Why Straddling the Fence on LGBT Issues Doesn’t Work: Andrew Marin’s Response to Dan Savage

Yesterday, I posted about a Dan Savage book review in today’s New York Times that criticized the Marin Foundation.

Andrew Marin‘s goal is to bridge the gap between the LGBT and Christian communities, but along the way, he strategically chooses not to answer questions like “Do you think homosexuality is a sin?” “Do you think that gays and lesbians are born that way?” and “Can an LGBT person ‘change’?”

While I don’t care about the answer to the first one, the other two are non-negotiable to me. There are right and wrong answers to those questions and to not answer them so as to straddle the fence is a cop-out.

That was the gist of what Savage said in his piece:

[Author Jeff] Chu goes easy on Exodus International, the largest “ex-gay” ministry in the country, despite the harm the group does to vulnerable gays and lesbians, particularly gay children. He gives an approving nod to the sneakily homophobic Marin Foundation, an evangelical group that shows up at gay pride parades holding signs that say, “We’re sorry!” and offering hugs to paradegoers who have been harmed by religion. But Andrew Marin, the group’s founder and public face, has urged his followers to target Christian teenagers struggling with “same-sex attraction” because they’re easier to talk out of being gay. Marin has refused to say that gay sex isn’t a sin, and he seems to believe that gay people can change their sexual orientation. The more you learn about the Marin Foundation, the more it looks like Westboro Baptist in the drag of false contrition: God hates you — now with hugs! Chu blasts [Metropolitan Community Church], but Marin gets a pass.

Today, Marin responded to those charges (emphasis his):

Dan and I have two completely different philosophical approaches to social change; both with the same goal — that everyone, regardless of orientation, gender, race, color, creed or religious affiliation (or not), will be able to live safe, loved, dignified and cherished lives. I feel the crossroad lies in the view of what is deemed as an “acceptable medium of engagement.” This is not a new debate throughout the world’s history.

In other words, this is like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Marin goes on to suggest Savage is taking a route of “revenge” by attacking the method of someone who goes down a different path than he does toward the same goal… and that it’s “segregation” to exclude those who believe being gay is a choice and that sexuality can change. (Both are Marin’s words, not mine.)

Ugh… great opportunity, but awful response. (Sorry, Andrew.)

There can be no middle ground when it comes to civil rights, which is what the LGBT community is fighting for. It sounds all well and good to hold hands with your oppressors until you realize their ultimate goal is to keep you second-class citizens. For way too long, evangelical Christians have been using the rhetoric of “we love gay people; we respect gay people” while simultaneously working to make sure they can’t get married, can’t adopt children, and can’t get anti-discrimination protection in the workplace.

Their intentions are irrelevant when the product they’re pushing is bigotry. It’s even worse when they support programs to “change” one’s sexual orientation… out of love, of course.

Marin had the opportunity to answer the easy questions. He could’ve said, “Being gay is not a choice.” Hell, I’m sure deep down he believes that, too.

But he didn’t. He just doubled-down on why he doesn’t answer the big questions:

This is why The Marin Foundation doesn’t answer yes/no questions. Because for us, the importance is not on the “correct” answer; it’s on relating to our shared humanity to do life and love better regardless of how you answer any of those close-ended questions.

Cop. Out.

Look, Marin isn’t anti-gay or homophobic. He has plenty of testimonials on his post talking about what a nice guy he is… but we just saw a story last week by a gay man talking about how nice Jerry Falwell was — I’m sure James Dobson and Rick Warren could elicit the same words from certain gay people — but no one would mistake Falwell or Dobson or Warren of being a friend to the LGBT community, and Marin makes a mistake when he uses testimonials to suggest Savage is wrong.

If he wanted to show Savage was wrong, all he would have to do is say, “Savage is wrong. I would never try to talk someone out of being gay and I know gay people can’t change their sexual orientation.”

He never did that. He never even came close.

We don’t need more Christians who say they love LGBT people but don’t actively challenge evangelicals when they’re wrong. We have enough of them and they haven’t helped.

What we need are Christians who have the courage to tell their pastors and other church leaders they’re wrong when it comes to their beliefs about the gay community.

They’re wrong about one’s sexual orientation being a choice.

They’re wrong about homosexual acts being worse than heterosexual acts.

They’re wrong about gay marriage leading down a slippery slope to some other kind of union no one is talking about.

They’re wrong about gay parents not being fit to raise children.

They’re wrong about the government forcing them to accept gay marriage in their churches.

They’re wrong about gay relationships being somehow less worthy than straight ones.

It’s so ridiculously easy to say all that and young Christians everywhere are leaving their churches because they know there’s no nuance when it comes to answering those questions — their pastors are wrong and stubborn and that’s not a combination that’s going to change anytime soon.

If Marin said, “I know those church leaders are wrong, but I’m working to change their minds,” it’d be easier to support what he does. But instead, he suggests that the Christian leaders also have a point worth listening to.

They don’t. They never have. And if more Christians would come right out and say that, we might get somewhere.

Interestingly, one of the testimonials says that the claim of Marin “believing that gay people can change” isn’t true at all. But Marin never says it himself. So I can understand why Savage would level that charge — along with others — at him. Until Marin publicly states where he stands on the “big questions,” there’s nothing wrong with people assuming the worst. Most Christians have never given us a good reason to think they really have the best interests of the LGBT community in mind, so why would we start giving them the benefit of the doubt now when they shy away from stating the obvious?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • PegK

    I just wish we could get beyond the idea that if being homosexual is a choice that somehow would make it wrong. It isn’t wrong whether it’s a choice or not. This is a point John Corvino makes in his talks. Sexuality covers a wide spectrum of desires and what we engage in on that spectrum regardless of whether it is a choice or not (as long as our partner is accepting of it and o.k. with it) should not make a bit of difference. I know the initial goal is just to get those with religious objections to being gay to somehow find it acceptable as long as “god intended it.” Eventually however, I hope we can move forward and stop even making that the issue.

    • LesterBallard

      Right, as long as it’s between consenting adults, I don’t care how people have sex.

    • Theseus

      Interesting point and I agree. Gays shouldn’t have to feel that they need to justify themselves by saying “I was born this way” all the time; unfortunately however, this is quite common.

      I do stand by what I said above though. Strong sexual compulsions are not conscious choices, whether genetic, environmental, or a combination thereof.

    • trj

      Totally agree. Is your sexual orientation a choice or is it in your genes? The practical answer is: it doesn’t matter. It isn’t wrong either way.

      Homo-shaming Christians claim it’s a choice. I disagree, and I like to think I can back up my position with arguments, but the crux of the matter is that it’s totally irrelevant whether it’s a choice or not. Homosexuality is only “wrong” based on archaic religious conceptions of sin, which should have no place in a modern, humanistic society.

      So your Bronze Age god says people of the same sex can’t be allowed to love each other? Why should we care, and why should we have to justify love?

      • Theseus

        For the most part you are correct, but that’s not exactly what PegK is saying. The point was made that it doesn’t matter whether it is a choice or not. Choice is not always relegated to nature vs. nurture; it is quite difficult to nail down where one ends and one begins in many situations.

        • trj

          it is quite difficult to nail down where one ends and one begins in many situations.

          No doubt about that. I’d even go so far as to say that the distinction is effectively impossible to make where phenomena such as sexual orientation are concerned. The point is, from a practical and humanistic viewpoint it doesn’t matter one bit if it’s one or the other.

          • t

            True dat! Agreed.

            • Theseus

              Oops. That was me above. WTF happened to my name Lol.

      • Nox

        It needs to be a choice to rationalize calling it a sin.

        It is worth pointing out that the trait by which these people are discriminated against is something they don’t choose. Punishing someone for a choice they didn’t make is its own kind of f*cked up.

        But the more important point is that if it is a choice it is a choice anyone should be free to make if they want. If someone does want to choose to be sexually involved with members of their own gender, then it is (a) a pretty good indication they are naturally attracted to members of their own gender and (b) a choice they should be free to make.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          the greater point is that “sin” has no place in the laws of a secular nation, which we still are (barely, but at least officially).

          and the religious should be GLAD for that. because jeebus knows, they can’t all agree on what is and is not “sin,” let alone the punishment or consequences of it. is it a sin to eat lobster? beef? to breath in a tiny insect, killing it? to be a woman? to menstruate in a temple? to have sex outside of marriage, or for a purpose other than procreation? to claim one god is really three, or that one god is only one? to have icons and images in a house or worship? to say negative things are a religious leader in public? to work on sunday, or friday, or xmas?

          this list goes on and on, and no theocracy is ever peaceful, both internally and externally, for this reason. every theocrat is convinced they know the ‘true law’ and can never understand that there are others out there just as convinced, but with a totally different set of ‘laws.’

        • Houndentenor

          I agree with you, but the reason it’s an important issue is that if fundamentalists accept that homosexuality is an innate characteristic (however that comes about…there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done), then punishing for people for being what they are is cruel. It’s no longer a sin if “some people are just that way.” That’s why they keep repeating the “it’s a choice” line because it prevents them from a line of logical thinking that inevitably leads to “so then I guess it’s okay.” They are fully aware, or at least their leaders are, of the consequences of accepting reality, just as they are cognizant of the logical consequences of accepting evolution.

    • peon

      This is one of those posts that makes me wish I could spam the up-vote button.

    • http://twitter.com/mattbeams Matthew Beams

      Agreed. This is a great point. I don’t want to hear anything about how it’s a “choice”. The choice matter is irrelevant to the conversation. It’s only relevant to those who wish to say we’re going to Hell. Choice are not, LGBTQ is not a sin.

  • Theseus

    Yeah. The “are gays born that way” question is a red herring. It makes for interesting scientific debate, but from a human rights stand point It’s actually a non-issue; unfortunately too many self proclaimed progressives open a can of worms to engage in a debate over it. The question should always be ” is sexual orientation a conscious choice”? And the answer is a resounding “no”!

    Gee, I happen to feel a certain rush chemically and sexually when I am with a woman that happens to be of a certain skin complexion, body, and hair type. Is this rush of feelings that I get have it’s roots in genetics or is it environmental? Hell if I know! Is it something that I can make a choice about and turn off? Hell NO! It doesn’t go away, nor do I want it to.

    • Yiab

      I would say that it’s actually irrelevant whether or not it’s a choice, as well. As far as I’m concerned when it comes to issues like these there is a very simple decision tree to guide my thinking, and none of it depends on whether or not choice is involved.

      1) Does it cause harm to nonconsenting parties?

      Yes – then perhaps it should be regulated and/or banned.

      No – proceed to 2.

      2) Does it cause harm to consenting parties?

      Yes – proceed to 3.

      No – then it likely should be allowed.

      3) Is this harm significant enough to warrant protecting people from themselves?

      Yes – then perhaps it should be regulated and/or banned.

      No – then it likely should be allowed.

      • Theseus

        Sure, and as I said below I agree 100%. The general sentiment on this thread is “it shouldn’t matter even if it was a choice” and that is correct.

        However, it is used as a hammer by religious fundies that sexual drive and orientation can be flipped on and off like a light switch; I do think it is important to address that, and call it for the Bullshit that it is.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    “Be bold”? That’s their catch phrase, their motto?

    How about taking your own advice and living that way, Mr. Marin, instead of pussyfooting around with equivocations and mealy-mouthed evasions about humanity and love? Try BEING BOLD and stating unambiguously and unequivocally where you actually stand on the simple and essential questions you have been asked?

    Slippery as an eel means don’t trust him.

  • Sami

    If my parents had shown Marin’s type of ‘love’ when I came out and told me I was a sinner who can and should choose to be straight I’d probably have comitted suicide.

    I’ve seen far too many sad cases of LBGTs wasting years, even decades of their lives in denial because ‘loving’ christians told them they’re sinners who can and should choose to be straight/cis. If you defend the idea that being LBGT is immoral you’re part of the problem, I’m not giving you a pass just because their are worse parts out there

  • Houndentenor

    I can only speak for myself. I realize other gay people would disagree. I don’t care if you believe that I chose to be gay. I don’t care if you think having the gay sex is a sin. I DO care if you are blocking my equal rights under the law. I don’t give a crap about anyone’s tolerance. Being tolerated is not much of a goal. I realize in some places and times it would have been an improvement over the current state of affairs, but tolerance to me implies that the person doing the tolerating has some special privilege to pass judgement on what other people are doing that is done of their damned business. I don’t care what most people think. (Obvious exceptions like caring if my boss thinks I’m doing a good job or caring that a romantic partner knows how I feel about them are obvious exceptions. But I don’t need the approval of strangers and I deny them the “right” to prevent me from living my life with the same legal status everyone else takes for granted. This really is the root of the problem. Some people think that their beliefs make them superior and that they get to make life decisions for the rest of us. That’s where I draw the line. But otherwise, like me or not. I don’t care. Nor should they care what I think of their stone-age superstitions.

    • Theseus

      Welllll, people leaving you the hell alone IS actually a form of tolerance. If they can look the other way and realize that you have the same rights under the law, then that as you say, can work.

      Tolerance doesn’t mean “I like what you are doing and I agree with you”. Although I am not going to shut up about the toxic ideas like the irrationality and religious nonsense like you describe promotes. They are going to have to “tolerate” that as well.

      • Pseudonym

        This is a very important point, and I wish I could upvote you a lot.

        The very notion of tolerance presupposes the existence of something that you find detestable. I don’t tolerate kittens, I welcome them. I tolerate hate speech and stupidity.

        • Theseus

          Exactly, why would I have to tolerate something that I already embrace?

        • Houndentenor

          That’s a good example. I don’t much care for cats, but I certainly don’t propose banning them as pets.

  • Tobais2772

    “Andrew Marin‘s goal is to bridge the gap between the LGBT and Christian communities, but along the way, he strategically chooses not to answer questions like “Do you think homosexuality is a sin?” “Do you think that gays and lesbians are born that way?” and “Can an LGBT person ‘change’?”

    While I don’t care about the answer to the first one, the other two are non-negotiable to me. There are right and wrong answers to those questions and to not answer them so as to straddle the fence is a cop-out.”

    Might I suggest that there is a much larger question about which xtians are wrong and their wrong answer has, by magnitudes, greater negative impacts on our world and the lives of all of the people in it. I am all for all consenting adults doing whatever they please in the bedroom and being afforded all of the rights and privileges that any American (or human for that matter) enjoys.

    However, thousands more people will be able to live better lives when we throw of the yoke of all religions and free our minds for the indoctrination of superstition and mythology. If we recognize that Marin is wrong to straddle the fence on the above issues, why do so many of us seem intent on protecting the sensibilities of those who are wrong on the much larger and more damaging issue of a supernatural god.

  • Stev84

    Andrew Marin talks out of both sides of his mouth. He pretends to be all nice and loving when talking to the LGBT community, progressive Christians or atheists. But this is what he says when he is among his fundamentalist buddies:
    http://www.signorile.com/2010/07/more-of-that-false-prophet.html
    http://www.signorile.com/2010/07/transcript-of-andrew-marin-seminar.html

    Yeah, and he tried to give some BS explanation for that talk. It wasn’t very convincing. Best case, he is a terrible, terrible speaker who can’t articulate what he thinks. In which case he really should shut up.

    And it seems his real goal isn’t reaching some kind of understanding, but just getting everyone to believe in Jesus. Like “Hey, it doesn’t matter if we hate each other as long as both sides believe in god.”

    • Ford1968

      I don’t think he really speaks out of both sides of his mouth, but I totally agree with you that his approach enables the oppressors by validating their viewpoint.

      The thing that bothers me about the links you posted is that they are objectively anti-gay. Even if that was not his intent, that was his impact. His official response to criticism was basically “I was misunderstood”. He refuses to recognize the hurtfulness of his words. Considering he has a ministry focused on LGBT issues, that’s mind-shredding.

  • Drew2u

    So if a religion explicitly says “gays are sinners”, could that not hold true for that religion, but at the same time, people who do not practice that religion do not have to subscribe to that?
    “Call me an immoral sinner in your religion, but I am not in your religion.”
    And that, one would believe, is why people are leaving. Do to yourself what you want, but leave others alone.

    • Ford1968

      My concern is for the gay kid in the front pew of a conservative Christian church. He is being told that he is deeply flawed and unworthy of even the possibility of romantic love. He is being told he must live his life alone or piss off God Himself. These are emotionally abusive messages. And the carnage that flows from this toxic theology is tragic – estranged families, suicides, mixed orientation marriages, homeless youth, and lifetimes lived in a dark and lonely closet.

      My problem with the Marin approach is that he gives permission for that abuse to continue. In his model of engagement, if one sees a child being brutally beaten, one should say “I disagree with your parenting methods, but I respect your right to raise your child as you see fit”

      I think Andrew Marin is probably a genuinely nice guy, but I have serious misgivings about his approach.

      • Houndentenor

        I was that kid. There are a LOT of us. Some of us got away from it in (more or less) one piece. A lot of us are still there living a lie (Ted haggard, et al.) or didn’t make it out alive (suicide).

  • snoozn

    I don’t think the important questions are about whether gay people are “born that way” or whether they can change. To me the important question is “Should gay people have the same civil rights, including marriage and adopting children?” John Corvino expresses it well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRYYfyDkhTs

    From the linked article, it seems that Marin refuses to answer this question as well.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I think Sir Humphrey can best express my idea of working with those that oppose LGBT rights. “It is necessary to get behind someone before you can stab them in the back.”

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

    God hates you — now with hugs!

    LOL, I think that just about sums up all of modern evangelical Christianity.

  • http://twitter.com/freefall_mc Freefall

    Hemant, Marin is not YOU, nor is he Dan Savage. Let Marin decide who he is and what he offers. Everyone deserves that, not just people who speak as you say.

    I understand the anger against those who use their faith to judge and oppress others. But I think I shall never understand the desire to rid all of that which we do not understand or live by ourselves.

    “The worship of the Great Mystery is silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking….

    It is solitary, because we believe that God is nearer to us in solitude, and there are no priests authorized to come between us and our Maker….

    Our faith cannot be formulated in creeds, nor forced upon any who are unwilling to receive it: hence there is no preaching, proselytizing, nor persecution, neither are there any scoffers or atheists.

    Our religion is an attitude of mind, not a dogma.” -Ohiyesa

    • Pattrsn

      ” Let Marin decide who he is and what he offers. Everyone deserves that”

      Can you explain why Marin, or apparently everyone except Hennant, should be exempted from taking personal responsibility for their actions?

      • http://twitter.com/freefall_mc Freefall

        I do not understand what specific actions of his I am supposed to be judging.

    • Houndentenor

      No one is denying Marin the right to have his own opinions or speak them or publish them. He is being criticized which is Dan’s right as much as Marin’s.

      • http://twitter.com/freefall_mc Freefall

        Yes, I understand everybody has the right to say whatever they wish about anyone else, from objective appreciation towards understanding and collaborative solutions, to delivered ill derived from subjective character attacks. I have seen much of that, guised in false self-righteousness.

      • http://twitter.com/freefall_mc Freefall

        Yes, I understand everybody has the right to say whatever they wish about anyone else, from objective appreciation towards understanding and collaborative solutions, to delivered ill derived from subjective character attacks. I have seen much of that, guised in false self-righteousness.

        • Pattrsn

          It’s not very complicated. Hennant judged Marin by his actions. While Marin says he is against homophobia, his actions speak otherwise, which is Hennant’s point. What you’re arguing is that Marin should be judged by what he says he is not by what he does. In other words, what you do decides what you are not what you say you are.

          • http://twitter.com/freefall_mc Freefall

            Is THAT what I said? No.

            Just as someone took Marin’s use of the words “PROFESSING ex-gay people” (in context of segregation from discussion) and construed them into “It’s ‘segregation’ to exclude those who believe being gay is a choice and that sexuality can change. (Both are Marin’s words, not mine.), implying Marin was talking about a completely different group of people.

            Whether I agree with sexuality can be changed or not, is not the point here. The discussion can not proceed constructively when we misinterpret, take out of context, or misrepresent whom the text was about, in this case, other gay people. Or is that the mission? To exclude?

            Also, I have read harsh criticisms about actions of Chu’s, as well. And yet, since I have not read the book, I can only get a personal interpretation from Savage WITHOUT his providing any specific examples of text from the book to back up his accusations. I should just take him at his word within the segregation of context?

          • http://twitter.com/freefall_mc Freefall

            One more thing:
            Savage went bolistic on the “I’m Sorry” campaign. Before Chicago, there was Seattle in early Oct 2010, just after the Tyler Clementi suicide. After a private discussion between a lesbian and her Christian daughter, there was an all night Christian college campus talk about the issue of LGBT suicide from bullying.

            These students were unsure how they could help. They decided “I’m Sorry” was the most accurate, simplest way to convey an early message without any confusing interpretations of intent. (Derived from a familiar novel.) I know the intimate details. So if Savage wants to persecute and misinterpret their intentions, he should come STRAIGHT AFTER ME!!! …the big jerk

  • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

    One thing that bothers me about the “choice” debate is that it shouldn’t matter either way. What if it was a choice? Would that make Marin’s behavior ok? No.

    The obsession with choice is just another excuse for evangelicals to play the blame-game and judge judge judge other people.

    When I hear them argue about whether or not sexual orientation is a choice, all I hear is more masked bigotry. But they are getting a little off track since laws should allow people to choose who they marry, etc.

  • Ford1968

    I personally have serious misgivings about Andrew Marin’s approach for reasons very close to yours. But to be fair to him, he has unequivocally declared that he in no way endorses any form of orientation change therapy. At least there’s that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503315179 facebook-503315179

      Right – so we won’t subject you to forcible psychological malpractice is the bar you set? Hmmm – lets see – I don’t believe Christians should be interred in re-education camps until “cured”

      Hopefully you see that I am simply employing absurdism to your point, but it seems like what you are doing really is “damning with faint praise”.

      • Ford1968

        Not defending the guy. He gives moral cover/acceptance to the clear abuses of the church. That’s not OK.

        What I am saying is that he has never said being gay is a choice, or that one can/should change their orientation. There’s more than enough to criticize about his approach without making stuff up. Peace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000365197713 Damon Hayward

    To illustrate to absurdity of Andrew’s position consider this.

    While I cannot and will not equate the current civil struggle of LGBT equalitydirectly to the Civil Rights issue that once faced our nation regarding race, I DObelieve there are certain similarities.

    Would the Marin Foundation, if it existed at the time, take this same “bridge building” and neutral stance regarding discrimination in our country based on race?

    Would he stand in the middle of the racist and hate filled churches that used their religion as a cover for their lack of humanity on one occasion, urging them to have a conversation with the ethnic minorities they had condemned, surpressed, abused and killed, and then journey over to the African American communities and ask them to engage in the same conversation, all while never condemning racism for all of its inherent evil, hate and immorality?

    When you look at it that simply, the reality is quite clear. If you apply his evasive, inclusive, neutral double speak to the topic of church sanctioned racism, the results are appalling. But for some reason, when applied to the LGBT community in this country, some of you (LGBT Christians) are asking us to support him because he happend to be nice to you? Are you kidding me?

    It is time for this man to take a stand against what is wrong and champion that which he believes to be good.

    • Houndentenor

      Yes. There WERE such people in the 1950s and 1960s who would have had the African Americans continue riding the back of the bus, or rather, stand because there are no seats left in the “colored” section while empty seats are left open in the “whites only section”. They would have considered perfectly adequate to reduce the number of lynchings.

      I mean no disrespect in comparing civil rights to gay rights. I admire the courage of Rosa Parks, MLK and countless others who stood up at far greater personal risk than I ever had to encounter for the rights of people everywhere. I reference their struggle out of respect and believe, as King’s widow openly stated, that gay rights is part of that struggle for equality for all Americans. (Coretta Scott, by the way trained at NEC as a violist and opera singer. It seems inconceivable to me that people can’t look at human rights violations and think “that could just as easily be me in some group that is denied rights because of [whatever people are choosing to hate on in that time and place].

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503315179 facebook-503315179

        Matthew Shepard died. Harvey Milk died. Recently a young lesbian woman in Texas, Molly Olgin was killed for kissing her girlfriend, Mary Kristene Chapa (who was also shot, but survived) in a park (http://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-lesbian-couple-shooting-witness-emerges/story?id=16680582#.UWzKibUsk1M). The LGBTQ has its own horror stories of beatings, rapes, and murders. While you personally may not have faced the level of risk faced by those fighting for racial equality – those living and fighting for LGBTQ equality have.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000365197713 Damon Hayward

    To illustrate to absurdity of Andrew’s position consider this.

    While I cannot and will not equate the current civil struggle of LGBT equalitydirectly to the Civil Rights issue that once faced our nation regarding race, I DObelieve there are certain similarities.

    Would the Marin Foundation, if it existed at the time, take this same “bridge building” and neutral stance regarding discrimination in our country based on race?

    Would he stand in the middle of the racist and hate filled churches that used their religion as a cover for their lack of humanity on one occasion, urging them to have a conversation with the ethnic minorities they had condemned, supressed, abused and killed, and then journey over to the African American communities and ask them to engage in the same conversation, all while never condemning racism for all of its inherent evil, hate and immorality?

    When you look at it that simply, the reality is quite clear. If you apply his evasive, inclusive, neutral double speak to the topic of church sanctioned racism, the results are appalling. But for some reason, when applied to the LGBT community in this country, some of you (LGBT Christians) are asking us to support him because he happened to be nice to you? Are you kidding me?

    It is time for this man to take a stand against what is wrong and champion that which he believes to be good.

  • r.holmgren

    “Being gay is not a choice.”

    I agree. But what does that mean to you? Science is close to showing that obesity is not a choice. Addictions are not a choice. Violent personality is not a choice. Yes, and? I’m not saying that homosexuality is on par with those things, I’m just saying that “not a choice” may not warrant the conclusion you imply.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503315179 facebook-503315179

    I really appreciate your eloquence in addressing this issue. When I tried to make a similar point in comments to Marin’s article and on his Facebook page, he deleted comments to give a mistaken impression that I just didn’t read his article and linked material carefully enough (or I would have seen and agreed with him) – especially egregious was where he deleted my comments that I even used Google Chrome’s search feature to search for key words to try to find a meaningful rebuttal of Savage’s accusations.

    I’m glad he can’t block you sir.

  • Ian

    Letter from Birmingham Jail – MLK faced these kinds of mealy mouthed “let’s do it by building consensus” pseudo-allies too. His response bears re-reading.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.calvani.7 David Calvani

    You are criticizing the man unfairly, Hemant.

    “There can be no middle ground when it comes to civil rights, which is what the LGBT community is fighting for.”
    Marin isn’t concerned with any civil rights struggle. He’s concerned with peace and the possiblility of dialogue within the Christian community. You are simply damning him because his focus is not where you want it to be.

  • sara

    Hemant, I love your blog. I agree that we can’t simply “agree to disagree” about equal rights. But I also have to admit that Marin’s book was instrumental in helping me come to terms with being a lesbian and a Christian, and many of my Christian friends said that reading it was an eye opening experience for them and that it has led them to be better listeners when LGBTQ people share our experiences. The book isn’t about civil rights, but spirituality. And while I wish Marin was more vocal about telling Christians that fighting against equality is not a loving (or even in any way decent) thing to do, I can’t deny that his writing helped me a lot. His ministry is all about operating in the tension. I couldn’t stay there, but I had internalized a lot of homophobia, and it was a good (and necessary) place for me to start.


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