TheReligiousLeft.org

Friday, May 4, 2012

Glad to be Gray 2.0

By Becky Garrison
Originally posted 5/4/12 at Believe Out Loud

Following the international outcry over Sojourners decision to reject a Mother’s Day themed ad from Believe Out Loud, I penned a piece for Ship of Fools titled “Glad to be Gray.” In this piece, I offer a summary of the range of views on this subject as expressed publicly by those who profess to be US based religious leaders, starting from fundamentalist extremists and then moving to the more progressive end of the spectrum.

In light of the first anniversary of what I have termed the “Sojourners Snafu” I decided to revisit this piece to see what shifting, if any, might have transpired during this ensuing year. Suffice to say the situation remains more or less SNAFU. While some of the leaders profiled here cite their gay friends as evidence they are pro-gay, their public actions tell a different story. I chose not to rely on statements issued in private conversations or semi-public forums like one’s personal Facebook page, as what I am assessing is the public face these individuals present when marketing their wares. Also, unfortunately, some of the more extreme positions garnered more followers in light of the current battles over marriage equality.

Following is my analysis completed in the Summer of 2011 with any changes noted in italics. Also, my article “Deconstructing Dominionism” (published in the 4th Quarter 2011 issue of American Atheist) offers a history of the theology behind some of these individuals and organizations.

1. Homosexuals are evil and of the Devil.

See God Hates Fags. (Check out Truth Wins Out for the latest news on those fundies who pull similar Phelps-like moves.)

2. Homosexuals aren't satanic per se but their acts pay homage to Satan.

A "respectable" fundamentalist might think homosexuals are of the Devil, but they shy away from the God Hate Fags crew in the same way their Bible-believing ancestors distanced themselves from the Ku Klux Klan. These folks tend not to make the news, as they prefer to separate themselves from this "sinful" world. However, you can find them in droves at places like The Creation Museum, The Holy Land Experience and other "Christian" business establishments.

3. Homosexuality is a disease that can be cured, and I don't want anyone with that disease contaminating my family or my church until they repent of their sins and become Bible-believing heterosexuals.

Those anti-gay groups designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "hate" groups fall into this line of thinking, as do ex-gay movements such as Exodus. As part of their ministry to "pray away the gay," they will minister to fallen sinners they meet on sites such as Rentboy.com. (The  GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project seeks to have the media hold these so-called ‘pundits’ accountable for the extreme anti-LGBT rhetoric they continue to spread.)

4. Jesus commands me to love the homosexual sinner but hate homosexual acts. Therefore, I have no problem with homosexuals, but I am opposed to any sex outside of a traditional marriage which, according to biblical law, is between a man and a woman.

True Women like Nancy DeMoss and Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren espouse both positions 3 and 4, though they follow the lead of prosperity gospel Pentecostal Joel Osteen by toning down the hate rhetoric while repeating ad nauseum the "love the sinner not the sin" mantra.

5. I love and respect my gay friends and family members and support homosexuals in church leadership as long as they remain celibate. I cannot in good faith approve of the homosexual lifestyle.

This tends to be the dominant view held by those who market themselves as "evangelical progressives" on the Christian author/speaking circuit. They received well earned kudos for their pro-civil rights and anti-war efforts, but they took a right turn when it came to the feminist and LGBT movements.

Examples include Ron Sider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action, New Monastic icon and Wallis protégé Shane Claiborne, and evangelist Tony Campolo. Campolo even went so far as to compare his ministry to the work of The Family (aka Fellowship), despite that organization's role in the Ugandan kill-gays bill and other human rights atrocities. (To date no one listed on the Red Letter Christian website has spoken out against this comparison even though a number of these players claim to be “pro-gay.”)

6. It's a mystery. And a Paradox. Love Wins. In the end. Lacan. Is On. To Something.

This is the stance developed by bestselling author and megachurch pastor Rob Bell, preeminent Justin Bieber scholar Cathleen Falsani, and Zizek impersonator Pete Rollins, who as Bell and Falsani note, try to emulate the likes of Eddie Izzard. However, in Stripped, Izzard deconstructs the evangelical concept of God with the finesse and skill worthy of a learned historian or theologian.

Conversely, these folks serve up provocative platitudes and parables that would earn a failing grade at any respectable mainline seminary. When it comes to standing up for LGBT folks, they're caught in a bind because while they talk about the need to "love" LGBT folks, if they take an actual stance on hot button issues such as gay marriage, they will lose their conservative funding streams that support their comfy Christian lifestyle. Also, they could potentially alienate their core audience – those at the intersection where cool and Christ collide, who waffle between positions 6 and 8. (In this ensuing year, Rollins’ latest book Insurrection was promoted by A. Larry Ross Communications, the PR firm representing reformed evangelicalism who count among their clients such anti-gay groups as the Promise Keepers, Rick Warren and Billy Graham, who took out a full page ad in support of Amendment One.)

7. While I consider myself to be an ally to the LGBT community, I'm aware of how gay rights remain a wedge issue that diverts the focus away from other critical social justice causes such as poverty and the environment. I want to align myself with a range of voices, including conservative evangelicals and Catholics, so we can advocate together on those areas where we can find common ground.

This line of reasoning is held by those who either stood by silently or supported Sojourners' decision not to run the Believe Out Loud ad, such as emergent church guru Brian McLaren and those mainliners who sell their wares to the emergent evangelical crowd, such as Nadia Bolz-Weber, the pastor of a queer friendly, Denver based church plant. (To date no one currently on the masthead has spoken out publicly against Sojourners decision to reject the BOL welcome ad.)

8. Christians should affirm gay people and allow them to have the same rights as us straights, which includes the rites of marriage and ordination.

This view is held by those positioning themselves as cutting edge evangelical/emergent thinkers – such as Tony Jones, the theologian-in-residence at Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis, and Jay Bakker, pastor of Revolution Church NYC and son of PTL Club founders Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. But despite their claims of being inclusive, they continue to operate in a milieu that largely consists of white male postevangelicals who self-identify as straight.

9. In Genesis 1:26, God created ha-adam, a nonsexual term that means "human being." Then, after he created humanity, she declared that it all was "very good".

Hence, now is the time for evangelicals and emergents who claim to be progressive to join those in the US Episcopal, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist churches, as well as other communities of faith who are working for social justice among the bi and trans community, whose voices have been unheard even in many gay and lesbian circles.

With a few exceptions, such as the Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists who actually put into practice the teaching of their founder Roger Williams by welcoming all, don't expect this to actually happen any time in the immediate or near future. As senior contributing editor of now defunct “The Wittenburg Door” and author of such books as “Jesus Died For This?” I've had more than ample opportunity to observe the US evangelical 800-pound gorilla and its offshoot, the emergent chimpanzee, in its unnatural Christian habitat. Yes, some shifting has transpired in the past 20 years. But the evangelical world continues to lag way behind not only their mainline brethren but the secular culture at large when it comes to welcoming LGBT people and advocating for their rights as part of our shared humanity as global citizens on this planet.

(As evidenced by the myriad of  commentators on the Believe Out Loud Blog and elsewhere, one finds a groundswell among liberal Christian and other like minded people of faith, as well as a growing number of spiritual but not religious folks coming together to ensure that all have equal access to the same rights and rites as everyone else.)

Photo: from the Flickr stream of Drama Queen

Becky Garrison is a panelist for The Washington Post's On Faith column and contributes to a range of outlets including The Guardian, The Revealer, American Atheist magazine and Religion Dispatches.. Her books include Jesus Died for This?: A Satirist's Search for the Risen Christ, Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church, and Ancient Future Disciples: Meeting Jesus in Mission-Shaped Ministries.

84 comments:

  1. Dear Religious Left

    Just a little note about this "journalism". I (Peter Rollins) have always been a straight ally. I am not sure where the idea of me being anything but that ever arose from.

    I am not from the US and am personally not a church goer, but perhaps I have been tarred with that brush because I write in the area of philosophical theology. But in relation to my stance on LGBTQ issues here are some basic facts...

    - The ikon collective that I founded and ran for 9 tears is openly inclusive at every level.
    - I am on the board of revolution NYC an affirming church that takes a very strong activist stance on LGBTQ issues (the leader is Jay Bakker who recently won a PFLAG award for being an advocate, which I attended - it is funny how he only gets to 8 when PFLAG seem to value him so highly)
    - On my last tour I traveled with a gay friend who talked openly about the issue throughout the US.
    - I have written on the issue e.g. http://peterrollins.net/?p=2988

    I am not sure what more I can do. The very idea of sexual discrimination is bizarre to me, to say that I am pro LBGTQ is not something I have needed to say back home because everyone I know already is affirming (because they are all sane)! But it looks like I am going to have to print up some T.Shirts or something :(

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  2. PS here is a link to the article about Jay Bakker http://blog.pflag.org/2012/03/straight-for-equality-in-faith.html PFLAG say - “Our decision to honor Pastor Jay Bakker this year was a simple one,” said Jody Huckaby, PFLAG National’s Executive Director. “We’ve seen faith communities all over the country taking up this dialogue about what it means to support LGBT people, to welcome them, include them, and uplift them. In the Christian community, Pastor Bakker is a leader in these discussions, and we are proud to recognize the incredible work he has been doing—around the country and around the world—to move equality forward in communities of faith.”

    It is sad to see him critiqued by religious believers when groups like PFLAG see him as one of the leading voices in faith on this issue

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  3. Hi Peter, thanks so much for your comments. I wouldn't presume to speak for Becky, but I will make sure she knows about your concerns, and we'll see if we can't get some dialogue going. Thanks for the links to those resources!

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  4. Thanks Garrett. I appreciate your response. My main concern at this juncture is what to do about the part of the article that mentions my name. I can totally appreciate the fact that you didn't know the information I have outlined before now and understand that ReligiousLeft probably can't fact check everything they post up on their site. However the question concerns what to do in light of the information I have provided. I understand that I will need to prove the statements I have made above, something I am more than happy to do. There is an email address on my website if you want to contact me so that I can send you confirmation of all the things I have mentioned.

    I am sure that wish to post only information that is accurate on your site. Perhaps, if you don't want to change the main article you might put an asterix beside my name and include what I have said? Although I think it would be much more ethical to just remove my name from the article entirely.

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  5. PS Also, I pointed all this information out to Becky when the article was originally posted (something she makes reference to obliquely in the opening). Something that makes this situation even more frustrating for me.

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  6. This is Jay Bakker, this post is full of false assumptions about a lot of good folks, I wish Becky would try fact checking, This is not the first time she has made false clames about my friend Pete Rollins. I don't understand the point of reprinting it when this was also an issue the first time.

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  7. Rollins never communicated with me directly with me over this issue. It is not appropriate to air disagreements via a public blog but the only feedback I got from Rollins re this piece were personal insults made via another person's facebook page when this article was first posted. Repeated suggestions have been made by others and myself that we get together for coffee or beers for a discussion but that has yet to materialize.

    I commend Rollins for the efforts his has made since I posted this a year ago. And while I would love to move Rollins (and everyone else on the list further along the spectrum), the fact remains that A Larry Ross Communications was hired to promote his last book - one cannot be pro-gay and have the defender of dominionism (http://www.thereligiousleft.org/2012/02/deconstructing-dominionism.html) in charge of publicizing one's product. This is a dilemma facing many folks in this turbulent publishing climate – how do you maintain an authentic voice when the publishing outfits, conference planners, and the like who are offering the big bucks skewer on the conservative side of Christianity?

    Re Jay Bakker - love to move him to 9 - but as indicated by his podcast (http://www.revolutionnyc.com/media/), the vast majority of people he has invited to preach are white males who self-identify as straight. Compare this to other radically inclusive communities that are led by people of differing races, sexual orientations and gender. My hope is that Revolution NYC will move in that direction but so far that hasn't happened.

    One's country of origin is immaterial here - if one chooses to ply one's wares to the US Christian market, then one enters the crazy world of Americana Christianity and with all the baggage this entails. This is the world I satirized in the Door from 1995 until it closed in 2008. Along the way, I have tried to work with other Christian (read "evangelical/emergent" outlets). But I kept running into stumbling blocks when it came to issues relating to women and LGBT rights, two subjects that too often had to be left off the table in order to achieve consensus or common ground. (I could have done this article about women's rights and the breakdown would be about the same as well.) The genesis for this article grew out of this frustration after I finally could take it no more and had to stand up with Sojourners rejected a welcome ad from Believe Out Loud, even though I knew I’d lose my position as Contributing Editor. This is why I write for primarily secular markets, as well as a few genuinely progressive religious outlets like Believe Out Loud and this site.

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  8. Becky, Were you not published by Thomas Nelson, an extremely conservative publisher (Mark Driscoll), and HarperCollins, owned by by Rupert Murdoch? You know enough about publishing to know the book company picks and pays for the promoter of the book, not the author. It would be almost impossible to have a publisher that works only with authors with whom you agree. Regarding your concern of guest speakers at Revolution, I agree with you- I would love to have more diverse speakers, the fact is are budget does not always allow it. You might also like to know our board is made up of four women and two men. Becky, you know how discouraging it can be doing this work, if you did your due diligence as a journalist you would realize that we are working for the same things your are - full equality within the church. ~In Grace, Jay Bakker.

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    1. I signed w W Publishing - had I been told by the then publisher that he was leaving in four months and that my book would be under the TN label I never would have gone there.

      I went w Zondervan after they promised only to market me to the secular market. And even then my editor left during the Rob Bell flap. Suffice to say I learned from my past mistakes moving forward and its why I am no longer in the Xn pool.

      if a publisher hires an outside source to promote one's book who is incompatible w one's beliefs one is faced w a rough decision without a doubt. That is what I faced when Sojo rejected the BOL ad. Sometimes you have to walk away to remain true to yourself.

      I wish we were all on the same page. but w too many folks standing silent when Sojo blew it and Tony C comparing the RLC to the anti-gay Family we have a ways to go.

      Becky

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    2. Becky,

      You were obviously not at Wild Goose last year when I watched Jay Bakker speak up against that very thing about Sojo, at an event which Jim Wallis was speaking as well. As well as the Sermon he preached http://revolutionnyc.com/audio/20110522.mp3 on May 22nd of 2011 when he addressed that situation as well.

      As you spoke about Pete Rollins, I am very confused, in ALL of my encounters with him I have NEVER questioned his dedication and believe in full inclusion of ALL. I believe that you are mistaken the fact that this issue is not the center of his study and work for uncaring. And I personally found your comments about him reflecting a personal dislike than journalistic objectivity...very unflattering for you and below your usual writing.

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  9. In light of the comments we've received on this piece, I would like to make a couple of things clear, as I feel that the comments have called into question both Becky's integrity as a writer and the integrity of this site for publishing her article.

    Peter, the article will remain on the site as is. I appreciate your concern about being named personally in the article, but this piece is an op-ed, a matter of opinion, and we are not in the habit of editing our contributors' opinions because they may be controversial. Becky offered her opinions, and we provide space for differences of opinion and counter-arguments here, in our comments section.

    Regarding your and Jay's claims that Becky does not fact-check or offer due diligence in her work, I would like to point out that what I take to be the crux her critique of your work - your association with A Larry Ross - is a matter of verifiable fact, as is the rest of their clientele list, as are the homophobic and transphobic views held by some of those clients.

    I honestly don't doubt that every one of the four points you made in your initial response are true, and you should be commended for the effort that they represent. But as long as you maintain a business relationship with A Larry Ross - the organization hired not only by the virulently anti-equality individuals and organizations Becky mentioned, but also brought in to consult The Family on the fallout from their connection to the Ugandan "kill-the-gays bill") - then I want to second Becky's concerns and hold up the question of how one lives out a full commitment to equality and inclusiveness in light of an institutional affiliation with an organization that caters to the needs of groups and individuals who vocally oppose equality for our sisters and brothers in the LGBTQ community. I would not claim to know the ins and outs of the publishing business, but having been involved in the organization of a number of faith-driven divestment campaigns in the past, I can't believe the publishing world to be devoid of more principled alternatives to a group like A Larry Ross.

    Managing the inherent pluralism of the religious left is a tricky business, but I firmly believe that we must remain true to the courage of our convictions, and maintain a constant state of internal vigilance for our own complicity in systems of oppression. This can result in sometimes awkward, sometimes painful conversations, but without these conversations and the shared learning they entail we cannot hope to advance together in the cause of justice for which we strive. Thanks for reading.

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    1. When you write a book you publisher does not ask who you want to promote it, I don't know who promoted mine and can guaranty Pete doesn't know who did his either. Pete Rollins is my friend and a member of the Revolution NYC board of directors and don't find this kinda of thing helpful at all but I refuse to stand by while you make such negative assumptions.

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    3. So you see no problem with this article poking fun at people? Calling them names, implying that take the lines they do because of money and calling into question their academic capabilities? Are these all "verifiable facts"?

      You're right "this can result in sometimes awkward, sometimes painful conversations" because that's what happens when you childishly, needlessly and publicly insult good people - in the name of progressive religious tolerance of all things!

      I don't know what's worse - the caustic tone of this article or your lack of backbone in doing anything about it.

      Thanks for reading.

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    4. While this website is obviously some sort of joke. But this whole thing about Larry Ross is laughable. I have no idea who Simon and Schuster use to market books and before this article had no idea about Larry Ross and his involvement with anti-gay literature. I publish with someone who no doubt has authors I disagree with totally and it seems that S&S use a marketing third party who has clients I dislike. Personally I dislike lots of companies like coca cola etc. who may or may not be clients of an agent who is hired by my publishing agent. I do not endorse all the authors at S&S let alone the people supported by the marketing group they represent. But I fully accept that when I publish with a company like S&S this is one of the things that happens. I have no problem with that because I am not against people being able to freely express their views in the public domain. My desire is to change the opinions of people in the public domain.

      What seems to have been lost is something that anyone who knows me already knows: I have always been for gay rights (something I have always been public about). To express my frustration an analogy:

      A boy is accused of not saying the word 'seven'. The boy point out that he does in fact say the word 'seven', (proving it by the very fact that he says it). And even shows that he has always used the word 'seven'. But is then told that he doesn't in fact say the word.

      This website should be ashamed of itself for not removing such a slanderous article. As someone who is a part of the real left (as opposed to the 'religious' left) this is deeply disappointing

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  10. All I have to say is that this whole dialogue and the way it is being held ain't helpin' much, folks.

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  11. "I went w Zondervan after they promised only to market me to the secular market." Oh, and that made it all okay? Pretty sure the accusation against Pete Rollins about his publicist goes triple against you for signing with W and Zondervan. Look at their author lists, no matter where you are marketed, you have that big Z on your spine. Funny how you are okay with your own compromises, not others'. Publishing is just a business—you sign in order to get a book out there, not in order to endorse every other book that publisher or publicist or bookstore has ever sold or will sell. C'mon. You know better.

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    1. A furious wag of my pen to that! As far as Garrett claiming that Becky's "facts" check out, it's strange that it's ok to claim that someone is in the "It's a mystery" category in relation to GLBTQ advocacy when that person is on record repeatedly saying that the issue is certainly not a mystery and is indeed an important cause to be advocated for at all levels. As much as I love Rob Bell, he is, to my knowledge, not on the record as far as GLBTQ issues go, which, in this opinion piece, would meet the criteria of "it's a mystery," whereas someone who vehemently defends your issue certainly does not fit there. Can we go ahead and write blogs that trounce Becky's own commitment and intentions and ignore any evidence to the contrary? Can we up the scale to 15 or so and put Becky there as someone who has vitriolic autoimmune tendencies? Let me go gather some more 6's, 7's, and 8's so we can diatribe against the divisive and elitist 9's! That's the way forward!

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  12. I don't know much about the people in question, but this whole thing is getting pretty heated for some ostensibly loving people. Maybe we can redirect some of the energy we're spending proving who loves LGBT folks more into keeping NC in our thoughts and prayers through tomorrow.

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  13. This is ludicrous.

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  14. Don't think I'll be reading this blog anymore.

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  15. Arguing in the comments section? C'mon, folks. Not looking good here.

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    1. When it comes to defamation of character, a bit of a squabble I think is justified while keeping things in perspective

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  16. The thing that angers me most about any dialogue/discussion/debate that even remotely touches upon Christianity and homosexuality is the seemingly constant need for anyone with a public voice, irrespective of whatever side of the fence they may fall on, to attack those perceived to think differently. I would to add my support to both Mr. Rollins and Mr. Bakker in calling for some editing (which would also help in fixing some of the typos such as
    "full page age")

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  17. Becky, you are being completely ridiculous. Please cut it out because you're just not helping at all anymore. In fact, you're making things worse for this important issue. Furthermore, you are squandering your significant abilities as a writer and influential voice for progressive Christianity.

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  18. I think Pete's original solution is still viable. Asterisk the sections relating to himself and Bakker, and link to their comments. That seems fair. It doesn't impose those comments onto the piece or readership blatantly, but allows for the diversity in opinion to be respected. (When it is an issue of individuals I think it is warranted in particular for their opinions to be heard.)

    As Sam said above, it is immensely frustrating when both sides of the LGBTQ and Christianity issue don't actually respect anyone else's views. In some sense it's worse in those who promote LGBTQ rights, because they claim to be okay with diversity. Yet their actions often don't match it.

    An issue far too important for this nonsense.

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  19. I was born caucasian. My parents are white, too. I have white friends. They love Jesus. They have uttered racist jokes. Am I not allowed to champion for racial equality and reconciliation?

    I was born rich, well, richer than most. My parents had the money. My friends have money, too. They love Jesus. The eye of a needle is pretty small, and in this world I feel much closer to a camel than to thread. But can I not ask us to fight homelessness?

    I was born straight. My parents are straight, too. I have straight friends. They love Jesus. They have uttered bigoted jokes. But can I not advocate on behalf of the LGBT community?

    God forbid I believe what my grandparents believe. But I think they asked God to forbid them believing the same as theirs. Without my anti-gay, anti-woman ordination, pro-headship, ultra-fricken-calvinist grandparents I may not be confronted with the fact that God's spirit still explodes, resides, culminates, and fills even the ill-hearted. Without them I would not be pushed and pulled to change. Without them I would not have eyes to see that anti-gay, anti-women, anti-everything liberal folk like my grandparents believed God's word speaks and breathes such that the homeless shall sleep on their couches, the widow shall eat their casseroles, and the orphan shall be grafted into the family line. I wish my grandparents didn't believe some of the things they believe. But if I cannot sit at the table with them in love than how can I love the other? Maybe it is harder to love the anti-LGBT everything than it is the LGBT community themselves.

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  20. I am here to defend Peter Rollins! BECKY- if Pete is not Inclusive then please explain to me why there was beautiful poetry that lamented the plight of LGBT individuals being murdered in Uganda (spoken by an open homosexual no less!) every night during his insurrection tour. Don't drag Pete into your ridiculous assumptions that are TOTALLY FALSE! I also want to defend Jay Bakker! Anyone who has been paying attention to him & his work knows where he stands! Does Becky know ANYTHING about these people? These claims are baseless, disgusting, unwarranted, & irresponsible! Becky is obviously jealous of people for some reason! It enrages me to read these false claims & as far as everybody's affiliation w/ their publisher.... I'd like to ask Becky,
    In the last decade have you:
    Bought Hershey's chocolate?- if so u must support child slave labor.
    Bought clothing or products made in China?- if so u must support sweat shops.
    Put gasoline in a vehicle of any kind?- if so , u must hate the planet.
    Not given all ur money to the poor?-if not, u must hate poor people!
    Ate any meat? If so then surely u HATE all animals.
    Published a book w/ Thomas Nelson?-if so , u must believe like Mark Driscoll & not want women to teach over men or preach at all.
    Published a book w/ Harper Collins?- if so u must support everything that FOX NEWS stands for.

    Hey BECKY- why do you hate the idea of women speaking from a pulpit?
    Why do you associate w/ people like Mark Driscoll & Rupert Murdoch? If you had any sympathy for the LGBT community u wouldn't associate with those people! Why are u living such an evil life BECKY? I mean, why do u hate women? I'm almost positive that you are a woman yourself, so it surprises me that u would affiliate w/ ppl that are not inclusive & don't drive hybrids & eat organic, vegan food while wearing a rainbow flag draped around their bodies! Becky, why won't u become more progressive. I know it must be hard to be u. I always thought u were the perfect liberal satirist... Then I realized that your not funny at all. Please stop ur attacks on women, animals, the LGBT community & renounce ALL connections u have to such evil people. You should limit ur level of connection to these types by at least 6 degrees. Then everyone would know u were the ultimate liberal satirist. If u are willing to change your evil, evil, ways, I might give u another shot but currently I dont feel like I can support someone who is affiliated w/ a publisher that works w/ Mark Driscoll.

    BECKY I have one simple question....


    Why do u stay in such close affiliation w/ these types? You are not being very mindful of the company u keep!


    And did I mention that your not funny, and your writing is so boring.... So freaking boring. Not satirical at all. Just mean & boring. There may still be time for you BECKY! Maybe u can turn this around before anyone realizes just how closed minded u are. I hope so.

    So incredibly boring. I mean it's like "blah blah blah. Everyone else is wrong for doing the same thing I do & I'm so worried about Christians yet I don't want 2 b marketed to them. Blah blah blah...."

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  21. Wow Becky you want to be open and welcoming to one group of people but happily slander against another? Come on. What do you hope to achieve by attacking the very people fighting for the same cause you are - just because they don't conform to your little list of where you think people ought to be? This is so immature, stupid, divisive and unhelpful to anyone.

    Show me the list of people that Campolo, Bell, Rollins, Bakker or McLaren have slandered against? Whether you agree with them or not, at least they know how to show kindness and grace to those who criticize them. They have the maturity to simply and respectfully put forward their own ideas without slandering those who put forward alternate ones. Perhaps you should try it.

    But perhaps you don't know how to get the attention you crave without poking and jabbing other people, whatever team they happen to be on. Unbelievable.

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  22. I find it sad (as a minister on the religious left) to find people I respect and generally agree with on most issues of theology throwing punches at one another. I have to work really hard to not get into arguments with conservative Christians. I have to work really hard to have the grace to listen to their opinions. I have to work really hard to be heard and not dismissed as a liberal idiot. Writers like Rob and Pete have helped keep me going, knowing that their are other liberal Christians out there with a voice has helped keep me going. Hearing these kinds of ridiculous insults being levelled on all sides actually just gives those conservative Christians a reason to keep calling us all leftist idiots.

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  23. This really is a poor piece of journalism. There are contradictions inherent in all of our lives for sure, but as far as contradictions go, having your book promoted by someone with differing views to your own is a pretty weak one to highlight. Especially when you've been published by Zondervan yourself. What, there are no non-Christian homophobes Becky? No-one WHATSOEVER on their roll who you disagree with?

    The left has always had a problem with competing to appear to be the most pure, the most uncompromised on a myriad of different issues (as has the right I guess). I have no problem with constructive debate that moves us all forward together, but this brand of thoughtless, insulting opinion piece does nothing but serve the author's over-inflated sense of self-righteousness.

    Your life is utterly full of contradictions too Becky. Get down off that high horse.

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  24. All of this, every dimension of this bullsh*t makes me walk further and further away from any kind of further engagement with religion, and with this 'Christian' writing self-promotion bollocks.

    'I came to give you life...' Really people... just get a life. A real one.

    [logs off]

    KB

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  25. [logs off too]

    KSM

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  26. I certainly would never trust Becky's writings again. She's lost any and all credibility.

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  27. This was exactly what began to unravel the Occupy Movement, and the problem with the left in general. this article is the textbook definition of intolerance that leads to bickering and ineffectiveness. I saw Peter Rollins on tour, and have been to Revolution Church in Brooklyn, and their unabashed advocacy of gay rights was the very first and only times that I have seen that perspective alongside an evangelical and philosophical outlook. They are completely right to defend their reputations vociferously.

    I faced this very issue when I attended a liberal methodist church on the upper west side of manhattan. Everyone talked a lot about inclusiveness, but really they just wanted to include other rich white liberal white people like themselves. I was searching for Jesus, and all anyone wanted to talk about was how evil George Bush was and how black people really love gay rights. I've got news for Becky Harrisson, if she won't sit at a table or work with those who are against gay marriage, then she will not be working with the overwhelming majority of pastors and advocates for the disenfranchised in the hispanic and african-american communities. She will sit at the cross-section of WASP privelege and elitist intolerance and look down at everyone else for not thinking just like her.

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  28. *Confused*
    If Rollins is disturbed that his positions is being viewed as "gray", then instead of attacking Garrison over and over again, why not write an explicitly clear & concise statement that leaves no room for grayness? That seems like the simplest answer for Rollins if he doesn't like his characterization.
    As far as Bakker goes, I think position #8 is respectable, but position #9 is putting those statements into action by having minorities lead. I think his podcast is a great example to support Garrison's placement of Bakker in position #8.
    At the end of the day, this is a tough piece to write, and to publish- it's always difficult when the truth makes people uncomfortable- then people result to attacks and whatever other methods possible to discredit the truth-teller (as opposed to simply allowing that truth to change them).
    I commend Garrison for being truthful, even when it's not always popular.

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  29. LOL... is what I wrote on the first comment not clear and concise *faceslap*, or asking the blog to post my response in the article itself? Or the fact that I have written about the subject in books and on my social media? Or the other things I mention above? If not here goes... I AM AN ALLY, I AM AN ALLY, I AM AN ALLY. Is that clear? The point that the focus of my work is nothing to do with this issue does not mean that I am not supportive. There are countless issues as important or more important that I don't speak on at all, This does not mean that I am for such things as the second Congo War *Jesuswept*

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    1. You disgust me Rollins. Your 'non stance' on the Congo War...sheesh. And WHERE exactly should I find your position on wallpaper vs paint??? If you can't give us clear direction on home furnishings, how can you speak with any validity on theology?

      HO

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    2. Is 'ALLY' a NYC slang term for queer? I didn't know Pete... That's so cool. Do your publishers know?

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    3. Well done, HO, I'm glad you've discredited your original critique of Rollins by continuing to speak.

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    4. I'm pretty sure this comment isn't actually Peter Rollins, judging from his first responses above...

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  30. Ms. Garrison, I hope you can learn to show the love and acceptance to others that you expect from them.

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  31. Pete do you think the blog would post your response in another article? Then Becky's piece could stand as is but you could still have a response that is a step up from the comments section.

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. "It is not appropriate to air disagreements via a public blog"? Then why are you, Becky? Getting together for coffee or a beer isn't going to happen by itself. If it's important to you, make it happen.

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    1. As noted, I have tried to do this for years. Also, read the comments, I am sticking to dissecting what people have said publicly as well as their professional affliations. Others have chosen to engage in gaslighting in lieu of dialogue.-Becky

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  34. Late to the discussion. Was there similar fallout to this at Believe Out Loud where this article originally posted?

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    1. Actually it was worse - same players though.

      As noted, I was prepared to move Bakker to #9 except that the podcast remains almost exclusively white males who self-identify as straight.

      I have commended Rollins for making some statements since this was first published. However, there's still the sticking point of his professional affiliation with A Larry Ross, the PR flack for folks like Billy Graham. I am positive that Graham assisted Graham in taking out that full page ad in support of Amendment One. One cannot campaign against Amendment One while giving your friend a pass for giving A Larry Ross their business.

      Furthermore, both Rollins and Bakker are listed on the Red Letter Christians (RLC) website - and to date no one on this site has spoken out when Tony Campolo compared the theology of the RLC to that of the Family, a group with known ties to the kill-the-gays bill in Uganda and other attrocities. Why the silence here?

      These are the three sticking points that remain unanswered.

      As noted on this and other places, I am no longer playing in the US Christian evangelical/emergent pool.

      Becky

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    2. I think most people would agree that Sojourners were wrong to reject this ad, and you are right to point it out. You may also be right that certain other people could speak out a bit more than they do. But what do you think gives you the right to criticise people in such mean-spirited and personally hurtful attacks?

      Your tone is deliberately and unnecessarily hurtful and your little jibes over people's motivations and theological approaches have nothing to do with the issue and that has overshadowed any point you were trying to make.

      You could have made your point in a much better and more thoughtful way but you intentionally chose not to. If this is about making allies... then really?

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    3. Becky, I have had that conversation with Tony and the RLC, one way to have found this out would have been asking me. I have dealt with a lot of the other issue you mentioned here but I don't publish every issue I'm working on. Becky you are friends with my co-pastor Vince and know you could have got most if not all this information from him, all you had to do is pick up the phone. You say "you no longer playing in the US Christian evangelical/emergent pool." then what is this article about? Becky you know you can get in touch with most of us, but you chose not to.
      The work my friends and I do is tuff and I just wish you would have given us a fair shake.

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    4. Jay - I have tried to meet with emergent folks for quite some time with no success. Where was Revolution NYC's public posting when Sojourners rejected an LGBT welcome ad? (I am very saddened by all those who told me they are progay who said nothing publcly here or worse sided with Sojourners). Later that summer, Tony C. made a VERY public statement linking th RLC to the Family that requires an equally public response given the damage he did. A Larry Ross (Billy Graham's PR flack) is fighting to pass Amendment One - hence if one is truly against Amendment One, then one needs to distance oneself here. But instead of addressing these larger issues, y'all choose to engage in gaslighting.

      I penned this in large part because as I've said repeatedly, after the Sojo snafu, when Sojo claimed they were pro-gay, a number of fokls starting going WTF?

      BTW-to all who claim I am Mark Driscoll's buddy - I have already stated, I signed a deal with W Publishing. My then publisher failed to tell me they were merging ina few months with Thomas Nelson. Had I known that I wouldn't have signed the deal. That was for one book in 2007 and I haven't gone back. Same with Zondervan - I signed with Rob Bell's editor in 2008 but she is no longer there - and FYI, Ruppert Murdoch doesn't get involved at all in Harper One or Zondervan - in my book I cracked a joke about Fox News and they were fine with it. Hence, I am moving on - I have some deadlines to meet so won't be able to respond to any more Qs.

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    5. "Rob Bell's editor" or "Rick Warren's publisher"—it's all the same. Rick warren books paid your advance.

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  35. this is all complete rubbish.
    ~graceshaker from http://theholywild.wordpress.com

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  36. i find this a very sad conversation. i'm embarrassed for you all.

    here we have a group of straight (as far as i know) people arguing over who is and who isn't an ally. as we in the LGBT community know from experience, this is all too often standard practice for self-proclaimed allies. ally status is not something you claim yourself but one that is applied/given to you by others to whom you are allied. based upon actual and consistent and intentional words and action - publicly and privately. being an ally also means a willingness to constantly listen, learn and take criticism. it is not represented by mud-slinging or defensiveness.

    this entire conversation stinks of derailment. in all of this LGBT people and our voices, experiences, needs, rights & pain is lost or just appropriated to back up accusations and prop up reputations.

    this fight you all are having shows what many LGBT have suspected for far too long about the 'emerging/emergent' scene/movement/whatever. it's confirmation of the worst suspicions and fears that we are little more than props in your marketplace. there's enough said in private to know that but this is an unusual case of public proof. exploiting us to attack one another or to keep your reputation is not the behavior of actual allies.

    well done all. funny how this 'scene' you all are apart of is claimed inclusive and in the end is all about you. no wonder so many of us have walked away.

    *slow clap*

    - Anon., queer & no longer emerging.

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    1. "this fight you all are having"? Don't think you can get involved and then slow clap yourself into the sunset on your high horse. You think you're above everybody else who has an opinion here?

      Don't forget you waded in of your own accord just like everyone else who commented - in fact your comment is one of the longer ones. But that's right - it's everyone else's fight isn't it?

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    2. I think 'the fight' refers to 'the fight about who is an ally and who isn't' so I'm not sure what your point is. I agree with this poster. It is *actually* for LGBT people to decide who is an ally and who isn't. As someone who is trying to be a straight ally myself I think it's important that we learn how to take criticism when it's offered. We don't have to agree with it but we actually do have to consider it. I think saying that LGBT inclusion is simply 'one issue amongst many' speaks volumes and to me sounds identical to the type of thing you can hear in any evangelical church ('let's not talk about this because it will cause an upset, instead we'll talk about poverty because everyone can agree poverty is bad. What's that? LGBT people are more likely to suffer from poverty? ssssshhhhh!!!')

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    3. I was also a bit put off by Peter's suggestion that "There are countless issues as important or more important that I don't speak on at all." I'm pretty sure not speaking out, or speaking out only to affirm that you're "an ally" is precisely the problem here.

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    4. This is why I left the "Christian" (read evangelical world). After Sojourners rejected an LGBT welcome ad, I said, enough is enough. Becky

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    5. "as we in the LGBT community know from experience, this is all too often standard practice for self-proclaimed allies..."

      much of this, yes.

      Humility, openness to learning is key.

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    6. Anon, out of all the comments yours is the hardest one to read, my work as an ally with my LBGTQ brothers and sisters is my passion, I long for the day the church becomes a safer place for all people. I'm so sorry this has left such a bad impression on you.

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  37. To return to your original premise of the article perhaps you could add another to your list:
    http://stjohnsdowntown.org/staff_directory.html
    http://www.pastorrudy.net/
    What would be your opinions of their work.
    Especially in light of the UM church's General Conference decision last week and those within the denomination who continue to work for change.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-ZiC7rsmG8&list=FLkCiB5BmpcnuhP3qIWUo5ww&index=2&feature=plpp_video

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  38. I read Peter's "Insurrection" and I really enjoyed it, and I'm a bit confused by this conversation. Has Peter commented directly on the issue of the publicist that was raised by the article?

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  39. Strikes me that the ranking of people in this article is just a form of shaming them - maybe even coercion. Is it really a surprise that we are all in relationship with others that might disagree with us, is impossible for civility in disagreement? Is it even possible to exist in this world without somehow purchasing from or relying on someone or some company that might be opposed to parts of my identity? (show me the journalist or author or preacher that doesn't have that problem on one side of an issue or another)

    There are plenty of gay gatherings that don't invite in those that disagree with them just as there are churches that do the same. Which leaves us with the question of, is this issue a conversation that we are having with the 'other' or are we out to win an argument no matter what (which is a form of violence)?

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  40. Seems like this would be an opportunity to take Becky's thoughts as a challenge and not an insult. If one obviously talented writer isn't completely convinced of your feelings on LGBT issues... maybe rather than arguing your feelings in a way that is divisive, reactive and not entirely skillful... you should reinforce your feelings on the issue with actions that will speak more towards her comments.

    We all live in a world of imperfections and interdependence. Rather than reject people, views, and business partners who have opinions that diverge from what you believe... sometimes it can be just as important to stick with the people you disagree with. Show them love. Be willing to let them hold the door open for you even when they slam it in the face of others... because it's much easier to engage people about their thoughts and behavior when you can continue the dialogue.

    I grew up in a community that is notoriously/infamously (depending on your view) LGBT friendly.... and still live there. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a bubble... because all my life I've seen men hold hands in public... and people tend to smile instead of look twice... just like they would at any two people being romantic on the street. I don't understand a lot of the controversy having grown up with openly-gay teachers... pastors... neighbors... friends... and even several Village presidents. And I wish everyone the same un-understanding someday. Be kind. Embrace your shortcomings real or perceived... and take them in as nutrients to encourage growth. Namu Amida Butsu.

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    1. If only the rest of the world could have shared in your experiences growing up! Real encounter and the understanding it produces is the surest catalyst for changing hard-set minds. Thank you for this response.

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  41. JustAnObservationMay 8, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Becky, what were you trying to achieve with this article? Clearly, you continue to publish on issues about which you are completely misinformed and frankly make slanderous accusations. Ranking your colleagues who are working for the SAME goal as you on an arbitrary, narrow ranking system is distracting and does nothing to further the equality within the church. Are you trying to shame Peter Rollins and Jay Bakker into working towards a #9 ranking? If so, you should have reached out to them and spoken with them first - they could have provided you with some insight you're desperately missing. This type of article not only hurts your credibility, but also the emergent church movement as a whole. Your actions and words are indicative of personal shortcomings. Please be more responsible.

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  42. I'm rather surprised this article was even published. Hardly substantiated and weakly referenced claims, made it difficult to believe almost anything that was written. It was essentially a table of contents with names highlighted by crosshairs and external page links. Becky, your claims, especially against Peter Rollins and Jay Bakker's church, do not seem to be supported at all. How are you going to pejoratively address actual advocates who fight for the same things you do? Only to run them over with the I'm-better-and-more right-Bus that you threw them under (Which ironically is apparently what all straight Christian people do to the LGBT community)? But then, to hold them to an impractical, impossible standard that you yourself do not uphold? To that, I call foul. You can't honestly play 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon against Peter, and use it as the foundation of your argument, when that's apparently a two-way street, for you. You either know too little of Pete's work, or dislike him or his message outside of what he believes or says relating to equal rights for LGBT. It seemed like you went to his site and searched "gay" to see what article you could link to him. It didn't make sense for your article.

    You bring up Jay's Church being made of predominately white males, but make no mention of his neighborhood's demographic, congregation size, church's age, nor the work they do outside a church meeting, for the LGBT community. Fortunately, member numbers/demographic, do not a church's community/family make up. You can't fault Jay's church when the Christian Church at large is the one responsible for alienating the LGBT community and making clear the fact that a church is not necessarily a haven for LGBT people. I'm a straight white male, and I barely want to be involved with church. I myself, couldn't imagine being gay and really wanting to be a part of a church. It bums me out to see the work Jay has done, be shat upon, quite frankly. It seems very clear that since your claims against some of the noted ministers don't hold weight, even in your comment responses, that there is some other reason as to why you have included them in this article. Not sure if it's resentment outside of the article's theme, but it's kind of sad and unfortunate. Hopefully it's not ill-motivated. Just seemed to miss the mark, so to speak. I think you could have very easily found others more deserving to be a part of this article than you actually did. I understand the editor trying to save face and leave the article unedited, just kinda shows what really goes on behind the scenes. Cool.
    :/
    Clark O.

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  43. So you publish an article about how others get it wrong, while at the same time you remain dogmatic opposed to the possibility of your actions being slanderous or harmful. Remind me, how is what your doing any different than those on your "list?" And other than helping people generate a false sense of superiority, how is such a list useful anyway?

    Jana

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  44. Believe out Loud http://www.believeoutloud.com/boltoday/20120504/glad-be-gray-20

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  45. Becky inhabits the part of the Liberal spectrum that folds in on itself and becomes intellectually and politically incoherent, seeking to have a perspective in a debate while also presiding over it and its terms. This leads to so much self-righteousness, hypocrisy, and intellectual dishonesty it's best left ignored. Ignore her.

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  46. Dear Becky,

    We've never met in person, though we've had a few online encounters. As I write this, I'm sitting here in my home state of NC waiting for the results to come in on the Amendment 1 vote, which (if passed) will constitutionally define marriage as between one man and one woman -- a measure with wide reaching implications for LGBTQ folk, but also impacting health insurance and domestic violence protection for all unmarried couples here. As a queer Baptist minister, I can think of no more frustratingly unhelpful diversion in this moment than to witness yet another "more ally than thou" blog war. Please stop.

    What I need, far more than straight allies sparring with each other over ideological purity, is for faith community leaders to keep speaking up about their own processes and journeys around LGBTQ concerns. What I need, far more than having my life co-opted as a litmus test for progressive credentials, is for people with social capital to mobilize voters. What I need, far more than being distracted by people who claim to be speaking on my behalf, are prayers and expressions of support as I join with pastors around my state in bracing for how we might support our church members if this amendment passes.

    I have depended on some of the same folks you mention in your article to reach out to their friends in North Carolina to encourage the opposition movement. Some have made trips to our state, others have written explicitly about our plight, many have prayed. I am grateful for my evangelical, charismatic, emergent, new monastic, Red Letter Christian, and postevangelical friends who answered a call to speak up and take a stand. Many of them have access to audiences I cannot reach.

    I don't agree with all of those folk on all points theological or political, but what I need, far more than self-proclaimed allies tearing down other folks actually working on my behalf, is allies who can nurture and support one another in the work of being allies. What I need is for allies to quit using ally identity as a cynical branding tool and keep their bickering off-line, so they can actually show up for us when it matters.

    So, please stop this pettiness. I have spent the better part of a year (as marked by the first posting of this analysis) listening to attacks on people who have stood by me, characterizations of events where I spoke (and some I even helped organize) as homophobic, and hours and hours of wasted time that would have been better spent reaching out to the moderate and evangelical Christians I am depending on today help defend my basic civil rights.

    Choose another strategy. This one is broken.

    Peace,

    Rev. Brian Ammons

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  47. I am Queer. This article, and the comments posted thereafter, largely constitute a fight about which of you loves me the most. If you’d like to know my answer to that question, read on...

    I don't want this to sound like a simple 'Why can't we all get along?' platitude, but I write with a degree of trepidation, mingled with hope that it will be given a fair hearing. I am blessed to be a queer man, and privileged to have a Christian leadership role of relative significance. I have chosen not to make a big deal of my own sexual identity, except in moments when I needed personal support, or when I felt it would be helpful to challenge a heterosexist norm, or to identify with someone who is struggling or in pain. My reasons for this are very personal, but include the fact that if I were to publicly out myself in what might be called the traditionally comprehensible sense I would open myself up to unwanted risk - to security (not financial, at least as regards my current work - I chose to make the people who approve my income fully aware of my sexual identity and where my theological and philosophical commitments lie, they in turn support me; I do not hide what I think about theological/sexuality/morality/humanity questions; and I seek to be guided by the best wisdom regarding co-creating a diverse table for dialogue), to personal safety, to emotional wellbeing; I also have a philosophical objection to the idea that one must make oneself's sexual identity comprehensible to the world at large, or to any group on its terms, as if those of us who have been dehumanized because of whom and how we love somehow owe it to the dominant group to teach them about their own prejudices at the risk of our own wellbeing. I make choices about with whom I share my story; this lesson has been hard learned, because sometimes my honesty about my story has been met with misunderstanding, gossip, rejection, mockery, or worse; alternatively, sometimes I risk becoming the 'token' queer for others to hold up as a badge declaring their ally status. I don't want either of these. What I want is the friendships I have with people who love and respect me, and whom I love and respect, valuing each other's diversity as part of the panoply of what makes us human. I also see life as a struggle to become more human, and I want to take this *struggle* seriously, without taking *myself* too seriously.

    (Next part of my comment follows as it's too long to be accepted)...

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  48. Part 2: With that in mind, I value the author’s presentation of a scale of addressing the question of theology and sexual orientation, and I think it is largely accurate; but I think the details of the scale may miss the mark when it comes to the naming of particular individuals. I know and appreciate many of the people named on this list personally. Many are trying with seriousness to live as allies, and learning how to do that better as time goes on. At least one of the people named in the article is self-identified as queer, but chooses not to wear this as a ‘badge of honor’, or to issue a press release to that effect. Yet, among the people named in the article personally known to me, only this one self-identified queer person has ever asked me about my own personal journey with sexual identity, or offered any direct empathy to the particular complexities and painful realities that I happen to have experienced.

    *Only one* of the others has gone to the short length of asking me to articulate my thoughts on sexuality, sexual identity, and theology, as a queer man and a Christian leader. So in one sense, the author is right: allies need to ask us blessed queers how they might better serve the vision of the common good; and we need to be gracious and patient in our responses. I appreciate the fact that there is no innuendo when the author presents her own theological position on sexuality: she lays it out exactly as she sees it, and no one could accuse her of hiding her light under a bushel: we know that she is a straight-identified woman who fully supports and hopes to promote the position described as number 9 in the piece above. I’m grateful that she is willing to be so clear; clearer than many others, some named but mostly unnamed in the article. For this I believe Becky Garrison deserves respect.

    However, both the article and many of the comments may be guilty of the same omission: that of failing to ask LGBTQ people ourselves what we think constitutes an ally. I for one would appreciate being asked, from time to time, if I think my personal experience may deserve a hearing; or if I have an opinion on who gets invited to speak at whichever event; or if I think that my straight ally friends are doing a good job as allies; or what they could do to make my life easier, given that I daily must negotiate the complex and treacherous waters of being queer, male, a Christian leader, and a few other personal factors that I’m not willing to share in a public forum, some of which happen to be the most painful experiences I have ever lived through, and result directly or indirectly from the effects of bad choices made by myself or others, arising out of my own internalized homophobia or that of others, nurtured by religious and cultural heterosexism, and not challenged nearly enough by Christian straight allies in my personal experience. And I’d like to invite people offended by this blog post to consider whether or not their response is emulative of the kind of love Jesus invites us to, or if it has too easily spilled over into nothing more thoughtful (or inevitable) than web-snark and dehumanizing sniping.

    (Part 3 follows)

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  49. Part 3: In short - I’d like to issue an invitation to us all to stop bitching about each other, acknowledge we might be wrong, and ask for the help and guidance of our queer family in proposing where we could all do better. Number 9 on the list above is a good place to end up, but each of us must and can only begin where we are. Next steps for allies may be to make space for us blessed queers to speak for ourselves, rather than allies reverting to defensiveness about *them*selves when criticized for not being enough of an ally. This is hard work, I know. But there’s room for all of us to improve. The idea presented in the article of ensuring that queer voices are heard disproportionately to straight allies is a good example. I happen to know that one of the allies mentioned above is particularly reluctant to appear on national media when invited to speak ‘for’ LGBTQ people; he prefers to encourage the media outlet to invite a member of the queer community itself. But sometimes media outlets refuse, so he takes the gig because he believes an imperfect voice is better than none. To which I say, good for him.

    Of course none of us is perfect at enacting the call to justice and identification with the marginalized. But positive outcomes will not be served when allies attack allies: sadly both the article above, and some of the defensive/critical comments seem to be guilty of that. Can I suggest a next step of each of us asking what we could do to do things better? In that light, if anything I’ve written here has been problematic to anyone, I’m willing to dialogue about this. I know I didn’t get everything right. But I will not leave this conversation just because I may be offended by parts of it. And I won’t denounce either the author of the post, nor the commenters just because I think both the author’s supporters (like me) and detractors (like me) see through a glass darkly.


    And what are we left with? I’m still queer, I’m still a Christian leader, I still don’t feel safe around some ‘allies’ because I have seen them try to use me, (I’ve also been present when some male straight allies have indulged rather childish homophobic humor, which may be seen as rather typical ‘frat-boy’-type behavior, but still cuts like a knife), I still don’t feel safe in the conservative evangelical world because their traditionalist perspective dehumanizes me, I still believe that Jesus calls me to love my enemy, and to check my eye for planks before I point out specks in the eyes of others.

    So, thank you to Becky Garrison for your genuinely courageous witness against homophobia and heterosexism; thank you to the commenters for pointing out what may be inaccuracies in Becky’s article; thank you to the Religious Left for providing this forum; thank you to Believe Out Loud for advocating on behalf of Christians who want to be known as a community of allies; thank you Sojourners for four decades of brave, imaginative, and articulate work for social change. Now please respect me enough as the subject of your debate to ask for my opinion. I’m sorry for when I have got it wrong. Please help me to get it more right, more often.

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  50. In short - I’d like to issue an invitation to us all to stop bitching about each other, acknowledge we might be wrong, and ask for the help and guidance of our queer family in proposing where we could all do better. Number 9 on the list above is a good place to end up, but each of us must and can only begin where we are. Next steps for allies may be to make space for us blessed queers to speak for ourselves, rather than reverting to defensiveness when criticized for not being enough of an ally. This is hard work, I know. But there’s room for all of us to improve. The idea presented in the article of ensuring that queer voices are heard disproportionately to straight allies is a good example. I happen to know that one of the allies mentioned above is particularly reluctant to appear on national media when invited to speak ‘for’ LGBTQ people; he prefers to encourage the media outlet to invite a member of the queer community itself. But sometimes media outlets refuse, so he takes the gig because he believes an imperfect voice is better than none. Good for him.

    Of course none of us is perfect at enacting the call to justice and identification with the marginalized. But positive outcomes will not be served when allies attack allies: sadly both the article above, and some of the defensive/critical comments seem to be guilty of that. Can I suggest a next step of each of us asking what we could do to do things better? In that light, if anything I’ve written here has been problematic to anyone, I’m willing to dialogue about this. I know I didn’t get everything right. But I will not leave this conversation just because I may be offended by parts of it. And I won’t denounce either the author of the post, nor the commenters just because I think both the author’s supporters and detractors (like me) see through a glass darkly.

    And what are we left with? I’m still queer, I’m still a Christian leader, I still don’t feel safe around some ‘allies’ because I have seen them try to use me, (I’ve also been present when some male straight allies have indulged rather childish homophobic humor, which may be seen as rather typical ‘frat-boy’-type behavior, but still cuts like a knife), I still don’t feel safe in the conservative evangelical world because their traditionalist perspective dehumanizes me, I still believe that Jesus calls me to love my enemy, and to check my eye for planks before I point out specks in the eyes of others.

    So, thank you to Becky Garrison for your genuinely courageous witness against homophobia and heterosexism; thank you to the commenters for pointing out what may be inaccuracies in Becky’s article; thank you to the Religious Left for providing this forum; thank you to Believe Out Loud for advocating on behalf of Christians who want to be known as a community of allies; thank you Sojourners for four decades of brave, imaginative, and articulate work for social change. Now please respect me enough as the subject of your debate to ask for my opinion. I’m sorry for when I have got it wrong. Please help me to get it more right, more often.

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    1. What a helpful and truly gorgeous reflection. Thank you so much for sharing, and for putting so much of this discussion into perspective for me. But thank you most for truly working to exemplify the Christian love and desire for understanding that I think gets sidelined too readily in these sorts of situations. Thank YOU.

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    2. my soul thanks you for sharing. a lesbian woman reminded me as I was prepping an article about the amendment one fallout that it's not about me and my ego but really engaging in deep listening and hearing what the LGBT community needs and wants. you articulated this beautifully. Becky

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  51. Silly Christians. Silly article. Silly arguments.

    Today a bill was passed that drastically hurt our lgbt brothers and sisters in North Carolina, and instead of standing with them (I exclude Jay Bakker and Pete Rollins who are consistently fighting for equality) we are arguing online about who is more affirming? This article doesn't even merit the conversation in the comments section.

    Keep your eye on the ball folks.

    Pete and Jay, much love to you both! Keep doing your thing!

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  52. we still have the elephant in the room which is A Larry Ross who is Billy Graham's PR Rep and as such, a player in helping pass Amendment One. Pete's noble deeds are canceled out by the fact that neither Pete nor his emergent but will renounce his affiliation w this antgay voice whose PR actions have hurt so many.

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  53. Wait... Didn't they prove you had ties to conservative institutions that are anti-gay as well? So that means that your noble deeds are also canceled out as well. Hmmm. Hypocrisy much?

    Simple fact. If you are being published through a traditional publishing house, THEY choose who promotes it. Not you. End of story. Argument over.

    Also, I might add, that pr firms are not paid to agree with the author, but rather to promote a product. It's a business. Your arguments against Pete are beyond ignorant. Instead of attacking allies, go be one.

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  54. P.S. my comment was directed towards the Anonymous comment below mine, and above my response. It was geared towards Becky's attack on Pete.

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    Replies
    1. Not true. Instead of attacking the author, I'd prefer to see Pete and Jay distance themselves from A Larry Ross and The Family (as per Tony C's connection to the Red Letter Christians of which they are listed on the website). A Larry Ross doesn't enter into a publishing equation by accident - for that kind of money, we're talking a marketing strategy that would definitely invole the author on some level.

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