Thinking through and writing this post was actually quite easy for me.
I asked one of gay friends if we as a church should make some sort of formal statement, and his response was, “Do you have a statement welcoming black people?”
I also had a short conversation with someone who said to me, “My church can barely handle talking about women in leadership, let alone same-sex marriage.”
Ummm… Yeah. So, not including LGBTQ people in the church draws parallels to racism and sexism. That might explain a lot.
LGBTQ inclusion in the church is the new orthodoxy test because it can be framed as a question of equality. So of course this is a big deal. Not including sexual minorities in the church is working against equality, and is further marginalizing a historically marginalized group.
Plus you throw in some of the higher self-harm and suicide rates of LGBTQ teenagers.
Plus you throw in some the ridiculously high percentage of LGBTQ teenagers who are homeless because their parents have kicked the out.
Plus you throw in a couple of horrendous stories of exclusion, bullying, and violence.
Plus you throw in some slippery slope fallacies that worry about same sex marriages leading to state sanctioned bestiality or incest (Take a second and think about your own relationship – I can’t really begin to understand how damaging it would be to be told that my marriage to my wife might lead to people marrying their siblings).
Plus you throw in that most of us now have a family member or friend who identifies as LGBTQ, so it’s no longer a theoretical question, but rather now hits close to home.
Very quickly this becomes a conversation about equality, human rights, oppression, marginalization, and how to best keep teenagers alive.
Because if the church is not only not standing up for the oppressed, but actively oppressing people, yeah… that’s a pretty big problem, isn’t it?
So, for people who find themselves leaning towards LGBTQ inclusion, this as the new orthodoxy test actually makes a lot of sense.
“Anywhere where the humanity of people is undermined, anywhere where people are left in the dust, there we will find our cause. Sometimes you wish you could keep quiet. It’s the kind of thing you heard the prophet Jeremiah complain of where he says, “You know God, I didn’t want to be a prophet and you made me speak words of condemnation against a people I love deeply. Your word is like a fire burning in my breast.”
“It isn’t that it’s questionable when you speak up for the right of people with different sexual orientation. People took some part of us and used it to discriminate against us. In our case, it was our ethnicity; it’s precisely the same thing for sexual orientation. People are killed because they’re gay. I don’t think, “What do I want to do today? I want to speak up on gay rights.” No. It’s God catching me by my neck.”