Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Church IS Homophobic

Deacon Phil Snyder remarks on how his comments are routinely deleted at one of the more left-wing Episcopal blogs.

In response, a commenter named Grace apologizes for the site's rude behavior and also says,

He [the left-wing host] wants his blog to feel like a safe place for gay and lesbian people in the church.

A driving force in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and other behaviors) movement is the perceived need for a "safe place." Having grown up in Los Angeles and right around LGBT neighborhoods like Silverlake and Hollywood, I see two factors creating this need:

First, safety from hostility. Stories of family, community and church rejection are a strong part of the LGBT experience. So an LGBT neighborhood, even if it becomes an enclosed ghetto, provides some feeling of acceptance.

Second, safety from moral questions and restraints. This is an issue in
San Francisco's Castro District: "Mark Walsh, 50, the manager of a gay sex shop called Rock Hard, said: 'There are always a few outspoken couples with children, both heterosexual and gay, who expect everything to be prim and proper. But this is the Castro and anybody who moves here knows what they are moving to. We are very sexual people and we do tend to flaunt it a little. I have cleaned up my windows to the extent I am willing to. This is the one place in the country where we can all gather and be ourselves and not have to worry. I don't like that people are trying to change our ways.'"

To the extent that The Episcopal Church (represented by the left-wing site that is so rude to Deacon Phil) has embraced this second kind of "safety" (safety from moral questions and restraint), it has become increasingly "homophobic." I don't mean a neurotic fear of LGBT people, but a neurotic fear of challenging their claims.

LGBT people are represented way out of proportion to the general population among the clergy and in the church bureaucracy, which increasingly runs things. I don't need to list all the official actions that the Episcopal denomination has taken to advance LGBT in both church and society, and the ways in which those who object have been demonized and pushed to the margins (and even out of) the church.

But the kicker is that the more the LGBT "safety" agenda is embraced, the less "diverse and inclusive" the church becomes. The more the denomination fears LGBT claims and gives into them, the more it becomes an LGBT ghetto. That's why Deacon Phil's comments are deleted. That's why the denomination is willing to sacrifice international Christian witness and unity in order to create press opportunities for a gay bishop. That's why the The Episcopal Church is not able to grow.

And what struck me this week is that the Episcopal LGBT ghetto isn't even bringing in very many new LGBT people. What we see is a small and shrinking "club" for the existing members.

Maybe that's what the LGBT safe place looks like: a small group of clergy and bureaucrats left with all the church property and money.

And this has come about because the church ignored its own teachings, lost its nerve and became "homophobic" - that is, afraid to say, "enough is enough" when it came to the eccentric claims of the LGBT "church."

P.S. the picture is from here.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Ultimately, there is no safety in the homosexual lifestyle, even for those who find a partner to settle down with. The idea of a safe place or a gay world (for that matter a heterosexual world) is an illusion. Just shows how out of touch with reality some people have become.

episcopalienated said...


This looks like a "safe place" to share a very remarkable testimony from David Morrison, a man who was converted to Christ from very active involvement in a gay lifestyle. Although Mr. Morrison is now a Roman Catholic, he was ministered to by orthodox Episcopalians when he first became a Christian. This is what he experienced at "Trinity Church, a small Episcopal church in northern Virginia":

"When, after six weeks of anonymously attending services, I first went to the rector and told him of my life of gay activism and my conversion to Christ, I did so almost trembling with anxiety. After all, I knew what many Christians think of gays and lesbians. I half-expected Nicholas to throw me–politely, since he was an Anglican–out on my ear. But he didn’t. After courteously listening to everything I had to say, he turned to me and said: "David, if you need me to affirm what you do in bed, I cannot, because I think that is sin. But if you need me to affirm you as a brother in Christ, I can do that, because anyone who welcomes Christ is welcome here." And he, along with his wife and family, and many other families at Trinity, meant it. Their love for me, a seemingly rock-solid gay activist, even as they disputed the immorality in my life, gave me a lasting lesson in Christianity’s depth and reality.

"Although most of the parishioners, steeped in Evangelical Anglicanism, possessed a thoroughly Christian identity and a solid disapproval of sexual expression outside of marriage, many of them, particularly those who went out of their way to befriend me, also knew a great deal about acceptance, compassion, and deep friendship. Including me in their bake sales and car washes, family reunions, Bible studies, and other mundane activities even as they knew I was a gay activist, appears such an insignificant thing. But allowing me to be a part of their day-to-day lives forced me to reevaluate the little box of prejudice into which I had previously placed "Christians."

"Looking back, after eight years of seeking to live chastely as a Christian, I believe my time at Trinity represented a turning point in my early Christian life. While I had accepted intellectually the claims of the historic Christian creeds and experienced a deep emotional conviction of Christ’s reality and love, Christianity’s doctrines and disciplines remained merely concepts. It was the witness of the Christians at Trinity Church that put flesh onto the bones of biblical phrases like "love thy neighbor" and "seventy times seven times."

"Christ had answered me when, in desperation over the emptiness of my life, I cried aloud for him. But it was the Christians at Trinity who made his presence in my life a daily reality and, in turn, provided the witness I needed to abandon even gay pornography and any lingering backward glances for the fleshpots of my former nights."

I can say "Amen!" to all of that because my own experiences were remarkably similar to those of Mr. Morrison. If only the Church as a whole--whether TEC or the break away groups--could be willing to manifest more of this kind of "homophobia." That's what it's going to take!