by the Rev. Emily Wachner
In 2010, columnist and activist Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller began the It Gets Better Project, an attempt to reach out to at-risk LGBTQ youth, as a response to the high rate of suicides in that group. Dan felt he had to do something to give hope to young LGBTQ kids, who might otherwise believe they were destined to a lifetime of bullying and second-class citizenship. The effort exploded and millions of Americans, including President Obama, recorded It Gets Better videos.
Dan has long been one of my favorite columnists, and the It Gets Better Project only confirmed that. I admire Dan’s frankness, and his willingness to discuss the connections between politics, religion, and sexuality (the three things we’re NOT supposed to discuss in ‘polite society,’ right?). In his column and podcast, Dan frequently takes to task the most hateful ‘Christian’ groups and Christian-identified politicians who condemn gay people and perpetuate the message that ‘true Christians’ don’t accept homosexuality.
Most of us in progressive Christian churches feel that we have moved past that, and that our messages of “Welcome!” are sufficient to convey the fact that all people are truly welcome. What we tend to forget, however, is that for many LGBTQ people, religion has been tremendously harmful. For example, in response to a 2013 Pew survey of LGBT Americans, one man said that “when I was eighteen, I couldn't handle it and attempted suicide. I became religious thinking God would make me straight. I gave that up at twenty-six when I finally realized it wasn't God who had a problem with me but his followers.”
It is time that conscientious Christians - who believe in the eyes of God and our church, that LGBTQ people can be married and ordained and blessed - make it explicitly clear: Lesbian, gay, straight, and/or transgender, you are welcome here as you are.
Dan Savage has made this possible by helping to launch the Not All Like That Christians Project, founded by John Shore and Truth Wins Out. We here at Trinity have enthusiastically participated in this project, because we are proud to say: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Straight: you are welcome at Trinity Church, as you are. You are welcomed and loved. Thanks, Dan, for helping us get that message across.
Feature image courtesy of thisisbossi via Flickr.