, since he won’t just come right out and say what he really believes. In response to the Prop 8 decision, Marin told Christianity Today:

We can continue to politically fight a drawn-out battle with a government that is not governed through an evangelical worldview, producing more casualties for Christ. Or we can learn right now what it means to live in relation to, and relationship with LGBT people as gay marriage is legalized—continuing to actively show Christ’s compelling nature regardless of state or national policy. The choice is ours.

Trying to understand Marin’s position on same-sex marriage (or whether homosexuality is a sin) is like trying to deconstruct the latest statements from the Federal Reserve. When asked directly whether he thinks gay people should marry, Marin adamantly refuses to answer and instructs his followers to do the same. Which, to me, blows his whole bridge-building exercise out of the water. After all, who wants to walk onto a bridge when they don’t know where it goes?  So without a map, we’re left hunting for clues and here we find another: the government is not governed (as evidenced by this decision) through an Evangelical worldview. Many LGBT people might find cause to dispute that — we can’t marry in 9/10ths of the country — but as a self-proclaimed evangelical himself we at least now have an indication that marriage equality doesn’t fit that shared worldview. Take that hint for what it’s worth.

Alan Chambers, of Exodus International responded:

We cannot avoid the glaring scriptural truth that there is, and will always be, a right way and a wrong way concerning just about everything we can imagine. And, yet, I believe that our attitudes towards people (internal and external) are just as important as our positions on the issues at hand. … I firmly believe that if we had spent as much money, time, and energy battling for people’s hearts as we did fighting against their agendas, the gay rights battle would look very different today.

In a recent statement condemning Uganda’s proposed draconian legislation to impose the death penalty on gay people under certain circumstances and to virtually outlaw knowing or providing services to LGBT people, Chambers acknowledged that part of his motivation for waiting sixteen months before adequately addressing the March 2009 anti-gay Kampala conference which started the whole mess was due to the fact that LGBT advocates were calling upon him to do so. That was, I think, a startling and welcome admission. It also marks a change from 2007 when he spoke before a group of anti-gay activists in Florida and characterized the gay community as following an “evil agenda” and actively lobbied Congress against hate crimes legislation and other issues important to the LGBT community. And yet, even in those times, he would offer messages to other broader mainstream audiences similar to the one above. So whether this change is episodic (as others have been) or enduring remains to be seen. (Update: Alan reaffirms that “Exodus isn’t returning to politics, but it was a good venue for talking about having compassion for our neighbors whether we agree with them or not.”)

Other interesting reactions include Timothy George of Samford University:

Christians who thought they would be able to just sleep through this issue will not be allowed to. At stake in the debate is the very nature of marriage itself. Thinking biblically does not allow us to regard marriage as merely prudential or preferential (I like strawberry, you like pistachio), but as a covenantal union of one man and one woman established by God for a purpose that transcends itself. Marriage is not a “right” to be defended or exploited…

Gerald R. McDermott, professor of religion at Roanoke College:

Social science has shown that children do best in a home with two parents of the opposite sex in a low-conflict marriage, and gay marriages make that impossible for their children and less likely for society generally. More children will be created by artificial sperm donation, which in many cases forever cuts the children off from knowing both their biological parents. Gay marriage will also encourage teens who are unsure of their sexuality to embrace a lifestyle that suffers high rates of suicide, depression, HIV, drug abuse, STDs, and other pathogens.

McDermott, a relatively minor figure in anti-gay politics, nevertheless remains unchastened over pushing discredited researcher Paul Cameron’s bogus statistics. His 2004 Christianity Today article, “Why Gay Marriage Would Be Harmful,” was the basis for one of the earliest reports by Box Turtle Bulletin.

Glenn Stanton of Focus On the Family was equally direct in his response:

The gospel is deeply serious while Judge Walker’s decision is a jumbled mess of sloppy thinking and accusation. He asserts religion is the cause of violence against gays. Jesus, when asked a tough legal question about marriage, explained, “God created them male and female.” This dual identity of humanity is no small thing for us nor our Lord because male and female image the invisible God, creating a full human communion. But Judge Walker says, “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage.” The Christian’s allegiance is clear.

Gender was a major focus on the 2008 debate hosted by Box Turtle Bulletin between anthropologist Patrick Chapman and Glenn Stanton on Stanton’s white paper, “Differing definitions of marriage and family” (PDF: 80KB/10 pages).

And finally, I’d like to highlight Mark Yarhouse, of Regent University:

I don’t know that there is one response to the Proposition 8 decision that will reflect the depth and breadth of the gospel in the life of believers today. A gospel response is shaped by many factors, including how one views Christ and culture. Some Christians will see appealing the decision as part of the gospel response, drawing upon legal avenues and hoping it will be overturned upon appeal. Other Christians will prayerfully consider alternatives to legal means to be a witness to a rapidly changing culture. I think younger Christians, in particular, are more likely to explore such alternatives.

Yarhouse collaborated with Wheaton College’s Stanton Jones in an ex-gay study that found very little change among the study’s participants. Because of the study’s results, Yarhouse has since downplayed the possibility of sexual orientation change.

Comments

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Muscat
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve always thought Marin’s whole point is that discussion of sinfulness of homosexuality/same-sex marriage needs to be bracketed off and to move forward from there to focus on relating in ways that he sees as more important/central to Christian principles.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Even if I’m right there could be a debate about whether that’s an effective or desirable solution.

But to complain about him not being clear about his position seems a bit analogous to complaining because someone won’t adopt a label for their sexuality and talks about who they’re dating using gender neutral pronouns. Yes, some people find that sort of thing frustrating but for those that do it would seem to me (1) they’re sort of missing the point and (2) it perhaps says as much or more about them than the person in question.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

I have a number of concerns with Marin’s intentions and methods… but, oddly, not the same ones that others seem to have.

Frankly, I don’t care what Marin thinks is or is not sin or whether he personally favors or opposes marriage equality.

These issues have become like gang colors: wear them and someone is going to be shooting at you. Marin simply wants to stop the shooting and so he refuses to wear the colors of either side.

I get that.

I know that many evangelicals and many gay folk demand that he take sides, that he tell us who he supports in the gang war over what is sin.

But that would only make him a target for one side and a momentary – but ineffective – ally for the other. Remember Jay Bakker?

And in the meantime, it is useful to have someone within the evangelical fold who is saying, “put down your weapons and stop shooting at gay folk and find a way to get along.” Even if Andrew Marin thinks that I’m going to burn in Hell forever and that gay marriage is a tool of Satan, if he can get the anti-gay Culture Warriors to stop attacking me, I’ll be grateful.

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Marin’s position is pretty typical of many anti-gay christians. He wants to soft peddle and hide his opposition to enable him to build a relationship with gays and then when he feels he has some relationship currency he’ll gradually slide out the anti-gay demands he’s been hiding so that he can have maximum impact when it comes to getting his “friends” to reject who they are. Its very sleazy and dishonest but to people like him anything is justifiable in service of oppressing gays.

Jim Burroway
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

There is much to admire in Marin’s work. He doesn’t demonize, and I think he has done better job at explaining the LGBT community to evangelicals as any LGBT advocate could possibly do. That, alone is huge and worth recognizing. I do not believe that Marin is in the category of Christians who seek to oppress gay people.

However, that said, his mission appears to be twofold. First, to reach out and provide Christian support for the LGBT community. For that, making his theological positions known is not a hindrance to that. Theologically “anti-gay” churches are very involved with the interfaith HIV/AIDS charity here in Tucson and their work is valued because they leave their overt evangelism at the door. Saddleback is involved with HIV/AIDS work with the LGBT community in Orange County, and Catholic Charities has long provided a long list of services to LGBT people, most notably in San Francisco. My partner had personally benefitted from their services more than a decade ago and speaks highly of it — and he is an ardent a critic of Christianity as they come. Even so, I don’t think anyone is the least bit confused about Saddleback’s or the Catholic Church’s positions on homosexuality.

But here is where I have a greater problem with Marin’s opaqueness. His second mission is evangelization. He sees himself as a missionary. That means conversion, at least in the religious sense if nothing else. Which, too, is fine. Except there are already a lot of gay-affirming churches, including Evangelical churches, doing the same thing and without the dodging and weaving around some of the more critical questions.

As long as there are questions, there will always be suspicions.

David
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

I appreciate Marin’s ministry, i suppose just because he’s reaching out to our community. Much more than most evangelicals, so I respect him because of that. I would, however, like some transparency with his beliefs. I wouldn’t call his sheepishness sleazy though, but I’m would like to know his theological opinions and why they’re so secretive.

Ben in Oakland
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy– did you mean Jim Bakker? I was suprised to find out last night that he’s still on TV,

Priya Lynn
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Jim Bakker taught me that the way to money and women was through religion.

cowboy
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Re: Timothy George comment about marriage is not a “right” to be defended or exploited.

How do you exploit something you don’t have? And if you did have something precious and wonderful why would you not want everyone to have it?

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Ben,

No his son Jay Bakker who began preaching a pro-gay gospel and was written off and shunned by a big section of evangelical Christianity.

David Roberts
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

What Timothy said.

It’s fine to have concerns about someone like Marin and to flesh them out, but so many of the critiques I’ve read are one dimensional. This goes much deeper than “why not try our brand of religion instead.” Who knows what these people will think in a year, two or ten. It takes time, and I submit, people like Marin to move that along.

And yes, Jay Bakker is an excellent example of what happens to someone like Marin the moment they say the magic words, “no, it’s not a sin.” They lose all credibility with the people who need to hear their message the most. It seems we put people like Marin, Bakker and Gritter in an almost impossible situation.

Concerning his evangelical nature, perhaps we should listen to those GLBTs who have come to respect him and who interact with him, and see if they feel pressured to adopt a sin view of their love. I’ve found exactly the opposite myself. He’s far from perfect, but I think he’s doing something few are able to right now, and we can only hope he succeeds.

And Jim, I’ve listened to that audio as well and I can sympathize. Most of his work is aimed at evangelical Christians and does make more sense from that perspective. He is giving them a way out that they understand and trust. If you want to pin him down on the gotcha subjects, forget it, he won’t play.

Randy
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Ok, I must admit I find the Glen Stanton quote particularly funny, because it just shows how badly some of these “Biblical” quotes are taken out of context. The quote he was talking about (From Mark 10:4 and Mathew 19:4) came in relationship to a question to Jesus about divorce, yet do they put half the effort into making divorce illegal that they put into making gay marriage illegal? They try so hard to find justification for their views in the Bible that they will take everything out of context. It is truly shameful.

Hall
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

The way Marin has written in the book “Love is an Orientation” seems to me to be the whole “love the sinner, not the sin” spiel reworded. Plus, he came from Moody Bible Institute, so I think his viewpoints are a given. Though I still think it’s repulsive, if this is the new Christian opposition, I don’t mind.

truthteller
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Martin is speaking evangelical talk. What he is saying, in plain English, is the tired and moronic meme, “love the sinner, hate the sin,” crap.

He is saying their brand of Christianity has lost the marriage battle, at this point, and to keep fighting it will cost them a heavy toll. It is best to be civil about it.

He is reserving the right to enact theocratic laws for a later fight.

This guy is a politician and I don’t trust him.

Bryan
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

I have read Andrew Marin’s book, “Love is an Orientation” and I found it to be quite an eye opener. First I would like to say I can’t speak for Marin directly, but I can share what I think he is trying to do.

He is purposely vague about his theological stance on gay issues because it doesn’t really matter what he thinks. He seems to believe that it is more important for people to have a personal relationship with Jesus then it is to be theologically clear on the gay issue. His job is not to determine whether gay people go to hell or not – that is unknowable from his stance. What is important is for gay people to know Jesus and in that direct relationship with Jesus the sinfulness of homosexuality can be determined for that person him/herself. He has mentioned that he knows gay Christians who determine that being gay and in a gay relationship is fine with God and that he hasn’t a problem with that. He also knows gay Christians who found that they need to be celibate to walk with God and he seems fine with that. His stance seems to be that his job isn’t to judge for others how they need to walk with God, but to love others. He sees his job as a Christian is to be a living example of unconditional love and what ever comes out of that love is God’s business and not his. Whether or not gay people go to heaven or not isn’t his concern – that’s not his job. His job is to love unconditionally for that is what God commanded him to do as a Christian.

I personally, find Marin’s stance the only bridge building stance there can be between the gay community and the evangelical community. He is vague on purpose because how he walks with Jesus works for him and how someone else walks with Jesus must work for them. To make an us and a them situation in the name of Jesus isn’t what a Christian’s job is. A Christian’s job is to love others as Jesus loves and that’s it. It is not to be right or better than or be 100% theologically sound. It is to love unconditionally.

This is my understanding of Marin’s view of gay issues. If there were more Christians like him I think this world would be a much kinder place.

John in the Bay Area
August 10th, 2010 | LINK

Alan Chambers is still trying to claim that Exodus is not involved in politics. Their entire existence is based on anti-gay politics. I would love to tear that lie apart on cross examination on a witness stand, like in the Prop 8 trial.

Christine
August 11th, 2010 | LINK

I have read Marin’s book, Love is an Orientation. He is anti-gay (as excerpts from some of his speeches posted online indicate as well), and tries to be subtle about it so he can “hook” people whose natural hackles would go up if he was honest about his anti-gay beliefs. This is THE reason he will not tell you outright his views. He knows gay people will walk away.

I actually think he is MORE dangerous because he appears more credible to some people in our community because he is not overtly hateful. It is possible to not be hateful and to be anti-gay. Marin is anti-gay. He is MORE dangerous because he knows how to approach our community appearing as an ally, but he is not an ally.

Priya Lynn is right on about Marin.

Regarding “Update: Alan reaffirms that ‘Exodus isn’t returning to politics, but it was a good venue for talking about having compassion for our neighbors whether we agree with them or not.’)” — Exodus (and its individual spokespeople) never got out of politics.

Rivera
August 13th, 2010 | LINK

Wolves in sheep’s clothing, no thanks.
Fact check Marin, absolutely. It’s the same anti-gay stuff in new clothing.
Why does the gay community waste time with these people when we have very solid allies in many mainstream Christian denominations?

His mealy mouthed avoidance on this huge issue of gay marriage, is going to make him look like a complete fool in 20 years, and I think that is a real fear most of these evangelical types have.

Ironically, their open war with gay civil rights only made the gay community stronger. Their double talk, their lies, their false research and questionable Biblical “research” only gave us more allies–the people who in the past didn’t believe how much contempt these pious hate the sin type folks had for us. Say thank you to the real gay supporting churches! No thanks to the mealy mouths.

Bart Wang
August 14th, 2010 | LINK

It is sad to read so many people who do not know Andrew have quickly formed an opinion of who he is and what he is about. There is a boatload of arrogance in these comments. The same attitude and insight as the religious right spews about ‘the gay agenda’ and ‘homosexual activist judges’. Many of you appear to be taking the exact same approach – believe you know the people you don’t, that you understand their perspective and then condemn it. All ignorant (in both senses of the word).

For example, some of you interestingly ignored the point made by Bryan that referenced Andrew’s book, in which Andrew tells a story of a friend who experienced God telling them it was okay to be gay – and Andrew did not condemn them, tell them they were wrong, that they needed to change. No, just keep talking as if you know him and his ‘agenda’. There’s a giant log in your eye; you should probably get that out of there.

Are we so insecure that we are only friends with people that agree with everything we think? What if you found out that your best friend thought that gay marriage was unconstitutional? You’ve had no other inclination that your friend thought that way. They have not acted in a homophobic manner and they are supportive of all their gay friends. Would you stop being their friend? Or would you engage in a discussion to figure out why they think that, maybe even try to convince them they are wrong? If you decide a person’s value based on a single opinion, you are a hypocrite because lots of people you know disagree with you but they do not write you off.

As well, David Roberts noted that we should ask the LGBT folks who have actually interacted with Andrew how they feel. This was also a great point that has also been ignored. Let’s ask those friends who came out to Andrew if Andrew is ‘soft peddling’ an ‘anti-gay agenda’. Or we could just keep sh!t-talking the guy we don’t know, especially since he has made plain that he will not get drawn into binary choices or mean-spirited conflicts.

We feel so confident on the Internet, spouting our opinions as if we (each of us, individually) are the smartest people who have ever lived, over in the corner of the world where I can type mean and uninformed opinions and never have to face the people that I slander. No one else has ever sorted out the universe like we have. We know people’s intentions even if we have never interacted with them and only read a quote or two. So sad.

Andrew, you have been instrumental in moving Bart from an arrogant, homophobic, condemning perspective. And thanks to that change, he has had two friends come out to him because they said they felt safe to do so based on the Wang’s supportive statements and posture in regards to the LGBT community. Bart was overwhelmingly honoured.

Scott P.
August 14th, 2010 | LINK

Wow, way to build bridges, Bart! Ever take your own advice?

Priya Lynn
August 14th, 2010 | LINK

Bart said “Are we so insecure that we are only friends with people that agree with everything we think?”.

Obviously not. No one has a friend that agrees with everything they think. Its absurd of you to suggest that expecting a friend to see you as an equal is the same as expecting them to agree with everything you think.

Bart said “What if you found out that your best friend thought that gay marriage was unconstitutional? You’ve had no other inclination that your friend thought that way. They have not acted in a homophobic manner and they are supportive of all their gay friends. Would you stop being their friend? Or would you engage in a discussion to figure out why they think that, maybe even try to convince them they are wrong?”.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or scenario, it can be an “and”. I would stop being their friend and I would try to convince them they’re wrong. Any “friend” that thinks gays don’t have a right to equal marriage most certainly isn’t supportive of all their gay friends.

Bart said “If you decide a person’s value based on a single opinion, you are a hypocrite because lots of people you know disagree with you but they do not write you off.”.

BS. Someone else doing something I wouldn’t can’t make me a hypocrite, only me doing something I preach against can make me a hypocrite

Priya Lynn
August 14th, 2010 | LINK

Bart said “Or we could just keep sh1t-talking the guy we don’t know, especially since he has made plain that he will not get drawn into binary choices or mean-spirited conflicts.”.

So, now the people who want someone to be honest about his position are the bad guys and the guy who wants to hide his true goals is the good guy. Riiiight.

Bart Wang
August 15th, 2010 | LINK

Scott, I’ve been thinking about what you wrote and have two thoughts. First, I realize that the wording I used could have been different. It is much less aggressive than my ‘normal’ initial response (which, I admit, is not healthy or beneficial for me or anyone else). But, upon reflection, I can see how I could present the same points with even less aggression. I stand by my statements but how I presented them (and, behind the keyboard, my attitude needs to be less about feeling “right” and “justified” and more about, as you noted, “building bridges”). Thanks for that. Second, just as a small example of how this is something that I have been thinking about this week is that I sent an e-mail to my local politician (with a positive purpose but I expressed some negative comments about his behaviour). He responded quite negatively. I realized my error. I asked for his forgiveness and apologized. I ask the same here. So, as you said, I have taken my own advice in this regard. We’re all hypocrites at various parts of our day/week/month/year/etc. Some of us are just more frequent than others . I need to extend more grace to others because I need it even more than they do, I know.

Priya Lynn, thanks for your responses. I’ll try to reply to your comments. In regards to ‘my suggestion’ that seeing someone as an equal is the same as finding full agreement is absurd, I agree. That is a point that Andrew tries to make repeatedly. We (all humans) may not agree but we need to see each other as equal. However, as I am recognizing in your comment, that line is not so clear because it changes on either side of an issue. Conservative Christians and the LGBT community (and supporters of either one) will define ‘equality’ and ‘agreement’ differently then try to speak to each other before walking away angry, frustrated and feeling unheard. Now, I am a Christ-follower who does support gay marriage. I’m okay with stating my position. However, I struggle when people on both sides of this discussion demand that someone equate acceptance and equality on their terms only. As Andrew has made his lifestyle, discussion and dialogue are where relationships can be developed and understanding is birthed. However, to give binary choices (e.g. ‘are you for us or against us?’) does not assist in that. Andrew gets asked the same five questions from Christians and the LGBT community but they want him to give a one word answer that tells them he is on ‘their’ side or else he gets shut down. That’s why, as was raised previously, I think we should look at his life and the people with whom he is engaged. If they tell us that he is a dick, that he is all talk and no substance, let’s make it public and then ignore his claims of ‘building bridges’. But if we get evidence of love and compassion, of true support of people, let’s get behind that and not focus on his refusal to give answers to certain questions. His life will demonstrate his character because we all have known people or seen them on TV who talk a great game but then do not back it up.

I notice that you did not like my ‘either/or’ question. Hmmmm… Andrew doesn’t like those either but people were tearing him apart for not answering such questions. You also hypothetically suggested that no one could be supportive of their gay friends if they did not agree with gay marriage. Let’s hold such a conclusion loosely since we do not know that with certainty. We can guess and have good reasons for our position. But I think we get ourselves in trouble if we claim we know the character of all people in all situations. Stereotyping is wrong, no matter to whom it relates. Christians stereotype LGBT people. Let’s not stereotype conservatives.
Furthermore, what if we found someone who was gay but did not support gay marriage? Would we say they weren’t really gay? Would we offer some other explanation and then ditch them because they did not believe the right to marry was the same as equality? Again, another hypothetical.

Oh, as well, you took a route I didn’t expect. I guess because I made it a binary question. You said you WOULD stop being someone’s friend if they did not agree with gay marriage. That is interesting. Man, I’d probably lose quite a few friends if I took that route. And who would they have to speak into their lives, offer them a different perspective, show them another way if I was to write them off? It is the enlightened oppressor who must teach his/her fellow oppressors about their behaviour. Do we want people to change their minds or do we just want them keep going on in their prejudice and bigotry?

Lastly, you wrote, “So, now the people who want someone to be honest about his position are the bad guys and the guy who wants to hide his true goals is the good guy. Riiiight.” Is silence dishonesty? It can be but I would hesitate to say it must be at all times. It’s not about ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’. It’s about appropriate and inappropriate behaviour, about reasonable and unreasonable arguments. If you ask Andrew what his goals are and he tells you but then insist they are not his “true goals” and he is “hiding” something, how can he convince you otherwise? (I’m using ‘you’ universally, to include myself as well.) It seems to me that you will not believe anything he says. Sure, we could say, ‘Well, tell me what you think of A and then I’ll believe you,’ but maybe you won’t. Conservatives are doing the same thing to Andrew on the other side of the discussion. They are tearing him down, blasting his character and condemning him because he will not give them the one-word answer they demand so they can label him ‘for’ or ‘against’ them.

We might think, ‘Sure, but if he is on our side, that is the right side and then forget the others.’ From what I can see in Andrew’s posts, he is way too compassionate and sensitive for that. Just as the LGBT community experiences rejection on a regular basis and Andrew abhors this, my sense is that he views Christians (conservative, moderate and liberal) as his family, whom he loves. How can he write them off? How can he not spend his energy to bring them to greater insight and understanding of the LGBT community, whom he also loves. Some Christians give him the same grief about the LGBT community, saying all the hateful garbage that has been spoken for far too long (and is the exact opposite of what Jesus says), telling him to forget about them. But then he gets involved in peoples’ lives, meets them where they are and becomes friends with them, and the real relationship takes place. We’re just making arguments (in the philosophical sense) because the real life is happening and we can debate whether Andrew loves people or not but it only matters if those people say that they feel loved, not our debate about whether or not they should or can.

I think that the LGBT community is an amazing example of what true community can and should be like. There is great disagreement within the community about many issues but there is also acceptance. I think it is a beautiful example to Christ-followers of how community should be occurring, particularly if they say they are trying to live the love of Jesus.

Thanks for getting me to think about these things, Priya Lynn. I appreciate any comments, questions or challenges as I’m trying to become a better version of me and I need community (even if it is through this anonymous machine).

Cassandra
August 25th, 2010 | LINK

Have you all seen this article re: Marin?

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2010/August/Missionarys-Message-to-Gays-Im-Sorry-/

Cassandra
August 25th, 2010 | LINK

Bart:
“If you ask Andrew what his goals are and he tells you but then insist they are not his “true goals” and he is “hiding” something, how can he convince you otherwise?”

It’s not just people like me or Priya who think that Marin isn’t actually talking about what he truly “thinks, feels and believes.” Marin himself admits the same:

“I can still dignify someone’s story and humanity and experiences as totally legitimate” he said. “Without giving away what I theologically think, feel and believe.”

Cassandra
August 25th, 2010 | LINK

Christians stereotype LGBT people.

It is true that Christians sterotype LGBT people, and it is not bad to admit that; in fact I think it’s a step in the right direction. However, I think that one of the ways in which Christians stereotype LGBT people is by saying things like “Christians stereotype LGBT people” without also acknowledging the existence of gay Christians. Please let me explain.

There is a stereotype among both Christians and LGBT people that LGBT Christians don’t really exist, or aren’t really important. When people fail to mention that LGBT Christians exist, this lack of mention contributes further to the invisibility of LGBT Christians.

Mentioning the existence of LGBT Christians is would be especially appropriate and topical in a discussion about tensions between LGBT people and Christians. Indeed, such a mention is almost called for, as LGBT Christians often negotiate those boundaries and tensions between non-Christian LGBT folks and straight Christians daily.

But straight Christians writing about LGBT people and Christianity often just seem to not realize that LGBT Christians exist, which in and of itself is a stereotype. I’ll never forget the time I saw an video for a church asking parishioners to donate against gay marriage claim that Christians would win because of the money they put into the collection plate: it was just assumed that gay people were not Christians, did not gave to churches, and that there were no gay Christians elsewhere giving to the opposite side of the cause. My life, and the lives of many others, puts the lie to that.

In my more flip moments as a gay Christian, reading comments such as “Christians stereotype LGBT people” make me wonder if I should flip a coin to figure out which part of myself I ought to stereotype, since such statements assume that Christian/LGBT is a fundamental dichotomy–which simply isn’t true.

Richard Rush
August 26th, 2010 | LINK

Regarding of the “building bridges” shtick:

When Christians “build bridges” to gay people, the purpose is to carry a Trojan Horse to the other side. Their ultimate objective is to gain the power to control our lives. Any perception we have that they may be trying to understand and accept us as we are is an illusion. The warm friendly loving smiles we see are just tools from their toolbox.

The purpose of a bridge is to cross over a gap, but the gap is still there, and everyone knows it and can see it. The difference here is that Christians have created the gap, and then want to pat themselves on the back for building a bridge across it.

Churches that are truly welcoming and affirming toward gay people don’t speak in terms of “building bridges,” they simply accept them as they would anyone else.

Timothy Kincaid
August 26th, 2010 | LINK

Richard,

As I’m sure you will agree, it doesn’t make much sense to say “when Christians…” followed by anything. There are a lot of Christians and they are a pretty diverse bunch.

No doubt some have nefarious motives and some have poorly contrived ideas of “helping the homosexual” that are little more than exercises in self congratulation.

But some Christians truly are sick of the culture war and tired of seeing gay people that they know and like being treated like crap and want to find a way to bring about peace.

Personally, I think that Marin misses the boat in a lot of areas. I think his underlying premises are based in presumptions about gay people and their spiritual condition that are not held up by reality.

But I do truly believe that Andrew is seeking to wage peace and trying to sincerely to bridge the gap through honest affection. I don’t think he is all of the things that you are accusing him of.

Whether one agrees with his theology, I’ve read enough and talked enough with others about this guy that I do not doubt his sincerity.

Richard Rush
August 26th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy, I agree. I should have said, “When Super Christians “build bridges” to gay people . . .”

I suppose I should also concede that the so-called bridge-builders could accidentally actually hear and consider some gay people’s perspectives, which might possibly begin to change their views. But that would be an unintended outcome, although welcome nonetheless. I think those bridges are designed to be one-way streets.

In the physical world, bridges are normally seen as beneficial by people living on both sides of the gap. But in the sense we are talking about here, gays are not asking for these bridges, and nor are we beings asked if we want them. We are just the target of their crusade. At the end of the day, these bridge-builders have no intention of accepting our gayness.

How would they respond if gays were building unsolicited bridges to them with the hidden agenda of turning them gay – with love and compassion for their well-being, of course?

Timothy Kincaid
August 26th, 2010 | LINK

I suppose I should also concede that the so-called bridge-builders could accidentally actually hear and consider some gay people’s perspectives, which might possibly begin to change their views. But that would be an unintended outcome, although welcome nonetheless.

I’ve seen it happen more than a few times.

That’s actually one irony about the conservative Christians who set out to show Teh Geys that they don’t hate them. It changes the conservatives more often than it changes the gays in any way.

That is also true of conservatives who set out to study the facts to prove to the world that Teh Geys are a threat/unGodly/changeable/whatever. The sincere and honest ones often find that they are they going back and arguing with their own crowd.

One of the more amusing examples is when Mark Yarhouse set out to prove (with Stanton Jones) that gays could become heterosexual. Now that they’ve done their study and the follow up, Yarhouse’s language and position has changed completely. Yes he still has a conservative sexual ethic, but he now no longer thinks that gays can become straight and is supportive of bridge building.

I completely support building bridges to the conservatives, but not for trying to turn them gay. Rather I know that the more they come in contact with us (when there are no picket signs or angry screaming on either side), the more they are likely to come to stop fearing us and instead support us.

When these folk stop seeing us as “people who choose to sin” and start seeing us as “people who are just like us other than that they are attracted to persons of the same sex” it changes them. Maybe not always as far as we’d like, but I welcome all steps in the right direction.

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