I read this article from the Huffington Post Religion section this morning and decided to write about it it all because I have witnessed first hand the shifting of the churches views on the LGBT community. Now I really wanted to kind of wait to tackle some of these issues until my blog had a few more readers, but alas, sometimes timing is everything, and this is important to me. If it is important to you too – I encourage your feedback- no matter which side of the fence you reside on.
The article is titled, “Evangelical Churches Refine Message On Gay Issues” and to me, it really isn’t new news. You see I have watched the church slowly shift it’s positions to reflect the pressure and overwhelming shifts in societies views on marriage equality and LGBT rights. Now I am am not going to engage in a theological argument here (yet). I am going to engage in a social argument. The churches position on LGBT issues is not motivated by the Bible no matter how much they say it is. Religion is a business, and when businesses start losing customers in droves, they tend to look at why and change their practices accordingly in order to keep or recruit new customers. They are losing money. It isn’t a theological argument.
The bible used to say that inter-racial marriages were bad too (it never actually said that). God didn’t change, society did. God is a constant. The only thing that changes is how we interpret the Bible, and how we respond to to social pressures when it comes to how we define our lives and rules for living a ‘Godly life’.
I was very involved my church in high school and of course high school was also the time in my life I realized and accepted the fact that I am a lesbian. The reactions from my church leaders and friends were mixed. No one wanted to hate me (I am a pretty cool person if I do say so myself). I think they struggled with how they felt about me, and what the church said they should feel about my ‘behavior’. They really did try to accept the gay and ‘let God work on my heart’. They were – disappointed. It was like all of a sudden they were forced to look at me differently, and had to choose between loving God, and loving me. Some chose God obviously, but some chose me. This was 1988 or so…
Since then I have left the church, but I do keep one eye on them. Maybe it is a ‘know your enemy’ kind of stance to take, but I have truly enjoyed watching the transition. I wonder if this is how black people felt when they were first allowed to attend all white churches, or when inter-racial couples were finally allowed to marry. The Bible was not edited to accommodate these changes in our society, the Bible still says what it did in 1950. Only our perception and interpretation has changed. The pressure from society as a whole was too great for churches to ignore. So it is no longer sinful for a white person to marry a black person and we are watching in real time now, the shift that the LGBT community has been waiting for.
There are many LGBT people who have very real and deep faith in God and the Christian Bible. Slowly but surely, we are being welcomed back into the fold, and 20 years from now, it is going to be a non-issue – not because God changed, but because our society has. Churches may be non-profit, but without people to throw in their 10% they will die out. In order to remain viable, they have to adapt and overcome and that means changing the message not the text.
So if you are a LGBT person and are just itching to go back to your childhood church – it isn’t too far away. If you want to celebrate your faith now there are plenty of churches that support you, go tithe to them. Let businesses (churches) know that we have a ton of disposable income to give them if they just flip the script one more time. The biggest activist is cash, and cash can change hearts and minds because it isn’t really about what we do in our personal lives, it is what we do in public and where we spend our money that really effects social change. If you have cash, give it to the church, and live a good life (like you have been doing anyway) – things will change. They are changing…
Just remember that your faith is yours. That can’t be bought. Faith is between you and God, where you worship is between you and society – and society is ever changing (thank God).