Pastor tells mom her lesbian teen can’t be a Christian

Pastor tells mom her lesbian teen can’t be a Christian September 3, 2014

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[This is the next in the questions I’m answering every Wednesday from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private Facebook group for Christian moms of LGBT kids. (The first was Combatting the Downward Pull of Christian Negativity. If you are interested in joining the group, email lizdyer55@gmail.com.) Also, I’ll be sending out my monthly newsletter tomorrow. I’m a little late on that, so in addition to the book I talked about here, I’m going to add as a giveway in that newsletter an autographed and inscribed copy of my book UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question. Sign up for the newsletter here. Thanks guys. Love to you.]

Dear John,

I’ve only heard messages about homosexuality being a sin a few times in my church. When I spoke to my pastor about my lesbian daughter, his advice was to love her, but if she still stayed in a gay relationship, and did not repent, he questioned if she ever made a true commitment to The Lord or was really saved. He then said that everyone, gay or straight, would be welcome in his church.

I’m still going to the same church, but can’t feel the same about it. Even if the messages are not overtly against LGBT people, I still feel stung—especially when he preaches that we must obey the Word regardless of what the world says is right or wrong, when he says we must not love our children more than God, when he says we are living in increasingly evil days, etc., etc. Before I knew I had a gay child, I would be inclined to agree with him when he said such things. Now I bristle when I hear these messages.

Do you think I am just being overly sensitive? Because I don’t think I would bristle hearing those same messages from an affirming minister.

Signed,

A hurting mom looking for an anti sting ointment

Dear Mom,

I’m going to put this in strong language that I’ll ask you ahead of time to forgive, especially if it causes you any pain.

Your pastor is the very worst kind of bully—and he’s bullying, very specifically, you. Indirectly through you, or directly if she attends your church, he is also bullying your daughter.

I don’t care how reticently, or, as he clearly did with you (“I question whether your daughter is really a Christian”) how passive-aggressively he put it to you. Your pastor clearly believes—and very clearly, since apparently he’s preached from the pulpit that homosexuality is a sin—that your daughter is going to hell. (I say this because it’s inevitable that a Christian who believes homosexuality to be a sin also believes in hell.)

What kind of ignorant, arrogant, arrogant, arrogant charlatan of a pastor counsels a Christian woman that if her gay daughter doesn’t stop being gay then she can’t really be a Christian—and is therefore going to spend eternity suffering unimaginable agony?

It doesn’t matter how wise and benevolent your pastor has ever seemed to you. He has now shown you who he really is. He has proven to you that immediately beneath his pastoral patina is waiting to pounce a bigoted, manifestly cruel bully.

A bully uses his power to purposefully and methodically humiliate and degrade people weaker than he. Your pastor is using the authority of the pulpit—one of the most powerful and persuasive places in the world—to do what he has absolutely no moral or Biblical authority to do, which is to both overtly and covertly condemn your daughter, who is guilty of nothing whatsoever but daring to become the person she was born to be, which is something all good people are supposed to do.

Overly sensitive? For bristling at the pronouncement that God finds your innocent daughter a moral abomination—that if she calls herself a Christian then she is a liar?

Homie don’t think so.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jennifer

    you GO John. Thank you for your outrage! Interesting way this guy “welcomes” gay people, by questioning their “commitment to the Lord”?? Yeah, that’s gonna make me want to come on in and set a while. I think this mom needs to listen to her instinct that something is fishy here. It might not be worth leaving the church over, but certainly go on in with your eyes wide open. Myself, I’ve chosen not to bring my family to any church that would give us that sort of insincere welcome.

  • What that pastor fails to realize, is that he doesn’t get to choose the status of someone’s relationship with God. Its completely out of his realm of influence or control. He can try all he wants to try to bully people into falling into his preconceived idea of “actual Christian” but few actually would fit, especially those who’s private lives are still unknown to him. And from experience, those types of pastors, have congregations full of secrets they don’t dare let him find out about, for fear of becoming the next target.
    Dear Mom,
    I can assure you that God thinks your daughter rocks, that she’s gorgeous, talented and constructed according to the specs intended for her, which is totally and wholly unique to your daughter. God trumps the opinion of any of us, including people who stand behind tall wooden boxes, who think they have a better handle on all things God than the rest of us. If Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, meaning we think we/me is pretty durn awesome and deserving, then who better to display that love than to our children, who are so different from us, yet so much alike? God already loves her and isn’t planning on stopping, your pastor doesn’t. So his opinion is merely that, and deserves to have its worth considered.

  • BarbaraR

    And from experience, those types of pastors, have congregations full of secrets they don’t dare let him find out about, for fear of becoming the next target

    This. X 1000.

  • Michelle C.

    Yep, it really does all come down to the threat/fear of hell. The only reason being called a non-christian is scarey to christians is because when that is said – the person is being given a sentence of eternal burning. SICK!

  • Pavitrasarala

    So he’s saying the daughter is welcome but that she’s not welcome? Well, which one is it, preacher?

  • Pavitrasarala

    That crossed my mind too. I almost wanted to propose that the Mom say to him okay, I’ll make a deal. My daughter will “repent” of her homosexuality if you confess and repent of one of your sins in front of the whole congregation. I’m sure there’s a nice whopper in there you can share with the masses.

  • Jill

    Ah, but that would make too much sense to pick a lane.

  • Jill

    …”he doesn’t get to choose the status of someone’s relationship with God.”

    Yup.

  • It took great self control not to splatter my monitor with the water I was sipping as I read your comment. Oh if only!!!

  • Guy Norred

    First, the more you love God, the more you inherently love your daughter, so when someone says you SHOULDN’T love your daughter more than God, I think a false choice is being put before you. Second, your pastor is right when he says you should obey God regardless of what the world says, but the thing is, at very least in this issue, your pastor is presenting the world (an increasingly small part of it, but significant all the same). I know very well he probably does not see it that way, and to a point, he can hardly be blamed for this position–his view is obstructed by centuries of a very tangled web of cultural and religious homophobia. I fear from experience and other things you imply, there may be other levels of worldly negativity also. Of course, we all have some of this. The best anti-sting ointment I know is to prayerfully open your heart and mind to the leading of the Spirit on this, searching both the historical scriptures and more recent things testing all of it and your understanding of it against the great commandment. There may still be sting, and you may be compelled to confront or even walk away, but you will be strengthened in your journey and resolve.

  • The Bear

    [The usual fundie-speak comment deleted]

  • The Bear

    [Complete fundie nonsense deleted]

  • FrJesusGaylord

    He means her money is welcome, not her daughter.

  • Dennis McClune

    Simply, if your Pastor calls himself a Christian he is a liar!

  • Paul Clevett

    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Jesus. Lovley Lesbian’s Lovely Mum. as a gay man who LOVES Jesus there is Romans! 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  • Nicholas

    Them fight’n words John…. more please!

  • Grace

    No. Clearly the pastor says she’s welcome. The only one trying to imply that she’s not welcome is the guy writing this article.

  • Silas Copperpot

    [Fundiebabble deleted]

  • anakinmcfly

    “We must obey the Word regardless of what the world says is right or wrong … We ought to obey God rather than men”

    Yes, we should. I fully agree with that. And like the pastor, you’re both men, not God, so give us one good reason why we should obey you.

  • anakinmcfly

    “his view is obstructed by centuries of a very tangled web of cultural and religious homophobia”

    Basically, the world. So, to the letter writer, don’t listen to what the world says. The world says your daughter is wrong and perverted and evil and disgusting. But God says that she was fearfully and wonderfully made, and he loves her. Listen to God.

  • BarbaraR

    Grace, please read this introduction to this series by John Shore.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2014/08/combating-the-downward-pull-of-christian-negativity/

    “Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for open-minded Christian mothers of LGBT children. The group’s founder, Liz Dyer, asked if I’d answer questions submitted to me by members of the group. Join me here each Wednesday (and possibly Friday) as I do just that. You’re of course wholeheartedly invited to chime in with your own response to the questions, being ever mindful, please, of my comments policy, as stated in Be Nice. (Moderators: I want to protect these moms, so … let’s not allow anyone to be in any way caustic or offensive. Thanks! And thanks to all of you for understanding.) ”

    If you cannot abide by this policy, please find another forum.

  • BarbaraR

    It’s Gods word offends you here.

    No, it’s the “my interpretation is the only correct one and if you don’t agree then you’re going to hell” that is offensive.

  • Silas Copperpot

    No, no one said that I’m sorry. The Bible doesn’t need to be interpreted, it needs to be read and read in context.

  • BarbaraR

    In case you have just joined us – and it appears you have – this is not a forum for dogmatism. This is a LGBTQ-affirming Christian forum where we exchange views and life experiences.

    There is a difference between “This is what I believe and why I believe it” and “This is the way it is.”

    If this is something you cannot abide by, kindly find a forum that will welcome you.

  • Grace

    I’m sorry. What did I say that was mean or offensive?

  • BarbaraR

    The only one trying to imply that she’s not welcome is the guy writing this article.

    Frankly, no matter how many times I read and re-read this, I am not seeing that. I’m unclear on how that conclusion was reached.

    If you are unfamiliar with John Shore (‘the guy writing this article”) and the people who frequent this forum, this is an LGBTQ-affirming Christian forum. As John explained, ensuring that people and issues connected with Serendipitydodah are treated with respect is a big concern here.

  • “Grace” and “Silas Copperpot” are the same person.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oooooooooooo, read in context? That’s what they do here. Thanks for joining!

  • BarbaraR

    Why do people go to that much trouble to be jerks?

  • Because being a pain in the ass isn’t just a hobby. It’s a vocation.

  • BarbaraR

    That needs to be on t-shirts.

  • spinning2heads

    And to add to what BarbaraR already explained– “welcoming” people isn’t actually welcoming if you simultaneously tell them they are going to hell. Anyone who doesn’t understand that ought to first check the dictionary definition of the word “welcome” and then read John Shore on the whole “love the sinner” concept http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-shore/how-is-being-gay-like-glu_b_747071.html

  • Oh Lord, I am so exhausted of this conversation. When I came out to the pastors of my Calvanistic fundy church 3 years ago, I had been a believer for 27 years and involved with about every type of ministry imaginable. I had a radical “born again” experience years back and, like most believers after many years passing, you just kind of “know” you’re truly walking with the Lord – you know it in the depths of your soul. And when I finally accepted my sexuality and immediately stopped believing it was a mortal sin, guess what? The Holy Spirit didn’t
    leave me, and shockingly, I didn’t suddenly have some overwhelming desire to shed my shorts and dance around a candle-outlined pentagram on the floor. I loved the Lord just as much and, amazingly to me, I felt His presence just as strong. I say this for a reason: because my (ex) pastors said the same exact thing to me: they questioned if I “ever made a true commitment to the Lord or was really saved.” Although I would never boast about my relationship with God (as I believe it is nothing I have earned), I found it highly offensive that these “shepherds” would say such a thing. So I had deceived thousands of people over the past 27 years? All of the fruit I had borne was of the devil or the flesh? That I had completely and unintentionally fooled my very closest friends (and my ex-spouse?) that I was a Christian at all? What an arrogant accusation. When did being gay suddenly become THE “unpardonable sin”? The sentiments of my ex-pastors and this poor woman’s pastor (I pray EX-pastor) displays the height of spiritual arrogance and abuse. I was so conditioned to believe and submit to the “spiritual authority” of my pastors that I almost killed myself 6 months later out of fear and despair – despair not brought on by the Holy Spirit, but by sinful, selfish, unscriptural pastors who thought bullying me into submission to be the most fruitful avenue to my repentance. Thank God He rescued me from the lie I had been living and now I walk surely in His glorious grace as a redeemed gay man.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Anyone else who might read this? No more suicides. God wants us to live.

  • True, and the sad irony here is the same ones that think we are pawns of the devil are truly pawns of the devil themselves. When James (3:1) tells the flock that Christian leadership will be judged first, there was a reason for it! Woe to the scribes and Pharisees….