12 steps to becoming an LGBT ally in 2013

Happy New Year and praise be for do-overs!

So I had this epiphany today (convenient I know).  If I hope for more LGBT allies (especially of the prayin’ sort) it occurred to me that I ought to share a few suggestions for how to become an ally.

If you are a seasoned ally or just taking your first steps, I hope you will share your thoughts, struggles and celebrations from your own journey to becoming an ally.   If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person I hope you will share your own suggestions for how folks can be allies.

I hope these will help you on your journey.

1. Sit – You may not realize it or you may be in blissful denial but you likely know someone who is LGBT.  LGBT folks are not just characters in gleeful musicals or sit coms about modern families – we are your sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, pastors, teachers, students, doctors, nurses, librarians and law makers – in other words we are your family and your Neighbor.  Sit down for a while and think about the people in your life, what they add to your life and how you are called to be their friend and ally in a world that (more frequently than you may realize) relegates them to second class citizens, or worse, tells them again and again that they are worthless freaks to be fixed, shunned or even killed. Sit with this knowledge and know you can make a difference, you can even save lives.

2. Pray – Pray for courage to be vulnerable and the humility to be changed. Pray for eyes that can see, ears that can hear, a heart that can discern…

Gracious and loving God,
Mother Hen,
Abba,
who was made known to us in the body of a babe,
born into poverty and despised by the state -
Our parent and brother
Help us
recognize the stranger as our kin.
Help us
listen attentively to our lives.
Help us
discern the murmuring of grace
planted by you in our hearts.
Help us
hear the the deep pain and soaring joy of others.
Help us
see our interdependence with others
Help us
to be your hands and feet in the world.

Amen

3. Invite -

Invite the Holy Spirit into your heart to do a new thing.
Invite new ideas to your table.
Invite a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender friend to lunch, dinner, out for drinks, or for a rousing round of mini-golf  and ask them about themselves.
Invite yourself to be fully present.
Invite your neighbor into your heart.

4. Listen -
Listen to the stories of their life.
Listen deeply for places where their story might sound a bit like yours.
Listen for places where your stories intersect.
Listen for how their story is interwoven with God’s.
Listen to your heart.

5. Ask -
Ask yourself if you are willing to hear honest answers.
Ask a LGBT person if you can ask them questions that seem weird or uncomfortable – not because you want them to feel weird or uncomfortable or because you are hoping to trip them up but because you need to learn a few things (yes, that means you have to acknowledge a little bit of ignorance and fear but that is actually wise and courageous).
Ask real questions, not veiled, loaded questions that are meant to corner, cajole or convert.
Ask yourself if you learned something new.

 

6. Hug -  God moves in the spaces between two people so create a loving space that welcomes the other intimately into your heart. Opening your arms is a great step toward opening your heart.

7. Read -
Read A LOT about being LGBT.
Read books, blogs that are written by gay folks.
Read books and blogs by allies.
Read authentic voices sharing true stories.

And read your holy texts.  Read for all the ways God is calling us into compassion and justice. If you are a Christian and are reading the Bible, go ahead and count the number of scriptural references to justice and compassion as compared to the number of times homosexuality (as understood in a particular, historical culture) is mentioned.  And Christians who are called to follow in the footsteps of that rabbi who fed the multitudes without asking for a dime, healed the sick (on the sabbath) without asking for insurance and died a criminal’s death – please carefully read for what Jesus had to say about homosexuality.

Here are just a few resources for your reading list. Please add to this list in the comments below.

FAQ from PFLAG (Parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays)
The Ally Packet from The Stonewall Center
The Ally’s Guide to Issues Facing LGBT Americans
Answers to questions about marriage equality
Straight for Equality 

Rachel Held Evans – Check out her posts in the “homosexuality” category
Kathy Baldock - Canyonwalker Connections – The activism and blog of an ally

Love Makes a Family

Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Mel White
God Believes in Love: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage by Gene Robinson
Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate  by Justin Lee
Jesus the Bible and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers
Homosexuality and Christian Faith: Questions of Conscience for the Churches by Walter Wink

Whosoever: January/February 2013 –  Arise! Shine!

 

8. Watch – For the Bible Tells Me So.  It’s ok to cry.

 

9. Think - A lot.

Think with your intellect AND think with your heart.
Move beyond regurgitating what you have been fed by others.
Think for yourself.
Think.

10. Pray some more.  Pray persistently.  Pray by practicing the presence of God everywhere, in all that you do and in everyone that you meet.

 

11. Share -
Share with others in your faith community, your work place, your school, on Facebook and in your own home how you are learning to be an ally. This is likely one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle. Once you have made a choice to be an active ally follow the call to tell others.

12. Act – If you are a writer, write. If you are a speaker, speak. If you are a preacher, preach. If you are a lover, love. If you are an engaged citizen, find out what the issues are, find out how to get involved and for pete sake, vote.

Here are a few resources to help you get moving, please share more in the comments below.

Create a safe space on your campus, in your workplace, or at your school (from GLSEN)
Check out some resource kits (from GLAAD)
Explore a five part welcoming guide for faith communities (From the Religious Institute)
Dig into the Welcoming Resources (for faith communities) from The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force


Come out as an ally all year long…
**UPDATED FOR 2014 **

January 20-24, 2014: No-Name Calling Week

April 10, 2014Straight for Equality Gala

April 11, 2014: Day of Silence

May 4, 2014: International Family Equality Day

September 23, 2014: Bi Visibility Day

October 11, 2014: National Coming Out Day

October 2014: GLSEN’s Ally Week (2014 dates TBA)

October 2014: GLAAD’s Spirit Day (2014 date TBA)

November 3 – 6, 2014 : Out & Equal Workplace Summit

November 20, 2014Transgender Day of Remembrance

December 1, 2014: World AIDS Day

About Kimberly Knight

Kimberly has a long history of back-pew sitting, Wednesday night supper eatin' and generally trying God’s patience since 1969. She's lucky enough to have made her technology addiction a career and serves as both the Director of Digital Strategy as a southern liberal arts college and Minister of Digital community with Extravagance UCC.

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  • Queen Alice

    I am interested in what exactly the harm that LGBT people have done in society?

    Matter of fact, let me give you and interesting example from my own experiences as a heterosexual (so u see, no agenda here) RN.

    Many people like to call AIDS a curse that God caused to befall the gay community. ( So I’m guessing all other diseases are a reflection of God’s opinion of the hetero community) Anyway, because AIDS got so very much attention internationally and because so much research was done into treatments and cures, guess what? All that research lead to breakthroughs in cancer research, especially cancers of the blood (hemoncology) as these cancers especially act very much like AIDS. Cancer research benefitted GREATLY from all this research.

    I know this to be a fact because for the last 10 years I have worked as a cancer nurse.

    God loves His creation and indeed sent His only Son as the sacrifice to save the WHOLE WORLD. Not just the hetero community. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure He would have said that.

    Love you sister – and I ask you to prayerfully seek God on this subject. It’s gonna blow your mind!

  • Queen Alice

    So well said!

    And yes, the prohibition was against male prostitution because it was sex between, get ready for it: non consenting adults. Thus, see my post above.

    When we get to “our Father’s house”, the one with “many mansions” we won’t even be getting or giving in marriage, according to Jesus, who should know. So what we are addressing is only a convention of this world, the world that God determined we would not walk alone in. He created male and female and gave them the task of being fruitful and multiplying. I didn’t read anywhere about them even getting married. Most ppl just ASSUME this happened. I’m going out on a limb here, but He didn’t even tell them to love each other. So. What teaching moment can we take from this? It has been my observation, that if God wants us to know something beyond all shadow of a doubt, He makes sure it is in His Word in no uncertain terms. Otherwise, it is all a part of our journey to Him.

    When He returns, to judge the quick and the dead, the Word tells us we will be judged according to the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. He isn’t going to judge our actions, because we are already damned for all eternity due to our actions. Otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have needed to redeem us. So, as Christians, as Jesus’ followers, what does this look like? When we are walking in right relationship with God, our actions will show our hearts (Jesus went into depth on this very subject, more than once). If we are loving as He loved us, and walking in grace, we just aren’t bashing each other. AND, and this is the one the Christian church and its members universal struggle with: WE DON’T JUDGE EACH OTHER. I struggle with it. Maybe I’m excusing it by saying – oh, I’m just judging that person’s actions. But, and here’s a big but: Do I know the heart and intent of that person that lead to that action? Nope. So, by judging AT ALL I am putting myself on the throne of God. A place I certainly don’t belong. Can I observe someone else’s actions and determine if I want to associate with that person/community/church/the list goes on, yes. I’m supposed to do that. But, that is just making choices, something we do all the time. And that is between me and God. By prayerfully making these choices, I am walking where I need to be walking for where I am in my journey with Him. It has NOTHING to do with how He feels about what I am walking into or away from. That’s HIS business and all part of His plan for this whole world and everybody in it. That’s were God is so dang awesome! LOL! He does this with me personally every second I draw breath and for the eternity I will someday walk into (fully) and he does it simultaneously for ALL CREATION. I totally can’t wrap my puny brain around that, but there it is.

    So, I believe Jesus said it best (how surprising! LOL): Judge not, lest ye be not judged. and, the one God keeps bringing to the front of my mind for where I am in my walk right now: Love one another, even as I have loved you.

    Enough said.

  • Queen Alice

    Please see my comments above and additionally:

    While some forms of people acting together and calling themselves the Church may have advocated for the death penalty for gays, please don’t confuse that with the actions of the true Church. The early Christian fathers cautioned against ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing” who come to devour the flock. Jesus did as well. And this is exactly how it happens. Not from without – we would notice that – but from within, by claiming to be the very thing it is destroying.

    The OT is our law book to get us to grace. Once we walk in grace, we, well, walk in grace. The definition of walking in grace is to walk in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, mercy, temperance, faith. So no gay bashing or killing allowed. No bashing or killing of any kind.

    If we are walking in anything else, we are not the true Church.

  • Queen Alice

    YES! Thank you for your eloquence in this answer.

    As the mother of 3 sons, only one of whom is gay, I started my journey into understanding whether I wanted to or not. LOL! Here are a few things God has showed me along the way:

    1. If I, who has already demonstrated time and again that I am imperfect, can love all three of my sons with equal intensity, how can I imagine that God does no less?

    2. I DID NOT raise one of my sons to be gay and the other 2 to be straight. I’m not clever enough, for one thing, and I lacked the energy to do anything but raise them all 3 by the same standards and expectations. Neither did my gay son have any experience early in life (we have had this conversation and he knows me to be a safe person to talk to about any of this) that “turned him gay”. Therefore, in the spirit of scientific research that has, to date, lasted almost 30 years, my personal experience is that my son was born to be exactly who and what he is. As were the other 2 of my sons. They are all three awesome men who love each other and their goofy mom and I am blessed to know them.

    3. Same sex marriage: This was touched on by the excellent post above, but let me add my 2 cents worth: When Jesus was asked about paying taxes, he wanted to know whose picture was on the coin and he replied:”Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God, that which is God’s”. In true Jesus fashion, He not only answered the question asked of Him, but also gave us a “teaching moment”. What the LBGT community wants, as I understand it, is the same legal, LEGAL, status as anyone else who embarks upon a journey of human relationship. So, we are simply rendering unto Caesar when we grant the same legal rights to two adults who are entering into a relationship of two consenting adults. Let’s remember that for point number

    4. Gay and bisexual relationships are between/among consenting adults. This, by its very nature, is LEGAL. Is it my preferred relationship? Let me say here that I have witnessed many hetero relationships that wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Been in a couple of them. UNTIL I became single and got on my face before God and sought HIM (not saying everyone must do it this way – its just what I had to do) could I even begin to conceptualize what a HEALTHY human relationship might look like.

    5. I went to the Houston Gay Pride Parade this past summer with my son and while it was miserably hot, it was also VERY enlightening – and fun. Here’s why: Because it was hot, and I’m not a young thing anymore, I sat down on the curb and did a lot of “people watching”. while doing that, I also prayed that God open my eyes so that I could be in right relationship with Him and with the people I was watching. And here is what He answered: “Love one another as I have loved you”.. I have been blessed to be a mom and so I understand the love of someone who is not me, doesn’t act like me, and frankly, sometime pisses me off. LOL. So maybe its easier for me. But when God opened my eyes/heart/mind to this truth, He then, in true God fashion, showed me a huge mass of humanity who want to be who they are and to be loved. Some of them dress flamboyantly and act the same, to be noticed? to have fun? Does it matter? My job is to love them as brothers and sisters, because that’s what we are here on this journey and, more importantly, in our true home.

    5. Jesus was constantly getting “in trouble” and being called out by the “righteous” people of His day for consorting with and eating with the outcasts of the society in which He lived. Since He came to save the whole world, I can only surmise He preferred their company, as they were in no way needing saving any more or less than the “righteous” of the time. And the same is true today, I have no doubt.

    Those are the five things which came to mind as I read the post by Katharine and the excellent response by you.

    Love to you all and His peace in these interesting times!

  • Duane Sheets

    Matt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
    Are you aligned with the few or the many? That will tell you a lot about where you are headed.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight Kimberly

      Frankly if we are talking about CHristians I am likely still aligned with the few…

      • Duane Sheets

        Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

        Would you say your life conforms to the patterns of this world? How would your life be different if you have your mind renewed?

      • Duane Sheets

        The verse is not speaking of Christians. Are you aligned with those on the easy way to destruction or on the narrow difficult way to life? Few find it because few are willing to pay the price to search for it or walk that road. It requires too much change. I have to give up things of the flesh. I can’t have all the pleasures this world offers but I gladly give them up for the higher calling. It’s’ my eternal soul and being in God’s presence forever that’s at stake. That’s why we work our our own salvation with fear and trembling. With that much at risk you better be sure that your are not utilizing that incredible human ability to “rational lies” whatever they feel like doing anyway.

  • Hilary

    Kimberly, I have a question for you, as one lesbian to another, I need some help with this . . . when does the hedonism start?

    I’ve been at this homosexual lifestyle for 13 years, right now it’s 5am in Minnesota, I woke up with a head cold too painful to sleep with. Penny’s been in grad school full time for an MBA in accounting for 2 years and we are barely hanging on till she finishes this spring. We both work full time, I get 95% of the housework while putting my wife through grad school, since we’ve both had the flu I’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes, no dishwasher, 4 kitty litters to clean (3 cats), dirty laundry piling up, kleenex everywhere, I still need to pay the bills, and I can’t visit my grandmother since I’ve got the flu.

    I guess I could really use some of the hedonism, self-centered focus on self pleasure that I was told was part and parcel of the homosexual lifestyle. That it’s all about pleasure and glorifying physical desire over every other human connection. Right now the only phyiscal deisre I want to selfishly glorify is breathing without my sinuses feeling like they are about to break open from internal pressure. Isn’t it is supposed to be just a little more fabulous then this?

    Hilary

    • Kimberly Knight

      Hon, I think life you are living is fabulous. It is real, it is authentic and it is you. Yes, it is filled to the brim with struggle but anyone who is not struggling (at least a little) is fooling themselves and living a half life. Sure, we could live into the stereotype but that really just takes way too much work and too hard a toll on the body. Frankly, I think there are plenty of straight folks taking on the hedonistic “lifestyle” and I am happy to have a settled, going to work, helping the kids with homework, mowing the lawn, paying the bills and rising early on a Saturday to get a little Just Dance cadio action in. Yeah, I do get the itch to join the big ole party out there, but really, it is overrated. If I hear one more pop song (from supposedly straight “artists”) about partying like there is not tomorrow, or like they will die young, or some other such narcissistic fantasy, I will barf a very boring barf. I reject the phrase “homosexual lifestyle” and you should too every chance you get.

      • Hilary

        Oh I totally know better then to really say “homosexual lifestyle” I was just playing it up. I know there is no such thing as a homo- or hetero- lifestyle, we’re all just people having lives. Thanks for writing this, I needed the encouragement. Penny and I worked together today to get a lot of cleaning done then went to a friends house for dinner. She had just come back from a Jewish young adult trip to Israel, with an entire group of gay and lesbian Jews. Really rockin’ the rainbow yarmelke, once they were stuck and ended up at a host house, started playing the piano and had a breakout session of RENT. My cold is slowly better then it was yesterday, and I decided if I felt the need for some hedonism I’d get out my copy of “Tipping the Velvet” to reread.

        It was just bumming around Patheos at 3am because I couldn’t sleep from having a head cold and reading that guy complaining about ‘homo hedonis’ and I just lost it. What type of lives do they think we lead, or are theirs so miserable that they project everything they want but can’t have onto us?

        I do know I have a fabulous life, because I know that no matter what happens, no matter what my day is, good bad or indifferent, it will begin and end with me in a safe, warm, comfortable bed curled up beside someone who loves me no matter what, and between 1-3 cats curled up on me. You can’t get much more fabulous then being surrounded on all sides by warmth and love, even if some of it comes with claws and whiskers.

        “I will barf a very boring barf” that is f*cking pricesless, I’m going to remember it for another time!

        Thanks again

        Hilary

  • Hilary

    I hope it’s not too late to add this – I posted it on Rachel Held Even’s blog, and I hope you don’t mind me reposting it here, because I do think it is good advice.

    “Here is my advise as a lesbian to all the people struggling, still working through this, about language: Any words, descriptions, metaphors, catch phrases, whatever, that you would use regarding GLBTect people first apply to yourself, your relationships, and your sexuality. See if what you’re saying matches your own reality of your sexuality. If it doesn’t, if it feels hurtful when applied to your life, then please think twice about applying it to ours. Our relationships, dreams, desires and hopes are just as serious to us as yours are to you.

    Compare your own desire for love, to love and be loved, to hold and be held, to the alcoholics desire to drink, and the consequences of alcoholism.

    Place your own faithful marriage, or the marriage of someone you respect that is life long and faithful, as no different then the emotional and sexual betrayal of infidelity.

    See your own hopes and dreams for love, companionship, and family as a sin no different from any other sin that you must repent of.

    Think about how much you can trust someone who says they love you, says they respect you and want to be your friend, but will look away when you need legal support for your marriage, you need to take FMLA for your spouse, put him or her on your health care plan, would deny your beloved the financial support of your social security if you should die. How do you turn to a friend for help when your relationship is under stress, if they think it’s wrong for you to have it in the first place?

    In return I offer my patience to listen to you when I read your stories of working your way through this issue, instead of a knee jerk judgement. It’s not something I would have had a year ago, but after reading stuff from Rachel, Justin Lee, and a few others, I can be more patient with people struggling through a mine field of belief versus experience with real GLBTect people.”

    Please not that I am not talking politics or theology or beleif in the moral value of GLBTect relationships, just offering some guidlines on non-hurtfull language. And in light of some other comments here, I would add tha if you can’t tell the difference between to adults sharing sex with mutual interest, desire and consent with an adult forcing sex on a child, forcing sex on another adult or brutally ending another person’s life, please see a therapist. I mean that in the kindest tone of voice possible, please get professional help/

    Hilary

    • Kimberly Knight

      This is FANTASTIC advice Hilary, thank you so much for sharing this. Wonderfully articulated!

  • Jeff in CO

    You have won the arguments in the arena of public opinion and political- you need no more ally’s but are you willing to allow radical LGBT to continue to marginalize Christians that disagree? Would you throw the first stone at those that disagree in a not too distant future where our preferences will rule over beliefs? Where those that disagree will pay a price for not agreeing with your lifestyle? I wonder.. sound Orwellian, but I see the path set.. not all will be willing to be a martyr but many will.

    • Kimberly Knight

      I am not a radical, I am a mom, a sister, a daughter, a partner, an employee and a dilligent tax payer. My agenda today consists of waking early to write, do a little cadio with the kids while playing Just Dance 4, pack up a camper to roll down to the coast and celebrate my partner’s father’s 80th birthday with a family that loves me.

      And hon, it will take a LONG time and a lot more than my little blog for Christians who “disagree” with me to be marginalized. You are not marginalized because you can not make LAWS according to your version of faith. Believe what you want, I really have no concern about your faith, what I care about is when your faith, or the faith of others, prevents me from living wholly and peacefully. What price are you paying? Having to withhold your public disdain for a moment? AND dear, there is NO such thing as a monolithic gay lifestyle. You are believing and repeating a shallow lie. My lifestyle is far more boring and chaste than many straight folks I know and love.

      It is not oppression to disallow you to oppress others. But thanks for the straw men, always nice with morning coffee.

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  • Ford1968

    Hi Kimberly –
    I didn’t have the time to read the rest of the comments, so please forgive me if others have made this suggestion. In the resources section, I would also HIGHLY recommend “Unfair: Why the Christian view of gays doesn’t work” by John Shore. He collected the personal stories of dozens of Christians who reconciled their faith with the fact that they are gay. It is really powerful stuff.

  • http://www.butnotyet.com Joel

    I didn’t go through this 12 step program to become an ally. At some point in time, it dawned that God has more to worry about than who any of us is sleeping with and, as long the relationship meets the “love your neighbor as yourself” standard, I figured God was okay with it. Somewhere along the line, someone asked me if I’d feel the same if one my children was LGBTQ and I said I couldn’t fathom anything either of them could do that would make love them less. Of course, it was all academic; neither of my girls swung that way. Or so I thought. Last year, during the Amendment One fracas, my youngest daughter finally worked the courage to admit something she been struggling with since she was 8 years old: she is bi.
    Karen and Alessandra, when say things like you have here, you are attacking people and things I care for deeply. Let’s start with the obvious, the people. My daughter is funny, intelligent, creative and does so much better at loving her neighbor than I ever could. Kimberly, who I am honored to call friend, is a loving mother and the kind of theologian that always leaves me with more questions than answers. My other friends whose relationships and orientations don’t fit the traditional mold are parents, teachers, firefighters, engineers and more. They have enriched my life by their mere presence. These people cared for and stood by me through my health crises and have been an inspiration to me and my family. When you call them abomination, say their relationships are somehow not as worthy as your own and do everything in power to marginalize them, you piss on all that. And, you should be ashamed.
    When you proof text scripture that, knowingly or not, backs up a narrow point of view which affirms your place and privilege in the world,it diminishes all scripture and drives people away from God. And, again, you should be ashamed.
    Finally, when you paint a picture of God that makes God into a vindictive, hateful bastard, you make a mockery of God’s love. And, for that more than anything else, you should be ashamed.
    I am sick to death of people professing love for my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, then comparing them to murders, thieves and rapists or saying they are dysfunctional and/or psychologically damaged. You need to stop uttering such nonsense. The only harm caused to society in relation to LGBTQ people is to these people and it’s caused by this kind of speech.
    I try on a daily basis to practice love of God and love of my neighbor, bullshit like this makes it infinitely harder than it should be.

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  • David

    Thank you Kimberly, great post.

    In the calendar at the end, would you please add September 23, Bi visibility Day.
    http://september23.bi.org/

    • Kimberly

      Sure David.

  • Rev. (Dr.) Sarah Carpenter-Vascik

    It is wonderful to read Kimberly’s message, I am a transgender ordained minister, now retired and living in Massachusetts and am an advocate for transgender children. In the fall of last year, I published a book entitled “Religion, Faith and the LGBT Community”, in which I explore the sources for all the vitriolic, hateful and theologically inaccurate condemnations directed at our community. To all who wonder if God is angry at us for the way we live our lives, please remember what it says in the 1st book of Samuel. Verse 7 says “The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Rev. Sarah – thank you for sharing part of yourself here and thank you very much for the scriptural reminder in this context.

      peace

  • http://www.redletterchristians.org/author/mal-green/ Mal Green

    Thanks Kimberley and others who have commented. Both encouraging and challenging to me to become a better ally.

    • Kimberly

      Thank YOU Mal!

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  • http://exclusionandembrace.blogspot.com/ rob g

    Hi Kimberly:

    I’d also like to recommend the Bridging the Gap blog written by Wendy Gritter of New Direction, a ministry which is nurturing gracious spaciousness in the church: http://btgproject.blogspot.com/

    Best regards,

    rob

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  • rvs

    For example, Auden’s “For the Time Being” is a beautiful, inspiring, under-appreciated poem. Thanks for the engaging post.

  • http://www.sdakinship.org Dave Ferguson

    Thanks for the great article and the engagement you reflect with those who respond. Here is another resource that might be helpful to those in conservative Christian traditions. It approaches the subject of homosexuality from a holistic view looking at the psychological, sociological, medical, legal and pastoral perspectives as well as reviewing the texts in scripture that mention homosexuality. It begins with three stories of a gay man, a lesbian and a parent. It was produced by Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, an affinity group for those with an SDA background, written by allies and endorsed by many other LGBT organizations. “Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-day Adventist Perspectives”.

    • Kimberly

      Thank you for this resource, I will check it out.

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  • http://www.fortunatefamilies.com Michael Harmuth

    Kimberly,
    Thanks for the great ideas. For Catholic Parents of LGBT kids please see our website: http://www.fortunatefamilies.com
    We are Catholic parents with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children supporting others like us to affirm, celebrate and seek equality for our families. Our faith journey calls us to strive for justice for all our children. It has a lot of resources for everyone, Catholic or not.

    • Kimberly

      Thank you very much for this necessary resource!

  • Kitti Mann

    Kimberley, I am Karen Mann’s mom, Bones’ mother-in-law, and Ella Grace’s grandmother. I have been working on being an ally for years now. I hope I am getting better as time goes on. My husband and I are members of Fredericksburg UMC in Virginia. We started a support group at our church for friends and family of LGBTs. We are small so far, but believe that there are others in our congregation or community who need support in a Christian setting. My husband and I love KUCC. Whenever we visit we attend church with Karen, Bones, and Ella Grace. I think of it as my second church and we try to support the ministries there whenever we can. I have enjoyed your blogs. Our support group is using one of the prayers you shared in one of your posts as our prayer for each meeting. Thank you.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Ok, so after I grabbed a tissue and could see again I had to tell you thank you, thank you, thank you. I am beyond humbled to be a tiny part of they journey you and your community are on. You honor me far beyond my worth and I am grateful, grateful that you have share with me, with us, a bit of your story. Love you very much!

  • Kathy Fox

    Thanks, Kimberly. I have shared this and plan to use it all year in various ways. Keep posting all your “good stuff”. God is still speaking and I’m thankful you are too!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Yay, yes ma’am and thank YOU!

  • Pingback: 12 Steps to Supporting the LGBT Community in 2013 | Stillforus

  • http://www.affirmingchristian.info Angia Macomber

    I have been collecting a set of resources for those who are interested in finding out more about an AFFIRMING CHRISTIAN viewpoint. It is posted at http://www.affirmingchristian.info and I update it regularly. I will be adding this post to the list right away! Thank you, Kimberly!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Awesome, thanks so much for sharing and thanks for your voice :)

  • http://www.mjkimpan.com michael j. kimpan

    great post, helpful. i’m optimistic about what the future holds for moving beyond the polarizing, us/them language that has traditionally shaped dialogue between the LGBT community and the conservative (whether social, political or religious) community.

    one book that is a MUST READ in that conversation is andrew marin’s ‘Love is an Orientation :: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community’

    it changed my life.

  • Kathy Baldock

    Also, educate yourselves so you can move from ally to advocate. If you are a Bible-based advocate, typically, when you understand for yourselves what those verses used against people might actually MEAN, you can advocate from a stronger position.
    I moved from ally to advocate when I did this work.
    Most of the opposition within the church comes from the misuse of verses. Being conversant is VERY helpful for those that have no LGBT friends. I don’t TELL people they are wrong, rather, I ask REALLY GOOD questions that confront their often simple understanding.
    Thanks for the mention of my blog CanyonwalkerConnections.com blog, Kimberly.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Indeed Kathy, the move from ally to advocate, and the interplay between the two is so important, holy even. Thank you for all you do.

  • http://livingontilt.wordpress.com Katherine Harms

    I am glad to be an ally with anyone, LGBT, straight, tall or short, to stand in equal humility and sinfulness before the throne of God. If I meet someone who has a different idea on anything, I don’t grill that person until I have brought him or her into alignment with my views. I will stand up for respect and kindness to gay and lesbian people everywhere.
    But I won’t be their ally in advocating a political redefinition of marriage. If they win, I won’t stop speaking or start persecuting them, but I won’t be an ally to legitimize what I know to be wrong. I am an ally in the quest of every human being to be loved by other people as much as he or she is loved by God, but I won’t get in the trenches and try to get the LGBT political agenda passed or legitimized. I will speak out and act in every legitmate way to prevent that from happening. Being an advocate of Christian love for all does not require me to act in opposition to what I know to be right. I believe God loves murderers and rapists and embezzlers, too, but I don’t plan to advocate that we pass any laws to make murder, rape and embezzlement accepted as normal human behavior.
    I could not really discern if you were writing on a strictly spiritual and personal level. It actually sounded as if you were asking me, and everyone else who considers the Bible to teach that homosexuality is sin, to advocate not only for your freedom in Christ, which I fully believe you have, but also for your political power, which I resist with every fiber of my being. You and I are both sinners in the eyes of God. I married, divorced, and then remarried. Then I figured out that not only was I a miserable sinner, but there was no way to undo my sin. I am a sinner just like you. I can’t fix the consequences of my sin; only God can do that. The same is true for you. However, I am not going to advocate that anybody pretend that there is some cultural context in which it is safe to disregard Jesus’ teachings about marriage just so I don’t feel like a sinner. I cannot do it for you, either. Some things are right, and some are wrong. Our wishful thinking or even our kindness, love and generosity don’t change that.

    • Kimberly

      You are not an ally if you categorize my humanity, my sexuality along with murderers, rapists or criminals who rob humanity of others.
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2012/08/murderers-terrorists-and-me/

      You are not an ally if believe that marriage has not been redefined for centuries and the myth that the bible only condones marriage between one woman and one man.
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2012/07/which-biblical-marriage/

      You are not an ally if you believe your religious views (or one set of one religions’s views) has aright to determine the civil rights of anyone.

      You are not an ally (and maybe not much of a reader) if you believe that Jesus said one word about homosexuality.
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2012/12/gods-teachings-are-clear-that/

      I am not a political issue, I am a mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague, worshiper and lover. There is NO such thing as a monolithic agenda or lifestyle.
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2012/08/my-homosexual-lifestyle-exposed/

      You are not an ally in any sense of the word.
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/kimberlyknight/2012/08/devastated-by-your-joy/

      • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

        I don’t think people who are so psychologically deformed that they cannot establish a healthy, intimate relationship with the opposite sex are in any position to tell society what to think about sexuality or relationships, including homosexuality. People with a homosexuality problem are profoundly disoriented and dysfunctional. Trying to normalize homosexuality is just a way not to face their profound psycho-sexual problems and to insist that society should be just as ignorant and misguided.
        The Bible is very clear that homosexuality is an abomination. Everyone is born heterosexual, the human species is heterosexual. Katherine Harms, you are quite right.
        Kimberly, please do not equate having a homosexual problem with a healthy, wholesome heterosexuality because it isn’t. Normalizing homosexuality is a deplorable action; “gay rights” is nothing but a profoundly corrupt political movement. Being an ally to a deplorable and destructive political movement is a sorry activity.

        “You are not an ally if you categorize my humanity, my sexuality along with murderers, rapists or criminals who rob humanity of others.”

        Lying about how much harm LGBT people do in society is terrible and it is no different than covering up any other crime. People are entitled to examine and analyze all problems related to homosexuality in all its dysfunctional and harmful aspects just as they should do that with rapists (including homosexual rapists), murderers (including homosexual murderers), and criminals who rob humanity of others – which liberals certainly do with their sexuality ideology.

        The objective is not to discuss you personally, it’s to discuss sexuality and all the harm that people who normalize homosexuality do in society.

        • Charlie

          Allesandra… you do some psycho-speech, but apparently do not realize that not only is a homosexual (or LGBT person by definition) NOT “psychologically deformed” but there is no diagnostic criteria in the DSM IV-TR (Diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, which is the benchmark for all mental health diagnoses in all psychological disciplines) because it is not a sickness, mental illness, or deformity. As a matter of fact, professional organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists, etc., etc., etc. strictly prohibit trying to “cure” a homosexual (because they need no cure). It is therefore considered professionally unethical to do so.
          I agree and you are correct in saying that the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination, but it also says the same about women who are menstruating (sorry if that ever includes you!) and eating any shellfish (there goes lobster and shrimp or linguini with white clam sauce–my favoirte) and mixing two different kinds of fabric (better burn all of your cotton/polyester clothing!) Abomination, abomination, abomination!!!
          Those prohibitions (along with not having tatoos, not trimming one’s beard for a man or cutting one’s hair if a woman, or always covering one’s head) were part of separating the Hebrew people from their neighbors of other faiths and cultures. They were a way of saying this marks us as being a separate, “chosen” people. The prohibition about same sex connections was actually ONLY male homosexuality, because there is no prohibition in the Bible about being a lesbian because it was a male dominated, patriarchal society. To be more specific, in the New Testament the reference is more to male prostitution.
          Rather than these markers for people of faith who identify themselves as Christians–or worse, being judgmental, showing lack of compassion, and experiencing blindness due to logs in our own eyes– the primary way others will identify followers of Jesus Christ is that they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love… yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

        • Kimberly

          Alessandra,

          I want to personally thank you for taking the time to share the ruminations of your heart and mind here with us. I am grateful that you have so clearly articulated your twisted and dangerous thinking for folks who read this blog to see. Unlike other sites where you have been censored or banned I will gladly let your comments stand (unless they cross the line to personal attacks) so that your words can serve as an example and reminder of the dangerous ignorance, fear, hatred and lies swelling in the hearts of men and women around the world. Your comments make a better case for the need of allies than any list of steps I could ever write.

          Bless you for exposing the evil,
          Kimberly

        • http://www.rjaypearson.com R. Jay Pearson

          Alessandra, the Bible is very clear that the sun revolves around the earth (Joshua 10:13).

          Of course, evolved understanding along with the application of scientific inquiry has proven the Bible dead wrong on the matter. Yet that didn’t stop the Roman Catholic Inquisition from sanctioning Galileo (who proved that it was in fact the earth that orbits the sun) for diverting from clear Biblical “truths.”

          So if the Bible’s “science” is wrong about the sun’s orbit, then I’m abundantly comfortable betting that the Bible is rather wrong on the subject of human sexuality and gender issues.

          But you know the Bible isn’t the issue. You actually know this. And you actually know you are wrong. It’s clear in the very manner in which you wrote your comments. You’re captive to ideas, fictions, fabrications, and fables borne of the imagination of a primitive culture. I mean, come on. The sun doesn’t revolve around the earth!

          Ultimately, the conversation is NOT about the nature of human sexuality at all, heterosexual or homosexual. Nor is it about politics. And you know this as well. It’s clear in how you wrote your comments. You’re all too aware of this.

          What the conversation IS about is the nature of our COMMON HUMANITY and how it is gracefully exercised in spite of PERCEIVED differences or faults; in spite of who we see as the “other.” So you can either be part of the actual conversation, or remain on the lonely fringes where your ideas are just unheard whispers. Because if you need to feel tall, it’s not going to happen by trying to knock others down.

          I am gay. My sexuality is GOOD. And I am equally a child of God as you are.

          • HannibalBarca

            As an atheist, I have no idea why anyone who is gay would want to be part of the Christian religion. I’m not a psychologist nor have I met you, so I can’t pass any kind of judgment. But there has got to be some kind of cognitive dissonance going on when someone who is gay subscribes to a religion that demands the death penalty for gay people!
            The people above who are calling LGBT people “disordered” are assholes (sorry for the language) but they’re assholes who are right. The Bible DOES demand that I not eat shellfish. It DOES demand that I kill my neighbor if he tries to tempt me into worshipping other gods. And yes, it does demand that I kill someone who is gay, for being gay.
            You can say that’s all in the Old Testament and doesn’t count any more, but that doesn’t really work for me. This allegedly all-loving God may, according to some Christians, not require and command us to kill gays now, but he did at one point in history (according to this book, that is).
            So I’ll continue to advocate and work towards full rights and respect for all people, and I hope that you’ll consider me an ally, even though we disagree on some other things.

    • Lloyd Peacock

      Dearest Katherine, what is that old saying: With friends like you who needs enemies. Please don’t put LGBT folks in the same category as rapists and murderers. You not only insult us, you show how little you understand about sexual orientation. We don’t show our love to a group of people by tearing them down. It would be the same as my saying: God loves black people the same as He loves rapists and murderers. I would recommend that you go into your prayer closet and as that Holy Spirit remove anything that would cause you to be bias, or bigoted against part of God’s creation. Then, perhaps you could be considered an ally.

      • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

        Please don’t put LGBT folks in the same category as rapists and murderers. You not only insult us, you show how little you understand about sexual orientation. We don’t show our love to a group of people by tearing them down. It would be the same as my saying: God loves black people the same as He loves rapists and murderers. I would recommend that you go into your prayer closet and as that Holy Spirit remove anything that would cause you to be bias, or bigoted against part of God’s creation. Then, perhaps you could be considered an ally.
        =============
        Although you criticize Katherine, I don’t see any great understanding of sexuality from you. Normalizing any and all kinds of dysfunctional and disoriented sexualities (including homosexuality) is destructive – it’s not” lack of bias or bigotry.” People with a homosexuality agenda are biased and bigoted but, most of all, they hate what Jesus said: go and sin no more.
        You don’t show any sense by normalizing dysfunctional and harmful people. If you believe that God loves everyone, and you interpret this to mean God endorses everything that pops up in anyone’s mind about sexuality, or every behavior they engage in, it shows how clueless you are about God and love.
        It’s clear some people want to dictate that God thinks that homosexuality is acceptable in order to feel better about all the dysfunctional dynamics they have in their minds about sexuality and relationships and their harmful ideology normalizing homosexuality.
        God has become nothing more than a psychological projection toy.

      • Kristen inDallas

        To be fair, she put herself in the same category as rapists and murderers as well when she put herself in the same category as Katherine. “You and I are both sinners.” We all are. That’s the whole point, right? We love by washing the feet, not by patting on the back. When a person comes with a clear heart and says, I want to be your ally, I want to be your friend, I will love the person you are even if I can’t endorse a particular political policy… spitting in that persons face does very little that is helpful. We need to start building bridges, real, meaningful ones. We need to recognize that if the only people we count as friends are people who never disagree with us, we will all only ever have exactly 1 friend. And with a friend like that, who needs enemies…

    • nakedanthropologist

      You are not an ally – to claim that title, you have to see all people as equals. How dare you even try to equate same sex marriage to things like rape, murder, and thievery? A marriage between two legally aged, consentual adults who want to depend on each other, make a family, and live their lives with love and devotion towards eachother is so far away from the crimes you listed that they aren’t even in the same ballpark! You say you are a Christian – and I believe you. But Christ never said anything about same sex marriage or homosexuality in general. Furthermore, the divine incarnate did mention a lot of things like loving one’s neighbor and rendering unto Caesar. Here’s how I (and many many other people) see it: Marriage has two aspects within American society. The first aspect is civic in nature – that means that when two people of legal age consent to become a single conjoined unit in the eyes of the government. They file joint tax returns, depend on one another with government recognition of this joining. That’s it. The second aspect is cultural, and this is where church ceremonies, honeymoons, and glitzy receptions come into play. Your Christian definition of marriage only holds weight in its social aspect; civic marriage is a status granted by the government if the aforementioned criteria are met – and to deny LGBT folks their legal status and conferred priviledges based on their sexual orientation (which has been researched extensively and found to be an inherent individual trait) is discrimination. Certain churches don’t want to marry LGBT folk? Fine – no one will force them. But don’t kid yourself that you still doing the right thing by “fighting” same sex marriage. You’re participating in bigotry.

      If you don’t agree with same sex marriage (because of religious or other reasons) then don’t marry some luscious babe like Kimberly here – no one would ever force you. Hold the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman; no one really cares. But the minute you step outside your belief circle and try to force other people to live by your beliefs – well, that’s wrong. You are trying to prevent an entire group of fellow American citizens from having the priveledges that you yourself already posses. To boot, you have explicitly stated that the reason you actively campaign against people like Kimberly from being able to marry the person they love most – is due to your own religious convictions. That is illegal and wrong – I can’t force anyone to live by religious convictions but me – the same applies to you. You are no ally.

      • Kimberly Knight

        Ok, that has to be the best comment ever just based on the fact that you called me a luscious babe ;)

        But really, keep speaking the truth about what it takes to be an ally. Speak up for yourself, speak up for those who can not yet raise their voice.

      • ron

        “Your christian definition of marriage only holds weight in its social aspect; civic marriage is a status granted by the government…..” I believe that my christian definition of marriage (one man,one woman) only holds weight in its religious aspect within the church. I totally agree with what you say in the following sentences about civil marriage being a right given to gay couples with all the rights and privileges of what I consider to be “christian marriage”. For that I wil not only be an ally but am an advocate. To the 2 ladies who commented above who apparently believe as I do in original sin and its affects within all of us, I would ask you to consider seeking God’s help to remove the anger, hatred and fear from your hearts. I would ask you to step away from the keyboard or “send button” and consider that it may be possible that someone like Kimberly is really a reasoned, thoughtful person who may love God just as much as you do. Disagreements of beliefs do not need to result in comments filled with hate. Not from either side of this discussion. And please consider the possibility that the people who write on this site do not have an “agenda” to take over america and your (and my) beliefs and are trying to wreck the institution of marriage. I think we (the evangelical christian community) already wrecked the christian definition and institution of marriage when we all kept our mouths shut in the early 80′s while no fault divorce became law.

    • http://ourgirlsclub.blogspot.com/ Ginny Bain Allen

      Amen, Katherine! My grandmother’s name was Katherine, and she was my best friend and beloved mentor. Katherine is such a lovely name and it’s meaning is wonderful! Here’s a poem I wrote a number of years ago on this very topic:

      What Marriage Is
      A crucial query begging answer is not what marriage is.
      How can we presume to vote on a precept that is His?

      Not matters what we think or say,
      We are called to just obey.

      There is a term I find perplexing, what does “gay” Christian mean?
      An oxymoron is what I call it, why to some is this unseen?

      Meaning lively and vivacious, “gay” was once a lovely word.
      Why a church for homosexuals, does that not sound absurd?

      A congregation set apart to justify themselves, are there those for other sins?
      Loving groups and counseling help us, we all need God-in-skin.

      Christ’s disciples love all sinners, but hate the sins that they commit.
      Against the only One infallible, all sin and from Him do split.

      Our gracious, heavenly Father extends compassion and mercy.
      Accepting us where we are, expecting change through His liberty.

  • Norm Morford

    Thank you, K.K. Excellent and profound. Am very inerested in the “institutions” of which you are a part in the Atlanta area.

  • Robin Pearce

    Would it be appropriate to ask my Gay and Lesbian friends what they would like help from me ? the reason I ask is because I live in a Red state that doesn’t have much activism. I do what I can to validate their relationship but I want to do more.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Totally appropriate and wonderful! They may say they are not sure, they may say they don’t really need anything and they may have a very clear list of what is needed in y’all’s state. I would love to hear what they say and how you are called to act.

    • marilove

      Yes! Ask them! They will know better than you how you can help, and the resources you may need. You may also want to look for a local LGBT and/or affirming church in your area, as well — they exist even in the red states!

  • MaryAnn

    I told my husband and one of my best friends last week that one of my resolutions this year is to identify more publicly as an ally, especially in the church where I will be ordained an elder in three weeks, and in the school where I teach 4th grade. Your words have reinforced my feeling that this is something I am called to do – many thanks for the nudge!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Praise The Lord and hallelujah!

  • Julie

    Some books that I think that are worth reading are: A Bullet Proof Faith by Candace Chellew-Hodge, Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology by Patrick S. Cheng. These are great queer voices. A book that I suggest for allys and for those who are not is “The End of Sexuality Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are” by Jenell Williams Paris. Although there are parts to her book I do disagree with, I think she offers some great historical information on sexuality.

    My other suggestion is this, a lot of allys hold seats of privilege and power (to some degree). I think that is important to use those seats to sometimes be quiet. By giving up that seat for an LGBT folk to use their voice. I would challenge an ally who reads this blog to think about how they could step down and allow an LGBTQ friend speak. Sometimes the greatest thing a friend/ally has done for me was to step aside and say, “let Jules speak. she can speak better than I can.” I am always grateful for my friends/allys who speak up for my community, but I am always humbled by those who allow me to speak for myself.

    • Jeff Straka

      Both those books are GREAT! Cheng has a new book out, “From Sin to Amazing Grace: Discovering the Queer Christ”, which I would also highly recommend!

      • Julie

        I have not read that. I read a great review on it from Shannon. I think I’ll add that one to my summer reading list.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Those are great suggestions, thank you!

      And yes, being able to speak for our selves is critical without a doubt. I am clear that there are many places where I need a voice that is very different than an ally’s voice but I am also very clear that we need allies who can speak from their place of privilege to others with privilege. In partnership – my voice lifted with the voice the voice of an ally can be more powerful than either alone.

      • Julie

        so say we all Kimberly! so say we all! :)

  • Jeff Straka

    I want to share some amazing allies in other faith traditions:
    http://www.mpvusa.org/
    http://punktorah.org/
    I’ve been blessed to have met the founders of both of these progressive organizations and can tell you their passion (and compassion) for the LGBTQ community runs deep. I would love to see more interfaith communities working side-by-side in both LGBTQ and women’s rights issues.

    • Julie

      I really love punk torah! great stuff there.

  • http://www.faithpermeatinglife.com Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life

    Thanks for putting this list together! It’s important not just to tell people “Be more tolerant!” but to give them the steps for what that looks like. In terms of resources, my blog has an extensive resource guide of perspectives on christianity on homosexuality, which you can find here, and I’ll add some of your suggestions to it as well!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thanks Jessica, I also look forward to checking out your work!

  • http://www.whateverisgood.blogspot.com Wes Ellis

    To that reading list, I might add V.P. Furnish’s chapter “Homosexuality” from his book, The Moral Teaching of Paul. That was a helpful resource to me when I was first discerning these things. Also, not to toot my own horn, but I wrote a series on “The Bible and Homosexuality” on my own blog: http://whateverisgood.blogspot.com/2012/04/bible-and-homosexuality-romans-1.html

    Thanks so much for writing this post. Great steps, great posture! I hope that more and more people might take up this challenge of love with a posture of humility. Humility is key, otherwise this cause can be another form of condescension toward the LGBT community.

    • Kimberly Knight

      Thank you Wes and thank you for lifting up the work you are doing!

      You are right too that a posture of humility is key. When I think about being an ally for anyone else I imagine that my first steps are to admit there is a heck of a lot I do not know so I need to sit down, hush up and listen before I can do anything else.

  • Jeff Straka

    What a beautiful post for effective advocacy in the new year! BTW, For the Bible Tells Me So is available for streaming on Netflix – a powerful documentary that should be shown in EVERY church/mosque/synagogue!

    • Kimberly Knight

      Oh yeah, thanks Jeff for reminding me and others that you can see it on Netflix. Love you sir!

      • Courtney

        You’re totally right not to ban Alessandra. By the sole act of her clicking on this site to read comments, make counter-arguments, then see the fallout from any “bombs” she’s dropped, she’s gotta be driving up traffic pretty considerably. I’ve always loved hater traffic — it sells ads!


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