Moderate Christians begin to speak up

Timothy Kincaid

June 8th, 2012

There is a fairly new but growing trend in Christianity: moderate Christians who have finally decided that far right conservatives will not be the only face of the faith. I’ve been saying for a while that if moderates don’t speak up that they have only themselves to blame if the unchurched think that all Christians are extremists and homophobes. But now they are speaking up.

In Minnesota, ministers from different denominations have joined together to oppose the proposed marriage ban. (

Among the latter was the Rev. Kelly Chatman, lead pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He took take a public stand against the amendment, he said Friday, “because I don’t want that other voice to be the only voice, I don’t want same-sex people to see all churches that way.

“I’m doing this because it’s important people see a pastor who believes that God is loving to everybody.”

Plenty of prominent Minnesota denominations have come out squarely against the amendment. Five Minnesota synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have approved formal resolutions in opposition to the marriage amendment. Earlier this month, the general assembly of Minnesota’s United Methodists overwhelmingly approved a resolution against the amendment.

This is so important for us for two reasons: first, it is essential that people not believe that the position of all people of faith is to support discrimination or that this is what God wants (many who never darken a church door will do “what God wants” on an issue they are not real clear on).

But as important is that when ministers begin to see this as a matter of justice and what they believe to be consistent with the call of Christ, they can get pretty worked up about it. And they can inspire their congregations to become allies for equality. And little old Methodist church ladies can reach people we have no access to with the message of “well, I just believe God wants us to treat gay people the way we want to be treated”. And that is a very powerful message indeed.

And I think that when compared to the other voices, those who call for equality, justice, and mercy have a natural advantage. They don’t sound like this:

The Rev. Bryan Pedersen of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Robbinsdale, said he’s been approached by parishioners at odds with his own public stand for the amendment.

“Every one of them will be accountable to God for how they’re informed by their conscience,” Pedersen said. “The definition of marriage is non-negotiable.”


June 8th, 2012

I had a pastor in grad school who would talk about sin in very specific terms, which is unusual for more moderate/liberal/progressive Christians. He labeled the big ones as racism, sexism, and either homophobia or heteronormativism, depending on how much he wanted to challenge out vocabularies that day.

I know that hearing that preached from the pulpit is a large part of what made me go from “gay rights are civil rights” to “gay rights are a fundamental good that I should defend as part of my faith.” More power to all clergy and leaders who do the same.


June 9th, 2012

I’d also like to point out that moderate christians have been _trying_ to speak out for ages. It appears that the media is finally starting to admit they exist.
(hey, I started going back to church twelve years ago because I was tired of idiots co-opting my heritage. Finally we get to hear from the non-idiots!!!)

Mark F.

June 9th, 2012

I don’t disagree with you, but I have to pick a nit with you over the word “extremist.” Being in favor of same sex marriage was “extreme” at one point, and the “moderate” position is not always the right one. Giving your slaves Sunday afternoon off may have been the “moderate” position in 1860.


June 10th, 2012

Sometimes I think ya’ll just plain need a “like” button on this site.

I was a liberal/moderate Christian years ago and left because I just got tired of arguing with idiots. I began to study things a lot and decided that I didn’t want any part of a religion where belief so often mattered more than practice and where such extreme positions as can exist were tolerated with little dissent. A substantial amount of crazy existed then, too. I had a problem with it then, as I do now.

Thankfully, now that it’s seeped out into the public square there’s some pushback from other Christians.

If I’d seen that when I was going through my divorce from a religious nut I might still be a Christian.


June 11th, 2012

People like Pedophile Protector Pederson will eventually empty the pews if they don’t find the accommodation with gays as other sects of the cult have done and are doing. I think when the baskets come back empty they will do like the Mormons did in 78 and have a new revelation.


June 12th, 2012

“And little old Methodist church ladies can reach people we have no access to…”

Wonderful quote. I’m told that a little old Catholic church lady who’s friends with my mother recently said to her on the phone (imagine this with a Minnesota accent)…

“Y’know, Joy, I just don’t know why they won’t let those gay people get married.” :)

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