Not them. Us.

This week, Amendment One passed in North Carolina. We all know this by now, I’m sure.

And we all know who is responsible.

I don’t know what we Christians hope to accomplish. Even if you believe same-sex marriage is wrong (I personally do not think there is anything wrong with same-sex relationships–here is why. Please don’t waste your time trying to argue it with me in the comments section because I’ve made a well-researched decision and you’re not going to change my mind at this point), what do we hope to do? Legislate “morality?” Arrest people who do not accept (particular definitions of) the Bible? Show God’s love by denying others their rights?

Damn straight.

But, I honestly don’t want to talk to those Christians right now. Some of you reading my blog may still believe that taking away people’s rights in the name of Jesus is the right way to love others and to treat others as you would want to be treated, but I’m going to guess that most of those types of Christians have long since given up on me (or are too busy praying for me to stop “backsliding”). If I’m wrong, and you’re one of those Christians and you’re reading this, please read with an open mind and don’t be a jerk in the comments (I WILL delete you. I mean it).

I want to talk to my fellow LGBT-affirming/tolerating Christians. The ones who don’t think that taking away the rights of others shows the love of God. Whether you affirm same-sex relationships like I do or you think same-sex relationships are wrong but don’t force those beliefs on others, this is for you.

First of all, you’re not alone. It’s not you vs. the Church.

Sure, it may feel that way. Especially for those of us who grew up in fundamental or evangelical churches. I’m sure many of us have heard “God wants us to love, but not tolerate sin,” and “you need to read the Bible because it clearly says ____,” speeches.

It gets frustrating and tiring.

I know, believe me. I know. I break down and cry every now and then because of all the pressure from my brothers and sisters in Christ to hate others. And I’m dating a man, so I have it much easier than those of you who may face pressures from your brothers and sisters in Christ to hate yourself.

But we’re not alone. There are lots of us.

Allies facing rebuke.

People with questions being shot down.

Gays and lesbians who feel they should be celibate facing misunderstanding and lack of support.

Out LGBT people facing excommunication.

Closeted LGBT people facing shame.

Which brings me to my next point. The LGBT community is not just “out there.”

I was thankful to see posts by some of my favorite Christian bloggers, expressing outrage over Amendment One.

Rachel Held Evans (whom I love dearly), wrote a beautiful post:

When it comes to homosexuality, we no longer think in the black-at-white categories of the generations before ours. We know too many wonderful people from the LGBT community to consider homosexuality a mere “issue.” These are people, and they are our friends. When they tell us that something hurts them, we listen. And Amendment One hurts like hell.

Her words are true.


LGBT people aren’t just our friends.

When we assume that the LGBT community is some separate group outside the church, we forget that many people within the church are LGBT and many LGBT people are Christians. When we talk about LGBT people as a church, we need to realize that many of them are our siblings in Christ.

We are talking about us. Not them.

The church and the LGBT community are not mutually exclusive.

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about a group of LGBT activists who work with and within the church toward change–More Light Presbyterians. I really love what this group is doing. I think they’re more inclusive and bold than even many secular LGBT activist groups. Until then, what reminds you as an LGBT Christian or ally that you are not alone?

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  • Great conversation! I wrote a blog and posted a lot on my facebook this past week about Amendment One and I was pleasantly surprised by 1) the number of lovely positive compliments I got from fellow Christians. and 2) how the Christians I know who don’t agree with me did not start a fight or get involved in what I talked about. It gives me hope that we can come together on these sometimes divisive issues. I’m still working through all of my thoughts on gay marriage but I don’t think my government has the right to not offer rights to some of their citizens.

  • sarah, you make such an important point. our language is prone to othering. we talk about Them instead of Us, as if people can’t be gay and love Jesus.

    i’m choosing to be encouraged by the dialogue and by Obama’s support and his tying it to his own faith. i believe tides are changing, and people’s hearts are too.

  • Great Post! I truly believe God Loves ALL!

  • Thanks! For me, I keep coming back to my core belief that humanity bears the imago dei, and therefore we are one all united and two all worthy of the same love, grace and respect, and that goes for everyone whether I agree with them or not. I just wish that the voters in NC who supported this horrible motion understood that hateful denying of rights is an act of defacing the imago dei and therefore also self damaging. Our hatred scars ourself as much as the one we are trying to other.

  • “To being an us for once
    Instead of a them.”

    – Rent

  • Personally,I have noticed that a lot of people who think this way do not know any gay people. They think we are freaks swinging’ from the chandeliers. I wish they would just leave room in their mind to think for a moment that My wife and I live the exact same way they do. We go about our days working, loving our pets, hanging out with friends and family, being there for one another in a loving monogamous relationship. My wife is my rock, my best friend, my other half, my partner in this thing called life. We live with good intent and treat people with respect and dignity and just want the same in return. I’m sometimes shocked at the response that I get when my sexual orientation comes up(nobody ever guesses).It saddens me that people think a fashion blogging,Mercedes Benz driving,”girly” girl shouldn’t be gay. But then my wife reminds me to take it as a compliment for it may be their first realization that “Gay” is “normal”. It gets their mind going….usually for the better. Reminds me of old stories my grandmother would tell me about her discovery that black people just wanted the same things she did. People do evolve, thank God for that:)

    • Jennifer

      Well said

    • Thank you for sharing! I agree–sometimes just getting to know LGBT people and listening to their stories is enough to dispel hatred.

  • Katherine

    Have you seen the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So”? It is on Netflix. It’s excellent, and mingles narratives of families with gay children with interviews of theologians and scholars. It changed everything for me. Maybe something More Light Presbyterians would be interested in? It’s a great conversation starter.

    • It’s on my list of things to watch. I actually almost watched it last night, but opted for The Walking Dead instead 😛 But it seemed super interesting!

      • alisewrite

        I love The Walking Dead, but seriously, watch For The Bible Tells Me So ASAP. Absolutely one of the most beautiful pieces I’ve seen. It was pretty much THE game-changer for me. (Also recommend Out in the Silence.)

        • Started watching it about a half hour ago! Watching it now. Very interesting so far!

    • For The Bible Tells Me So shared stories, which is incredibly important. However, I have to disagree with them on actions to take – I don’t think forcing churches to believe other than what they believe is good. The film was also high on emotional appeal and short on other things which would have added to it, IMHO. Still worth a watch of course.

    • yourstylejourney

      I’ve seen it, I think it’s a great mind opening documentary. It does play on emotion but what documentary doesn’t.

  • At this point I lean towards being a Side B Christian (who thinks gay marriage should be legal), and this is a wonderful post and important reminder, as usual. Thank you.

    • I love GNC because they don’t require everyone to think the same before they help and educate and support people. I think that’s great.

  • i love this, Sarah.

    i told a friend the other day that i feel like i have this choice: be Christian, or accept that i’m gay. Talk about an impossible choice. Not to mention, i’ve begun to lean toward agnosticism– but i feel like, my sexuality shouldn’t be the factor that decides my spirituality. So i feel stuck. And it sucks. :-/

  • Very nice post! Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. In light of the post above and since I happen to speak and write on this topic, I thought you might find some of these posts of particular interest and relevance. I would particularly recommend the following:

    “Genesis 19: What Were the Real Sins of Sodom?
    “Leviticus 18: What Was the Abomination?”
    “Romans 1: What Was Paul Ranting About?”
    “Romans 2: Paul’s Bait and Switch”
    “Genesis 1: Turning the Creation Story into an Anti-Gay Treatise”
    “Why No One in the Biblical World Had a Word for Homosexuality”
    “Exegesis: Not For the Faint in Heart”

    (Links to these and more may be found by simply clicking the link below and then selecting the “Archives” page.)

    -Alex Haiken

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for writing this. A few years ago I find myself in the position to deny myself, to reject this other part. Being a gay christian, I couldn’t handle being it, thinking God is testing me in some way. The line you are talking about (them and us) went right through my heart and I try to splitter this characteristica about me and hold it in a cave. I remember so well how brave I felt for being able to hurt a part of me so much. I felt enlightened, even when I speak with a good friend about homosexuality and being so ,,tolerant” about it; didn’t talk about ,,sin” but about a ,,test” … half a year later I told this special friend (she was the first to know) about my feelings for another woman. She really helped me to accept it. And I’m still a christian. But I had to leave my local church, because I knew they wouldn’t accept me. You know, when I found out, it was 2006; I needed 6 years to accept me the way I am. It needs a long time to realize: It’s not good to tear me apart. God loves me. And I need to accept that! I need to accept it radically, or else I didn’t understand anything the Bible speaks about.

  • Lucient

    This is probably your first blog, Sarah, that I didn’t read all of it or even read any of the comments. I did so for two reasons: one, so my silliness (if it is) or my logical talent (yes, having logic is a talent that can be exercised and everyone has some extent of logic) could be displayed and two, because I believe if I can read your blogs with an open mind, willing to change my way of thinking if I see where I may be wrong or not so “informed” the best I could ask is that the first thing I don’t receive when I enter someone’s room is that “I want you to read what I have to say but if you have something to say to try to convince me of your views, don’t bother… I won’t change my mind at this point.” I just wanted to say that I was a lil disappointed with this. Now, I’m gonna read past that opening.

    • “I just wanted to say that I was a lil disappointed with this.”

      I don’t write to please you, Lucient. Get over yourself.

      • KellyMarie

        Lucient, there are some things people just know that they know. Sarah knows that being compassionate and loving is always better then making bitter/prideful efforts to control other people you don’t even know. There’s nothing to argue about so she didnt want to waste anyones time.

  • Lucient

    I am someone who does not think that homosexuality is right, however I do not hate those who do these things. I was outraged at “the church” (there is a reason outside of this topic that I put “the church” in quotation marks) because to do the things that they have done is not in love. If we were to follow in the steps of Jesus, He came to this earth and all throughout the Bible, God cannot stand sin or be in fellowship with sin, yet Jesus fellowshipped with sinners. He eat and walked and talked with them to the point that the “Pharisees” and “jewish leaders” claimed he was sinning for hanging with such a crowd. He loved us even though while we were yet sinners, He died for us. For those who claim to be Christians yet live as a homosexual, I want you to pay attention to something. If what these sinners where doing was not wrong, if what we were doing was okay, why did he still die for those He loved? Because it is still wrong. When the Prohibition Act was passed, it was legally wrong to drink alcohol. When it was removed, it was no longer legally wrong to drink alcohol. If we claim to be Christians yet engage in homosexuality, why is it okay? The Bible clearly says, “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.” “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable…” If you do not claim Christianity then it is understandable why you feel that you were “born that way.” Another to put this is I have a best friend who drinks entirely TOO much. I love him, I do. I do not love, enjoy, or like what he does. It’s not the drinking, it’s the drinking TOO much. If I approach him about it, asking him to stop or even share my feelings about it (which I have) I do so in love, because I love him.

    There is a lot of research going into this and that about the human body and about whether you can be “born” a homosexual or not. I’m not an expert on anything. I am a man so I know what I have as “man parts.” I have a wife. I know what she has as “woman parts.” I know it takes a piece of a man and a piece of a woman to make life. I know that what is necessary to make life, those particular parts, fit in particular places to accomplish a variety of things, one of those things is to produce life. Yes, there are eunuchs, and there are people that have an orientation towards different sexual preferences, however the reality is, if you believe in the “I AM” then there is a way. There is a time and a place for everything. It is wrong for the church to restrict what the world wants to do things and even the rights and freedoms of the people of this world. Jesus didn’t come to do that nor did He do that. On the other side though, loving someone and calling what they do wrong is a completely different matter all together. I understand and see why many people (not just homosexuals) hate “the Church.”

    • KellyMarie

      Id say the matter of whether you can be born a homosexual goes far beyond knowing “man parts and women parts fit together” People look to Gen 1 for that argument a lot. The truth is we are not in the garden of eden anymnore. We are ALL born with many differences that are not the way God originally intended. Did you know some people are born intersex or with both “parts”? What Christians are doing when they say people cannot be born that way(with no Biblical evidence to support that) are calling people liers with no evidence except that THEY werent born that way. Its like me calling a blind person who was born that way a lier bc I could see when I was little.

  • KellyMarie

    Id say the matter of whether you can be born a homosexual goes far beyond knowing “man parts and women parts fit together” People look to Gen 1 for that argument a lot. The truth is we are not in the garden of eden anymnore. We are ALL born with many differences that are not the way God originally intended. Did you know some people are born intersex or with both “parts”? What Christians are doing when they say people cannot be born that way(with no Biblical evidence to support that) are calling people liers with no evidence except that THEY werent born that way. Its like me calling a blind person who was born that way a lier bc I could see when I was little.