Churches Should Be Honest About Homosexuality

Every Christian church in the country
should be able to answer some
basic questions about homosexuality: Do you consider
it a sin? Do you support
same-sex marriage? Those are hot-button issues among
the broader spectrum of Christians, but my point is that most churches
have firm positions on them. They know their answers. Yet those answers
are rarely advertised. It’s not like you’ll find
them on their websites. The website might say, “We love everyone” or “We welcome
all people,” but the fine print
says something else. Why hide from the truth? Because if a church is open
about being anti-gay, it could be a dealbreaker
for some new members. Especially the young people
they’re trying to capture. Pastors would rather bring LGBTQ
people — and allies — into the fold, then spring all the
bigotry on them later on, even if that takes
a couple of years. It’s honestly just cruel. Because by the time some people find out
just how horrible their own churches’ positions are, their entire life could
be mixed in with the church. Walking away would leave
them maybe without a job, or friends, or any kind
of social safety net. And that’s the whole point. The churches want
to suck you in so that you can’t leave
even if you wanted to. Now, there’s no way to force
these churches to do the right thing, and it’s not like we can rely on Christians
to do the right thing on their own, but in 2017, a group of progressive Christians
launched a website called Church Clarity in order to fix
this problem. Some groups fight
against bigotry, but these Christians took a very
different approach to the problem. They wanted to fight
against ambiguity. They wanted to make it easier for
Christians to learn where churches stood on issues like
homosexuality so they could make informed
decisions about where to go and where to
give their money. For example: Pastor Rick Warren,
very famous, runs Saddleback Church
in California, one of the largest
churches in the country. But Saddleback is rated
on the Church Clarity website as “Unclear” and
“Non-Affirming.” They’re non-affirming because,
as a Southern Baptist church, they oppose same-sex marriage
and wouldn’t allow a gay wedding
in their building. They’re “Unclear” because they don’t say that
anywhere on their website. Ideally, all churches would
be labeled Clear: Affirming or Clear: Non-Affirming. Just tell us what you believe
if you have an answer. Church Clarity isn’t about
shaming anti-gay churches — I mean, not that there’s
anything wrong with that. The site is only about
publicizing information that churches have
private answers to already. It’s about honesty. Or to put it
another way: This is about making sure
churches don’t get credit for positions
they don’t hold. Rick Warren should not be treated
as some kind compassionate pastor when his church holds
the same theological views as some of the most
anti-gay churches out there. There’s no penalty on the site for
being anti-gay. Nor does it look bad,
at least to a casual observer, if a church is still openly
deciding how to handle this issue. The website is just about
compiling information that churches should
be open about. Recently, though, a writer for the conservative legal
group Alliance Defending Freedom condemned the site. Because if there’s one
thing conservatives hate, it’s honesty. The writer said the site
was a “smear campaign” that was compiling a list of churches that
the ACLU could possibly sue in the future. The complaint
made no sense. I mean, first of all, how can it be
a smear campaign when all they’re doing is telling
people exactly what the churches believe with links to the relevant
portions of their websites? They’re not
making stuff up! It’s not smear when
it’s true and in context. This isn’t revenge. And also, to say the ACLU
is the enemy here shows you how little this group
— this legal group — understands the
First Amendment. The ACLU has never gone after
churches for their bigoted beliefs. They wouldn’t do that. They would defend the right of
people to believe whatever they want, including religious people
with horrible views. Again, if ADF has a
problem with Church Clarity, they really have a problem
with honesty and transparency. It says a lot about the
organization that those qualities are perceived
as problematic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *