Stand Up, Straight Christians, It’s Time For You To Come Out Of The Closet.
“I’ve been a Christian my entire life, and I’ve never been able to ask these questions, because I feared how I’d be treated in my church. Reading your writing today gave me permission to push back, to start conversations, and to ask for better answers than I’d been given.” – A reader
I can’t tell you how many times over the past few months that I’ve read a variation of these same exhausted, religion-weary words from people all over the world, from every denomination, every theological tradition, and every church setting.
And though the language and the story and the circumstances may change slightly from person to person, one idea has surfaced over and over and over again; a familiar melody reprised nearly every single day: permission.
Straight Christians, many of whom have spent the entirety of their faith lives unable to address the nagging, persistent, terrifying questions about the way the Church and her theology has laid waste to the LGBT community, have felt like they’ve been given some consent to speak, if only through hushed tones in the protected sanctuary of my email inbox.
Good, God-fearing, faithful heterosexual followers of Jesus, who’ve lived for decades feeling that something is terribly but unquestionably wrong with the havoc we’ve wreaked in the lives of gay people in the name of God, are moving ever so slowly, out of the shadows and into the bright light of open divergence from the violent, bullying faith story they’ve inherited and been complicit in.
Now I’m here, asking you to move faster; you whose eyes have seen things differently, you whose hearts have been irrevocably altered.
It’s a sobering and telling thing to see someone in a place of power and privilege, identify with a marginalized, quieted, oppressed group of people, simply as they feel empathy for that group, and that’s exactly what’s happened in the Church.
For far too many straight Christians, their compassion for the LGBT community has ironically kept them in a closet of silence themselves; a voiceless space in their own faith communities, where their thoughts stay unshared and their questions remain unspoken.
These are parents, siblings, children, family members, friends, and coworkers of gay people; whose life experiences are yielding an ever more clear disconnect with the party line and practice of their religion on homosexuality, but who’ve kept that truth hidden from their small groups, family dinners, ministry teams, and social media profiles.
If this describes you, perhaps you’ll consider this your coming out party?