Thursday, July 12, 2012

To my gay friends and to Anne Rice, I am sorry

You have probably seen the attached series of photos and story - 21 Pictures that will Restore your Faith in Humanity. It was viral a few months ago.
When I clicked on it I was moved, just about to tears. However, I never got past the first set of pictures. I still haven’t. I keep looking at them. I keep thinking about them. And I knew I had to write about it here.
It was my church which has fostered so much of this murderous homophobia. In the past I have heard it preached from the pulpit even, couched in terms such as ‘Love the sinner, hate the sin’ - which is a phrase I despise with everything in me. I am embarrassed and sickened by that sentence.
More than a dozen years ago, vampire novelist Anne Rice became a Christian after becoming very ill. A couple of years ago she renounced that faith. She wrote on her Facebook page:
“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”
This has been a struggle for Anne. This has been a struggle for me. I wish Anne knew that you can refuse to be anti-gay, anti-femininst, anti-birthcontrol, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanist, anti-science and still be a Christian. There are Christians who don’t hate gays. I have chosen to remain a Christian and I am not anti-gay, anti-femininst, anti-birthcontrol, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanist, and anti-science.
The church has been wrong about so many things. Does anyone remember back to when African Americans were not even allowed inside many churches? I was a child in the 1950s and I do. Church leaders pointed to obscure and out-of-context Bible verses to prove their point. 

And now we know how wrong we were. So now I am daring to ask, could we be wrong about this?

I’ve been so helped by a website and podcast called The God Journey. But more about that site and podcast for another day.


  1. This is a wonderful blog post about a difficult issue. Thank you, Linda Hall, for your eloquent statements.

  2. Unfortunately, the traditional church reminds me more of religion in Jesus' day than the way Jesus called us to follow. So much hurt and so much pain in our world, and it isn't getting better.

  3. Thanks Laura and NJ for commenting. And I SO understand about the traditional church. There are so many hurting people in our world who 'think' that God hates them because of the way the established church has acted toward them. God - who doesn't hate them - must be so grieved. As Christians we certainly have not been 'little Christs' to them.

  4. Perhaps my Presbyterian background has never been much for focusing on "fire and brimstone", but I've never been in a church that has suggested condemnation for any of the things that turned Anne off Christianity. I admit I'm still confused about homosexuality because I don't believe the bible condones it, but the thing is... I don't define any relationship based on sexuality. I have several gay acquaintances and have two gay relatives, but we don't discuss their preferences any more than I discuss bedroom activities with my married friends. (I don't think it's an avoidance thing; it's just not a usual topic of conversation for any of us.)

    I don't believe God wants us to be in positions of judgment, whether as individuals or as congregations. We're told not to condemn others. We don't have to believe a person's choice is right to stand with them in Christian love and acceptance. God's love is for everyone and ours should be, too.

  5. Thank you Linda - a very thought provoking and passionately honest blog. I think you may have shown a forward step to the rest of us. I pray more Christians will think this way, more churches will rise above judgement and more Christian organizations and institutions will speak out. And wouldn't it show our Christian authenticity if various writing conferences we attend or list-serves and prayer lines to which we belong offered sound roots of faith as you have provided above. We talk about Changing the world - and yes, we have a strong voice if we join together.

  6. Thank you Carol and Donna. Carol - you are fortunate that your growing up church experience was so generous. Many churches were not and still are not. And Donna, thanks so much for your comments. And yes, we as writers should be the first to stand up against injustice.