Dannika Nash is the college student who wrote a wonderful open letter to the Christian church at large:
I’m writing this because I’m worried about the safety of the Church. The Church keeps scratching its head, wondering why 70% of 23-30 year-olds who were brought up in church leave. I’m going to offer a pretty candid answer, and it’s going to make some people upset, but I care about the Church too much to be quiet. We’re scared of change. We always have been. When scientists proposed that the Earth could be moving through space, church bishops condemned the teaching, citing Psalm 104:5 to say that God “set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” But the scientific theory continued, and the Church still exists. I’m saying this: we cannot keep pitting the church against humanity, or progress… my generation, the generation that can smell bullshit, especially holy bullshit, from a mile away, will not stick around to see the church fight gay marriage against our better judgment. It’s my generation who is overwhelmingly supporting marriage equality, and Church, as a young person and as a theologian, it is not in your best interest to give them that ultimatum.
The very honest, very blunt, very needed-to-be-heard-by-the-church letter had a serious impact.
It led the Christian summer camp Dannika worked at to fire her:
She was sitting in a coffee shop with her boyfriend when the camp director called to politely, regretfully dismiss her.
“I just cried in public,” Nash says. “People probably thought (my boyfriend) was breaking up with me. The place and the people are really, really important to me, and even though I knew I was risking that a bit with the blog post, it hurt to have it taken away.”
The 10-week job would have provided her income for the upcoming school year. Although she has received job offers from other ELCA camps, gay reconciliation ministries and people on Facebook and Twitter, she hasn’t decided what she will do yet.
What she won’t do is back off from her stance on marriage equality.
Unbelievable. Dannika pointed out why the church is pushing younger Christians out of their congregations for good… and her summer camp just proves her exact point.
Fred Clark is stunned by the sheer perfection of how badly the camp handled this matter:
[The camp director’s] first reaction to reading Nash’s explanation of why so many young people no longer feel welcome in the church was to pick up the telephone and personally inform a young person that she was no longer welcome in the church. Faced with Nash’s eloquent complaint that young people were figuratively being forced out of the church, his first reaction was to actually force a young person out of the church.
… There’s almost a kind of beauty in how exactly wrong this particular response was to this particular open letter. It’s like his tone-deafness has perfect pitch.
Keep in mind this goes beyond mere homophobia. If Dannika were fired for admitting she was a lesbian, the camp’s actions would have been bad, but not even all that surprising. Instead, she got fired for merely explaining why the church is doing such a horrible job of keeping young Christians in the fold. She wanted the church to succeed and even gifted them with the playbook for how to get themselves back on the right path.
And they thanked her by telling her that her services were no longer needed.
Dannika should write her camp director a thank-you card for proving her thesis.