Christian missiologist and Patheos blogger Benjamin Corey spent years of his life slandering gay people.
That’s what he says, anyway. I’m not sure I believe him.
I met Corey in 2007 or 2008 and we struck up a solid friendship, even though he was a social conservative back then and I was, well, anything but. I once asked him about his opposition to same-sex marriage — a cause I had been actively campaigning in favor of — and I didn’t hear slander from him, or hatred. Back then, Corey supported the notion of civil unions for gays, but not full marriage. He felt that marriage rights were the province of straight people only, because there was a sanctity to marriage that would somehow be tarnished if same-sex couples could wed.
I don’t remember asking how he squared the sanctity bit with having broken his vows before God when he got divorced himself.
Anyway, over the past four, five years, Corey’s come around and come clean.
If you’re a member of the LGBT community, I just want to take a moment to apologize.
I spent years of my life not only opposing you, but outright slandering you, and for that, I most sincerely apologize. I pray you will forgive me.
And, if you’re someone like me, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to apologize to the LGBT community as well.
Because, truth be told, we might actually be the biggest threat to the sanctity of marriage. Call me a heretic (you’ll have to go to the back of the line), but I think we might want to pluck the beam out of our own eye before we accuse our neighbors of having a speck in their own.
Previous and recent studies have shown the truth to be that we Christians (especially the conservative type), are actually the biggest threat to the sanctity of marriage… a fact that should grieve us deeply. More than a decade ago, Christian researchers at the Barna Group discovered that born-again Christians are more likely to divorce than other population groups.
Not exactly news. Not even news to Corey. It just took a while to sink in, I suppose.
When he wasn’t stationed abroad (he’s a former military guy), Corey spent his whole life in progressive-skewing states like Massachusetts and Maine. Maybe that helped him break out of the FOX News bubble that he admits he enveloped himself in for years. Or maybe it was something more practical, such as the need to keep his ministry and himself relevant (after all, social and religious conservatives have been losing big on this issue, speedily turning themselves into fusty dinosaurs that the under-30 generation regards with puzzlement if not outright disdain).
I’m married and straight. Corey’s apology is not aimed at me, so it’s not my place to say, “That’s quite alright.” But his mea culpa isn’t meaningless to me. It means a great deal. It shows that attitudes can be shaped and minds can be turned.
It makes me hopeful that, since this is a struggle for rationality we’ve as good as won, further conciliation and future triumphs lie just down the road.