The Gay President of a Christian Athletes Group December 12, 2010

The Gay President of a Christian Athletes Group

From PostSecret:

What would they do?

Kick him out of his leadership position.

Try to cure him of The Gay.

Make him feel guilty for who he is.

What wouldn’t they do?

Love him and accept him as he is.

I don’t know how any GLBT person (or straight ally) can support evangelical Christianity. The church has done nothing but cause harm to and spread misinformation about that community.

(***Update***: I should have clarified that there are obviously some Christians who don’t treat gay people with malice. I know some myself. But I stand by what I said about the church. The evangelical Christian church is no friend to the GLBT community.)

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  • Troglodyke

    I don’t know how any GLBT person (or straight ally) can support evangelical Christianity. The church has done nothing but cause harm to and spread misinformation about that community.

    Amen, Hemant. It bothers me greatly that a homosexual really thinks the fellowship (or whatever else s/he receives from the church) is worth keeping oneself hidden. The self-loathing has got to stop.

    I know it’s not easy to break the shackles, but it is the only honest thing to do. Even “dumbing down” one’s faith (e.g. switching from fundamentalist to Unitarian) is hardly better.

    Break free, my brethren! You are honest enough with yourselves to know you are different, and it really IS OK. You don’t need the church.

  • “that community”.

    Man, how divisive is that? They’re our community or we’re with them.

  • Sean

    Although most evangelicals are conservative quasi-fundamentalists, there are some who are not, so it’s not out of the question that a gay person could find some relatively tolerable evangelical church somewhere. (Evangelicalism is really more of a “style” of Christianity that focuses on the personal aspects and bringing the emotional/moral aspects of religion strongly into one’s daily modern life, rather than a specific set of beliefs or doctrines.) Obviously Francis Collins is not a complete literalist, and I’ve seen an “evangelical” defend gay marriage (admittedly one, ever, out of dozens I’ve heard comment on the issue, and everyone else thought it was wrong to be gay period).

    But yeah, even if they were provisionally supportive of his coming out, it would likely be contingent on them being able to overlook it. Unfortunately, to talk about a gay relationship in the same way as straight people talk about straight relationships, is often considered “flaunting” it or inappropriate even by moderate Christians who want to see themselves as tolerant; the idea that the gay community or being gay is in opposition to “true Christians” is too entrenched.

  • Richard Wade

    The following statements belong together:

    (Disclaimer: I don’t agree with any of them.)

    “All Jews are greedy.”
    “All Muslims are terrorists.”
    “All Catholic priests are pedophiles.”
    “All Hindus worship demons.”
    “All atheists are immoral.”
    “All gays are predatory pedophiles.”
    “All Evangelical Christians are homophobic bigots.”
    ____________

    “All” is a very, very big word. So are “every,” “none,” “always,” and “never.”

    When I’m angry, hurt, or frustrated by the awful behavior of some people, it’s very easy for me to start using these huge words when I denounce their abuses. Just leaving those words out of my remarks is not sufficient. If I don’t say “some” or “too many,” or even “most of those I’ve met,” I’m still implying that they’re ALL guilty of whatever I’m repudiating.

    I’m doing exactly what I despise in others. My anger, hurt and frustration may be explanations for my hypocrisy, but they are not excuses.

    Anger, hurt and frustration are the enemies of reason. Don’t let them worm their way into your mind and your speech. Keep your discipline. Keep the integrity of your skepticism. “All,” whether you’re stating it or implying it, is an extraordinary claim. Don’t say it unless you’re ready to present your extraordinary evidence.

  • tim

    @Troglodyke

    The self-loathing has got to stop.

    Why is it whenever someone gay does something that another disagrees with – the default response is call them “self-loathing”?

    Its a cowardly and superficial response.

  • Rabid

    “that community”.

    Man, how divisive is that? They’re our community or we’re with them.

    Oh don’t be so silly. We can actually have different communities without being divisive.
    The difference is that we can celebrate difference, not just shun it. Or are you the kind of person who thinks that humanity would be best served if we all pretended we were one, big homogenous group of identical meatbags? That brings just as much danger for oppressive conformity as shunning difference and individuality in the first place.

  • Paul E

    I’m sorry, but the Bible plainly states that gay people will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. So, even if you’re a tolerant Christian, you can’t possibly believe your gay brother, sister, friend, etc., is going to Heaven – it goes against the Holy Book, after all.

    I’m with Hemant on this one – how any gay person can darken the doorstep of ANY religion, political party, etc., that states they are “less than” continues to amaze me.

  • Ally

    A man came to talk at our school about heterosexism in the media (a very pro-gay rights talk obviously). He was a straight evangelical preacher. I was utterly baffled. I still think he should probably rework his religious beliefs to fit with his social values.

  • Rover Serton

    Paul E.

    I completely misread the first part of your post. I though you were saying “The bible says it, I belive it, that settles it” but you were saying (accurately IMO), don’t bother with those that use the bible to beat people.

    I completely agree with your post.

    Rover.

  • JustDucky

    I just know my own personal experience:

    being bisexual meant I could no longer lead my high school bible club.

    having sex before marriage meant I was no longer fit to babysit the minister’s kids.

    moving in with my boyfriend meant that I was no longer able to work with the youth group.

    Christianity, in my experience, does not equal tolerance. For all of those things, I’ve been told by numerous religious individuals in my life (and there are many) that it is understandable why all of those things happened.

    There are so many reasons to get out of Christianity, and all religion – that’s just one example. Good luck to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ leader. He’s going to need it.

  • “I’m sorry, but the Bible plainly states that gay people will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

    It does? Where? There are a half-dozen biblical verses used to argue the anti-gay position, but to the best of my knowledge every single one of them requires ignoring context or losing something in translation.

  • Frank

    There is no “the evangelical christian church.” They aren’t catholics, they don’t have a hierarchy or an organizational structure that covers all evangelical christians. There are many evangelical christian churches and organizations. I’m sure many would behave in the manner you have suggested, but some would not.

  • Troglodyke

    OK, I’ll bite.

    Why is it whenever someone gay does something that another disagrees with – the default response is call them “self-loathing”? Its a cowardly and superficial response.

    Are you the person who Hemant was blogging about? If you are, then your argument has merit if you are not indeed self-loathing.

    Or, maybe you are not that person, but you are a gay person who is affiliated with a church. Is this why my comment bugs you?

    Is it possible that gays can be part of a lifestyle (the church) that says they are going to hell, and that they are pedophiles, and all manner of other horrible things, and not actually be self-loathing?

    I suppose it is possible. But it has always seemed very odd to me.

    If you are one of the folks I mentioned above, why don’t you enlighten me as to why anyone would want to actively be a part of an enterprise that believes lies about them?

    Personally, I think living a lie is cowardly. And Xtians who steadfastly preach anti-gay rhetoric are cowards, too.

    Furthermore, how do you know my comment was a “default response”?

    I have asked many gays (nicely–they are my friends) why they stay in the church, and none can give me an answer that doesn’t smack of, well, *some* degree of “I can’t live without it” or some other excuse.

  • plublesnork

    I also wonder about gay people who are still in the church.

    I’ve been following the Prop 8 case in California via the trial tracker blog and often see people in the comments talking about God and church, etc.

    I just sit there and stare blankly at the screen, wanting to yell out “Stop! JUST. FUCKING. STOP! Why do you want to be a part of the group that’s actively trying to take away your rights?”

    I just don’t get it. I’ll admit atheist bias, given that I don’t think anyone should be apart of the group for that and a bazillion other reasons, so I suppose I don’t have much interest in the “improving from the inside” argument that could perhaps be made.

    But you see the exact same thing with voting, too, people actively advocating and voting for the party that’s not in their self-interests.

    I… just don’t get it.

  • There is a whole Evangelical Left movement. While Evangelical churches might, in general, be no friend of the LGBT community, there are Evangelical churches (not just individual Christians) that are.

  • gwen

    If he has kept knowledge of his homosexuality hidden from the members of his church, I would have to say that it is very telling that he is not comfortable disclosing this information to him. That in itself is damning the church. If the church were open minded, I’m sure he would have told them. As it is, he is probably hearing homophobia preached from the pulpit.

  • As you all are aware, the OT and NT teaches that basically, if you are not a Christian, you should die, and the more you are harmed for your beliefs, the better it is for us all. The most famous folks of our day are not a “fringe” group, they actually act the way their bible tells them to: http://www.GodHatesFags.com

    Just like all religions, when their “books” are taken literally, they do nothing good for the human race. When taken literal, this makes those who do this, the ones who are living their lives the way their religion tells them to.

  • What should they do? Nothing. Who someone loves is nobody’s business but there’s. If they are going to judge people because they love someone that they don’t approve of then they have a problem.

  • Carlie

    “All,” whether you’re stating it or implying it, is an extraordinary claim. Don’t say it unless you’re ready to present your extraordinary evidence.

    I’m afraid you’re wrong on this one with respect to the situation. No, every single person in the organization may not be a homophobic bigot, but anti-homosexuality is written directly into the FCA’s policies. From the Sexual Purity portion of their official guidelines: The Bible is clear in teaching of sexual sin including sex outside of marriage and homosexual acts. Neither heterosexual sex outside of marriage nor any homosexual act constitute an alternative lifestyle acceptable to God. To go against that and NOT be an anti-homosexual bigot is to directly defy their own rules. It also says that “FCA expects all paid staff and volunteers, in every aspect of their involvement with FCA activities and programs, to exhibit exemplary language and conduct, consistent with FCA’s ministry purpose, Sexual Purity Policy and moral and theological beliefs.”, so this person would most definitely be removed from his position were the other leadership to find out that he’s gay.

  • Nicole

    While I’m glad to see the correction at the bottom there and there’s no denying that the church is predominantly hostile to homosexuality, every time I visit I start to wonder why I still do, and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this blog drops off my daily reading list.

    Change the name of your site, maybe. It doesn’t suit any more.

  • Sean

    So Nicole, were you coming to this site for a daily affirmation of your religious beliefs, and a “friendly” pat on the back? Maybe you should change your expectations.

  • Samiimas

    Yeah Hemant is being rude and mean by saying Christians are bigots, I mean, it’s not like it’s a statistical fact that the overwhelming majority of theists hate gay people…

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/128291/americans-opposition-gay-marriage-eases-slightly.aspx

    These political differences in support for gay marriage may stem from even larger differences by religion. Americans who say religion is “very important” in their lives oppose legal same-sex marriage by 70% to 27%. In contrast, Americans who say religion is not important to them support gay marriage by just as wide a margin.

  • Carlie

    Not all Christians are anti-homosexual bigots, but Christianity as it is codified in the statements of faith of most of the major Christian denominations includes direct anti-homosexual statements, therefore any Christians in those denominations who are not anti-homosexual bigots are still actively, with their money, time, and efforts, supporting organizations that practice and preach anti-homosexual bigotry. There. Is that better?

  • Sounds as if he is starting to question why he’s there and starting his slow, hard journey away from it. Let’s encourage it and further self-expression. Looks like he’s good at it. That poster is excellent: very artistic and powerful.

    I’m sorry but, no, I cannot understand how anyone gay can be part of a religion that condemns them just for being but, frankly, I don’t understand how women can be either for the same damned reason. By Christian standards (meaning his), my ex-husband would be in heaven but not me. Let my daughter do that judging instead of god and you’d get quite a different outcome.

    Hell, I’m willing to bet there are plenty of Christians who would lay his actions at my feet because when he came home from some goddamned revival shortly after our daughter was born with the man is the head of the household bullshit, I ripped him a new one instead of resigning my job to stay home with the baby as he demanded in his newfound “masculinity”. If I’d been stupid, we’d have all three starved on the street.

  • Ian

    “I’m sorry, but the Bible plainly states that gay people will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

    You’re assuming, of course, that all Christians believe that the explicit declarations of the bible are the last word on current moral standards. That isn’t the case.

    On the subject of this particular card, however, the FCA’s statement of faith does declare that the bible is infallible. And, like many evangelical organizations that is their top clause, before even belief in God. To that extent I think the original tone of Hermant’s post (without the update) is justified. This guy isn’t talking about nice east-coast gay-accepting methodists. He’s talking about the FCA.

  • Nicole

    I’m an atheist myself, therefore there’s no religious belief for me to receive confirmation of. What I was hoping for was the sensible realization that we are not yet in a position as nonbelievers that we can afford to be hostile. And I’ve said this before: it’s not fair, but given the immediate perception of atheists by the typical person, *we have to be nicer than we want to be* to make the same amount of positive impression. So yes. Outreach. And definitely NOT blanket statements about bigotry and religion.

    The only thing that irks me about Hemant’s stance–since I realize not everyone agrees with me on the “we have to wear kid gloves” statement and that’s totally legit–is that he’s posing himself as the “friendly” outreach guy of the atheist community and isn’t any more. Okay, that’s fine: he wants to take a more confrontational route and that’s a perfectly legitimate way to handle things. Change the name of the site. The idea that a well-meaning Christian (or Jew or Muslim or…) might stumble onto this site and think “wow, THIS is an atheist’s idea of friendly?” on most of the latest posts makes me nervous.

  • Richard Wade

    Carlie,

    I’m afraid you’re wrong on this one with respect to the situation. No, every single person in the organization may not be a homophobic bigot, but anti-homosexuality is written directly into the FCA’s policies.

    I’m not speaking specifically to the FCA, and even if I were, there is almost always a difference between the stated policy of an organization and the actual attitudes of individual members. “All of them think that way” is still an unwise leap, regardless of what’s on paper.

    What I’m addressing is the trend I see here on this site and elsewhere where people are letting their anger, hurt and frustration make them sloppy in their statements and arguments. It’s completely legitimate to feel those emotions and to express them, but it is not wise to make impulsive blanket condemnations that erode our credibility as careful thinkers, and therefore erode our persuasiveness. The dismissal by some people that “atheists are being just as rabid as the fundies” is beginning to get more evidence in its favor, and I would like to reduce that.

    So for instance when people complain that Hemant is not very friendly any more, I can support him in expressing his increasing anger, hurt and frustration, while with the deepest respect, remind him to keep his remarks fair, measured and reasoned. He can display his passion wonderfully and still remain rational and equitable. I’ve seen him do it many times.

    My own anger, hurt and frustration with the very same issues are building and building, and I sometimes come close to boiling over. But I must not lose my discipline or get careless with my principles. I must treat others fairly as individuals if I’m going to be demanding the same treatment of me and my friends. I must not become exactly like my enemy. If I do, then there is no point in opposing them.

    I see the real enemy is bigotry itself, rather than people. It’s contagious, and when you fight it, you have to be careful not to catch it.

  • Carlie

    Richard – thanks for responding and clarifying. I do get your point, but mine is that a lot of the time “all of them think that way” is shorthand for “all of them are SUPPOSED to think that way”. It’s part of the rules, so anyone who doesn’t agree is actually breaking the rules of the organization they’re in. I think it’s a legitimate strategy to force someone in that situation to really reflect on what they’re doing. Why would someone be in FCA if they don’t agree with FCA’s explicitly stated sexual purity statement? Instead of saying “Oh no, I’m not one of THOSE kinds of Christians”, I want them to recognize that they are themselves being heretical by not being one of those, and are being hypocritical for continuing to support that organization if they are in fact not one of those. In other words, if they’re not one of THOSE kinds of Christians, then why on earth are they supporting the ones who are?

  • DA

    Yes, sure, there might be a tiny handful of evangelical Christians who aren’t anti-gay bigots. There’s also the odd two-headed calf out there. Some neo-Nazis may not be deep-seated anti-semites, but am I really out of line if I tar neo-Nazis with a braod brush? Being a gay evangelical is just as whacko as being a Jewish Neo-Nazi, of which there have been a few (the guy who organized that infamous Illinois march comes to mind). The Bible is very, very clear in both the Old and New Testaments that gays (especially gay men) are vile and outside of God’s laws. I can at least sort of respect the anti-gay bigots for being honest about what the book says; the liberal apologists, who pretend there’s some kind of missing context and you can be a gay evangelical (or for that matter, gay Catholic, or gay Muslim, or gay Orthodox Jew) without massive tension and suffering, are really really odd to me.

  • Richard Wade

    Carlie,
    You make very good points about calling people on their implied support of bigotry because of their membership in organizations with written bigoted policies. To persuade them to reconsider their membership, we have to be talking to the non-bigoted members. To be able to talk to them at all, we have to refrain from calling them all bigots by association.

    We cannot write thoughtful, positive and persuasive arguments if all we use is DA’s broad brush.

  • DA

    I have no problem saying to someone “Look, you personally aren’t a bigot, so why are you part of this bigoted organization?” I also have no problem with saying “As long as you’re on the membership rolls, as long as you support it both materially and socially you are a part of it, and you share responsability”. I’m not sure why it’s my job to split hairs and continuously say “Well, of course not ALL members of your anti-human, vicious organization are themselves anti-human and vicious.”

  • Good point, DA.

  • Brawny71

    I went online looking for “dirt” on the FCA being homophobic, but couldn’t find any.  My niece had friends in both her school’s GSA and FCA, and she was not aware of anyone in FCA being homophobic–so maybe if it’s an “official” policy of FCA many of them aren’t aware of it, and FCA will change officially just as Christianity is changing and becoming non-discriminatory.

  • Secret Sender

    I am the one who sent in this secret. I was a closeted lesbian while I was the FCA president at my high school. It was an interesting experience…