Cathleen Falsani’s excellent piece for the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cathleen-falsani/the-great-gay-awakening_b_808235.html) draws some much needed attention to the existence of gay and gay-friendly Christians. Yes, that’s right. Gay people can be Christian too. Got it? Still with me? Good. Now let’s continue. The Bible is not actually anti-gay, despite what the James Dobsons of the world claim, and Falsani (much to her credit) addresses this in her piece. Fortunately, Christians like Falsani are growing in number.
In a media landscape dominated by the clownish antics of Westboro Baptist and other major figures in the religious right, the saner dictums of pastors and theologians like Jay Bakker and Brian McLaren are often ignored. Sanity doesn’t sell. Yet the insistent focus on hate is a disservice to GLBT Christians and their spiritual brothers and sisters. These individuals face a difficult battle within their faith as they struggle against centuries of church tradition and the American church’s recent preoccupation with political action in support of social conservatism. McLaren terms this preoccupation “fundasexuality,” and it’s a hypocrisy I felt strongly as I grew up in evangelical Christianity. Sex is verboten for the unlucky unmarried. In my experience, sex was only discussed within the context of abstinence. To sum it up: sex is for straight married people. Sexual content in books and movies is decried as filth, and yet there’s this strange voyeurism focused on the bedrooms of other people. Unhealthy is the mildest term applicable.
Gay Christians and their supporters are, if not thriving, finally growing in number, and provide perhaps the best counter to the religious right in America. The religious right pushes back, of course. The stories of young GLBT Christians can be heartbreaking. They are often rejected by their friends, their family, and their spiritual brothers and sisters. And they are changing Christianity from within. They challenge the traditions that seek to deny their very existence at churches and colleges across America, and their bravery should not be drowned out by the insane ramblings of hate. I believe that message cannot be emphasized more strongly due to America’s highly vitriolic religious and political landscape, especially since that vitriol has now been exported and feeds homophobic violence in nations like Uganda.
So kudos to Cathleen Falsani. Kudos to the Huffington Post for recognizing the importance of her message. And to my GLBT Christian friends: much, much love.