Dear Susan: Gays Are NOT Being Kicked Out of Churches. You’re Making it Up!

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To stand at the church door and block someone from entering because they are gay – or for any reason – is indefensible. But some people don’t even believe that type of thing happens.  How can they truly think that with countless tragic personal stories giving horrific details on how a gay person and/or or their families have been emotionally, physically, and spiritually abused?

It is living inside the box, it is coming from a place of privilege.

These are people I call “Box Christians.”

dear-susan_whiteWe had one of those commenting on our recent  Pastor Looks Up in Tears post. I know he represents many, so I thought I would also answer him here. :-)

I write Dear Susan posts most every Friday. Sometimes they are poignant, sometimes thought-provoking, sometimes tender, sometimes funny… but hopefully always worth the read.

 

Dear Susan:

Who are these gays and families getting kicked out of church? I have been part of the church for over 40 years and have never seen one person kicked out.

Where did this come from? I never heard of this? Are you making it up? What is the​ proof to write such an article? Good day!

 

Dear 40-Year Church Member,

I am in secret Facebook groups of hundreds of moms. A large number of our LGBTQ kids have been shunned, rejected and made unwelcome st church in a variety of ways — asked to leave directly, removed from worship team, and made to feel unwelcome if they stay.

You haven’t seen it because it’s not being announced from the pulpit or in church meetings. You have no idea who may have talked to the pastor and then been told they cannot attend or serve anymore, or who heard condemning things about gays said from the pulpit, or from others, that made them decide not to stay. Even made it not safe to be there.

Thinking about your question showed me something I did not see before: the LGBTQ people who have been shunned or rejected from churches are largely invisible. If it doesn’t directly address us, it is not on our radar, we don’t see it.

I understand that if you are not directly affected by it, it’s invisible to you. That’s called privilege — when what isn’t about us is invisible to us.

T​here are countless stories of physical abuse, emotional abuse, spiritual abuse — all conveying the message that our gay brothers and sisters in Christ are not​ only unwelcome, but are hated by God and condemned to hell. The results are tragic.

My friend’s son and his boyfriend just came home to find a big “FAG” spray-painted on their apartment door.

Privilege is the ability not to see any of this. Only when the clamor gets so loud that we can no longer ignore it will we say, “Alright, already, get married.” ​

But Jesus calls us to something very different. Jesus calls us to see the man beaten on the side of the road that the religious leaders didn’t see. They crossed the road so they didn’t have to see it. ​

If we are going to claim the name of Christ, and claim to follow the Bible, we must start with seeing the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the abused, the hurting, the unseen. To do that is to follow Christ in the truest sense of the word.

I confess I did not understand the problem of how the non-affirming church treats LGBTQ people either. It was invisible to me too, in my place of privilege. ​Now, as a proud mom of two beautiful, perfect, Godly LGBTQ kids, I treasure this community that was largely invisible to me.

I hope you are gifted enough to have your eyes opened as well.

– Susan

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About Susan Cottrell

Susan Cottrell is a national speaker, teacher, and counselor with years of Biblical study and discipleship experience. Her books include: "Mom, I'm Gay" - Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith, and True Colors - Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You. Through her nonprofit organization - FreedHearts.org - Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her characteristic tender-heartedness, and she zealously challenges Christians who reject them with her wise insistence that "loving God and loving others" are the foundation of the rest of the scripture, just as Jesus said. She is the Vice President of PFLAG Austin, and her books have been endorsed by The Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Gay Christian Network and others. She and her husband have been married nearly 30 years and have five children - two of whom are in the LGBTQ community. She lives in Austin, Texas.