Oprah invited three spiritual leaders onto her January 9 show to respond to the concerns of real people as they struggled with life’s challenges. One such person was Sedrick, a gay man, who was struggling with his finances. Rev. Ed Bacon, an Episcopal priest and one of the spiritual advisors, addressed the young man’s lack of self worth by saying that, ”being gay is a gift from God,” Minister Bernard Beckwith, another advisor, assured Sedrick that “…he is the image and likeness of God just the as he is.”
Oprah asked Sedrick if he believed being gay is a gift from God. Sedrick said that he hadn’t thought that way before but that after talking with the spiritual leaders on the program, “I think I’m going to leave here with a renewed vision. So I’m getting it.” Unfortunately, the Oprah show website left out this important personal revelation out of the episode recap on the website.
Rev. Bacon is rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, where the Rev. Susan Russell serves as senior associate rector and is the president of Integrity, the national Episcopal LGBT advocacy group. Take a look at her blog to read moving letters from people who saw the Oprah show. Dr. Beckwith is the founder and spiritual director of Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles which is an LGBT-affirming congregation.
The response was so massive that Oprah did a follow-up segment with Rev. Bacon on January 12. Oprah asked Rev. Bacon, “So do people call you or were they only just calling me?”
Rev. Bacon said, “Oh no my friend. My email was full of content and from what I gather, it simply unleashed a flood of healing throughout the country, and Australia, and Great Britain across the continent. It was amazing that people were talking about their hearts being healed and their hearts leaping. Two or three people said ‘I am weeping while I am writing you this email.’ It was amazing and most of the email and voice mail—like 30 to one—was appreciative that being gay is a gift from God.”
Take action! Please write to Oprah and thank her for including LGBT-inclusive faith voices on her show. Share your story about how Rev. Bacon’s comments affected you, both in your email and in the comments below.