The Ugly Way Evangelicals Love Gay People (a new blog post)

Evangelicals LOVE gay people. They do. They really love them. In fact, nearly every evangelical I know, when talking about their views on homosexuality, preface their opinions with disclaimers about how much they love gay people. Many prove their progressive-leaning love by talking about how often they watch Modern Family. 

For many evangelicals, watching Modern Family is like having a gay best friend.

Now, some evangelicals don’t say anything about loving gay people; but they swear on everything good and holy that they don’t hate gay people. They hate that loaded word—”hate”—because it makes them sound mean and unbecoming.

Both types of evangelicals—the lovers and the non-haters—seem to become frustrated or bewildered or or defensive when people don’t believe them when they say they love or don’t hate gay people. Which makes sense, of course; most of us become agitated or saddened when somebody doesn’t believe us.

But consider the last two weeks. Because I think these last 14 days might offer us a little insight as to why many GLBTQ people think us evangelicals—those of us who affirm and those of us who don’t affirm—are full of crap.

♦ Because on May 28, the American Family Association issued a statement to all of its members regarding the stamp honoring activist Harvey Milk. In that statement, the evangelical organization wrote:

1. Refuse to accept the Harvey Milk stamp if offered by your local post office. Instead ask for a stamp of the United States flag.

2. Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write ‘Return to Sender’ on the envelope and tell your postman you won’t accept it.

♦ Because 2 days earlier, Franklin Graham, while talking about how much he loved GLBTQ people, offered the objects of his affection God’s ultimatum: “I love them enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it’s the flames of hell for you,” Graham said. “Now, if you don’t like that, don’t get mad at me. I didn’t write the rule book. Almighty God wrote it, and it’s a sin against Him.”

♦ Because on June 2, a whole bunch of Southern Baptists met in Baltimore for their annual convention. On their list of topics to discuss were the “700,000 Americans [who] perceive their gender identity to be at variance with the physical reality of their biological birth sex.”

Amid their chat, a summary as to why the topic was being discussed was offered…

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association removed this condition (aka, “gender identity disorder”) from its list of disorders in 2013, substituting “gender identity disorder” with “gender dysphoria”; and

WHEREAS, the American Psychiatric Association includes among its treatment options for gender dysphoria cross-sex hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, and social and legal transition to the desired gender; and

WHEREAS, news reports indicate that parents are allowing their children to undergo these “therapies”; and

WHEREAS, many LGBT activists have sought to normalize the transgender experience and to define gender according to one’s self-perception apart from biological anatomy…

And then they offered “God’s opinion” on gender. You can read their conclusions here.

♦ Because on June 3, John MacArthur published a YouTube video offering his best advice to parents of gay children. In the 2-minute clip, MacArthur said that, if the gay child was a Christian who refused to repent, “You have to alienate them, you have to separate them; you can’t condone that [because] it’s inconsistent with a profession of Christ. So, you isolate them. You don’t have a meal with them. You separate yourself from them. You turn them over to Satan as scripture says…”

♦ Because three days later MacArthur offered his wisdom about how bakeries should respond when a gay couple asks them to bake a cake for their wedding…

♦ Because people flock to read evangelicals like Matt Walsh acting like Matt Walsh on the topic of transgender children.

♦ Because Rick Perry, while speaking in San Francisco compared gay people to alcoholics.

♦ Because this Christian politician from Oklahoma seems to think that stoning gay people isn’t out of the realm of possibility…

♦ Because Tony Perkins, the guy in charge of the Family Research Council, had the audacity to say this…

I can’t be sure, of course; but these last couple weeks seem to offer a lot of reasons as to why non-evangelicals of varying kinds don’t believe that evangelicals love (or don’t hate) gay people.

Most evangelicals will say something like this: Those examples are extreme. They don’t speak for me!

While they might not speak for you and me, can we honestly say that these are the evangelical extremes any more? The guy from Oklahoma? Sure. He’s extreme. But all of them? I don’t think so.

Does the average church in American evangelicalism really believe or adhere to a different doctrine than many of these examples? Sure, they might never project their ideas aloud when cameras and microphones are present, but are their beliefs/doctrines/values different enough that they’re willing to challenge these ideas?

Because the only evangelicals challenging the messages of these voices are the progressive ones, a handful of liberal evangelical bloggers who have little influence on the likes of Franklin Graham, John MacArthur, and the SBC. If these people don’t speak for evangelicals, where are the non-progressive evangelicals who might challenge these messages? We need them to speak up, on behalf of the gospel, Jesus, and the evangelicals who really do love gay people.

Because I refuse to believe that the majority of America’s Evangelicals are okay with these agenda-driven evangelicals speaking on their behalf. Because whether we like it or now, right now, they are. And they’re getting louder. And they’re speaking up more often.

And they are the reason why so many GLBTQ people laugh or roll their eyes or scream expletives when an evangelical says that he or she loves them. Because nothing they hear coming out of evangelical culture suggests love or non-hate… it’s the same rhetoric that evangelicals have been preaching in America for nearly 70 years, a rhetoric of shame and hopelessness.


Zondervan presents: ‘Duck Dynasty’ VBS curriculum…

This is real.

According to the product info: Now you can bring the fun and excitement of America’s favorite family, the Robertsons from the hit TV show Duck Dynasty, into your church and teach your kids the gospel at the same time! In the easy-to-use Willie’s Redneck Rodeo VBS program, your volunteers will enjoy acting out the antics of Willie, Jase, Jep, Phil, Godwin, Martin, Si and others as they teach kids five of the Bible’s most beloved parables. This director’s guide includes instructions for everything you need to lasso your children’s hearts as you teach them God’s Word. Read more here.

Yesterday, I learned that a couple of the Duck Dynasty gang were releasing a study bible in October and while I certainly wondered why a Duck Commander study bible was necessary, the product didn’t surprise me.

But this surprises me.

One of the reasons is because personality-branded VBS programs are relatively unheard of. I mean, I’m not saying they’re non existent.

I don’t dislike Duck Dynasty. In fact, I’ve only watched one episode of the show. And while I didn’t get sucked in, I sort of get why many do. Many of my closest friends say nothing but wonderful things about the DD cast, boasting much about their kindness and generosity.

And I don’t doubt that. I disagree with them on a good number of theological and social issues. But I don’t doubt they are kind. And I’m sure, in context to their worldview, they’re intentions are good.

“Faith Commander” is a church-wide curriculum. This is the kids version.

But even if you believe that your intentions are good, are there no limits to how much “good” you should turn into products and sell at Christian bookstores? Doesn’t anybody on their team think, “Let’s be careful not to saturate the Christian market with junk?”

The truth is, Willie and kin may have no say in what publishers and Christian manufacturers create with the “Commander” name on it. Or perhaps they handpick each idea. I don’t know. Watching the promo video seems to imply the former, at least, in the beginning:

Regardless, using the Duck Dynasty brand to teach kindness, obedience, and Jesus’s parables to 4 to 10 year-old kids seems like a huge gimmicky stretch, one that quite honestly feels forced and manufactured to make money.

What do you think?

Christians in Alabama use Hitler quote on billboard to promote children’s ministry


This is real. I can hardly believe that anybody would be so dumb. But somebody was/is. I mean, what were they thinking, using Adolf Hitler’s words to promote their Christian children’s ministry… I mean, seriously. Even if it wasn’t a quote by Hitler, the message is still a frightening and gross proclamation, hardly something that Christians should celebrate as their personal mission.

Thankfully, the ministry is pulling the billboard: “We are pulling the billboard and certainly never intended to cause confusion. … Herbert Hoover would have been a far better one to quote when he said, ‘Children are our most valuable resource,'” founder James Anderegg told the Ledger-Enquirer. “We are a children’s organization and had honorable intentions and nothing less.” SOURCE

Thank God for good teachers….


This post is for all of you, teachers…

First of all, how do you do it? I mean, how do you put up with our kids each and every day? Sure, they’re amazing kids. In small numbers and doses. But combined into large clumps, even the best of kids can become headache-inducing. Perhaps a better question is how do you put up with us, the parents—the sometimes overbearing, overprotecting, over-informed Huffington-Post-reading—parents? Seriously, how do you do it? Because most of us couldn’t do it. Hell, sometimes being around that many kids/parents for field trips makes me want to find the nearest corner so I can curl up and rock.

Of course, let’s be honest: some of you don’t actually do it all that well, either. Some of you have personalities better fit for the DMV. And a few of you are far too passive aggressive for anybody’s good, let alone, the good of small children.

Still, most of you border on being saints. And this post is for you, all of you who are good, hardworking, caring teachers who probably won’t have time to read this until tonight or tomorrow morning or next week.

Because I want to say thank you.

Thank you for making the choice to teach.

Thank you for instilling our children with information regarding words, spelling, history, math, science, hygiene, safety, and other topics.

Thank you for putting up with our kids. Sure, most of them become well-behaved and even human-like when in your classroom. But we know that’s not always. We know that, for every time you mention to us about our kid’s behavior, there are likely numerous occasions or events that you don’t bring up.

Thank you for enduring our many questions, our need for details, our desire to know everything, our forgetfulness, our impatience, and our occasional lack of interest.

Thank you for tolerating the bureaucracy of our education system. We know it’s not always easy. We know that amid the politics and opinions that swarm from all sides, you are having to sustain lots of red tape, make do with the lack of funds, and jump through a vast number of governmental hoops, all the while teaching young people. Thank you for trying making the most of it. Thank you for attempting to make the system better. Thank you for not taking your frustrations out on our kids.

Thank you for making boring topics exciting and interesting and applicable. Thank for being creative, for believing in our kids enough to make learning fun and hands-on.

Thank you for sacrificing better pay, better raises, better benefits for the “thrill” of educating young minds.

Thank you for seeing the unique gifts in each of our kids. Thank you for challenging our kids to explore and discover new gifts, new talents, and new interests. Thank you for giving our kids reality checks on occasion, for saying to them what we sometimes cannot say or we have said but far too many times to be influential.

Thank you for all of the long hours that you put in to grading papers, planning lessons, organizing events, and rallying the attention spans of kids and parents.

Thank you for all of the gentle reminders of how we the parents can become involved, stay involved, and help our children succeed.

Thank you for putting up with us, our cynicism, our opinions, our neediness.

Thank you for loving our kids. We know you don’t/can’t love every single child. But you love a lot of them. And your investment doesn’t go unnoticed.

Thank you for being a teacher. Thank you for taking the narrow career path. Thank you for putting up with all of the committees, conventions, tax cuts, propagandas, and the long line of seemingly ungrateful parents. Thank you for believing in the power of learning and for helping our kids discover that too…

We might not always say this: But we appreciate you. We value you. We think you’re incredibly gifted. We thank God for you. And we—most of us anyway—know how important your roles are in our children’s lives. We know how difficult your jobs can be at times. We know that putting up with us AND the administration can’t always be easy.

So thank you. Thank you for doing what you do and for being who you are. But most of all, thank you for believing in our kids.

Is there anything Christian about this? Yes, sadly, there is…

In fact, there’s a lot that’s Christian about this sign. Now none of this has anything with Jesus–even John 3:16 loses its “gospel” when juxtaposed with these other “values.”

Still, this is how a multitude of people see a large portion of American Christianity, as Jesus-promoting, gun toting, beard-loving people who can’t stand the sight of gay people but never say the word “shit.”

Which is really shitty.

I’m reminded of this post that I wrote in January.

And honestly, there’s little that we can do to combat this type of faith-based messaging. A Christian jackass must discover his own jackassery.

None of us are perfect. I know. People think I forget that all the time. I realize that we can all be jackasses at times. But we don’t have to advertise it. We don’t have to wear our intolerance like a badge.

The image was found at Christian Nightmares.

Sometimes Southern Baptists can be bullies…

Well, The Daily Beast is still letting me write for them! Here’s my latest…

According to Dr. R. Albert Mohler, America’s evangelicals are at a major crossroads—another one. It could be true, I suppose. When it comes to knowing when and where Christians are gathering at big cultural interchanges, Mohler’s pretty much an expert. As the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky—the educational Mecca for the almighty SBC—and one of most influential Christian bloggers on the Internet, Mohler has become an authoritative mouthpiece for some of the most conservative segments of American evangelicalism. On Tuesday, Mohler utilized his voice to inform his audience that “[Evangelicals] face an inevitable moment of decision, a decision that cannot be avoided… There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.”So, what pray tell is this crucial unavoidable question that all evangelicals must answer? The same exact question that evangelicals have been answering over and over again with exclamation points and all caps for as long as any of us can remember: “The question of homosexuality.” More specifically, Mohler wants to know “whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over two thousand years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.”

Mohler went on to say that how evangelicals answer this question will showcase not only what we know and understand about the Bible, it could have a long-lasting impact on the gospel itself.

Which, of course, he’s right. How we answer this question does have its consequence. We know this because we’ve suffered the effects of how evangelicals like Mohler have answered the question for years. Heck, Mohler can’t seem to stop answering the question.

As we know, the answers evangelicals give cause division, push people away from churches, promote the gospels of arrogance and callousness, and castrates the body of Christ, rendering us useless but for punch lines.