Last year, Emily Thomes opened up about how she had come to Jesus after a life of “homosexual practice and drug use.” Her past involved just about every lesbian stereotype you can imagine (plaid shirts, short hair, etc).
We wrote about her at the time because of a particularly egregious line in her essay, in which she claimed her younger self had “used men’s bathrooms and dressing rooms.” I explained then why her comments made no sense:
… Lesbians are still women. She’s confusing lesbian with transgender, and even then, transgender students would be using the bathroom that’s appropriate for them, not picking the “other” one just to prove some point. That single sentence tells you she was more interested in conforming to someone else’s false notion of what it means to be lesbian than embracing who she really was.
Her (lack of) awareness of LGBTQ issues was only part of what made her essay — and the evangelical notion that you can change your sexual orientation — so dangerous. She was saying that other LGBTQ people could follow her lead and become straight, cisgender Jesus-lovers. That meant there was something wrong with them, and also that they had the choice to change. She was wrong on both counts. It was just a giant mashup of ignorance, homophobia, and Christianity.
And now she’s telling her story again in a video for a Christian group called Anchored North that’s already been viewed more than 1.2 million times.
I Googled verses on homosexuality. Those who practice homosexuality, which was me, and also drunkards and a bunch of other things that I would’ve been, I realized that I was in the “Will I Enter the Kingdom of God?” lineup and it scared me really really bad.
And then I read verse 11 [1 Corinthians 6:11]. And it says “And such were some of you, but you are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified.”
I realized that there are people in the same place, and they were saved, and they were changed, and that God could do that for me, too, and that I needed that.
I could hold onto my sin and reject God, or I could turn to Him. All the debt that I’d wracked up living like I lived didn’t have to be mine if I could trust Him. So that was it.
I knew what I wasn’t gonna do, because it was right there, it was black and white. I’d twisted those Scriptures before, I’d argued them down, I’d say “judge not” to them like that mattered, and then that day it was like my eyes were really opened. I was amazed at the grace He’d shown me.
People say to me all the time, “I was born this way.” I say, “Okay, me too. You’re not born with right affections. That’s why Jesus had to come. You feeling a desire for sin just proves you need grace like me.”
It’s not gay to straight. It’s lost to saved. God calls us not to heterosexuality but holiness.
Even thought the world would paint a totally different story about what sexuality is and isn’t, God’s word is clear, and He can save, and He does, and He will.
Once again, you hear the usual Christian scare tactics against homosexuality. The idea that LGBTQ people are “lost.” The idea that they automatically “reject God,” as if gay Christians either don’t exist or aren’t being honest with themselves.
All of that, as many Christians will also tell you, is nonsense.
Thomes’ low self-esteem and desperation for approval doesn’t mean other people should take her advice and head down a path of repression and false redemption. If she’s happy, good for her. But it’s her attitude — with the backing of large swaths of evangelical Christianity — that has pushed so many LGBTQ people to take their own lives.
It’s clear she hasn’t learned a damn thing since she wrote her essay for The Gospel Coalition last year and received plenty of criticism for it. She’s spreading the same Bible-based bigotry. And anyone who belongs to Anchored North (a non-profit group) or any evangelical church that doesn’t denounce these beliefs is guilty of perpetuating the same dangerous lies.
If you want some good news, it’s that many of the top comments on the Facebook video come from Christians pointing out the damage caused by this kind of rhetoric and saying, very bluntly, how wrong Thomes is. Good on them for speaking out.
(Thanks to Manny for the link)