Part 2: Note to Skeptics

*Sorry for the spacing issues. I copied these from my inbox and for whatever reason, no matter what I try, the spacing is off.

Well, this ‘I’m Sorry’ Campaign has officially hit craziness. 100% of yesterday was spent fielding media requests, doing interviews and writing transparently to skeptics about The Marin Foundation. In the coming days/weeks, I will be posting all of my email exchanges to the skeptics out there for you to read as well.

Yesterday I posted that three super duper popular bloggers strongly critiqued The Marin Foundation and our work. I emailed all of them directly, and two of them repsonded to me via personal email, Hemant Mehta from Friendly Atheist and Dan Savage from the Slog. Andy Towle from Towleroad has not responded at all. Two quick notes though: First, I want to be very clear that the positive emails/notes/Facebooks/etc we have gotten from this Campaign far, far, far outweigh the negative. Second, I was so humbled that there were so many people who came to our defense on each of the negative blog posts. We at the Foundation were floored!

I will start by posting the questions and responses I had with Dan (and the reason I am posting these emails is because they are written as public statements that Dan has permission to post as well):

I reached out to Dan by saying:

Hi Dan,
This is Andrew Marin, President of The Marin Foundation. Thanks for your posts. I just wanted to reach out and let you know how real all of what we’re doing is. No matter what Signorile says, we’re not an ex-gay organization, I am not rich, and the Advocate took the article off their website years ago because the people quoted in that article made public statements saying they never said any of what was quoted – and I have those if you would like to see them (this is why the only pace you can find that article is on and not on the actual Advocate site). I would love to be open and honest with you about whatever questions you might have. I’ve got nothing to hide, no matter what anyone might say. And there are a ton of LGBT people in Chicago, and around the country (Christian, non-Christian, partnered, etc) who know us personally and would 100% back us up.
I posted this today:
And if you read the comments on the actual blogs, like the Towleroad post, you will see a lot of LGBT people not only sticking up for us, but vouching that we’re the opposite of anything Signorile says – just like they did 4 years ago. We’re not just talk. We’re a movement of people committed to reconciliation. 
Hope to talk soon.
Much love,
Dan wrote back saying:
i am filing something on a deadline — will get to this, and post your letter, late today. 
do you support marriage equality?
do you support gay people adopting children?
do you support gay people being able to serve openly in the military?
no theological questions—just political. not asking you if you think i’m a sinner (like fornicators, divorced folks, etc.), only if you think that gay people deserve full equality under the law or not.
I responded with:
Thanks for the quick reply Dan. The Marin Foundation works to build these bridges between two dichotomized communities of people. We partner very closely with organizations such as LGBT Change (an equality marriage organization based here in Chicago) the same that we partner with Willow Creek Community Church. Both are coming from different ends of the spectrum, yet each are an important group of people that need reconciliation. Within The Marin Foundation, we have LGBT people (Christian, non-Christian, partnered, celibate) both on staff and in our volunteer base. We model this reconciliation with ourselves first (reconciliation being defined as: a group of people with differing social, political and theological ideologies coming together to do significant things in today’s secular and religious cultures). Therefore The Marin Foundation does not have political stances because we are comprised of every shade of faith and sexuality – political and theological.
Also, I never answer yes/no questions. Here’s why:
(this is a video interview I did back in October 2009 for a Christian youth-worker organization…I’m the first one to speak)
We’re here to elevate the conversation. That doesn’t mean dodge the conversation, that just means that there must be more to reconciliation than 1 word answers. With that said, one of the things that the broader conservative Church gets very wrong when it comes to this topic, is that there is a confusion by living within a government that separates church and State. The part that gets overlooked by much of evangelicalism is that church and State are independent entities of each other and should be treated as such.
Looking forward to talking more.
Much love,
Dan replied with:
sorry, i wasn’t asking the Marin Foundation to take a political stance. i’m asking you what your stance is.
if a ban on gay marriage was on the ballot, you would vote… yes or no? ban it or not?
sorry, andrew, but this is a time when people have to stand up and be counted. you can’t sit on the sidelines. this is a civil rights struggle. on one side, equality. on the other side, discrimination and disenfranchisement.
Then I replied with:
Thanks for the clarification. Here you go:
I have already publicly stated that I believe LGBT people should be allowed to openly serve in the military ( and in a talk I gave recently at the University of Illinois I said publicly that I’m in favor of LGBT adoption – as many of my gay friends have already adopted. As for gay marriage, no matter what anyones opinion (including the conservative Church world) the country is moving in the direction of full marriage equality. I totally believe it will happen much sooner than later. My role in this is to use my influence to model peaceful and productive dialogue, shifting paradigms away from the culture war and onto wholistic living. My message to the church, regardless of political viewpoint, is that when gay marriage happens, it will then be the church’s job to focus on living in relation to, and relationship with; instead of just keeping the “fight” going. Proactive reaction in shifting these paradigms is what I’m all about. And so is everyone in my organization, who some would vote yes, and some would vote no.
On a very personal note, I stood up in my gay best friend’s commitment ceremony a few years ago and I have attended a number of LGBT wedding ceremonies (including the most recent legal marriage ceremony of a good friend in Iowa). And both of those couples have kids! To me, love is a tangible word. That is just a small part of how I unconditionally live it out.
Here is a recent comment posted on Friendly Atheist by a gay, married man Jon, who is a good friend, defending me personally:
“Andrew’s a good guy and is definitely on our side. He traveled to Iowa City and attended my wedding with his wife when my husband and I got legally hitched this past January. The Marin Foundation is a Christian organization, but it’s nothing like the 95% of the Christian groups out there. He’s interested in trying to reduce the culture war static. He’s also interested in making the church more friendly for GLBT folks who are seeking a place there. But, really he’s just trying to get the Christian community to reduce their rhetoric and relax on the gay stuff.”
Talk soon.
Andrew Marin
Dan said:
so you would vote against a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, if it were on the ballot?
Then I followed up by saying:
I appreciate your fortitude on this and so very clearly understand your passion – as I see and live with that passion everyday closely through my LGBT friends and those in the Boystown neighborhood where I live. I said what I said in the previous emails and that is where, as the leader of The Marin Foundation, we, and I stand regarding gay marriage, adoption and openly serving in the military. Please watch the video link I sent you as to why I still will not answer yes/no questions with one word yes/no answers.
Talk soon!
And that was all that was said. I hope Dan posts this conversation on his blog as well, as he said he would. We’ll see what happens…
Much love.

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  • wackywilliams

    I truly apresheate your love & understanding of everyone Andrew, It still shocks me how easly you enbrased me phisicaly, emoshonely & spirtuly when we first met & you continue to do so. I myself have struggled greatly on the marrege equalty thing becuse I am not really politicly minded & truthfully don’t pay attion much to the hub bub, I have had a rather bitter stance on marrege my whole life & every since this issue came to for front said sure let them marry & have to pay for a divorce & amony & ext like everyone else, but some of my friends have talked about that taxes would rise & it would be harder to insere enployes if this law went through, personaly don’t really understand that argument becuse if they were all strait & got marred wouldn’t it be the same thing as far as insurence & stuff? but I am woundering if theres any validety to the law making it harder for people that own there own busseness, small compenys ext? sorry not trying to get political but you seem to understand all this political stuff way better then I do, & as far as morely I think everyone should have euqule rights & a right to safty, securty & the pursuit of happyness & fullfillment, but also I have severl friends that do own thire own busseness & don’t want my stupidety of law & knowing the full consaquinses to hurt them. thanks man,

  • I can understand wanting to know someone’s position on these issues.

    However, if the goal of TMF is to build bridges btw clashing sides, is that necessary? I think not. Seems like it’s beside the point. It’s not really about TMF or it’s views, it’s about getting people in opposing camps to engage one another productively. (TMF is like a phone, connecting 2 people….. not all that important what the phone thinks. it’s serving as a tool for communication.)

    There are people who hold beliefs all across the spectrum. Do they have to agree with me before we even begin to talk?

    The fact that they are willing to talk is the important factor. And, if you’re in the GLBT community (which I am), I don’t see that you have much to lose here…. other than stereotypes, fears & lies (the bastions of bigotry) being torn down.

    At the end of the day, I have to ask myself, do they need to change before I even make the effort to connect with them? (How would that happen?) My question is, how do *I* interact with someone, regardless of their beliefs, attitudes or stance? Then, it’s not dependent on them.

    Also, if you’re in the Christian community (which I am), then I believe I’m really really REALLY supposed to love my enemy, my neighbor, my relative & my friend. This is where the rubber hits the road.

  • Julie H

    Hey Andrew, I was moved by what you guys did at the parade, and I’ve been following along as this story has unfolded this week. Regarding your refusal to answer any yes/no questions, that was something that I didn’t initially understand when I first started to hear you speak. So I can understand why this gentleman is also skeptical. Here’s what ultimately helped me “get it”, so I’ll share it here for the benefit of anyone else reading this blog:

    Most yes/no questions function as a litmus test. The underlying question is “Are you on my team or the other team?”. If you’re on “my team,” we can high-five, assume we agree on everything, and no more dialog is necessary. If you’re on the “other team,” I don’t want to talk to you anymore, so no more dialog is going to happen. Either way, it shuts down dialog. For an organization that seeks to live in the tension and break down the “culture war” between these “teams” your goal is to keep the dialog open for those who are willing to engage in the messy business of reconciliation.

    I think there are a many people (myself included) whose perspective doesn’t fit neatly into the pre-defined boxes of either “team,” and can only be understood through dialog and actions, but yes/no questions on hot-button issues are not helpful toward that end.

    Anyway, I found that perspective helpful, and I hope others do too.

    • Thanks for being so transparent with this Julie H. What you said is exactly the point of trying to undo the us vs. them.

  • Thanks, Andrew, for these comments. I’m not a big fan of the litmus test questions (“Are you for…?”) I think there is much more to a sustained movement than picking sides. Keep it up!

  • Hi Andrew

    Just wanted to thank you. I’ve been following the activity here over the last few days, and as well as your more obvious aims I also really admire the way you’re responding to criticism. Keep it up!


  • Nathalie Ais

    hey andrew,

    thanks for being willing to exist in the tension as evidenced by engaging in this letter correspondence. i get the not answering yes/no questions reasoning. however you did answer 2/3 yes-no questions posed by dan in a yes/no fashion. you stated clearly that you favor gay adoption and that gays should be able to serve openly in the military. i noticed that you did not say whether you favor not/ support or not gay marriage. you stated that gay marriage will likely happen in this country regardless of opinions so it seemed like an justification utilized to not answer the question with a yes/no response as you did the other two.

    in that email response to dan if you were to keep your not answering yes-no questions reasoning then i expected you to NOT have said that you favor gay adoption for instance. you would ELEVATE the conversation on this topic in a different way. what is at stake in adoption? what are the values needed to adopt? get at the underlying concerns somehow at the concern that gays are assumed unfit parents. i say this with love and i am not trying to attack you, only strengthen and help improve the hard work you and the foundation are striving to. i share similar desires and when i read your book you gave me hope. but as fellow person in this family of humanity who wants to truthfully support you, i also have to bring attention, question, address and challenge you to keep what you say you do and clarify things that may be misunderstood.

    thus when you answer 2 of the 3 yes-no questions in a yes-no fashion, it makes me wonder. why? why answer in a yes-no fashion? its not that its a bad thing but why did you not answer the marriage equality question as you did the others? i think hearing why you did not answer the marriage equality question in the same way would deepen understanding of the tension you talk about. did you not answer the marriage equality question of including your yes-no response because you still are not sure where you stand? did not answer it in a yes/no fashion because you did not want to offend (which i can totally understand, see romans chapter 14 esp v. 22)? do you see that you did not answer that question as you did the others and therefore it seems like you are not completely holding the reasoning you say that you uphold. you may have a personal reason why that you don’t want to share and i respect that too.

    you might think well i didn’t have to answer any of the questions at all and then you would probably have to defend your not answering yes/no questions even more. i get that. i just wanted to honestly share what i got from reading your response. it seems that you clearly answered the 2 of the 3 yes- no questions in a yes-no fashion (ie. in favor of gay adoption) but did not do so for the marriage equality. you said other things but did not include your yes-no response. you say you do not answer yes/no questions with a yes- no response.

    do you see what i am saying?

    much love bro,


    • Nat – I totall see where you’re coming from. The difference (at least in my mind) about those 2 questions is I had already made public statements about them at my own free will long before Dan, or anyone, ever asked. So although they were questions by Dan, they were decisions that The Marin Foundation has made to take a stance on. As for gay marriage, this is the most (some would argue even over “sin”) heated argument between the two communities. The Marin Foundation needs try as best as we can to foster peacefulness and productivity where there is currently none. And as I said to Dan, there are staff and volunteers within my org who vote on all sides of this issue.

      • Eugene

        Don’t you think that you “foster peacefulness” at the expense of the gay community? I mean, the situation surely was (or seemed) peaceful when gay people didn’t want (or couldn’t get) marriage rights. Why should a gay person support your foundation when he/she can support organizations (and churches) that fight for gay rights, not “peacefulness”?

        You seem to think that your organization fosters love, but a vote against marriage equality is a measurable, tangible, and unconditional kick in the nads. It looks especially inappropriate in the context of your dichotomy between affirmation and validation (which is a very good idea, by the way).

        • I’m not asking for any support from those who don’t want to support it. There are huge numbers of LGBT people who do want to be a part of it though, because we’re providing space in the one place they have been wrongly kicked out from. And no one is saying any of us are voting against marriage equality. There are both sides of people within my org – that’s the point of building a bridge. It can’t be built from only one side.

          • Eugene

            The thing is, the gay community doesn’t need “bridges” when our fortress is under attack. And your attempt to “foster peacefulness” is misguided. Yes, your foundation will be peaceful. Other people won’t be peaceful, though. If it was the Christian community on the verge of losing civil rights, would you still “foster peacefulness”?

  • Homa Sapiens

    To condense your answers, you DO support the repeal of DADT, you DO supprt LGBT marriages, and you DO support the rights of gays to adopt.

    Glad to hear it!

  • I’m looking forward to productive discussions with all parties involved.

    I’ve read Dan’s column and listened to his show for a long time. While I disagree with him loads of time… about a whole lot of things, I’ve grown to respect him even when I disagree. He’s thoguhtful and intelligent… a lot like you.

    I’m not going to lie and say that I think you guy will be besties or anything. But there are a ton of times that I’ve listened to his show and thought… I need to figure out a way for these Andy and Dan to meet.

    Who knows? Maybe it will really happen?

  • Eugene

    If you believe that “church and State are independent entities”, why are you so unwilling to support civil marriage equality?

    And if you believe that “love is a tangible word”, why can’t you see that a vote in support of marriage equality is much more tangible than all the “elevation” you’re talking about?

    I’m afraid your foundation doesn’t have political stances because you aren’t working to make gay people happy. You’re working to make them Christian. And many people are rightfully concerned that your ideal version of Christianity includes ex-gay and anti-gay elements. You surely don’t seem to reject them.

    Also, it’s a little ridiculous how you “never answer yes/no questions”, but don’t have a problem with asking them ( I mean, there are more than a dozen of them in one post. The very first question: “For the record, do you think child molestation is wrong?” For some reason, you don’t want to “elevate the conversation” anymore. That’s because you believe that child molestation is wrong.

    But when it comes to homosexuality, you apparently don’t think that Christian homophobia is wrong. You seem to be fully comfortable with the idea that homosexuality is a sin. Otherwise, your idea of “reconciliation” stops making sense. You pretty much have to avoid the marriage equality issue because of the obvious connection between the prevalent Christian understanding of marriage and the fact that gay people have no marriage rights. This issue exposes the fact that there’s the aggressor (the Christian community) and the victim (the gay community). It’s as if you’re asking a rape victim to reconcile with the rapist when the rapist doesn’t think that what he did was wrong!

    There’s a limit to your love, Andrew. And it saddens me that many gay people have been so hurt in their lives that they think your “love” is the real deal.

    • Eugene – Bold statements. Thank you for bringing these up. A few thoughts:

      1. Working to make people ‘happy’ isn’t our goal – not for the Church or for the LGBT community. Bringing reconciliation and having people talk to each other rather than past each other is a difficult thing because it hold people accountable. Yes, that includes me. But I’m willng to do it none the less. If you think ‘happy’ is the ultimate outcome, I’m sorry, we’re not here to always give everyone (gay and straight, liberal and conservative) warm fuzzy feelings.

      2. You are so right in calling out my hypocrasy on the child molestation post. In a clear moment of shock and frusteration I fired those off. I regret it. And yes, everyone lapses, even with something, in this situation, that I believe so strongly in (ex: not asking/answering yes/no). For that I apologize.

      3. Such a shame you think that LGBT people have been hurt by me because they think my love has a limit. I don’t know, maybe you should ask some of the LGBT people I know who (because I don’t know you) what they think. Or better yet, you can just read all of the comments on my blog (AND ESPECIALLY the comments on the other blogs bashing us) by LGBT people (Christian, non-Christian, partnered, etc) who totally disagree with you. But everyone is entitled to their opinion, and it’s hard to shift paradigms not in relationship (no matter where or what side that shift is coming from). Thank you for your thoughts.

      • Eugene

        1. What are you here for, then?

        “Reconciliation” is not the answer, because there can be very different kinds of reconciliation. From my perspective, the conflict can be resolved in two different ways:

        a) Christians gradually stop preaching that homosexuality is a sin.
        b) Gays accept the belief that homosexuality is a sin and become celibate, “ex-gay” or conflicted.

        Needless to say, the gay community doesn’t think that the latter is acceptable. And you even admit that you aren’t working to make people happy…

        So here’s the question: what do you want/expect from the reconciliation? In 50 years, what will be the most prevalent way to express same-sex attraction in a religious context?

        2. The thing is, I don’t have a problem with you child molestation post. I surely don’t think that we need to “elevate the conversation” when it comes to child molestation. But if you’re so committed to this idea of elevation, why don’t you elevate this conversation above Christianity? Why is the Marin Foundation using the Bible “as a productive tool”? Why can’t you view both sides of the conflict from an obviously more neutral secular/humanist perspective?

        • Bart Wang

          Bart will stick his nose in where it was not requested. Eugene, you have your ideas of how to proceed with ‘reconciliation’ but they present your own dichotomy. No one else necessarily will agree with you. Interestingly, I think that many Christians would agree with your binary choice. While you think #1 is the only viable answer, many Christians would say that #2 is the only real option (in their minds). However, I think there are more choices, especially because our insights, understandings and experiences will fall along a spectrum and will (hopefully) mature and change over time.

          At one time, I would have said that I felt being gay was immoral and gay marriage was wrong. However, I no longer believe that being gay is immoral and I support gay marriage. This was not an overnight change (and Andrew was one of the people who helped me in my journey). Have I stopped growing? I hope not.

          One of the things that Christ followers (the progressive or liberal ones, anyhow) have a hard time describing is that they are not the ones who define “sin”. The word means, literally, “to miss the mark”. Unless a wrong is committed against me, my family or my community (however I define those), the mark being missed is not one that I have set so the harm is not done to me. However, Christ-followers believe that God can define when we ‘miss the bulls-eye’ and that each mark missed not only impacts that person themselves, others around them as well as God since He intimately and passionately loves all people and wants them to live to the ideal that He desires for them (so they can be the best versions of themselves).

          While we might like Christians to stop believing that being gay is wrong (and I think we’re correct in that position), we might be asking too much for people at a certain stage of growth. To expect them to let go of something that many people have been taught for centuries and they believe (some with the best of intentions, others who are only malicious and hateful) that God honestly does not want people to be gay. I submit that it is the job of Christ-followers (such as Andrew and myself) to be calling our brothers and sisters to re-examine the life and teaching of Jesus. You can contribute to the dialogue and may have many great opportunities to teach Christians about LGBT people and issues but there will be many people who immediately ignore you because you are not one of them. Of course, many Christians disdain Andrew and TMF for what they are doing too so you’re not alone . However, please be aware that by simply throwing negative comments at people, you are unlikely to convince them of your position. Jesus did not yell about sin and hell at people who were disinterested in him; he raised his voice and became angry at the religious conservatives who claimed to follow God but missed his mark completely! Since we are Christ-followers and it is our community who have done so much harm towards the LGBT community (and individuals who are within both communities at the same time), TMF speaks to those who say they follow Jesus and call them to live as Jesus gave us his example – loving, compassionate, open and honest and without condemnation.

          Lastly, it is my opinion that a ‘secular/humanist perspective’ does not necessarily engender compassion and acceptance. From the Christian perspective, God expects and desires his followers to show love and care for all persons just as he dearly loves all people. I believe (and this is just my opinion) that without a final moral standard, you can believe what you want and I can believe what I want and we cannot explain why your opinion has any more validity than mine. Society might endorse one over the other but, universally-speaking, we’re equals even if we support opposite perspectives.

          Thanks for your thoughts!

          • Eugene

            “While we might like Christians to stop believing that being gay is wrong (and I think we’re correct in that position), we might be asking too much for people at a certain stage of growth.”

            If that’s the case, Andrew is surely asking too much when he lures gay kids into anti-gay – but “accepting” – churches. Just because they are more vulnerable and suggestible, doesn’t make it OK.

            “From the Christian perspective, God expects and desires his followers to show love and care for all persons just as he dearly loves all people.”

            The problem with this viewpoint is that, for example, many Christians believe that “ex-gay” therapy is an expression of love and care – and that’s aside from Leviticus.

            “I believe (and this is just my opinion) that without a final moral standard, you can believe what you want and I can believe what I want and we cannot explain why your opinion has any more validity than mine.”

            Actually, it depends. In this case, conservative Christians condemn homosexuality and gay marriage, gay people DON’T condemn heterosexuality and Christian marriage. Conservative Christians tell other people what to do, gay people want to be left alone. This difference is objective, and it will be recognized by a sufficiently civilized society.

  • IT

    I’m afraid that I too am suspicious, Andrew. I’m with Dan and Eugene. If you cannot support civil marriage for GLBT people then you are not loving supporters. (Oh, I know you went to your best gay friend’s wedding. There are good Catholics who call themselves “friends” of my wife who are never less than kind and gracious to me. But they voted proudly for Prop8 anyway.)

    We know that the Evangelical movement is concerned at losing GLBT people. We know you are concerned that young people’s first definition of “Christian” is to equate it with “homophobic”. So many of us frankly suspect that your goal is to lure in GLBT people but still with the goal of changing them–a kinder, gentler reparative therapy. We are discussing this over at liberal religious blogs Friends of Jake and at Street Prophets and I invite you to join in and explain why you think our community should trust you this time.

    Meanwhile, there are authentic Christian communities who do welcome GLBT people, and call them to be people of integrity within their gay identity. I’m thinking of the UCC, or the Episcopalians. These communities are activists for GLBT civil rights. They march with GLBT folks in Pride, or in protest events. The work within their own churches for equal rights. Their clergy include have faithfully partnered gay folks and women as well as men. They aren’t just talking the talk. They are walking with us too.

    • IT – Please, find me ONE PERSON who has ever participated in anything The Marin Foundation, or I, have ever done over the last 10 years who says that after all these years I am secretly trying to change them. Find just one!

      It’s way easier to believe lies because they’re scandilous and great rumors.

      And The Marin Foundation works closely with UCC and Episcopal just the same as we do with a Willow Creek or an Assembly of God church. I INVITE YOU to come out to Chicago to one of our Living in the Tension groups and tell us (including non-Christian LGBT, gay Christian, celibate, ex-gay, liberal straight Christian, conservative straight Christian and non-Christian straight) who participate that we’re not walking too. Hope to see you soon IT.

      And since you’re so bold, next time link to your personal blog/FB profile. It’s easy to fire off things on the internet and not be held accountable. I choose to put myself out there for this dialogue. Do you? Thanks.

      • AdamN

        Maybe IT heard the audio orientation I listened to last night. It sure sounded to me like you wanted gay people to “change” in that talk and I was listening to your words.
        It is REALLY inappropriate (and juvenile) for you to suggest IT post personal information about him/herself. IT is not running a campaign/organization, you are. IT is a concerned person with valid questions. As the leader of your organization, its your responsibility to effectively communicate the aims of your group and answer other peoples questions. IT as an individual has no such responsibility.
        By attacking IT in such way it suggests that you really don’t have answers or explanations to communicate with him/her or the gay community. I don’t think its possible to build bonds of trust until you begin to honestly communicate and answer some serious issues that are being brought up.

      • David | Dah•veed

        Perhaps instead of getting on your Holy High Horse you might follow the links that she gave you. She posted here exactly as she posts all around the web. One link leads to another and you will know as much about her as any of us do. But if you are looking for a name and address, she chooses to be more careful than that.

        But you never really put yourself out there. You say that you will, but then you run away. Three times in a little more than a year you have claimed to be open to dialog, and as soon as I have asked some of the Big 5 questions you ran away. You did not return. You did not explain why you ran away. You did not explain why you avoid yes or no questions. You made the commitment to engage and then you ran away. Three separate times; twice at Changing Attitude and once at Friends of Jake.

  • Kara

    I don’t feel the need to address the whole post, but I did want to comment to those saying that Andrew thinks gay people need to change. I don’t know whether or not he thinks it’s a sin. I tend to lean toward “yes,” honestly.

    That said, I am also completely convinced that Andrew doesn’t have any secret desire for me (and folks like me) to change. I really think he honestly wants to engage with us just like we are, with no hopes or expectations of us ever changing.

    Which is really interesting, actually. Usually it’s the other way around. (One doesn’t often have certainty on the “change” question while having major doubts about the “sin” question.)

    So, I mean, I don’t know how to explain it, or what his logic is behind it (and I’m not saying that’s a problem or that he has to tell me or anyone else) but I did want to say that I’m 100% convinced that Andrew Marin is not in the business of seeking orientation change from gay folk.

    • AdamN

      Nope. The orientation recording made it really clear, the ultimate goal of this “bridge building” is making gay people change or be celibate. The ultimate goal for the church appears to be: lets be less homophobic when interacting with these people committing sin so we can reel them in and then convert them to OUR agenda. That isn’t a dialogue. He’s saying vague, wishy washy, happy, lovey dovey, non-committal things to gay people while at the same time promoting a strategy to the very people who wish to force us back into a closeted, pre-Stonewall miserable existence. That’s working against us.
      Whats really alarming is that the orientation focused so much on gay kids as young as 13-15. Andrew repeatedly spoke about getting to these kids before the gay community did because (Oh Noes!) the community would accept them and say their sexuality is healthy and natural as opposed to the Church teaching them…well that part was very suspiciously left quiet vague but I’ll betcha its not all cuddly bunnies for us homos.
      To preach this stuff to kids is absolutely dangerous, and in my mind, pretty much equal to child abuse. Gay kids are already incredibly vulnerable growing up in a homophobic society. The last thing they need is a church coming in and telling them their sexuality is sinful, that they ultimately need to think about being celibate or convert to heterosexuality. That is absolutely and totally inexcusable and horribly damaging to kids. (I think its really funny that fundies always talk about the monolithic gay community, as if there is such a unified entity, “converting” children when they try pull this nonsense. Projecting much?)

      • Eugene

        Actually, I can’t fully agree that the recording makes the ultimate goal “really clear”. Still, Andrew says very alarming things. He says that gay kids shouldn’t self-identify as gay (and Christians should actively work to prevent it). He says that they shouldn’t come out. He wants them to self-identify as Christian – as if two aspects are mutually exclusive. And it actually appears to be consistent with the info on the Marin Foundation website:

        “The Marin Foundation is here to… help shape a healthy identity wrapped in Christ, not an identity and worth system based only in ones sexuality.” (

        It’s as if anyone who identifies as gay has an “identity and worth system based only in ones sexuality”. Doesn’t this nonsense remind you of anti-gay and “ex-gay” beliefs? How is it even possible, anyway?

        And, no, being “gay and Christian” isn’t enough. According to Andrew, when a 15 year old wants to be gay and Christian, “there is a ton of HOPE for a person like that” because “you can’t be married and you can’t have kids” when you’re 35 years old.

        • AdamN

          The alarming things that you mention make it really clear for me even as, I agree and have mentioned before, some of the ultimate goals of the Marin Foundation seem to be left deliberately vague. But whatever, we are on the same side here.
          I really don’t want these people speaking to gay kids. Junk like this can screw someone up for a lifetime.

          • So true. Bridge building isn’t always in absolutes. It’s about living in the tension – like this post and within folks who strongly disagree. And yes, lots of junk can screw folks up for a lifetime. I’m just trying to make sure the conservative world stops doing that. This 4 Part Series might help:


          • AdamN

            You don’t address any of the concerns many of us had in that post, specifically the concerns raised from your audio orientation. Instead you present a defensive definition of homophobia that suits your agenda, which honestly is something straight homophobes do a lot.

        • AdamN

          And in response, Andrew??:
          birds chirping….

          • Oh, sorry AdamN. I was celebrating the 4th of July weekend with people I love. My bad for not checking my blog every 5 seconds over the holidays. I’m responding to the chirping today, Tuesday.

        • That talk was given to a group of very conservative Christian youth pastors of whom none of which will vote for gay marriage, etc. So I can either move the Titanic in small incraments, or I could repeat your words and have all of them sprint out of the room and never come back or ever listen to anyone about this topic again. Which one would you like to happen?

          • Eugene

            “Which one would you like to happen?”

            Is there a difference? The “Titanic” will move in small increments anyway (because of the gay community’s actions). But I’m pretty sure that “small increments” will make a bigger difference in churches that already are on the verge of being gay-affirming.

          • Eugene – You honestly believe the conservative Christian world listens to the gay community? If they did, there wouldn’t be anymore fighting! How many LGBT people do you know who are invited to teach/speak/preach at conservative churches, conferences, etc? The answer is none. You might not think highly of me now or forever, but you would be surpised how much I have your back in a place that doesn’t want anything to do with you, or being peaceful/productive.

          • Eugene

            No, the point is that anti-gay Christians will eventually have to become pro-gay – just like racist Christians had to become “colorblind”. But there are many Christian churches that already are on the verge of becoming gay-affirming, and your “small increments” could make a bigger difference.

          • Brad Jorde

            “just like racist Christians had to become “colorblind”

            Have you studied King? He was a Christian! His Christianity had EVERYTHING to do with his push for civil rights! Christianity was at the forefront of the civil rights movement! Check MLK’s Letter From a Birmingham Jail:

            Or read up on MLK’s other speeches/essays/journals:
            Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches that Changed the World
            (Harper One, 1992).

  • Eugene

    The thing is, there IS the recording AdamN was talking about, and, no, it doesn’t sound like Andrew has “no hopes or expectations of us ever changing”. Maybe he was just saying what the audience wanted to hear. But if he really thinks that gay people shouldn’t change, no one stops him from saying so.

    • I listened to that recording you’re talking about. And you hear the word ‘change’ when I speak, but you didn’t listen to my definition of ‘change’. I clearly said a few things:

      1. “When I say ‘change’ I am not referring to behavior modifcication”
      2. “Bridge building isn’t to prosteletize people. It’s not to ‘change’ any behavior. It’s to prove yourself over time.”

      Looks like you are imposing your version of ‘change’ in behavior modification upon my version of ‘change’ – spiritual and emotional shifts

      • Eugene

        You said that “there is a ton of hope” for a 15 year old gay Christian because he “can’t be married” and “can’t have kids” when he’s 35 years old.

        • I haven’t heard the clip yet or the context. Was the issue perhaps that that 15-year-old won’t find himself like the numerous 20-, 30-, 40-, 50- folks who marry heterosexually and have kids and find everything falling apart around him because he’s a gay man married to a straight woman? Just a thought.

          • Eugene

            No, it was the opposite. Andrew said that gay Christians “can’t be married”, so there’s “a ton of hope” for them.

  • Thank you for doing what you’re doing. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to meet, but if we do, I want to shake your hand and thank you face to face.

    God bless you.

    • Thanks Sans. Much love brother. I look forward to the day we do meet.

  • JCF

    Jesus said “Let your yes be ‘Yes’ and your no be ‘No’.” In the Revelation to John, the writer says to the Church at Laodicea “I spit you out of my mouth, because you are neither cold nor hot.”

    You either AFFIRM the gay person—IN their gayness!—as Imago Dei, OR you don’t.

    You either support the same-sex couple in their life commitment (esp. in Christian commitment!) as you would an opposite-sex couple in their marriage (AND support the political/legal process to make civil AND Christian marriage available to same-sex couples), OR you don’t.

    Double-talk and evasion comes from the Father of Lies, NOT Jesus.

    Which is it, Andrew? (I believe you’re familiar with the impossibility of serving two masters?)

    JCF, redeemed IN and THROUGH my Queerness . . . Thank God! 😀

    • AdamN

      Now THAT’S what a proud gay Christian sounds like! Good for you!

    • Then why, during Jesus’ 3 year public ministry, did He never answer a yes/no question? Just curious…

      • Eugene

        Because he could be stoned to death for new, radical beliefs. And he had to speak in parables for the same reason. Needless to say, you’re not in the same position.

      • JCF

        Um, Andrew, I think you may have your “WWJD?” bracelet on a little too tightly.

        Point #1: You’re not Jesus, and I really don’t suggest you try to “do exactly as he did” (starting w/ the walking on water part, duh).

        As far as the presupposition of your question: off the top of my head, I recally Jesus responding in the affirmative to Pilate’s “Are you the Son of God” question in the Gospel of John (FWIW).

        I don’t think Yes/No questions are especially interesting, and if they are few/far-between in the Gospels, that could be why. Of course, that could be YOUR point as well, but please, return to Point #1!

        If it’s a choice between doing as Jesus says—he who, as he commands, KNOWS we are but foolish sinners!—and doing as he does (his “doing” being amplified being the Second Person of the Trinity, capice?), stick w/ the doing as he says, Andrew: “let your yes be ‘Yes’…”

        • Eugene

          I believe the more important aspect is that Jesus wasn’t a bridge builder! He harshly rebuked people when it was necessary. And he wasn’t a peace maker:

          “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

          “a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'” (Matthew 10:36) (!!!)

          From my perspective, Andrew is doing the opposite of what Jesus was doing. Am I missing something?

  • blake

    Hi all

    I think Eugene and Nat have some good questions, but having read Andrews book- let me give another viewpoint:

    I’m a christian and (sadly) did the ex gay therapy thing and it also led me down a road to depression and suicidal tendencies. Since accepting my sexuality, I’m still a christian but even tho gay- I have had to readress a lot of thoughts:

    I now think ( or lean) towards civil partnerships as the IDEAL for gay relationships, but I totally make a stand that the casual, promiscuous sex you see in a lot of the gay community isn’t right at all and is sin- in my opinion.

    If Andrews love and acceptance causes “change” where an overly promiscuous person stops and is celibate until a committed relationship – is that change wrong? Wouldn’t straight people naturally say the same thing?

    I think change has become a dirty word- orientation will most defo never- or rarely change- but a lifestyle that is God honouring is totally appropriate.

    Sciptually I see no issue with the gay issue but I see a huge issue with promiscuity and loose living.maybe the idea of a committed relationship is an ideal- and most gay people would want that.

    That’s my take on it.

    • Eugene

      “If Andrews love and acceptance causes “change” where an overly promiscuous person stops and is celibate until a committed relationship – is that change wrong?”

      It’s a positive change – but only to the extent that Andrew affirms committed same-sex relationships. “Change” has become a dirty word because Christian organizations use this word when they want gay people to become straight or permanently celibate. Naturally, the best way to “reclaim” this word is to promote committed same-sex relationships as a healthy, morally virtuous expression of Christian values.

      No one is advocating promiscuity here. Heck, if the gay community believed that promiscuity is better than committed relationships, we wouldn’t be fighting for marriage rights.

      I believe that gay people who are overly promiscuous simply have a low sense of self-worth and don’t value long-term same-sex relationships. And it’s largely the Christian community’s fault. That’s why a pro-gay Christian has no moral right to be wishy-washy about the moral status of homosexuality and same-sex relationships – regardless of his intentions.

      • As much as neither of you, Eugene or AdamN, might want to buy my book and/or read it, I would really suggest you do so. It could make you more pissed at me or it could bring some clarity to the tension I intentionally try to live within. Also, this series I wrote will help (I hope?):

        AdamN – I feel the disconnect in your arguments against what we’re all about is coming from the place of your aversion to organized religion. I am not saying this to convince you to want to be a part of organized religion (or care about The Marin Foundation for that fact), I am just pointing out that The Marin Foundation is unashamedly faith based; in God in culture. Of course you wouldn’t like/care about who we are and what we do. Please read the above posts in the link.

        • AdamN

          I may personally have no faith an organized religion but that doesn’t mean I don’t think its right for someone else. I have studied Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Tao and Buddhism and found interesting and useful things from all these religious teachings.I am totally OK with the Marin Foundation being faith based. I am not OK with the Marin’s organizations attempt to reach out to gay people (esp. gay kids) only to give the same bigoted Evangelical views in a slightly nicer package. If your faith dictates that homosexuality is a sin, that we should leave celibate lives, that we should not get married..just be honest about it. I am still going to call you a bigot (because its a bigoted position) but at least I would respect you more for your honesty (and more importantly gay people would really know what they are getting in for when they deal with your group)

          • AdamN

            Oops, this was meant for Andrew..

    • AdamN

      Eugene already expressed this quite well but…
      The best way for Christian’s to end “gay promiscuous culture”(because of of course contemporary Heterosexuals rarely engage in casual sex!) is to be pro-gay marriage. You can’t demean a group of people’s relationships, deny them legal protections that would bond them together and foster families, and then get up on a high horse about “gay promiscuous-ness”. Promiscuous is not nesc. inherent to any sexuality.
      That said I am personally not against casual sex before entering into a monogamous relationship. The idea of being a virgin till marriage sounds really unhealthy to me, for both heterosexuals or homosexuals. Moderation is a good thing, extremes not so much. But again I am not a Christian and not interested in organized religion as a basis for life or morality.

  • blake


    I too have been deeply hurt by church mores. I more mind the lack of willingness to engage and debate.

    For me – there are so many interpretations of the “clobber” passages its a GREY area. I truly don’t think andrew advocates total celibacy or why would he attend civil partnerships etc? I. Truly believe Andrew to be one of the few voices there in support of gay people.

    He may find this odd- his book helped me “come out”.

    But I think IF a church will insist of total celibacy they need to carry the burden for those people. And I don’t see it as generally realistic.

    But I hear you on church attitudes, amd the constant discrimination at the very least contributes to the loose living in the gay community- along with the government and middle class mores.


    • Eugene

      “For me – there are so many interpretations of the “clobber” passages its a GREY area.”

      The thing is, even a “grey area” doesn’t sound affirming. Certainly not as affirming as the prevalent Christian views on heterosexuality. Of course, it may sound great to formerly conservative gay Christians, but from a neutral POV a “grey area” isn’t that good.

      “I truly don’t think andrew advocates total celibacy or why would he attend civil partnerships etc?”

      Andrew said that he “can validate someone else’s experiences” (e.g. attend gay weddings) even when he does NOT “believe in all the same stuff theologically/scientifically/socially.”

      I really like this principle, and I don’t think that he actively advocates celibacy, but only a strong gay-affirming stance is appropriate for a pro-gay Christian.

      • Eugene – I am not a “pro-gay Christian” and neither am I an “anti-gay Christian.” I don’t use that language. In fact, I always say that the problem with the culture war is that both sides expect you to choose to be pro-gay or ex/anti-gay, and if you’re neither one of those you or your voice don’t belong. What The Marin Foundation is trying to do is provide space where everyone belongs. From this string of comments, I think we’re doing a good job of that 🙂

        • Eugene

          It’s not a matter of language, Andrew. The fact that you’re unwilling to support civil marriage equality can be described in any way, but it won’t change a thing.

        • AdamN

          Would you feel the same if you were asked to choose between being “pro-black”/”anti-black”?
          I don’t think so. That’s wrong and so is this.

        • David | Dah•veed

          “I always say that the problem with the culture war is that both sides expect you to choose to be pro-gay or ex/anti-gay, and if you’re neither one of those you or your voice don’t belong.”

          And yet that is exactly what Jesus said. You are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm and I shall spew you out of my mouth.

    • AdamN

      There are plenty of gay people that don’t “live loosely”. The gay community is incredibly large and diverse, as diverse as the straight world really. Maybe you need to spend time with different gay people.

    • Blake – I can’t tell you how many LGBT people have emailed me over the last year and told me how much my book helped them come out. Thank you for your love and honesty. I am humbled my book played a part in impacting your life. Much love brother.

  • Tobias

    Hi everybody,

    wow, this is such a tough topic. And it gets down to my own suspicions I’ve had about the Marin Foundation for a long time. However, I’m not *sure* about it. I just want to share some random thoughts. Maybe they are helpful, maybe they are not. But first a question: Where can I find this “orientation recording” by Andrew some of you (e.g. AdamN) have mentioned?

    Some of my thoughts:

    – I can somehow understand to say to gay Christians (something I call myself) that their main identity is in Christ, not in their sexuality. I think it is a danger when this is such a main topic in your life that you define yourself through your sexuality too much. However, at the same time I had *huge* troubles with the section in Andrew’s book that talked about this. There it sounded to me as if he says that it always is like this for gay folks. I can agree that it is more likely for us as society pushes us in that direction but I don’t believe it’s something inherent to the nature of our sexuality. I know Andrew said in later discussions that this was not what he wanted to say in the book. I respect that. Still it’s hard for me to read it differently. I can give him the benefit of doubt that he just wasn’t so clever in his choice of words, though.

    – I can somehow understand that Andrew wants to avoid yes and no questions and wants to elevate the conversation. I think this can be important sometimes. I especially respect that he refuses to give answers to these questions for the *organization* as there might be different opinions within the organization. However, I have to admit that I prefer people like Tony Campolo. He is very clear that he supports gay civil marriage. He says, this should be handled by the state, not the Church. And he says that he personally believes that gay relationships are not what God intended however, he totally respects people who have come to a different opinion and says that he fully knows that he might be wrong about this. I have to admit I’d feel safer with him than with Andrew right now. However, listing to comments others gave who know Andrew personally, this might be very different if I really got to know him.

    – The thing that would really bother me is if Andrew really said different things depending on who he talks to. I think it’s valid to have different focuses when speaking to different groups but in the end, the message has to be consistent.

    – I’d also love to see gay youth feeling at home in the Church rather than the gay community. That’s not to say I don’t think there are wonderful people in the gay community. But I do feel that it is harder to talk about and wrestle with sexual morality in the gay community than in the church. That’s not very different from how I feel about heterosexual youth as well. I would love if the Church could become a safe place for gay youth to grow and become mature adults and if the Church could enable them to make mature decisions about their life. I believe, the Church really should be a place where we can wrestle with issues, maybe even have differing opinions but still love and respect each other in our decisions. Sadly I feel, it woefully falls short of this most of the time.

    Pretty random thoughts…

    • Eugene

      Thanks for your thoughts. You’re raising important issues.

      “I can somehow understand to say to gay Christians (something I call myself) that their main identity is in Christ, not in their sexuality. I think it is a danger when this is such a main topic in your life that you define yourself through your sexuality too much.”

      I’m unaware of any people who define themselves through their sexuality “too much”. Just because they say “I’m gay, and that’s who I am”, it certainly doesn’t mean that they only care about homosexuality (even though some anti-gay Christians like to pretend so). They are saying that homosexuality is an organic part of who they are, not a “behavior” or a “lifestyle”. It’s just as ridiculous for a gay person to refuse to identify as gay as it would be ridiculous for a man to refuse to identify as a man. Somehow, I don’t think that Andrew self-identifies as a “Christian struggling with a penis”. 🙂

      More importantly, there is no conflict between “gay” identity and “Christian” identity. A “gay” person is a homosexual person who is comfortable with his sexual orientation. This identity certainly doesn’t imply promiscuity or atheism, so it doesn’t negate the “Christian” identity in any way – unless you believe that Christianity is inherently homophobic.

      Finally, homosexuality is a big deal only because homophobes (including many Christians) make it a big deal. That’s exactly why gay people have to hide their orientation, then come out, then march with big signs saying “I’m gay”, etc. Even Andrew is perpetuating this when he is dancing around this issue. As soon as the overwhelming majority of people starts viewing homosexuality as equivalent to heterosexuality, it will stop being the “main topic” in anyone’s life.

      • Tobias

        Hey Eugene. Thanks for the link. I will listen to this!

        I don’t think we think so differently about this issue. As english is not my mother tongue it’s also not always easy to get my message across. As I mentioned before I also think that the main reason that gay people talk more about their sexuality is it is still not completely accepted. I could never identify with things like “Pride” for example. I can see that it played an important role in forming a common identity for gay folks and to be “out there”. However, for me it also expresses something like “look at us, we’re different!”. And yes, we are different but I would rather have society look at the common ground, not where we differ. So while I recognize that these things still have their place I’d hope that being gay will be so normal sometime in the future that we won’t need them anymore.

        What I meant about identity… personally I still often feel the need to tell people I’m gay before I really feel accepted by them. I believe that actually I don’t need this. This doesn’t mean that I want to hide that I’m gay. But I don’t want to feel as if I need to ask other people for their affirmation. Especially as a Christian, I believe, my identity is in Christ. There’s no need for me to define myself by other people’s opinions.

        I can also see your points, however, and I won’t deny that probably some of my feelings are still grounded in the bad theology I used to have. I’m not saying that people should stay in the closet. By no means! I just still feel a little strange when I see friends who only have gay friends, play in a gay sports team, etc. I feel this is counterproductive. I can understand it and I think in some cases it is healthy and necessary. But I’d hope that someday we won’t need something like a gay subculture anymore. Does this make any sense? In any case, thanks for your reply and for sharing your thoughts.

        • Eugene

          “I’d hope that someday we won’t need something like a gay subculture anymore. Does this make any sense?”

          Yes, it makes sense – and it’s already happening. Gay magazines are closing while mainstream media start extensively covering gay issues. Gay neighborhoods are becoming regular neighborhoods while gay people are more visible and happier than ever. Civil unions are being replaced with civil marriage, etc.

          Only mainstream religion is behind the times. That’s why Andrew’s work makes sense – even if it’s mostly in the interests of organized religion, not gay people. But at this point he can mostly recommend conservative churches to look more accepting rather than actually become more affirming. It’s like a business strategy known as “Fake it ’til you make it”. 🙂

    • Tobias – Thanks! Here are a few thoughts:

      1. If there is anything in my book I would redo, it would be that section about behavior/identity. I did not communicate as clearly as I should have that I believe that not every LGBT person thinks behavior=identity. I was just using generalizations. And you have to admit, as much as the gay Christian movement is growing, it still doesn’t speak for (at yeast to this point) the majority (51%) of the LGBT community. This post, and its comments, are hitting exaclty on the behavior/identity theme:

      • Tobias

        Hey Andrew. Thanks for replying. Sure, the gay Christian movement doesn’t speak for the majority of the gay community just as Christians don’t speak for the majority of society (this may be more obvious here in Germany than in the US but I think it is not less true especially if you really mean “follower of Christ” by “Christian”).

        And here actually, we might differ as well. I believe, as Christians we are called to be salt and light to the world. And yes, this will also result in God moving other people. But it’s not the focus for me to convince people that I’m right and they’re wrong or something. I don’t see that this is what Jesus was about.

  • Eugene

    And here’s the recording AdamN and I were talking about.

    It’s a mix of Andrew’s good intentions, bad intentions, knowledge and cluelessness. In my opinion it’s pretty harmful, and surely isn’t pro-gay. It’s long, so here are the the most interesting parts:

    03:30-05:30 “Their identity becomes wrapped up in being gay”
    15:00-23:00 “Best friend Dan”
    45:00-51:30 “I have what I call the continuum of change”
    01:25:00-01:28:00 “There is a ton of hope for a person like that”

    Download the file because the embedded player doesn’t work properly:

    • As I said earlier, I listened to this whole thing and please see my comment above that I wrote to you earlier about your version of ‘change’ and my version of ‘change’.

      Also, the continuum of of change is not a step or stage process to behavior modification! It’s general categories that compile all shades of faith and sexuality in our culture today. If you would read my book, those words are written in ink for everyone to read exactly as I just expressed them (p. 183-184)! Please, if you are going to pick apart things individually, do your homework. I am not trying to be snippy, it is however, frusterating for me to continue to rehash old material that I have already communicated in my book – stuff that dispells the points you are trying to make!

  • Asbury Park

    Ir’s Marin the Enlightened Patriarch.. Look, the GBLT community & friends doesn’t need you to help them build Christian communities & understand scripture. They don’t need your workshops. Because there are Christian churches &* communities that are fully open, fully welcoming, in which GBLT & families fully particpate in pulpit & congregation, what do we need from you? How about you support equal civil marriage rights for a start? Do that & nobody will much care what you think about ordained clergy officiating at same sex weddings.

    • Mrs T

      I see your comment after I posted the post after this.
      The problem of communication that Andrew is dealing with is mainly the churches that don’t affirm LGBTs. It’s high time they learn to do it. He is not some patriarch. That is a cruel thing to say. He’s a young guy who learned a lot & is trying to help those who need his help. He gets along with all types of people.
      Yes, what he is doing is long overdue, but at least he is doing it!
      After the Civil War, it took many years for the Civil Rights bill to pass & get rid of Jim Crow. It will take more than Stonewall to correct the wrongs done. Because we are human, it will take time to completely fix things. Actually, I doubt all wrongs will be fixed, but we have come a long way!!!!

      • AdamN

        “He gets along with all types of people.”
        I get along with people that see me as a full, complete, natural human being, deserving of the same rights as them and not someone who sees me as a sinner for something as natural to me as my skin color. I don’t get along with people who hold secret agendas for me or can’t seem to answer basic questions about my equality to them. Any person with a healthy level of self respect would feel the same.
        I don’t have patience for bigotry. The only way to move forward is to stop sitting in the back of the bus.

  • Mrs T

    Wow! There is so much back & forth on this. I’ll try to make a few comments.
    About ‘getting to the kids while they are young,’ I think Andrew means that youth workers need to address this issue rather than keep silent & pretend it doesn’t exist! Gay kids have plenty of struggles & need to know that others care about them & realize that they are struggling & need acknowlegement that they are normal! Many kids haven’t come out to anyone. Maybe they need a compassionate youth pastor or adult friend they can confide in who can give constructive advice.
    Another factor is that there are plenty of pedophiles out there & it certainly is better that the chuch affirm these kids! Many timid kids, gay or hetero, are being taken advantage of. They need to know that God loves them & that people love them.
    If GLBT kids decide to tell their parents, wouldn’t if be nice if a helpful adult could advise them how to do it? If they are rejected or kicked out of their home, would you rather have a helpful family take them in or let them roam the streets?
    So Andrew has to be strong when he says that the issue of kids must be addresssed.

    As Christians, we do care that people find Jesus. I don’t care if they are GLBT or hetero(don’t like the word straight). Jesus loves everyone & we want them to know Him.
    I am familiar with a large evangelical church. I can figure out that certain folks are gay, even one or 2 who work for the church. I won’t out them; I am glad they are there. There are some other members I think are, & one even wears the earring in a way to indicate it. Nobody bothers him…..

    Remember that Andrew is not quite 30 years old. He certainly has a lot of maturity & experience for being less than half my age! If you want to give constructive criticism, he welcomes it.
    For those who pray, remember that he needs it!!!!

    • Eugene

      “About ‘getting to the kids while they are young,’ I think Andrew means that youth workers need to address this issue rather than keep silent & pretend it doesn’t exist!”

      Yes, he means it. But he also says that gay kids shouldn’t identify as gay and shouldn’t come out. Just listen to the recording. As I already said, it’s a mix of good intentions and bad intentions.

      For some reason, he seems to believe that gay people’s identity “becomes wrapped up in being gay” – which is ridiculous because sexuality is only a part of who you are, so your sexual identity simply cannot “cover” unrelated aspects of your identity. He seems to believe that openly gay people feel like they don’t belong in conservative churches BECAUSE they come out. Hey, maybe it has something to do with the fact that conservative churches are anti-gay?

      • Eugene, again, when I said that you have to understand that I am talking to a group of conservative youth pastors. I didn’t say that gay kids shouldn’t ‘come out’. I said that gay kids should delay coming out because as soon as they do they are pinned ‘the gay kid’ forever. And that talk I gave was in THE SOUTH! How many southern regions/etc do you know where gay kids are treated excellent when they come out in high school? You swear there are secret motives/etc going on. You just don’t have all the facts. I’m sorry.

        • Eugene

          Andrew, I understand this! Heck, I had been defending you in Towleroad’s comments. 🙂 But how can I trust you when you stretch the truth so easily, depending on the audience?

          • It doesn’t change – you just say it does. Last month I spoke at an LGBT Change event. They are an equality rights org based in Chicago, Why don’t you ask them if my message changed to that LGBT specific audience? It didn’t. And the organizers of LGBT Change, who know us personally and really well, back that up as well. 🙂

    • AdamN

      Oh bloody hell..Not the pedophile thing! Seriously the gay community is not a bunch of lusty, promiscuous, debaucherous,pedophiles hanging out in discos and bathhouses and actively seeking young things to convert to their “lifestyle”. I know that you did not directly state this but the way you brought it up certainly implied that you are predisposed to believing these ridiculious, horrid, untrue stereotypes largely perpetrated upon the gay community by Christians.
      Look, there are already organizations that actively work to help gay youth. My parents (fantastic, liberal, Jews) took me to PFLAG meetings when I came out at 13. It was awesome and absolutely terrific for me. What’s even better is that the gay community’s organizations and support system has no hidden agenda’s for gay kids. Its about healthy self- acceptance and community, not about luring kids in to eventually put them back into the closet and/or encouraging them to lead celibate unloved lives, thinking of totally natural parts of their identity as sinful. Listen to the audio links. The Marin Foundation has a VERY unhealthy agenda for gay kids.
      Gay youth needs a lot of help. We definitely could use more organizations and supports systems that are better funded. But the Marin Foundation is not one them, not as it exists right now.

  • Dora

    Gay youth and evangelical christians…. not a good mix. Also, I’m not all that interested in the hetero community as such, and I like the alternative worlds we as lesbians and gays have created over the decades… we’re talking about really breathtaking theology, political analysis, historical research, wiccan rituals, radical faeries, and don’t forget fine art and music… Michelangelo, Leonardo, Carter Heyward, and our incredible music and literature… Tennessee Williams, Benjamin Britain, Aaron Copeland… I could go on.

    And Eugene, I’m so sorry that you are rejecting the brilliance of the gay subculture, because out of this comes freedom movements, new ways of being, and social justice. We don’t want our culture erased by straight people, because they have a different purpose on earth. They are there to procreate, while gay people create. Why do we want people to be all alike? I certainly am not interested in heteronormative life, and love the power and dynamism of all gay people have created in the last 50 some years. It’s been amazingly great! I love every minute of it!

    When kids are coming out, PFLAG is THE best organization bar none, and they are not coming out of some creepy evangelical motives, they are caring loving parents who adopt all of us now and then. PFLAG gets it, and I wouldn’t think twice about supporting them. Let’s support the organizations that have a clear track record and don’t speak out of both sides of their mouths. PFLAG parents love their gay children, don’t want them exposed to hatred, and fully expect our civil rights. Yeah, none of us I hope would settle for the back of the bus. Fundamentalist christians are going to look like southern christian racists in a few decades anyway. They are, as always, on the wrong side of yet another major civil rights movement, and they’ll always be behind, because they just get it wrong.

    Pedofiles… well that’s catholic clergy worldwide doing this within the church.
    So churches aren’t safe places, and I certainly would never expose my child to fundamentalist christianity of any kind, or any other kind of fundamentalist religion either.

    As for an identity being wrapped up in being gay— well I would say the hetero saturation of the world is very much water to heterosexual fish. They don’t see it because they are in it all the time. It’s in your face everywhere, and heteros do have an identity and they do impose it on the rest of us. There are a whole lot of us throughout history who simply wanted something else– monastic communities, nuns, priests, shamans, free spirits, masonic brotherhoods, women’s clubs, women’s colleges– all of these places were refuges for lesbians and gays of various eras, and all served the country well.

    We have unique gifts, and I for one don’t want to be “mainstreamed” because I am very different from straight people. My spiritual outlook and purpose in life is focused on something far outside hetero norms.
    Thanks AdamN for the audio links, because at least we should get texts of these speeches and find out what this is really all about. All gays and lesbians have a perfect right to be very suspicious of these “christian straight types” coming into our community. I know I’d never put up with this.
    Think of white missionaries coming into black neighborhoods, as if black people were too stupid to found their own churches and musical traditions.

    Is gay culture going to become a thing of the past in our great “rush” to be the boring conformists and fundamentalists that so plague this country now? Do we really want gay people in “mega” churches? Do we really want a bunch of gay people spouting “the inerant word of god coming out of the mouths of men?” What say ye gentle gay folk?

    • AdamN

      Thank Eugene, not me, for posting the links…
      Great rant! Hear, hear!!

    • Eugene

      “And Eugene, I’m so sorry that you are rejecting the brilliance of the gay subculture…”

      I’m not rejecting the brilliance. I’m rejecting the subculture status. We can inject the brilliance into mainstream culture. In fact, it’s already happening. Whether you believe in evolution or creationism, gay people are here for a reason. And we surely aren’t supposed to live on an exclusively gay island. 🙂

      “They are there to procreate, while gay people create. ”

      That’s ridiculously offensive, Dora. What the heck were you thinking?

    • Yes, PFLAG is THE best. My org is not here as a clearinghouse. We’re not a drop in center. We’re not a counseling center. We’re not anything buy a movement of people working towards reconciliation. You can’t build a bridge from only one side.

  • Dora

    Well yes, gay people are on earth for a great and noble purpose. I’m not interested in assimilation or attending churches, or worshiping yet another oppressor god. I am on the path of gay renaissance, and I fear the groveling desire to be “just like straight people.” Wow, how lacking in imagination. They have created their own hell on earth– the wars, the subjection of women, the forced child birth, the complete distortion of the past. And who can blame them. They are locked into “nuclear families”– nuclear… hmmm. We need to free our youth from their horrifying churches, their bible bashing, their hatred. It reminds of white people taking native kids out of their homes and training them to be white. That’s about the imagination of the colonizers. That’s who they are.

    Go for complete liberation, do not settle for mealy mouthed negotiations with fundamentalists, with straight literalists, with people who would have us become as dull as the hetero world out there. And dull is who they are.
    Yes, they reproduce, and do it endlessly and mindlessly. That is not us, we have our thoughts and our intentionality.

    Imagine a world where every gay child is fully loved and celebrated for being that rare human— a human who loves someone of her same or his same sex. We are not the reproduction machines, we are a special part of evolution here for a special purpose. Gay life is not about “fitting in” or caring what straight people think. Sure we have to battle our enemies who would deny us basic human rights. That goes without saying, but I want so much more, believe me. I want the stars and the planets and divine, but I am not willing to settle for ever being like them.

    • Eugene

      “Yes, they reproduce, and do it endlessly and mindlessly. That is not us, we have our thoughts and our intentionality.”

      Is that why some gay men have sex with strangers endlessly and mindlessly?


  • AdamN

    Hmmm…I didn’t take that aspect of Dora’s rant offensively. Its certainly a very loose generalization (of course gay people have kids, and straight people “create”) but historically and culturally there is something to be said for that idea. A reason gay people have offered so much in the arts in the 20th century for example, is because we as a group of people were going down non-traditional paths providing us with unique perspectives. And I think there is something to be said about wanting to keep aspects of our specific cultures even as we become more inter-grated into mainstream life, which I agree with you, at this point is pretty much inevitable.

    • Eugene

      How is that sentence different from “women are for child-rearing, not for studying”? How is it different from “gay men are not suited for the military”? There have been thousands and thousands of straight creators. Many of them have been real masters and geniuses. That’s why the statement that “they are here to procreate, while gay people create” is ridiculously, inexcusably offensive. Pro-gay bigotry is still bigotry.

      • AdamN

        Oh, I certainly agree with you. As I said earlier, of course straight people create and I don’t think its particularly useful to make broad generalized statements about any group of people. But I didn’t initially read it that way. Again, I saw it as a statement about how our culture has found alternatives of expressing itself outside of traditional boundaries and how that has been useful for the entirety of human culture. The same thing could be said about many minority cultures really. Think of the richness of Black culture/subculture in the 20th century for instance…

  • Tobias

    Hey, Eugene. Amen to that. I had exactly the same thought. I also find it offensive. Sure, there are lots of great gay artists and sure, a lot of the time they are inspired by how they experience life as someone who does not fit the norm. This is great and I don’t want to diminish this. However, additionally to what you already said, the bigotry also goes the other way. Not every gay person is an artist or even very flamboyant. And that’s what I meant with “gay identity” before. Is the gay garbageman accepted as well? Am I accepted even though I love being around my heterosexual friends and their kids (who also experience my partner and me as an enrichment of their life)?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m *not* saying that the subculture that Dora describes is bad or something. I just don’t like to label it “gay” because this implies again, that gay is something you *do*, not something you *are*. Heterosexual people can be artists and can be flamboyant as well. Gay people can be boring as well. There’s nothing wrong with either.

    @Eugene: I’d love to talk to you offline. Is there any way I can contact you?

    • Eugene

      “Don’t get me wrong, I’m *not* saying that the subculture that Dora describes is bad or something. I just don’t like to label it “gay” because this implies again, that gay is something you *do*, not something you *are*.”

      This stance is a little misguided. Sometimes people do something because of who they are. Gay men fall in love and have sex with other men because they are gay – not because they’re immoral and not because they hate Christianity. (And, by the way, that’s exactly why you can’t love gay people without affirming gay relationships).

      There are objective biological differences between gay people and straight people, and they strongly correlate with differences in behavior and aptitudes. The popular stereotype about gay boys who like playing with dolls? Well, it’s largely true. Of course, it doesn’t mean that every single gay boy likes playing with dolls. But the strong correlation is there. As a 7 year old, I liked playing with my doll. And I liked combing her hair – even though I didn’t realize I was gay and was completely unaware of the “gay hairdresser” stereotype.

      The point is, Dora is rightfully concerned with the ridiculous notion that “gay people are exactly like straight people”. It isn’t true and it isn’t productive. But she has gone too far in the opposite direction.

      “@Eugene: I’d love to talk to you offline. Is there any way I can contact you?”

      Offline? I don’t think it’s possible. But you can post your e-mail address if you want to.

      • Tobias

        You bring up very valid points here. This is something I will have to think about a little first before replying. Thanks for engaging in this conversation!

        And you’re right, I didn’t mean “offline” but just off this board. I will think of a good way to post my email without just putting it “out there”.

      • Tobias

        I thought about what you said a little more. I’m not entirely convinced of the correlations you mentioned as I have more gay friends who don’t fit this stereotype than those who do. But then maybe it correlates with those gay folks who also identify with the gay subculture which is also not true for a lot of my gay friends.

        In the end, I don’t really care. I just don’t like labels and stereotypes. For me, “being gay” just means that I’m sexually attracted to men and not to women. And I don’t like to be put in a box because of that.

        But you’re right that my comment about the “doing” and “being” wasn’t very fitting in this case. I guess the right thing to say would have been: I don’t believe that what Dora describes is what being gay is about. It might correlate with being gay to a certain degree but it’s just not the essence. In her post I sensed the notion that people like me who are different than that are somehow “missing the point”. This is ridiculous. There is exactly one box I fit into and this is labeled “Tobias”.

        About your comment that you can’t love gay people without affirming gay relationships… I tend to disagree here, although I do agree it makes it much harder. However, my thinking about this is still rather vague and muddled and so I won’t comment on this.

        Finally, let me thank you again for posting the keynote by Andrew. I have only listened to the first hour or so yet but it already helped me make up my mind about how I view him and his ministry.

  • pm

    I went to my first Chicago Gay Pride parade previous Sunday with Andrew Marin. I have read his book and heard about his experiences over the years. This year seemed unique as we were going to wear ‘I’m Sorry’ shirts to initiate an honest dialog with others. I was very appreciative of the kindness and thoughtfulness extended by the whole group of The Marin Foundation towards others. This is tangible. Not evangelism for change but transformation out of our current state into His abundant life.

  • IT

    I reject identity politics. The gay subculture exists, just like other subcultures exist. That’s great, but it in no way defines all of us….and nor should it. If we value diversity, then we should value diversity!

    I think that at some level, the Evanglicals don’t get that the gay subculture represents only a small slice of the gay experience in this country.

    My wife and I don’t live in a gayborhood, we are solid and rather boring middle class, middle aged professional women. We “pass” easily, just because that’s who we are. Our friends and social groups are a mix of gay and straight. We’re married,faithfully, joyfully, in a permanent relationship. We raised kids, pay taxes, help the school district, go to church, and mow the lawn.

    The truth is that GLBT people are as varied as straight people. There’s NO DIFFERENCE.

    A quote from my friend counterlight’s blog :
    LGBTs are probably the last people who really believe in the United States. They want to join the military, to make families, to join churches, to take part in their communities. They actively seek responsibility contrary to the larger culture and the dominant political ideologies today that are all about evading responsibility.

    That’s not true of everyone. But interestingly, it really defines many of our political goals these days.

    As Barney Frank said recently, “I do not think that any self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people’s rights to get married, join the Army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform.”

  • Does anybody besides me think it’s odd that we (the LGBT community) demand respect, acceptance and tolerance of our views but refuse to offer it to those whose views are in opposition?

    I’m not looking for a fight here, I’m just wondering.

    • Eugene

      There’s nothing odd about it, as the views are not equivalent. Conservative Christians condemn homosexuality and gay marriage, gay people DON’T condemn heterosexuality and Christian marriage. Conservative Christians tell other people what to do, gay people want to be left alone.

      You can only demand “respect, acceptance and tolerance” to the extent that you respect, accept and tolerate other people. The gay community respects, accepts and tolerates the Christian community – with the sole exception of the Christian community’s unwillingness to respect, accept and tolerate gay people. You can’t tolerate intolerance.

      • “The gay community respects, accepts and tolerates the Christian community ”

        ….do we??

        • IT

          yes, we do. Aside from people like Dora, there are a lot of gay Christians. The thing is, Evangelical Christianity does not own the term “Christian”.

          • Of course there are…I’m one of them. My point is that the conversation has been hijacked by the radicals on both sides. Evangelical Christianity, regrettably, DOES own the term at least within the confines of this conversation. Likewise, “people like Dora” own the term “gay” within the confines of this conversation.

          • Eugene

            “Likewise, “people like Dora” own the term “gay” within the confines of this conversation.”

            That’s bullshit. There’s only one person “like Dora” within the confines of this conversation. A few gay people have explicitly rebuked her. You merely choose to ignore gay moderates in order to establish false equivalency between gays and Christians.

        • Eugene

          Yes, we do. Do you have any evidence to the contrary? Even aside from the fact that the majority of gay people in the US are Christians, the gay community appears to respect gay-affirming Christians. Of course, a small minority of gay people disrespect Christians, but it’s a “militant atheist” thing that has nothing to do with being gay.

          On the other hand, the Christian community doesn’t even tolerate gay people (DADT, DOMA, Prop 8, etc.)

          • OK, maybe I’m the problem here…or at least my ability to communicate my mind is the problem. I consider myself a “gay moderate,” Eugene.

            My apologies if my inability to express my views aptly has led to any confusion.

          • IT

            I think Dora represents a narrow slice of the GLBT community. The problem is trying to identify us as “a community” which we aren’t. There are conservative and liberal gays, old and young, men and women, how can you expect us to be uniform?

            That’s why Andrew’s focus on the Boystown/Pride subculture is a concern. They aren’t ALL gays, they are a small slice of subculture.

    • AdamN

      San, you are presenting a totally false argument here. Gay people are not forcing Christians to “change”, we are not working to legally deny Christians equal rights under the law, we are not advocating for capital punishment for Christians in foreign countries (look up Nigeria and Gay), we are not spreading false lies about Christianity. If Christianity left us alone, we would have no beef with them but they aren’t leaving us alone. In this situation there is a clear abuser (Fundamentalist Christianity) and a clear victim (LGBT people). Would you ask Black people to tolerate the Ku Klux Klan? That’s absolutely insane.

      • San

        “Would you ask Black people to tolerate the Ku Klux Klan?”

        Of course not. Likewise, I don’t ask gay people to tolerate folks who do physical harm to us. I actually wish I’d not used the word “tolerance” because I can’t stand the word….at least not in the context it is most frequently used. I don’t wish to be tolerated. If all you can offer me is tolerance then I will pass, thank you.

        So, I’m retracting that one word – “tolerance” – but leaving the other two. 🙂

        • AdamN

          So that leaves us with respect and acceptance, then? Why should I respect and accept people who refuse to accept and respect me? And no, what Andrew Marin’s organization is doing is NOT about respect and acceptance of gay people, just read the fine print (or listen to the audio).
          Again, you are asking the victim to respect and accept the abuser.

          • I’m not asking anyone to do anything. I suppose, in my simple mind I just think sometimes we have to just move on. There’s a lot of people I could be pissed off at for the rest of my life for how they treated me….these are people who DIRECTLY harmed me in some way. However, I have chosen a different path. I forgive them because they’re ignorant and that I do for me, not them. If you choose to continue to be angry, that is your choice — your path, but neither path makes either of us better than the other. We are just different. I’ve read and I’ve listened and, I’m sorry, but I just don’t “find the devil in the woodshed” as my grandmother used to say. I hear someone who wants to have an honest, open dialog with people who are immediately skeptical of him. Because he won’t say what some want to hear, he continues to be the enemy. I, for one, think that is sad.

          • AdamN

            As I have said elsewhere I have NO problem with Christians who aren’t anti-gay, have don’t have a secret agenda of conversion, and who don’t work to hurt gay people legally or otherwise. Marin’s ministry is not that kind of organization, the olive branch he is extending is fake and he is not interested in having a dialogue with gay people as much as finding a way for the Evangelical community to rope in gay people (and then try to “change” them or advocate they lead a celibate life) . All you have to do is listen to the audio and you will see what I mean.
            I am really concerned about the affect Marin’s message will have on gay kids. I’ve seen so many gay people’s lives hurt because of religious dogma, people who later turn to drugs and even suicide. This is not light stuff! Marin’s tactics are all the more insidious to me because they put a happy smiley face on everything to reel gay people in to their church and away from the gay community and self acceptance. That is dangerous and , yes, it does maek me mad, very mad and I believe rightfully so. I am not going to “forgive” and make peace with people who are screwing with other people’s minds like this esp. the vulnerable minds of LGBT youth. As I have said before, that is nothing less then a form of child abuse and refuse to be silent about it and play nice.

          • Then sit with your anger. As I said, that’s your path and if it works for you, so be it. The path I’ve chosen is a different one. I’m sorry I don’t see what you see and I don’t hear what you hear, but I just don’t. I’ve never once been asked to change…never once.

            My best to you.

          • AdamN

            I am not an “angry” person. Honestly if you met me personally that’s probably the last way you would describe me. I am a mellow, liberal, happy guy. But I am passionate and I will stand up for what I believe in and my community.
            Its great that no-one has tried to change you. But please listen to the audio and reconsider supporting this organization, if not for you then the gay youth who WILL be asked to change or be celibate or taught that their desire is sinful. There are plenty of pro-gay Christian groups. Why not support a religious group with no hidden agendas or questionable alliances, people who see gay people as equals instead of problems to be fixed?
            But seriously most of all think of the gay youth. I don’t know about you, but even for me with my incredibly supportive and loving liberal Jewish parents growing up gay was often very hard. THIS organization is going to make that hard experience worse or seriously damaging to many gay kids. PLEASE listen to the audio and reconsider supporting them.

          • Tobias

            Somehow, I can understand both of you. I think, the key word is love. For us Christians, I feel it’s important to remember that Jesus told us to love our enemies. This does not mean condoning what they’re doing and I’m tending towards Adam’s view here concerning Andrew’s organization (though I also believe that in those Christian groups he’s talking to, his message might indeed be a positive change even though I feel it is flawed). But the key thing is that I can still love Andrew and pray for him and his work. I can pray that he is sincerely searching God’s will and continues to be open to change.

            In the end I guess, my believes are not so different from his then, just coming from the other end of the spectrum. I hope for him to grow and eventually change. 🙂

            The thing that bothers me about the Marin Foundation though is that after listening to the audio recording I feel there’s some secret agenda. I believe in being honest and open. I think Christians who think gay relationships are wrong should tell their youth “Hey, this is my view, there are other views out there, I want to be in conversation with you about this and I want you to make your own informed decision. Don’t rush it and most of all don’t feel you have to live up to anyone’s expectations. It’s your life!”

            I don’t quite hear this in the recording Eugene posted.

          • AdamN

            Yeah I get your want and need to love Andrew because of your faith and really respect that. Obviously your faith is important to you and you are trying to be true to it but you’re wise enough to know that Marin Foundation needs to do much better for gay people.
            On many levels I am sure Andrew is a very nice guy but the damage his teaching may be doing is not so nice at all.

          • Tobias

            “On many levels I am sure Andrew is a very nice guy but the damage his teaching may be doing is not so nice at all.”

            I tend to agree. However, I’d much rather judge him by how he actually deals with gay people (and also judge the people he taught by that). I understand the background these people come from and I believe it is very hard for them to find new language sometimes.

            But in the end I think you’re spot on to be wary and to tell Andrew what you think is flawed in his thinking. And if he’s wise he will listen and think and pray about it.

          • AdamN

            “I understand the background these people come from and I believe it is very hard for them to find new language sometimes.”
            That’s why you are so valuable to this conversation. And why you are in a position to possibly do some REAL bridge building with people like Andrew and more conservative Christians.

  • Dora

    I think we are talking about different generations here. I am a proud member of the gay subculture, and come out of a strikingly countercultural tradition. My friends are the leaders of the gay and lesbian movement that you all read about in history books — that is if the religious right doesn’t attempt to ban the books.

    Barney Frank gets it right. It is not revolutionary or innovative to want to join the military, get married or have kids. That’s the mainstream of life around the planet. Go to any country on earth and men are signing up to go kill others. That is not radical, that is militaristic.

    I think the country has become more conservative, and generally gay people who haven’t been exposed to the visionaries who created our movement in the first place have much understanding of this recent history.

    You have to look to what gay people actually did. Radical movements are often suppressed or erased. Look at the life of Paul Robeson, for example.
    Please folks, go google him, and you’ll learn that the NAACP disowned this pioneering black American radical we could all be very proud of.

    Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, and the modernists and women of the left bank of Paris between the wars were radicals and artistic visionaries. We know about Picasso, because a lesbian promoted him. We have James Joyce because a lesbian fought to get his works published.

    I think a lot of people here don’t know this stuff, and this is exactly what straight people want us to believe, that we are nothing, and that we go along with the society they have created. There is a tactic in the gay movement to say “hey folks we are exactly like you”– it puts straight people at ease. But the truth is, I have never met a straight person ever who is anything like me. Hey I hang with a lot of very nice straight women, and believe me they are not like me. I have no desire to be like straight people, and wouldn’t even if I tried.

    When the Iraq war started, there was not one gay person I was with on that day who supported that war, not one! Compare that to the rest of the country.

    I think the younger people out there are more conformist, and unconfortable with the radicals of the past, because we created a more open world for them. Small thanks we get. Lots of gay men diss “queeny” types… those queens fought the police at Stonewall, they raise millions of dollars for gay causes, wow, don’t be shamed by a macho straight male culture into disowning your own. That’s not cool. Lesbians celebrate butch culture and the Michigan Womyn’s Music festival, we celebrate our radical leaders who battled against the idea that males were somehow superior to females. I would never diss the butchest woman on the planet, and call her “just like straight women” geez holy cow! My god, what is this, still an inner shame for gay and lesbian culture or internalized homophobia?

    Let’s get fundamentalist here: Rev. Troy Perry didn’t just put up with his exclusion from the church, we went out and founded a church that celebrated gays and lesbians, and he performed the first marriage of a gay couple around 1969 or 1979– back then THAT was radical, because every church in the land thought gay people were sinners if they had partners or even had sex. Back then straight people were busting into our bars and arresting us just for dancing with same sex partners! I know, you haven’t heard this story directly from a gay person that it happened to. You need to go talk to your elders about their lives, you need to reach out to gay seniors who probably could use your support right now. You need to stop wanting to curry favor with straight fundentalists and honor your own.
    Fundamenatlist christians believe gay people are sinners if they have sex with a same sex person. That is what fundamentalism is. They believe that the man is the head of the family, and woman # 2. That is what they believe and preach.
    I think most straight religious people still think this, just as I think the Marin Institute thinks this. Whether they admit it or not is imaterial, it is all a part of fundamentalist christianity, and that group actually believes the men who wrote the bible were writing the very words of god. I know, men like to think they have all this power, and that god talks only to them, but that’s just what they did. Go ask them, they’ll proudly tell you this, and if they avoid answering truthfully, they are “elevating” the conversations, i.e. lying.

    All radical movements for freedom push boundaries, and that’s a great source of creativity. I’m doing more with my life than most straight women, because I took greater risks, I didn’t have a husband holding me back or putting me in a position of taking care of kids to the neglect of my intellectual development. I didn’t put up with a straight conformist society, I joined the rebels, and really fought for my freedom.

    No I am not like straight people, and have never been like them. I’m not the mainstream gay community either, I come from other traditions.
    Yes, some women can pass as straight. I have many friends who do this every day, so what? It doesn’t get rid of the oppression to stay home and pay taxes. It does nothing to change the laws or create the institutions that celebrate gay and lesbian life. In short, that’s what everyone can do.
    So I don’t celebrate or think it is special to conform to larger straight norms.
    Most people are go along to get along types. Martin Luther King was not.
    Carter Heyward was not. Troy Perry was not. Staying home and paying taxes with your wife in the suburbs is not a gay freedom movement. That movement made it possible for you to sit home and be out to straight friends. Being out is but one step to being an authentic human being, and it takes courage to do this. Suburban tax paying gays are good because they prevent straight isolation, and we all know straight people change when they get to know us personally.

    There are visionary straight people, visionary lesbians, there are lesbians who broke down the barriers to biblical and theological study at major US universities. Read their books, learn what they have to say. But for heaven sakes, don’t just think our movement is about joining the damn military and killing someone far away. Don’t just think that marriage is the be all and end all of life. If you want to conform and fit in, fine, do it with my blessing, but remember, you have this luxury because lesbians marched in the streets, and women fought for freedom. Remember, a lot of guys died, a whole generation in fact, while the religious right cheered them on in the reagan white house. And those right wing fanatics are still out there, they are now going global in Uganda, that’s Rick Warren and his gang.

    Know that fundamentalist christians believe gays are sinners, and that gay sex is a sin. They can smile to your face, but that is what they really believe. They are attacking a minority with “reparative therapy” something the U.N. would consider a form of genocide according to the 1948 convention. Read this stuff, know what you’re up against, but don’t diss the radicals who brought you the gay freedom day parade in the first place.

    Sure we have the luxury of more social acceptance. That’s fine and dandy.
    I have just as many straight friends as gay, my best straight friends interestingly enough are atheists, and they truly believe in my equality, they state it clearly, the call out homophobes at parties, they stick up for me.

    This is a bit of a rant I know, but I wonder, where is the knowledge of our history here, where is the celebration of our radical leaders? Be proud of who you are, pass as straight and pay taxes. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson applaud you as great Americans, you were not the revolutionaries, you were the beneficiary of our great visionaries. Remember that and thank them. Write them all and thank them! That’s the least you can do. Confromity to social norms is not revolution and it is not true freedom, otherwise if we were so “ordinary” and like straight people, we wouldn’t have the mormon church raising $22,000,000 to fight us. We wouldn’t have the religious right using our community to raise millions to support a woman hating, gay hating, militaristic agenda. Know who the enemy is, beware of smiling faces, they don’t always tell the truth.

    • IT

      Wow, that was a rant. Perhaps if you read what I have said, you might more accurately reflect what I’m saying.For example, I said we “pass”, I didn’t say we are closeted. We certainly aren’t. But I used that as shorthand to explain that we don’t choose to wear The Haircut or live in the gay ghetto, either.

      (Certainly in my posts here, I have made it clear I disagree with fundamentalists. I engage them, however, because they are attacking our rights and need to be resisted, and educated where possible ( I’m an atheist myself, but my wife is an Episcopalian, and I work a lot with faith issues.) The Mormon church fights us. The Episcopal church (mostly) supports us. Hating on religion generally isn’t going to win anything.)

      You need to stop trying to paint us all in lockstep: our community is big, varied, and diverse, in what they do and who they are. That’s not a bad thing. You are disparaging any people who don’t share your particular brand of progressive politics, as though that politics and sexuality are interchangeable.

      You are insulting straight women who choose to marry, as well as gay men and lesbians who do so. You are insulting people of faith. You are insulting people who have moved beyond identity politics. Why do you feel the need to do that? Why are you so angry?

      Being gay is not the most interesting thing about me. Being gay is not something that defines every minute of my existence. It’s part of who I am, certainly, but I am so much more than my sexuality. I refuse to be limited in that way by the tired identity politics of the past.

      I respect and honor those who went before in the movement, of course. And I have done my own share of demonstrating. But you are conflating all these protests. You are anti-military, good for you. But that’s not a gay stance. That’s a leftist-progressive one and has nothing to do with being gay. I’m anti-war, but I believe that military service can be honorable, and that GLBT people who want to serve openly, should.

      “Gay culture” has won. It, and we, are no longer separate and outsiders. We are increasingly integrated. Now we fight for mainstream inclusion. I understand that fact can feel frustrating to an older generation that still defines as separate and “special”. But I’m pushing 50, and i don’t think it’s a bad thing that we are fighting now, not to be special, but to be the same.

      • Bravo, IT! I couldn’t agree more.

        Dora, you said, “Read this stuff, know what you’re up against, but don’t diss the radicals who brought you the gay freedom day parade in the first place.” Absolutely right! We should applaud and celebrate those radicals, but on the same hand, please don’t “diss” those of us who choose to make a life in the mainstream. That is equally unfair! Not all of us are counterculturalists…how boring would it be if we were?

    • Tobias

      Whoa, Dora, I’m really chewing on your post. I can hear you on the whole “honor the elders” thing. And I believe you’re right that a lot of us younger folks can’t begin to imagine what you and others went through for us to have the freedoms we have now.

      I sure don’t want to conform to “straight culture”. I just don’t experience it like that. And I don’t feel your way of being radical is the only valid way. I just have other role models than you do. People like Frère Roger or Jim Wallis who have also been radical in their own fashion. This doesn’t mean I don’t value what people like you have done. I do. You have given me the freedom that I don’t have to fight for my basic rights anymore!

  • Dora

    AdamN says:
    “Gay people are not forcing Christians to “change”, we are not working to legally deny Christians equal rights under the law, we are not advocating for capital punishment for Christians in foreign countries (look up Nigeria and Gay), we are not spreading false lies about Christianity.”

    I think AdamN, this says it all. I always took a strong stand on my rights as a citizen, and also my right to not be made into a second class citizen of any stripe. I’ve objected to what the church has done to women’s rights long before I battled them over gay rights. We were battling the mormon church in the 70s, and backing Sonia Johnson for President (dating myself here 🙂 So none of this is new to me. Believe me, I never met one gay man back in 1980 who said he was supporting Sonia Johnson for president, not one. But many gay men are really mad at the mormon church now. Leave women in the lurch guys, and the oppressors are going to land right on your door step.

    Loads of feminists are in seminaries now, and liberal churches abound. They always were liberal, they stood up against slavery (Quakers), they ordained women in the 19th century (Unitarians). They founded denominations that profoundly shaped alternative views of male and female interaction — Anne Lee and the Shakers.

    Just go back to the beginning of the republic, because there are the forces of history that oppress people, and there are forces that liberate. It’s a struggle between those who want more, and those who don’t want others to have more.

    One thing that is basic to all quests for freedom: freedom comes to those who want it and are willing to fight for it. There were plenty of stay at home African Americans in the 1920s who were afraid of being lynched. That’s a valid response. But there were others who stepped out and are and were heroic.

    Each group that suffers oppression is an expert on its own oppression, and has a right to name this and speak this into being. As a lesbian, no gay man or straight mannor do they dictate what I feel as a doubly oppressed person who is a woman AND lesbian. No white person has the right to say that black people aren’t facing racism, or to make their struggles invisible. Believe me, I’ve faced far worse discrimination and bad service in gay male owned places than straight owned. Gay men are very sexist, and haven’t been the greatest allies of lesbians. Many are great allies, and intersecting interests and freedom struggles are complex. But this I know, right wing christianity tends to be on the wrong side of history often, conservatives don’t change the world. Most of the human race will tolerate a lot of oppression before the peasants finally revolt, or women strike out and protest. We know that whole societies have been oppressed by dictators– think Stalin, think Eastern Block Eurpopean countries.

    You have to get the big picture of the very nature of liberation, and what this means. Jesus Christ was a feminist, women followed him because he didn’t condemn women or prevent them from being ministers in his movement. This gets lost, because not too long ago, women were banned from ministry in so many places and churches. The churches that are the most hostile to feminism and women’s liberation are the most hostile to gay men. No accident there.

    We’ll win in the end, because ironically fundamentalist christianity has really dug itself in a hole. It looked stupid in the 1950s south, it looked stupid on racial issues, it will look really stupid on gay issues. They’ll eventually slink off and try to cover up their homophobia, just like right wing churches try to sweep Jerry Falwell’s vicious racism under the carpet of history.

    I look to the good christians who are caring and loving, and I meet these wonderful people everywhere. They’re great. They ordain lesbians as bishops, hey what’s not to like 🙂 They ordain gay men as bishops, hey what’s not to like 🙂 While I am a woman of furious anger and power in the fight for my rights, I also celebrate the people who truly are free of the curse of homophobia. I celebrate my solidarity with black women, who totally get it.

    Join a liberal church or a radical gay church. Or be a proud atheist, now THAT takes more courage to be an open and affirming atheist than a gay these days.

  • Dora

    “You have given me the freedom that I don’t have to fight for my basic rights anymore!” Tobias, do you believe that gays and lesbians have the same rights as straight people nationwide? What makes you think the struggle is over?


    • Tobias

      Actually, for me here in Germany, yes, I feel the struggle is pretty much over. We have a gay foreign minister (although nobody likes him – me included – but that’s not because he is gay but because of his political views. Interestingly he is *nothing* like the gay folks you described but has very pro-capitalism views). We have a gay mayor in our capital (Berlin). We have a woman as the executive head of state. We have civil partnerships for gays and lesbians. We have anti-discrimination laws which include gays and lesbians. So at the moment I just don’t feel the need to fight there anymore.

      I realize this is different in the US and even more in e.g. Africa. I can see that fighting is needed there but it just isn’t my main focus right now.

      The thing where I feel things need to change is the perception of LGBT people in the broader public and especially among Christians. This is where I feel my calling right now. But there thing’s don’t change by fighting or protesting but by building relationships.

  • Dora

    I’m curious, what lesbian or gay christian books have people read here?
    What gay and lesbian books have you read?

  • My apologies to all of you. I have not done a good job of expressing my position on all of this, so I’m taking myself out of the conversation. I hope I didn’t offend anyone by anything I wrote. That was not my intention at all.

    • IT

      I don’t think you have failed, and I think you should stay.

  • Dora

    Sans, I don’t think you need to apologize for not expressing your postions well. I often times have a hard time figuring out what people are talking about here as well, or why there is so much disconnect between old gay culture and new gay culture. Well maybe lesbians aren’t as separated because I know we have old women, young women and in between women at our organizations, workshops and bars. Gay men may be more age segregated, and I know older guys get really dissed by young guys in “boystown” type areas. Lesbians really aren’t like this, we really like women of all ages. And our groups generally meet in women’s homes or in private places.

    That said, Sans, don’t give up so easily. Feel free to try to honestly express your opinions here. It’s not a contest, it is about the liberation of all gay people to the best of our abilities to work on this. Be mindful that it is conservative christians, fundamentalist active anti-gay civil rights christians who are really at issue here. Their churches are really screwed up, as is their peculiar subculture. I’d say right wing christianity is just as weird as gay subcultural norms many times, and I should know 🙂

    I don’t want to be in most christian spaces because I can’t “tolerate” the sexism. A lot of lesbians are willing to put up with it, but not me, and not most lesbians of my generation. We grew up in more revolutionary times, and we had to fight a lot harder in daily life than most young women today.
    Certainly, medical school enrollments of the mid-1970s, or women as pastors of mainstream churches pre-1974, for example. Look at the huge discrimination against women that is the norm in America. Believe me, I don’t expect gay men to be raving feminists, they don’t really show that here. Gay men want more social acceptance I think, because they are used to male privilege. It’s something they grew up with, and feel an accute loss of if they don’t marry women. Lesbians come from a very different place on the social scale, and we don’t have very much invested in “things as they are”–

    Men actively tried to prevent women from ordination in the episcopal church, the lutheran church and many other denonomations. The catholic church still is the most patriarchal church of them all, so shockingly about male supremacy, that even young male reporters from CNN were shocked covering the last pope’s funeral. I had to laugh at their shocked tones when they’d say things like: “Wow, they don’t hire any women at the Vatican, there are NO women here.” Apparently, this small detail was invisible to them before they arrived on the scene. Sometimes, things just have to be right in your face before you see them.

    I know I get to see racism all over the place when I socialize with black lesbian friends, and it’s “gay boystown area” that are the most racist, to the point where it can be unsafe for us at times. Yes, it’s true.

    So you have to have more access or more insight to understand true inequality. Quite frankly, if you haven’t been on the really bad receiving end of either sexism or racism, most guys are going to be pretty out of it.

    That said, Sans, you are trying. I don’t know exactly where people come from oftentimes. I’m not interested in institutional christianity, and am very post institutional. I don’t go to churches very often. I like easter and christmas, and I read the bible as literature. I certainly don’t get much out of the acts of the apostles, and the oppression of women in those times is impossible to tolerate. There are moderate gays out there, there are conservative gays. Remember, being mainstream or just like everyone else is what most people do. It’s why so little changes, because people become accustomed to being second class citizens. I meet guys all the time who are content with their BMWs, designer clothers and six figure incomes. They don’t give a damn about the rights of lesbians and show it all the time. I meet white gays who could care less about racism, and I don’t see a whole lot of anti-racist work being done in the boystowns.

    It’s still very white very male… But then you go to other places, and you’ll find huge numbers of women of all colors dancing together, or you’ll see huge numbers of black and asian gays and less of the white male influence. My goal ultimately is a world where we can all be together. I naturally have very low expectations for men, because I don’t see a lot of effort on their part for lesbian issues, I really don’t. Not even here. Just so you know.

    But we won’t get anywhere by not having an honest exchange of ideas, and if we don’t challenge right wing fundamentalists of all stripes, women and gay men will suffer. This site is attempting to do some new things. I’m not convinced the site is about lesbians or lesbian rights or even knows anything at all about christian lesbian feminist ministers and what they’ve done. I don’t see evidense of that knowledge, and boystown in chicago is certainly not the world I know.

    I’m not sure how far conservations can be elevated if the parties aren’t up to speed on what gay and lesbian christians have really done over the past 40 years. If you read a novel of the 1970s called “The Front Runner” — the first gay male love story to become a best seller, you’ll read about the hero, who is a bible reading gay man. Just the fact that such a character existed in this ground breaking novel is quite amazing, and even more amazing, a lesbian wrote the book!

    The greatest challenge young gay men and lesbians face is amnesia about the past. We are dealing with a well financed insideous right wing attack machine that will do everything in its power to deny lesbians and gays basic civil rights that straight people never even have to think about.
    They’ve devoted millions and millions of dollars to their attacks, and they’ve killed our pasters and fire bombed our churches. That’s right, killed and fire bombed.

    No matter how awful fundamentalist christians have been to us, no matter how evil, how slanderous, how hateful, believe me, I know of no gay or lesbian person who has ever killed one of their leaders or fire bombed a straight church. We are a non-violent people.

    • Thank you, Dora. I appreciate your perspective and respect your experiences…and, believe it or not, I’m grateful to those of you who struggled far more than I will ever know the need to struggle. Ironically, it’s your struggle that allows me to live in a time when I can say let go of it.

      heh….I guess that makes me a hypocrite! 🙂

    • Tobias

      Just let me say that the more I read from you, Dora, you sound like a very interesting person even though our views might differ a lot in some points. If I had the chance I’d love to have a cup of coffee with you and hear some of your story!

  • Dora

    No Sans, this does not make you a hypocrite. A lot of gay people were terrified and stayed in the closet rather than become a Harry Hay, Troy Perry or Jill Johston. I still know terrified gay people living in closets, women married to men and having affairs with women on the side.

    Only the very few stand up, and create movements for social change, and even these few get written out of history. It is convenient for dominator cultures to write those rebels out of history, just don’t make it easy for them.

  • IT

    Wow, generalize much?

    You know, a lot of us don’t go to the lesbian bars or the lesbian scene or the lesbian workshops. We don’t think “lesbians do this” and “gay men do that”. My wife and I have lots of gay male friends who don’t fit these “high gay” stereotypes. And we don’t fit the lesbian stereotype either. Frankly I think it makes it too easy for people like the Marin Foundation to pigeonhole us if we pigeon hole ourselves.

    This thread started because the Marin Foundation went to Chicago Pride with t-shirts saying “I’m sorry” and “hugged a guy in his underwear”. They didn’t engage a couple of young dads with a stroller, or a lesbian couple at the PTA. They define GLBT America by the subculture that dances on Pride floats–makes it easy to make gays a “them”, not an “us”. Great blogpost, great photo…and great way to entrench their community’s bias that we’re shallow, sex-driven and vain.

    I think that’s a problem. Because like it or not, we are much more diverse than that. Why play into their bias?

    • Mrs T

      How do you know who they engaged? They were there way before the parade started & surely were talking to people. How do you know how many friends they have that are families with kids? Do you think they are stupid enough to believe that most gays are flamboyant dancers? No, gays are normal people in all walks of life.
      The guy on the float came down; Nathan didn’t pull him off!

      Remember the stated purpose of TMF. There are already plenty of groups on both extremes of LGBT issues. But how many are in the middle trying to get each side to see the other? Mainly(IMO) TMF tries to teach the church to be more responsible & stop alienating its own LGBT kids & face reality.
      Many of you are critical of the group. If you don’t like what they have to offer, you are free to go elsewhere, but please don’t accuse it of alterior motives.

      • AdamN

        Listen to the audio!! The “alterior motives” you don’t believe Marin’s organization has are a little more then hinted at. Many of us here have mentioned very concrete reasons why we are suspicious of this organization and Andrew has remained silent in truly answering our questions, making him all the more complicit. Its great if you want to blindly follow the guy but I am looking out for members of my community.
        Seriously I don’t want Marin or his organization dealing with gay kids. I personally know the damage fundamentalists like this could do to gay youth and it is NOT a positive thing. Out of the welfare for my community I am going to continue to speak out about this harmful organization that only pretends to be an ally to us.

      • Eugene

        “Mainly(IMO) TMF tries to teach the church to be more responsible & stop alienating its own LGBT kids & face reality.”

        What alienates LGBT kids is the belief that homosexuality is a sin. Andrew doesn’t try to change this belief. In fact, it’s highly likely that he shares this belief. He even implied that he hopes that a 15 year old gay Christian will stop being gay because gay Christians “can’t be married” and “can’t have kids”.

        The thing is, it’s only OK to be “in the middle” when both sides are morally equivalent. But, for example, it’s not OK to be “in the middle” between blacks and racists. The Marin Foundation’s stance only makes sense if you believe that homosexuality is morally equivalent to homophobia. And I can’t agree with this.

        • Tobias

          Actually I have to chime in for Andrew here. As far as I remember he just said that 15 year old kids won’t think about how their life will be at 35 and that he won’t be able to marry (and I guess he implied “a woman” here) and can’t have kids (I guess he meant biologically with his wife).

          Now this doesn’t make it *much* better, but at least a little. Why? Because I believe (at least that’s what my psychology student friends tell me) that there are lots of bisexual people. For them, these are really valid questions. And there it might even make sense that they identify with being gay because they feel they’re different than the mainstream and that this might make it harder for them to choose later, how they really want to live.

          Now the obvious answer might be for them to identify as bisexual. But actually I believe that this is still really hard in today’s society.

          In the end I still don’t like the way Andrew is approaching it. And he doesn’t speak about bisexuality, that is just my interpretation.

          • Eugene

            “I guess he implied “a woman” here”

            It’s a problem even by itself. Would he imply this if he actually believed in gay marriage? Even bisexual Christian men can marry a man and adopt kids, so I don’t think your interpretation is correct.

          • Tobias

            Yeah, in any case it shouldn’t be about telling them what is better. It just kind of makes sense to me to tell them to consider their options. And to be honest I know too little about bisexuality. My guess is that in many cases they can’t help anyway who they fall in love with.

            Just wanted to say that there might be different ways to interpret things and I’d rather here Andrew’s thoughts on it. Andrew, if you don’t want to talk about this in this forum, would you engage in a conversation with Eugene and me privately?

    • Tobias

      And amen to that as well! I feel very similar about this!

  • teach2

    IT – “They didn’t engage a couple of young dads with a stroller, or a lesbian couple at the PTA.” -They engage people all the time.

    Adam N -“I personally know the damage fundamentalists like this could do to gay youth and it is NOT a positive thing. Out of the welfare for my community I am going to continue to speak out about this harmful organization that only pretends to be an ally to us.” – I can see you have been hurt. I’m sorry.

    • AdamN

      Oh I haven’t been hurt directly by fundamentalist Christianity (but thanks!). As I have said here earlier, I grew up with absolutely fantastic, loving, liberal, and not very religious Jewish parents. I came out at 13 to them and my brother and they were all immediately accepting and supporting and helped me emotionally get through the battlefield of homophobia that was high school. They took me to PFLAG and were open to learning about something that was different from their experience.
      I have, however, know many people who grew up in Evangelical Christianity. Some of these people really wanted to believe in their religion but saw their religion as against a part of their identity, they saw their gayness as sinful. Ultimately this led many of these people to hate themselves, to act out self-destructively, fall into drug or alcohol addictions, or have a hard time building stable adult relationships.
      According to the audio, Marin’s youth outreach isn’t about correcting the problems that cause this. Its about luring younger people in to the faith with kindler, gentler words and then doing the same thing to them that the fundamentalist church has been doing to gay people. That is not progress, that is not bridge building, that is child abuse.

      • AdamN – First, we don’t have “youth outreaches”. Second, we’re actually working direclty to change the problems that cause that pain by helping conservative youth groups out there (in one particular scenario). Take for instance a conservative youth group who, in their whole history, have just kicked out every kid who came out. Now, after The Marin Foundation helps out, they don’t kick the kid out and have learned how to listen and learn from them – even if, at the end of the day, still have a conservative belief system. That’s a tangible difference in that local group to that local LGBT community and kids. There will always be an ‘other’. There will always be an ‘opposite’. What we’re trying to do is help folks not only understand that, but live in relation to and relationship with the ‘other’ and ‘opposite’ – from both ends. That doesn’t mean that you, or extreme conservatives, would want it…but there’s a whole bunch who do. And that’s ok by me.

        • Eugene

          The fact that they “don’t kick the kid out” only means that the kid will stay in an anti-gay group. It may seem good to you because you’re Christian, but it doesn’t seem that good to me.

        • AdamN

          I actually would rather the Christian groups kick out the gay kids if the alternative was having the gay kid being indoctrinated into self hatred by inclusion in that Christian group (and yes “hate the sin, love the sinner” nonsense counts as hate, sorry)
          And your orientation you talk about being fearful of the gay community getting to gay kids before the church. But if the gay community is offering self-acceptance and the Christian church is offering the opposite, there is no question about it: Our kids need to be in our community and NOT Evangelical/fundamentalist churches.
          It is not an extreme position to believe that people should be free to grow up not hating themselves or a part their identity. Not extreme at all…

          • Andrew A

            I’ve been following this conversation all weekend.

            Adam, in “Love is an Orientation”, Andrew early on condemns the notion of “love the sinner, hate the sin”, because it still communicates hate.

          • AdamN

            Listen to the audio Andrew A. He may be against saying the phrase in the book or on the site but it does appear that he believes homosexuality is a sin and that he would prefer gay people be celibate or “change”

          • Tobias

            I tend to agree with AdamN here. Andrew, I want to give you the benefit of doubt that it’s just the language you use that’s still entangled in your Evangelical background. But I fear even if your motives are really good, you’re likely to be understood by (at least many) Evangelicals exactly as AdamN says: That you encourage them just to use different words and play nice to lure the kids in. I don’t want to judge this by one recording but can you see how we get this from what you’re saying there?

            I believe, elevating the conversation is to really ask new questions that will challenge both sides. For example the “sin” question. I’d say that all the Law and the prophets according to Jesus is contained in “Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself”. So I’d say, let’s all hold each other accountable to that in relationship with each other because surely all Christians will agree on that but we will differ in our interpretations. But in my opinion it shifts the focus and it is different from saying “if I committed one sin, I committed them all” because it has a positive focus rather than a negative one.

            Similarly I’d shift the focus on the fact that Jesus came to give us freedom. And this really means freedom. More freedom that the world will ever give. Sure, we also have a calling and a responsibility and not everything is beneficial to us but I believe we first have to get the freedom part.

            Focusing on things like that really elevates the conversation in my opinion. And with people who focus on these things I don’t have a problem if they are skeptical if gay relationships are beneficial. I have close Christian friends who are.

  • Mrs T

    I am positive that TMF does not think that being gay is a sin!
    Some churches do & are causing damage. Others pretend that gay kids don’t exist; that also causes damage!
    As for the racial issue, there are plenty of former racists out there. They got to know minorities & moved away from the racism they were raised with. Heteros also have gotten to know gays & are no longer “Bible-banging homophobes!”
    [I misspelled the word ulterior. I hope this is the right spelling. Sorry!]

    • Eugene

      “I am positive that TMF does not think that being gay is a sin!”

      Too bad the Marin Foundation isn’t positive about it… Why do you think so, anyway?

      • Probably because she, like I, know Andrew and some of the people involved with the group.

        The Marin Foundation’s a religious group and it has its roots in conservative Christianity. Conservative Christianity is part of its outreach message. Part of that outreach message to those Christians is to lay off a bit on the anti-gay histrionics. And part of the group’s outreach is the GLBT community, some of whom don’t believe that they have a place in the Christian church — any Christian church –, but who would like to be part of the Christian community. My experience is that they partner with all sorts of Christian groups, including evangelical groups, progressive groups, anglican groups, ex-gay groups, gay-affirming groups, pro-celibacy groups, whatever.

        • I submitted prematurely…

          TMF is essentially a missionary group. It’s not a political group. Their mission is to help GLBT folks embrace a Christian identity and to help the Christian community to be more welcoming to the GLBT folks that choose to worship alongside them. That doesn’t mean that every GLBT person has to become an evangelical in order to pass muster, nor does it mean that every church is going to begin ordaining gay folks, officiating at our weddings, or blessing our kids. But hopefully, it’ll mean that we can gradually leard to get along better despite our differences.

          I mean, the Catholics don’t ordain women, but their churches can usually participate in ecumenical activities with those that do without threats of schism or excommunication. Meanwhile, there are lots of churches that refuse to do anything (worship, community projects, whatever) with MCC churches or gay-affirming UCC churches. That’s something that Andrew’s trying to get people to think about.

          • Tobias

            John, from what I read about you on your blog I really have a lot of respect for you. So your opinion of Andrew knowing him personally makes it easier for me to give him the benefit of doubt. I’d be really interested in your thoughts on the recording that Eugene posted and how you hear what he’s saying from your personal experiences with him.

            Also, Andrew, I’d be really interested what you think of the things we here when listening to it.

          • Jon Trouten

            Tobias: I still haven’t heard the clip. Hopefully I will tonight when I eventually make it to the gym with my iPod. As soon as I hear it, I’ll share my thoughts.

        • Eugene

          “Probably because she, like I, know Andrew and some of the people involved with the group.”

          Yeah, Andrew said that gay Christians “can’t be married”, but it’s OK because he attended your wedding.


          “The Marin Foundation’s a religious group and it has its roots in conservative Christianity. Conservative Christianity is part of its outreach message.”

          Is it any wonder that the gay community is skeptical? I mean, a straight Christian is using the (Christian) Bible as a “productive tool” to resolve the conflict between gays and Christians because his “only job is to make a significant impact for the Kingdom” (the quotes are from the Marin Foundation website).

          “My experience is that they partner with all sorts of Christian groups, including evangelical groups, progressive groups, anglican groups, ex-gay groups, gay-affirming groups, pro-celibacy groups, whatever.”

          Your saying it as if it’s a good thing. There are many gay-affirming churches, but they partner with ex-gay groups. I’m afraid it makes the Marin Foundation a pro-Christian group, not a pro-gay group.

          • Tobias

            Hey Eugene,

            some more thoughts as a reply to this. First of all, I think it is indeed pretty obvious that the focus of Andrew is Christianity (I guess he’d rather say Christ, or the Kingdom which only makes sense at all if you believe in it). And this is legitimate. But I think it needs to be clear, their focus are *not* gay rights.

            From the audio you sent, it also seems obvious to me – if he didn’t try to fool his audience – that Andrew believes that gay relationships are not God’s ideal. Up to that point I still don’t have a problem. He’s free to believe that and also to talk about it.

            The think I’m missing, though is honesty and transparency. I think it is possible to “elevate the conversation” and still be clear where you stand.

            Having listened to the audio, I tend to think that Andrew really does have a heart for gay people and I even tend to think that his actions are good. However, his thinking and theology seems very rooted in the old right/wrong, heaven/hell, inside/outside thinking and it seems to me that he is still trying to fit this to his experience.

            Now I agree with you that I don’t feel really comfortable with having this mindset around gay kids. The thing I think would be healthy is if those people told the gay kids in their youth groups how they view the issue, talk with them about it (and “elevating the conversation” might be a good idea here) but also tell them that there are other views out there and also Christians who view things differently.

            The thing is though… there *will* be kids who grow up in these kind of churches. And I wonder if they will be better of in the circumstances Andrew tries to create or in a church where people just condemn gay folks. I guess it depends if the kid has the capacity to rebel or not. Also, who knows how the people in the church will change once they begin to really talk to gay kids.

            To summarize: I hate that I feel there’s so much dishonesty and that it seems to be more about “saying different things” instead of “thinking differently” (i.e. knowing that your perception is not the only possible perception). On the other hand I can’t say what God might be doing through this. My decision for now is to watch TMF, not support them but not fight them either. And most of all pray for them.

          • Essentially, yes, it’s a pro-Christian group. It’s a Christian group that does outreach to the GLBT community. Not everyone is receptive to their message, nor is there any rule that they have to be. They wore shirts saying “I’m Sorry” on them. People can apologize. Others don’t have to accept those apologies.

            Then again, I would find it a positive thing for a gay-affirming church to maintain relationship with an ex-gay group. If only for the example that those who call themselves ex-gay can see that there is another option for them when they see and interarct with gay people who have reconciled their faith and their sexuality.

            I don’t know that Andrew is anti-marriage equality. I was at my mom’s when you first posted that audio link and couldn’t listen to it then and I haven’t heard more than a few minutes since then b/c of work. I haven’t heard him state that he’s against our marriages. I have heard him tell Christians that them voting against our marriage rights doesn’t “fix” this issue. Our relationships are still here. Our kids are still in their schools with their gay moms and/or dads. And our justified anger is still present.

            But he has written about the differences between church and state with regards to our families. I don’t care if certain churches don’t officiate our weddings. They don’t have to and I don’t think they should be forced to do so. But those churches need to recognize that their religious liberties can and do infringe on the religious and civil liberties of people who don’t want to marry in their churches, but who need the legal protections and responsibilities of civil marriage. There’s a difference and that is something that I’ve seen Andrew write about in the past.

          • Eugene – It’s funny to me how you are STILL ARGUING WITH THE PEOPLE (LGBT AND STRAIGHT!) THAT ACTUALLY KNOW US, and you’re still not listening to them. It’s very clear right now that unless everyone agrees with you, nothing is ok.

          • Eugene

            Andrew, I had been listening to you, and I didn’t like what I have heard. Yes, these people know you. But I don’t know them! 🙂 And, besides, they haven’t said anything substantial. I still don’t know what you are fighting for.

    • Tobias

      “I am positive that TMF does not think that being gay is a sin!”

      To be honest, I have always been sceptical about this and after listening to the audio I can’t believe it anymore. However, I can believe that it is not Andrew’s focus even though the audio sometimes sounds as if he just wants to hide the focus strategically. But I’ll give him the benefit of doubt here.

  • Dora

    AdamN, count your blessings. All the gay people I know who were unlucky enough to be born into fundamentalist homes of any stripe (christian, muslim, hindu) have had a greater struggle to be fully healthy human beings. The ones who grew up with “love the sinner hate the sin” nonsense or a bible thumping church just had a horrifying time with being christian. MCC has done a lot for the past 40 some years helping gays and lesbians find a loving god, and there is absolutely NO hidden agenda in an MCC. It is about OUT PROUD GAY CHRISTIAN, and it preaches “god LOVES gays unconditionally.” It’s amazing that most gay people who suffer from the toxic contamination of fundamentalist childhoods haven’t found that church. MCC is gay owned and operated, a fundamentalist gay man founded it. Go to a really GAY centered church, and every week you’ll hear god loves you and the gospel in gay. No equivocations, no pussy footing around. I don’t know why gay people have such attachments to childhood religions. You grow up, and you just leave those places. My parents are of a mixed marriage and one parent went to church, the other did not. It was all ok, and sane. I loved church as a kid, liked the rituals, but as an adult, I simply won’t put up with anti-gay or “tolerant” anything. MCC was such a great experience for me, and I saw so many gay people healed of incredible internalized homophobia… We had cool easter parades, men wearing bonnets lesbians carrying submachine guns (just kidding). Christmas was magic, Lenten Living Rooms, loads of classes debunking the gay hatred quotes in the bible. Get a gang of gay christians together, and shake the dust off your sandals… it is a complete and utter waste of time for gay people to mess with fundamenalist churches of any stripe… but you do have to raise money and battle the enemies politically.

    Gay people I meet who grew up liberal Jewish, or non-religious Jewish, or liberal christian have a far easier time of it. They just deal with garden variety secular homo hatred, and that is diminishing for most young people.
    The minute you hear the words “inerrant” RUN!
    If Marin and his gang can get those attack dog churches off our backs, that’s great. But I would never ever set foot in one of those fundamenatlist churches for a million reasons, none of which have to do with being gay!

    • AdamN

      Yeah, thanks Dora…I do count my blessings and tell my parents all the time how absolutely wonderful they are. They like that!
      I actually had a bar mitzvah, learned to read Hebrew (forgot most of it, sadly!) , studied at synagogue, etc…but really for my family (and most of the Jews I grew up with), Judaism was always more of an ethnic and cultural experience then a religious one. But what a great culture to be brought up in! I am really grateful for being brought up in a minority culture. I think it prepared my parents for understanding my other minority status (they certainly were use to be spoken to condescendingly and inappropriately from Evangelical Christians for instance) Judaism has a great history of scholarly intellectual debate in both its religious and secular cultural spheres. The debates along with the oppression Jews have endured through the centuries and their minority status, have made them a group often at the forefront of other social justice movements. Its no accident that Reform Judaism was one of the very first religious groups to perform gay commitment ceremonies ( in the modern world at least).

  • Eugene

    Today on the Signorile Show

    “We’ll go further into Marin’s deceptive agenda, which is less about building a “bridge” between gays and evangelicals and more about having youth pastors intervene before gays “come out” — in what seems like an attempt to stop them from being gay. In hour 3 (4 ET) we’ll play clips from a seminar he’d given to youth pastors, which we think you’ll agree alarmingly sounds antigay, and we’ll take your calls and thoughts.”

    • AdamN

      Thank you Eugene.
      We may have disagreed about our tactics in approaching this problem (and how we ultimately view Marin) but I respect and admire your comments. I think you have done a lot of good here.

      • Eugene

        Andrew Marin wants the dialog, we want the dialog… Heck, Andrew still has the time to contact them and give them a call! 🙂

        • Jon Trouten

          You mean, they’re devoting a segment to their report on Andrew’s ministry and his goals and they haven’t sought him out for his side of the story?

          • Eugene

            They already have his side of the story – 1.5 hours of it.

          • Tobias

            Eugene, I agree with Jon here. This is unfair. It *is* an old recording and from having followed this blog for quite a while I think that Andrew might have changed as well.

            I know, Andrew didn’t reply here a lot but did you try to talk to him personally before starting to fight?

            I mean… think about who this is gonna serve. I don’t believe anybody will be better off by something like that. It’s just the same old fighting.

          • AdamN

            It would be unfair if Andrew came out and repudiated his remarks on the audio. He hasn’t. What he has done is avoid making clear his mission in regards to the LGBT community and left us instead with some very suspicious evidence that doesn’t look his organization look so good.

          • Eugene

            Signorile says he’ll invite Marin to participate in the show.

            The thing is, if Marin believed that homosexuality is OK, he could say so. And exposure is not the same thing as “fight”.

            **Note to Eugene: This is Andrew…I’m sorry that I had to ‘comment edit’ and write this on your comment but there was no more ‘reply’ space. One quick note: Signorile has not tried to reach out! 5 people in our office today – not only were there no phone calls from him or his producers (and on top of our office phone number which is public he also has my cell phone number from our interview 4 years ago), but he has not emailed me, our info@ email, our speaking@ email, nor has he emailed anyone one of us directly. Sorry. Guess he lied again. Just stating facts.

    • Jon Trouten

      Should be fun. I first learned of Andrew during his interview with Signorile a few years back. I wonder if he’s going to seek a response from Marin during this show.

      Don’t get me wrong. I like Mike’s show and I dearly miss my Sirius subscription, but he has no sense of balance when it comes to people of faith.

      • Eugene

        The thing is, “balance” isn’t always a good thing – especially when “people of faith” have no sense of balance when it comes to gay people.

    • Naliah

      I posted this on the link you mentioned above to Signorile’s Gist page. I think we all need to have the facts in order to find whatever answer we want with regards to the Marin Foundation. I think it is important to know that this article in Advocate had to be retracted by the Advocate magazine because Signorile misquoted, misrepresented, and lied about everything that was said. In fact, the advocate had to publish in its letter to editor section a letter from Dignity Chicago stating that Signorile falsified everything that was said in the article. Whether or not you like Marin or what his foundation is doing. We all need to step back and look at it from a big picture and remember (as seen through out all of the comments about this “campaign”) that the “Church” has hurt many and a group of Christians stood and said I was sorry. Why do we have to pervert the message so quickly. I for one want to live in a world where we are transformed not changed in our sexual identities or behaviors but transformed because we have found something worthwhile and it changes our perspective. We need a space to grow and experience and we have made this so black and white. Come on we have never lived in a black and white world isn’t that what we are asking for in our fight for eqaulity to accept and rejoice in the colors of this world?!?

      • AdamN

        Messages of love are great Naliah. But not when those messages come packed with secret agendas and judgements. Listen to the audio links. That is NOT the kind of love the gay community needs from the Christian community. This is NOT good for gay kids.
        I don’t appreciate the whole “you are making this a black and white” argument. Would you tell that to a black person dealing with a racist? There is a clear victim and a clear abuser here. Gay people are not going to be able to hold hands with people that hold bigotry toward them and are working AGAINST them. Its deeply insensitive and a little crazy for you to even ask us to.

      • Eugene

        What does “this article in Advocate” have to do with anything? The segment of the show will feature the recording of the seminar – which speaks for itself.

        The thing is, it’s never enough to say “I’m sorry”. We need to know what the Marin Foundation is trying to achieve. Even an “ex-gay” group could say “I’m sorry”.

        • Nalaih

          @AdamN – wow in no way was I trying to make this a racist issue by using the language as “black and white” and yes actually if there is to be true reconcilliation then those that are the abused overtime will need to one day stand and hold hands with the abuser as the abuser has been forced to change. Most of the time the change in the abuser comes from the actions of those abused (unfairly yes) and those who will stand in the middle who will stand next to the abused and will be a voice to the abuser. That is what Marin I think is trying to do. Bottom line is the “Church” is not going to listen to anyone in the LGBTQ community unless of course they are ex-gay and went through one of those ex-gay ministries. I did listen to what Marin said in the 1.5 hour seminar and in fact I have seen Marin in person and I can tell you what you are hoping is negative and what you are skeptical about is not there at all. He is trying to speak transformation into the hearts of the conservative Christians in telling them to stop leaving the scars that the “Church” has left on the lives of young people. Marin is not about changing ones orientation but about changing ones life. I have seen his pendulum of change diagram and it doesn’t mention anything about a process to change one from gay to straight but that sexuality has a continuous pendulum and Marin allows for everyone on that pendulum have a place and a voice.

          @Eugene the mention of the article and it getting retracted from the Advocate is important because a lot of people have linked to it and in fact you have posted it on Marin’s blog for others to read and for those to go and listen to Signorile. It is important to note that the last time Signorile wrote something about Marin and commented about him his facts were misrepresented, mis quoted, and he lied.

          No matter what Marin and his group will always be beaten from both sides. I wish those on this blog would have an opportunity to sit and meet with Marin because I promise your life will be changed but not because he is trying to change your orientation he wants you to find your faith.

          • Eugene

            Do you have any proof that The Advocate retracted the article? Signorile says it isn’t true. As far as I can tell, there simply are no articles from that time on the official site of The Advocate.

          • AdamN

            I brought up race to draw a comparison and show the false logic you were presenting. I could have done the same thing with gender or ethnicity.
            I don’t disagree that change ultimately comes from the victim to the abuser, even though that is of course unfair. Why would the abuser want to change a power structure that benefits them? However, from my stand point that means that the victim needs to be forceful, vigilant toward working their way to equality and justice. Part of successfully doing that is knowing who is on our side and who is not. People on the fence don’t help and often extend and create more conflict. LGBT are in battle for equal rights right now and Fundamentalist Christians continue to fight against us and deeply hurt the lives of many LGBT people (esp. children). The audio makes clear that Marin is not really an ally but is instead working on behalf of the church and gaining converts. Even at very best, he is a fence sitter or neutral which is no help to us at all.
            “The hottest place in hell remains for people who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.” Dr. Martin Luther King
            “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” ~ Bishop Desmond Tutu.

          • AdamN

            Another great King quote, which fits in very well with this discussion of “moderation”, “bridge building”, and patience for fundamentalists:
            I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

          • Tobias

            Just to chime in a little for Andrew here again: you should give him the credit that he said (in the recording) that he thinks the whole Prop 8 was stupid and he also spoke up against the things happening in Uganda a lot on his blog. And I think (hope) we all agree here that these social inequality issues need to be battled.

          • Eugene

            Saying that it was “stupid” is not enough. If I say that, for example, Fred Phelps is “stupid”, will it mean that I respect Christianity? 🙂

  • Jack Harris

    I like Michael but I DO find him to be very rigid and unbending in his stance. I would like to hear Andrew respond to Michael’s comment with regard to his seminar with youth workers. Jack.

  • Craig Anderson

    I can certainly appreciate bridge-building between the LGBT and evangelical community. And I also get what you have said about not wanting to answer closed yes/no questions. BUT – I know that I would start to feel more comfortable embracing your ministry (as would a number of others) if you would share what exactly your thoughts are on whether gay folks can and/or should change. To be honest, having heard some of your remarks about gay youth – it sounds a lot like you are saying one thing to ex-gay organizations and another to lgbt folks (for example – some of the things you have said about getting to gay kids before join the gay community).

    • Craig – Thanks for asking so peacefully. I know there are a lot of comments here, and I did mention it earlier, but I’ll mention it again:

      I am not trying to ‘change’ any orientation and/or behavior modification.

      Never have. Never will. As I said earlier to someone, isn’t it strange that not even one LGBT person who actually knows me or has come to anything my org has ever done (or any LGBT person who has done either of those and commented in this series!) has accused The Marin Foundation or I of trying to ‘change’ them? In fact, they are ALL backing me/my org up! I find that very strange. The only people accusing such things are Eugene, AdamN, et al. who have never met me in person, talked with me directly (other than on this string of comments) and have never come to anything my org has ever done. Rationally speaking, the credibility would land on the folks who have personal years in knowledge of us. Who would someone believe – out, partnered LGBT people who know me personally and comment on the blog in our defense, or LGBT people who just accuse me of things but have no personal experience? You can make up your mind on that.

      Also, I did say eariler regarding the talk 2 things:

      1. “Eugene, again, when I said that you have to understand that I am talking to a group of conservative youth pastors. I didn’t say that gay kids shouldn’t ‘come out’. I said that gay kids should delay coming out because as soon as they do they are pinned ‘the gay kid’ forever. And that talk I gave was in THE SOUTH! How many southern regions/etc do you know where gay kids are treated excellent when they come out in high school (by Christians or not Christians)? You swear there are secret motives/etc going on. You just don’t have all the facts. I’m sorry.”

      2. “I listened to that recording you’re talking about. And you hear the word ‘change’ when I speak, but you didn’t listen to my definition of ‘change’. I clearly said a few things:

      1. “When I say ‘change’ I am not referring to behavior modifcication”
      2. “Bridge building isn’t to prosteletize people. It’s not to ‘change’ any behavior. It’s to prove yourself over time.”

      Eugene, looks like you are imposing your version of ‘change’ re: behavior modification upon my version of ‘change’ – spiritual and emotional shifts”

      I hope that helps answer your questions Craig. Thanks for asking and wanting to dialogue.

      • Eugene

        Actually, I have specifically said, “I don’t think that he actively advocates celibacy”, so I don’t really accuse of trying to change people. But you do seem to be acknowledging “change” from gay to celibate/straight as a legitimate option. More importantly, you aren’t trying to challenge anti-gay beliefs.

        Even now, you aren’t saying that gay people can’t/shouldn’t change. Are you avoiding this question?

        • Andrew A

          The above post is a really good one that dives into the middle ground. While Andrew doesn’t advocate that people seek “change” in the way that you define change, he does live in the tension that is there because some think it is a legitimate option. The post I linked to explores that tension and how folks on all sides respond to those who, for them personally, have decided to live lives of celibacy or, as the original question stated “spouseosexual”.

          Some folks out there, have homosexual desires, yet for whatever reason (religious, personal conviction, unknown) choose to explore other options. Andrew Marin doesn’t discredit their experience either as he affirms all people from all different points on the contiuum of sexuality.

          • AdamN

            Validating the ex-gay movement is validating an anti-gay movement. I’m sorry but this is a fake movement created by Christians about embracing self-hatred and the closet with an agenda to ultimately impose it on the rest of us. There are some real HORROR stories about this movement and what they have done to people (including children).
            Presenting this as a “healthy” option to gay youth is deeply detrimental to them and incredibly harmful to our community.

          • Eugene

            The thing is, sexual orientation – and the possibility of change – is not a matter of opinion. When Marin is presenting the “ex-gay” option as equivalent to the “gay” option, he is misleading gay kids, and consequences can be awful. Your orientation is who you are. What’s unforgivable is that Marin says, “You may not believe it, but it doesn’t matter because that’s what’s valid from their perspective “. For some reason, facts don’t matter to Marin. And he even thinks that an “ex-gay” man who’s still thinking about other men is straight!

            Also, have you never wondered why there aren’t “ex-straight” camps?

      • Tobias

        Hey Andrew, I hear you. You still have to understand that it is very hard for us to make up our mind about you just from the information on the internet (as Eugene said, we don’t know the people who back you up). I guess this might really be unfair to you (and from my comments you can see that I partly think it is) but you put yourself out there on the internet and not just on the street so I guess you’ll have to deal with it.

        Reading your answers about the recording here, I might be willing to believe that you really mean it the way you say here but you are not so good in getting it across. Because I have to admit I heard it just the same as Eugene even though I started to listen to it wanting to trust you.

        Just understand that it’s not easy for us as well.

        For me at least it is not an issue of fighting you, just an issue of making up my own mind if I still want to follow your blog and your thoughts or not.

  • Jack Harris

    I will listen to the clip this evening. Will give my thoughts later this evening.

  • Steve

    The audio of your seminar to youth pastors reveals your true intentions. You don’t want to elevate a conversation with the LGBT community, you want to eliminate the LGBT community (and make lots of money while doing so). How else do you explain that your answer to how to deal with a young person who becomes aware of his or her sexual orientation is to intervene and steer them “towards God”. We all know that is no different than the ex-gay movement. It’s code for brainwashing someone to reject their true self and begin a life of lies. You’re a fraud and you’re dangerous.

  • This conversation has degenerated to the point of being nearly ridiculous. People “opposed” to TMF’s mission and work want Andrew to say something he will never say and they hear something that’s not really there. No matter how many people say they’re wrong, they won’t be convinced because they’re invested in our cause.

    Likewise, those of us who support TMF’s mission and work are satisfied with the answers Andrew has given and don’t hear what we’re being asked to hear. No matter how many people say we’re wrong, we won’t be convinced because we’re invested in our cause.

    There comes a time when continuing on a course that will never lead anywhere is, frankly, stupid. I think we’ve all exhausted ourselves trying to prove our own righteousness and we’ve convinced no one on the “other side.” Maybe it’s time to stop, admit we’re never going to be satisfied with what the “other side” is saying and avoid looking stupid.

    Just sayin’……

    • Sans

      >>because they’re invested in “their” cause…not ours…sorry for the typo.

    • Eugene

      “There comes a time when continuing on a course that will never lead anywhere is, frankly, stupid.”

      Are you talking about the Marin Foundation’s mission? 🙂 I still have no idea where its course is leading. I mean, the majority of gay people will never agree that homosexuality is a sin. The majority of conservative Christians will never agree that it isn’t a sin.

      I have already asked this question, but what exactly is Andrew trying to achieve?

      • The goal isn’t to get most gay people to believe that homosexuality is sinful or for most conservative Christians to believe that it’s not. The goal is to get us away from that circular argument and to learn to accept each other where we are to and to co-exist better.

        My mom might personally believe that my sexuality is sinful, but we have a relationship that allows her to accept what she believes to be a major sin in my life. It’s not something that she’s always comfortable with, but she is there for me and equally important to me, she’s there for my husband Mark.

        My father never quite made it there and it pretty much devestated our relationship. Other parents never get past that “it’s a sin” belief and make things miserable for each other or totally cut out their kid.

        One of TMF’s goals is to help people learn how to grow beyond the whole “is it a sin” debate and move on.

        • Eugene

          I’m sorry, but I will never accept the belief that homosexuality is a sin – especially when it can be so harmful to other people. And Christians will never truly accept a sin (Andrew knows this, so I guess that’s why he’s avoiding the gay marriage issue).

          That’s why there are only two ways to grow beyond the whole “is it a sin” debate:

          1) Grow out of Christianity
          2) Stop considering homosexuality a sin.

          You reminded me of a very important aspect of this issue: your father suffers as much as you do. So it’s not a “gay vs. Christian” issue. It’s a “people vs. religion” issue. We can’t change people, so the only way out is to change religion.

        • AdamN

          I find all of that horribly depressing and sad, Jon Trouten. I feel bad for you.
          Things like this really strengthen my distrust of organized religion.
          I just started dating a guy who’s family was Jehovah Witness. When he came out to his mother, she left the church. She couldn’t believe in a religion that saw her son as a sinner for being who he was. Why can’t more Christians be like that? Shouldn’t love, REAL love, outweigh ridiculously outdated, probably totally misinterpreted, and possibly totally make believe religious dogma EVERYTIME? I just don’t understand it and I don’t understand how any gay person or anyone who REALLY cares about gay people can associate with any church or organization that doesn’t fully accept us. Its time to truly enter the 21st century. If religion is not up to the task of being a force for good and love and continues to be a divisive force of hate that hurts families and ruins lives, I say: Leave it behind.

          • Please don’t feel bad for me, Adam. I left my home denomination long ago. I moved on and found a denomination that accepts me and my family.

          • AdamN

            Excellent Jon.

    • AdamN

      I have said it before and I have said it again, my investment in this discussion is purely on the behalf of my community and specifically on behalf of LGBT youth. I think what Marin is doing is dangerous and harmful to LGBT youth. As a gay person I can’t sit idly by and just let that happen without saying something.

      • Sans

        …and you’ve said it…A LOT! And we get it. We hear you, but we still don’t agree. The instructor I took speech from in college said, “make your point…ONCE!”

        All Im saying is that I think we all get where we all are. Nearly 200 comments later noboy’s mind has been changed.

        • AdamN

          Feel free not to read my comments then buddy! No one is forcing you too.
          I am not going to be silent in the face of something dangerous and serious.

          • Sans

            Oh, good Lord….stop it!

            Nobody’s saying you should “be silent”…geez!

          • AdamN

            Then what exactly was the point of your comment if not to try and shame me into silence? Sorry I am not saying things you like, but that’s not why I’m here.
            You may find my argumentativeness here troubling but I find your alliance with and defense of someone who does not have our communities best interest at hand even more troubling.

          • Sans

            “Shame” you into silence?????? What part of what I wrote is an attempt to “shame” you into silence?

            Dude…come on…you’re finding enemies where there are none. I am CERTAINLY not your enemy. You can be argumentative all you want to be. All I’m saying is, don’t be surprised when, at some point, people stop listening. That’s just the way the world is…good or bad…that’s just the way it is.

            My best to you…seriously, I mean that. I hope you win every argument you ever get into. As for me, now, tonight is my niece’s 15th birthday and I’m off to celebrate with my family.

            have a good night

          • AdamN

            Then stop listening and responding to me if it bothers you so much and I will follow suit with you. You’ve made it clear where your loyalties lie and it seems you are unwilling to reconsider the organization despite the problems me, Eugene, and others have been speaking of. That’s fine then. But I’m gonna keep on talking when I want to, just specifically not to you.
            Take care and have fun with your family.

    • teach2

      Exactly. Please stop! Enough……

      • AdamN

        Sorry to upset/annoy/bother you. I really am. But its a very upsetting conversation for me as well.
        Just stop reading our comments if it upsets you so much teach2.
        I’m sorry, but I’m invested in this discussion and am really concerned about the seriousness of this issue and that’s why I won’t just let this go.I’m sure there are tons of other places on this site to go for non-critical positive affirmation…that maybe a part of the problem actually.

        • Tobias

          @Adam and Eugene: You know, if you really want to make a difference (and I do think you have an important voice), contact Andrew privately and tell him all the things you see as wrong in his approach. Talk to him as a fellow fallible human being. If he’s wise he will consider it. I guess it’s also fair enough for you to warn people of the dangers you see in TMF. I agree with Sans, though that people’s opinions won’t change here on an online forum. If you really want to see change happening, talk to Andrew. Not to figure him out, not to convince him but to reflect to him how what he says affects you.

          • AdamN

            Tobias, anyone else.
            I think posting on here for me originally was initially to converse with Andrew and get some straight answers from him. But, for me at least, its become very clear that he is not really interested in really answering or in staking out any kind of position in regards to LGBT issues (all in the name of moderation-which as I have mentioned is kind of useless and ethically irresponsible). More then Eugene, I doubt Andrew’s intentions. I can’t get past the ex-gay/celibate/conversion/gay youth issues I have talked about and find the Marin Organization dangerous and very scary. He is saying one thing to evangelicals and another to his gay followers here. I have no need to set up a dialogue individually with him where he would tell me what he thinks I need to hear, all the while doing things I seriously think are harmful to my community. No thank you.
            Later in commenting here I think I was focusing on other people here, trying to get them to be aware of this organization they may support that appears to me to be very bad for gay people. But it appears more and more like you are right Tobias. People here don’t want to hear criticism. They want to keep on believing what Marin has told them about himself and not see the cracks in the facade.
            Maybe its part of talking to people who are very religious, people who really want to believe in something and be included in a religious community so much that it shuts down dialogue and dealing with issues/facts. I am not interested in belief or inclusion in a community that doesn’t really value gay people, I am interested in facts, honesty, justice and equality.
            But that’s enough of me. You all know how I feel and I will be focusing my energy now elsewhere. (Although I will make sure to make my views and discoveries about Marin and his foundation known elsewhere I travel)
            Take care and good luck.

        • Tobias

          Using the reply on this level because of the bad reply implementation here but referring to your comment from July 7, 2010 at 1:59 am.

          Let me just make some points clear:

          – Personally I valued your comments here deeply and they gave me lots of food for thought. I just think (similar to Sans) that you made your position clear enough and from here on I don’t think anything will change in this discussion.

          – When I suggested talking to Andrew personally I was *not* suggesting that you do this so he can convince you that what he does is right. You’re right that if that is the goal, he could just tell you what you want to hear. No, what I was suggesting was that you write to him personally and tell him in love where you think he errs. Not expecting a reply. Just so that he has an oportunity to consider this. Why do I think this is different from you posting here? Because you would talk *to* Andrew and not *about* him. And again, I think it was good that you posted here as well.

          Much love, Tobias.

    • Tobias

      Hey Sans, I respect your position, especially if your affiliation with TMF helped you personally! This is awesome and for that alone I give them credit!
      But please recognize that there are also people in the middle ground here honestly wrestling with making up their mind!

  • Eugene…come on…

    You want him to answer your questions by either saying, “Yes, homosexuality is a sin..” or “No, homosexuality is not a sin…” or “Yes, gay people should be able to get married…” or “No, gay people shouldn’t be able to get married.” It’s not going to happen, and if you really can’t understand that the mission of TMF transcends political and even religious arenas. They want to start a genuine, honest dialog between two communities that are miles apart. They want clearer heads to prevail and they want people to stop saying things like “you’re dangerous” or “you’re a fraud” or “you’re going to burn in hell” or “you’re a pervert”….surely you understand that? Surely you get that if anything constructive is EVER going to happen we have to stop this insanity of name calling and bashing and belittling?

    BOTH sides are guilty of it and until it stops then every conversation will become ridiculous and stupid.

    • Eugene

      “They want to start a genuine, honest dialog between two communities that are miles apart.”

      If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, it’s dishonest to dodge the question.

      And haven’t you noticed that we keep talking and talking and talking about Marin’s refusal to answer yes/no questions? Isn’t it even more ridiculous and stupid? The thing is, I’m perfectly capable of talking to a person who believes that homosexuality is a sin. But I’m a very honest man (that’s why I couldn’t stay in the closet). And I can’t have “a genuine, honest dialog” when the mediator is so evasive.

  • Sans

    Well, in my experience with mediators — and believe me, it’s been extensive — they RARELY take sides. By definition a mediator should not take sides, right?

    But, go ahead and keep asking those same questions even though you know he’s not going to give you the answer you want to hear…..

    • teach2

      This is getting nowhere. Productive conversations, non-existent. Anger is increasing. Someone needs to take the higher road. Enough already.

    • Eugene

      “By definition a mediator should not take sides, right?”

      Right. And Marin is a straight Christian who is using the (Christian) Bible as a “productive tool” in this conversation because his “only job is to make a significant impact for the Kingdom”. Does it look like he’s in a neutral position? Only pro-gay views (or homosexuality) can make him a proper mediator.

  • Sans

    “Only pro-gay views (or homosexuality) can make him a proper mediator.”

    Ummmmmm…..ok, right.

    As I said to AdamN, eventually people get bored and stop listening. I am and I have. 🙂 Tonight is my niece’s 15th birthday and NOW I really am going to celebrate with my family.

    Best of luck.

  • Dora

    Just got together some information that should be of interest to all people commenting here.

    You all should read the lengthy scholarly article “Genocidal Intentions: Social Death and the Ex-Gay Movement” by Sue E. Spivey and Christine M. Robinson of James Madison University.

    The first paragraph of their article was so chilling, I was shocked into a new realization of just what we are really dealing with.

    “In this article, the authors contribute to the literature on predicting and preventing genocide in an international context, focusing on social death practices elaborated in article II (b)-(e) of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (UNCG). Analyzing ex-gay movement texts, the authors apply James Waller’s theoretical framework, which expains how ordinary people commit extraordinary acts of brutality, to the rhetoric and public policy advocacy of prominent ex-gay movement organizations and entrepreneurs. Further, they examine the extent to which this new religious movement promotes public policies in the United States and globally, and argue that these policies constitute social death as genocide of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender peoples based on the UNCG definition.”

    “Rapidly proliferating since the 1990s, the cross-disciplinary study of genocide has been conceptualized…. Article II of the UNCG defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a)Killing members of the group, b)Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and / or e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

    Had I read this chilling article before all the news about the kill the gays legislation in Uganda or before I heard of Rick Warren’s people being involved in this, I would have thought this article an exaggeration.

    You all need to read this article, and contact the scholars. I’m sure they’ll be happy to share information widely. This is deadly serious business, and there is no such thing as building bridges with genocidal groups or organizations. It almost seems that U.S. gay groups should bring suit to the UN court of international crimes of genocide against ex-gay ministries of all kinds, including all those “youth pastors” of conversative churches always trying to scare the heck out of gay kids.

    It’s deadly serious, and when we add the words “promenant ex-gay movement organizations and entreprenurs” it highlights just that, those who are aiding and abetting the ex-gay cause, thinking it is harmless and ethical. This is just one of the many attrocities highlighted in this dispassionate and scholarly article.

  • Jack Harris

    As someone who counsels college students in a university setting, I have GLBT kids that have been victims of the Ex-Gay Movement and I can tell you that these movements are extremely toxic. I have also had the opportunity to work with kids who are celibate because they believe scripture tells them to be. My experience has been that both create an enormous amount of psychological damage–not so much from the fact that they aren’t having sex but more from the whole avoidance, self-loathing aspect that comes along with the pressure to conform to what they believe scripture to say. My experience has been that GLBT youth do not successfully recover from (if at all) from the self hatred that comes from these two points of view.

    • Eugene

      In my experience, even “the closet” is something you never fully recover from. Self-hatred isn’t necessary. Even the lack of love and affirmation can screw you up. As a Huffington Post contributor once said, “We all die unhealed”.

  • Jack Harris


    I would agree with you. There isn’t a day that goes by that I wish I had come out much much earlier. Ironically though, I think there is something to be said for coming out later. I believe I was able to handle the decision in a more mature manner. If I had come out in high school, I think it would have been more difficult. I was in an all white southern private school which would have made it very painful to do so–there would have been no support there–but I guess my experience is unique to me.

    As I said in my post earlier I work at a university and also serve as the advisor for the GLBT group on campus. More and more, I find students coming to college ALREADY out–this is a growing trend that I believe to be healthier. In addition to this, we are also seeing a significant increase of students identifying as transgender–which has caused many colleges to re-think their approach on how we work with these students.

    • Eugene

      Your experience obviously isn’t unique to you, and it isn’t about “coming out later”. It’s about coming out in an accepting atmosphere. Of course, the problem is that staying in the closet is problematic, too – and you never know what is worse. What bothers me, though, is that straight people are unaware of the hidden costs of the closet, so they can easily say something like “how can you know you’re gay when you’re 14” or “if you come out, it will be too rough for you”.

  • IT

    I have posted elsewhere that we should view this with “skeptical encouragement”. I don’t really trust TMF or their motives. On the other hand we know for a fact that putting a face on GLBT people and realizing they are just people can help individuals understand more what this is about. So, as my wife and my other Christian friends say, just talking is a plus . (I’m not a Christian; my Roman Catholic upbringing was sufficent to make me an atheist. But my wife is an Episcopalian and if I believe in God I would be one too.)

    Here’s my recommendation. watch Andrew and his foundation. Be skeptical but encouraging. Let’s build bridges, with limits.

    Being GLBT is not a sin, any more than being straight is. Promiscuity is degrading to gays and straights . My straight college students have a huge issue with this, it’s the same thing.

    It’s why marriage is so important for everyone. Give faithful monogamous couples of either orientation structures to support and build their relationships. What’s not to support?

  • Dora

    Men in underwear running around the streets of Chicago have little if nothing to do with the lives of most lesbians I know. Focusing on the freedom day parades is not really the culture that formed me, and certainly really doesn’t represent the large majority of lesbians I’ve worked politically with over the decades.

    It’s problematic to say the least. Is it supposed to draw more gay men into this “ministry”? Is it meant to get conservative christians to stop being our enemies and obstructors of human rights? Or is it just sensationalism at our expense? The coin of the realm these days on the Internet?

  • Andrew, you state that you are not trying to dodge the conversation. But by continually refusing to unequivocally state your true position on same-sex marriage and whether or not homosexuality is a sin, the LGBT community has plenty of reason to be skeptical of your real motives. You can post the link to the 5 big questions video until Jesus comes back, it won’t make the questions go away.

  • Jim
    • I have a public statement coming out soon about all of this and then I’m done with it.

  • Jim

    The Advocate has reposted the orginal Marin article. So was clearly never retracted.

    • Jim: Andrew already addressed the Advocate article last week:

      “I was under the impression that The Advocate article was retracted. Please take my sincerest apology for publicly saying that it was retracted when it wasn’t. I want to thank The Advocate for going on the record and clearing that up. In regards to the article in question, I received two phone calls, one email and one letter from four different people quoted in that article who all stated they did not say any of what was quoted in the article by the author. To me, even today, that is enough to be satisfied whether the article was retracted or not.”

      • Eugene

        The problem is, Signorile is saying that everyone in the article stands by their quotes – and he’s a reputable journalist. What’s worse, Andrew even declined the invitation to come to his show – after criticizing Signorile for not reaching out.

        It doesn’t look good.

        • All I’m saying is that Andrew has already publicly retracted the claim that the original Advocate article had been retracted.

          • Jay

            They don’t care what you’re saying, Jon. Just like they don’t care what Andrew is saying. They only care what THEY are saying.

            A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something!

  • Carissa

    Hi Andrew,
    I heard you on the Frank Pastore show this afternoon and I was very much into what was being said in the conversation. My original thought was, wow, this man is reaching out to them in a Biblical manner and speaking Christ into their lives. I thought of what a blessing it was that these sinners now knew what it meant to repent and that they (the ones who you said came to the Lord) had TURNED AWAY from their sin- meaning they were no longer a part of the homosexual life style.

    But in reading this blog, I have to say I am disappointed, because it seems like, from the “gay Christians” (which is an oxymoron- if they repented, they wouldn’t be gay. 1 Chor. 6:9-11 *AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU. WERE WERE WERE lol). I am lost at how advocating for gay adoption and the revearsal of DADT is biblical? If homosexuality is such a rampant sin, how much more would it be if they are raising the next generation of gay advocates? There is a difference in loving them and loving them biblically. And churches should not have to mold to the carnal world and it’s sins by waiting for “WHEN” gay marriage is a norm. Are they supposed to just go against God’s creation and original plan of man and woman? I pray that the gays who come to you don’t do so because they think they can have Jesus and have their sins, too. If you’re a drunk, you repent and turn away from it. Same thing with adultery, fornication, idolatry. Have you ever heard of a Christian idolater? In the same sense, there is no such thing as a Christian gay. Advocating for gay adoption, marriage and military service (which would be HORRIBLE on the morale of the troops) paints the picture that gays can be Christians.

    I came to your site to find tools to reach out to the gay community, but from what I have read, I don’t really feel like I can trust if God’s word is being used in it’s Truth.

    You said Pastore was arrogant in his response to Heather. However, I have read your responses here and you seem just as arrogant (I say this in the gentlest tone). The man I heard on the radio, talking about God and not losing the person does not sound like the same man who is replying to the responses here. By reading these, I would have never known you were a Believer.

    I believe that we can love all humans and outreach to them, but we do NOT have to make God’s word lenient and we can say “NO” to someone’s lifestyle and still love them. We can still vote “NO” and love them. Sometime the right thing (and in this case, Biblical) is not letting someone ruin their lives and risking the salvation of others by living in sin. There are people I love so much, but I will never advocate or support their lifestyles because it is against God’s word. Such is also the case with the gay community.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Carissa: I personally don’t see how actively destroying the professional careers of this country’s gay and lesbian soldiers through the policies of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is Biblical. None of the branches of the military are churches or forms of ministry. Likewise, no soldier or officer is required to profess a Christian faith in order to serve. Recent court hearings regarding DADT have actually shown increased tension when good soldiers have been involuntarily kicked out of the military. Also, DADT allows gay and lesbians to serve. Our nation’s soldiers are currently serving with gay people. They just serve under a cloud of secrecy and under constant threat of being booted from national service.

      As for my faith, my marriage, and my children… Whatever. I’m not going to justify any of these things to you. I am a Christian. I am a husband. And I am a very proud father. I don’t need your acceptance or your validation, Carissa.

      • Carissa

        I was not talking to you.

        • No, just talking about me and others like me on a public blog.