Dear Christians: I’m Sorry… and Moving Forward

This articles discusses topics including- , , , , .

8 minute estimated read

This has been an exhausting week for those within the LGBT community. Emotional breakdowns. Keeping a constant eye over your shoulder at pride and memorial events. Anger. All of these feelings, and more, swirling within us at once. But I think the Christian LGBT community had it worst. Not only were we heartbroken by the events in Orlando, but we were heartbroken and, rightfully, outraged by the reply of the Christian community.

Replies ranged from ignoring the situation to praising it. The consensus of the Christian community as a whole, and certainly that of its leaders, was one of ignorance. Ignoring the situation. Ignoring that it happened to LGBT people. Ignoring that their rhetoric played a role in the slaughter of 49 innocent people.

This anger fueled my article, dear Christians: it’s time to stop pretending, from earlier this week. If you haven’t read it, I think you should. It’s not terribly long and gives you a good insight into the feelings of LGBT people (specifically those within the Christian community as well) in the wake of this tragedy. If you don’t have time, here’s a quick synopsis of it.

Stop pretending this event didn’t happen….

Stop pretending it wasn’t a targeted attack on the LGBT community…

Stop pretending you care about the LGBT community while simultaneously reminding us you believe we’re living in sin….

Stop pretending like you haven’t contributed to this event in any way… And, worst of all, you contributed to a mindset that believes people deserve to die simply because they are LGBT, making Pulse Nightclub the deadliest place in town.

Now, before I move on, I need to apologize to those whom I was addressing in that article. I won’t apologize for how I feel. I’m very hurt. And I’m very angry. And that came through loud and clear. I won’t even apologize for being too accusatory, because that can be a good thing.[1]Remember, calling people a “brood of vipers” is not out of the question. But, I do need to apologize for doing so without offering any help or solutions as to how to do better. I did the Christian community, and grace, a disservice by simply yelling at them rather them helping them find a different direction.

I had sat down to write a piece more akin to my single Call You Out[2]- in which I remind Christians that they were called to love with no limitations. Instead, I wrote a passionate vent piece. And that’s fine. That’s healthy. But I was called out[3]yes, that was intentional by friends within the Christian community (LGBT and allies) reminding me that while my passion was noted and appreciated, and they felt for me, I ran the risk of burning bridges with that post rather than bringing peace. I was too offensive. I didn’t leave room for grace. And I apologize for that.

So here I am, offering my olive branch to the Christian community. I would like to apologize for putting you off with my last post, not giving you grace, and not helping you move forward, which is what I would like to do now.

Christians. In light of what happened in Orlando, I believe you have two options.

[Option 1] continue your rhetoric, but admit that you’re contributing to hate that is killing people
While I’m disgusted by their words, I’m at least glad that people like Steven Anderson are not pretending. They’re admitting that they believe gays are worthy of death.[4] I am 100% against what they believe and say, but I’m glad they’re being honest. They are recognizing their rhetoric as destructive and being honest about it. And they have every right to do so. I’m not going to spend long on this one because I’d rather address helping people change their rhetoric, but if you can’t won’t change, then at least admit that you’re being harmful.

[Option 2] change your rhetoric, understanding how it has done too much damage for far too long
Don’t get me wrong. Change is hard. And it’s scary. My boss gave me some great insight during my near emotional breakdown at work: the Christians (specifically white, Christian, men) are no longer seen as the authoritative power, and that puts them in a position they’ve never been before, and it scares them.

But, change is also necessary. One of my favorite books in college was Who Moved My Cheese. It tells the story of two mice and two men in a maze. They spend their lives searching the maze for cheese. They find a large supply eventually and continue to go there every day. The mice always do the same thing- get to the cheese quickly and examine it. The people are a little different. They start to take their time, assuming the cheese will be there.

One day there is no cheese there. But the mice knew this would happen. They had noticed the cheese getting smaller every day. So they set out to search for new cheese. The men act differently. They become angry. Feeling that the cheese was theirs. They continue to go to the same place daily, only to still find no cheese. By this point, the mice have found more cheese. Why? Because they never felt entitled to the cheese. They never believed the cheese would always be there. They were attentive to the little changes over time. They didn’t become complacent.

The Christian community now finds itself in the world of the men: wondering where their cheese had gone. They haven’t paid attention to the little changes along the way. And honestly, Orlando needs to be a wake-up call. The Christian community must go searching for new cheese. They must find new rhetoric, especially in connection to the LGBT community. In this instance, I’m not asking you to change your views. While I think you should, that’s been done before, and will be done again. And you have the right to your beliefs. But I would like to help you change how you present your beliefs to the world. 

Here are a few issues with your current rhetoric

When you tell us we’re worthy of death, you pull from a book that also tells you not to associate with women on their period.

When you tell us we’re sinners and not allowed to be a member of the church, you allow the divorced and remarried women to be a worship leader.

When you tell us you’re praying for us you also remind us that you believe we deserve hell, but you don’t remind the girl pregnant outside of wedlock the same thing when you pray for her.

Do you sense a common trend? Double standards. Somewhere along the way you relegated your views on LGBT issues (and people) to something entirely different from the rest of your theology. And I believe that is the main issue here. You’ve managed to place LGBT people in a separate category. Somehow less human than the rest of the world. And it clouds your judgment. It makes you think you can treat them differently than anyone else. But why? Simply because they have a different sexual identity than you? Please see the issue there. Please.

This categorization causes damage. You kick LGBT people when they’re down. You make them feel less than human. You make them feel like they aren’t worthy of God’s love; like they aren’t worth being alive. And you make others feel the same way, helping the murderer kill 49 people in Orlando recently. While yes, these people weren’t just LGBT, they were people (which is something you love to remind us when we remind you that it was a hate attack) they were targeted specifically because they were LGBT. Because the Church teaches that LGBT people are worth less. But you can’t have it both ways. Before a tragedy, we can’t be sinful LGBT people, but simply people after one. 

Church, you’ve backed yourself into a corner. You have lives on your hands. And how you respond to that is of utmost importance. It’s time to change. Find some new cheese. Recognize that your rhetoric contributes to lives being taken every day. Not just in Orlando. But people taking their own lives because you tell them they’re not worth living. And I love you. I don’t want you to be in this corner. I want to help you move forward into grace and peace. But now it’s up to you.

And, again, I’m not asking you to change your views. At least not right now. Just change how you talk about it.

Stop negating your sympathy by reminding us you believe we’re sinners.
Stop disqualifying us for positions within the church simply because we’re LGBT but allowing any other number of other sinners to do the same position.
Stop qualifying your hate using one verse from a book when you refuse to follow 99% of the other verses within the book.
Stop pretending you’re afraid of LGBT people when what you’re really afraid of us losing your power.
Stop pretending LGBT people are the problem and you have everything figured out.

Just stop anything that puts LGBT people into a different category than everyone else.

And start loving. No qualifications. No condemnation. Just love. That’s it.
That’s all we want from you. That’s all we’ve ever wanted.

grace and peace,

notes   [ + ]