News broke yesterday when the leading progressive Christian organization, Sojourners, denied an interdenominational LGBT organization, Believe Out Loud, the ability to pay for ad space to run an ad that asks churches to welcome LGBT people and their families (just welcome, not ordinate or promote gay marriage or anything….just welcome them into your churches). You can get the summary of the story here.
When the story hit the internet it hit like an electric bolt and spread, to say the least, very quickly. I find it strange that the leading self-labeled “progressive Christian” organization is now picking and choosing what topics they are progressive on. As Sojourners founder and active leader, Jim Wallis, wrote on Sojourners blog yesterday, he doesn’t see LGBT issues “critical” to progressive Christians or the culture at large, and thus, doesn’t see the need to make it a priority. Ouch.
The LGBT community and the progressive Christian world have been hanging their hat on each other for a number of years recently. They were supposed to be a unified front against those “crazy conservatives.” And now the recognized leader of the straight heterosexual progressive Christian world doesn’t see homosexuality as “critical.” Jim and Sojourners are currently getting thrown under the bus every-which-way by the LGBT community. Rightfully so, in my opinion. If a person or an organization is going to align themselves with a very specific social and theological ideology and take the donations of that very specific ideology’s people and organizations, how can they then pick and choose what constitutes as proper progressively? They can’t.
Now it’s backfired.
So Sojourners put out an initial statement talking about love first. No one is going to listen to “love first” when there is no tangible expression of unconditional love or equality in importance of issues in the group of people you align with that these issues are extremely important. It’s like they’re trying to justify their ability to pick and choose what they deem as proper progressivity. Sounds like an awfully privileged thing to do in my book. Then Jim released his own statement (see link above), which was worse than the original because he sets a hierarchy of what is “critical” in progressive issues. LGBT is not on that “critical” list. I also find it interesting that no LGBT people who Jim/Sojourners claim to be friends with have spoken up on their behalf.
But what I find most interesting, more than anything else, has to do with the contributors to Sojourners. Let me break this down for everyone:
There are 41 really well known “progressive” Christian listed as contributors. You can see the list here (left-hand side that says God’sPolitics Contributors).
Out of those 41 people, I personally know 26 of them.
Out of those 26 people, I personally know that 17 of them are very LGBT affirming.
Out of those 17, NONE have spoken up to defend the LGBT community in opposition to Sojourners and Jim Wallis since this gaff happened. (Although I do know that one is about to – Becky Garrison is going to drop the hammer naming names tomorrow.)
Why has only one well known “progressive Christian” listed on Sojourners site spoken up in defense of the LGBT community regarding this critical struggle between the LGBT community and the Church?
Because the majority of well known “progressive Christians” use the LGBT community only when it’s convenient for them!
They’re not saying anything now because in doing so, they would have to slap the hand that feeds them. Or, in this case, defend a group of people (LGBTs) in opposition to the person (Jim Wallis) and the organization (Sojourners) that gives them a huge platform.
Follow the platform. Follow the fear of losing everything – money, influence, etc.
I can’t wait to see how many of those well known “progressive Christians” will say anything. My guess… none besides Becky. Because they’re all too scared to lose something man-made.
To me personally, and to The Marin Foundation, inclusive actually means including everyone from the far left to the far right and everything in between, no matter what the cost.