Pride is especially painful for me as a pastor, as I realize that pastors are one of the main reasons that people who identify as LGBTQ need Pride. Throughout my ministry, I have witnessed more hate from pastors directed towards people who identify as LGBTQ than from any other group of people.
I cannot begin to count how many pastors I have heard say: “It was Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve,” and use the word “abomination” to describe persons who are LGBTQ.
I once attended a convention of pastors that voted to excommunicate an entire church from their denomination for baptizing persons who were LGBTQ.
I have attended meetings with pastors who said they believed the biggest threat to Christianity and to America were LGBTQ people.
I have attended other meetings with pastors who said that they must “fight like hell” for their rights to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
I have welcomed new LGBTQ persons into the church who were told by their pastor that they were not longer welcome in their church.
I have officiated funerals for LGBTQ persons after their pastor refused to be a part of their funeral.
I have officiated weddings for LGBTQ people whose pastors would not even consider attending the ceremony.
And here’s what may be the most painful part: From the year I graduated from seminary and became a pastor in 1992, until 2013, for fear of upsetting or losing church members, I was egregiously silent. Today, I realize my silence has made me complicit in the harm that has been directed towards the LGBTQ community. Holocaust survivor Eli Wiesel has warned us: “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Now, there were a few times during my first 20 years of ministry when I spoke up in defense of the LGBTQ community in informal conversations, briefly in a sermon or a Bible study, and in some posts on social media; however, during that time I never “spelled it out” in “black and white” in a manner that was fully visible to the public.
So, to all of my LGBTQ friends, I sincerely apologize.
Please know that I remain committed to be a vocal ally of the LGBTQ community for the rest of my life, because I believe (here it is in black and white) that GOD LOVES ALL OF GOD’S CHILDREN, AND TO CELEBRATE DIVERSITY IS TO CELEBRATE DIVINITY!
For more on this subject see: Issues of Homosexuality and the Church