More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
GLAAD Amplifies the Voice of Pro-LGBT Christians
GLAAD’s Director of Religion, Faith & Values, Ross Murray (that’s me!), published an essay in CNN’s Belief Blog about Christians’ increasing acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The essay, entitled “My Take: Why Christians are embracing their LGBT neighbors,” demonstrates the changes in both hearts and minds, as well as denominational policies, the increasing welcome, acceptance, and advocacy for and with LGBT people.
The essay was inspired by an earlier Belief Blog essay by Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, entitled “My Take: 'Hate' is too big a word to be used with such little restraint.” Daly complained that opposition to peace and justice for lesbian and gay people is characterized as “hate.”
Instead of refuting Daly point by point, we chose to offer a comprehensive view of the acceptance of LGBT people. The essay shows that the change in society is also happening within Christian communities.
America is embracing its lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens. Don’t believe me? Just look at the progress made within faith communities.
The Christian church was once considered the final holdout for those who oppose equality for LGBT people. Staunch believers could gather in worship with people who thought just like them to hear sermons affirming the anti-LGBT beliefs they all held in common.
For those of us who identify as LGBT, it was a place of fear and secrets. We had to figure out how to hide ourselves or how to find a more welcoming community.
But that is changing. While there are still a variety of scriptural interpretations, an increasing number of Christians are reading scripture and understanding that God’s design for the world includes LGBT people. It follows, good Christians believe, that if God made them, then I am called to love and support them.
The essay was important to write for several reasons. First, it was able to articulate that groups like Focus on the Family are out of step with society and increasingly out of step with the Christian faith. Second, the essay lifted up several examples of how Christians are taking steps toward LGBT inclusion, whether that was denominational policy change or change within hearts and minds. Finally, and most importantly, it promotes the truthfulness that people can be strong in faith and in support of LGBT people.
The essay has recieved widespread attention. At the time of this writing, there are more than 2,000 comments following the essay. (For what it's worth, that is three times more comments than the disscussion about whether Steve Jobs should be a saint.)
The Religion, Faith & Values Program at GLAAD asks all LGBT and allied people of faith to continue to share their faith and their support for LGBT people with friends, neighbors and with the media. Together we can reframe the conversation around LGBT people and faith. To learn more about the Religion, Faith & Values program at GLAAD, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Religion, Faith & Values web page.