I recently saw a link for a site featuring 21 pictures that will restore your faith in humanity. The first picture was of a group of Christians from Chicago who showed up at a gay pride parade and held signs that said, “I’m sorry for how the church has treated you”, “I’m sorry Christians judge you”, “I’m sorry Christians shun you” and “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe. Sorry!” The second picture is of a gay man hugging one of the christians in gratitude.
These pictures touched my heart because as a Christian, I’ve wrestled with this issue. That’s because I’m surrounded by some who say that homosexuality is a sin and that we should speak out against it but everything in me says that’s not right. I love God fiercely, have devoted my life to him, read my bible, am immersed in my faith and am struggling to see how hatred and rejection is sononymous with God. And It's very clear where the church stands on this issue.
I have tiptoed around it and said nothing so as to not ruffle any feathers on either side of the fence but the more I read the bible and the more I pray about it, it’s becoming clear that what God has asked me to do is simple; love everyone.
Yes, I’ve read "those scriptures" and I know two things: the bible doesn’t lie and the bible is often misinterpreted. It’s important to not only read but then pray for discernment. In my case, I feel that the most overpowering rule of God, the rule that supersedes everything is the command to love one another. Anything that is not compatible with that rule is not of God.
Therefore, I want to make a public declaration that says: "We're sorry. We've been wrong." I think that more Christians should stand up like those from Chicago and others around the world, shout it out and let it be known to Christians and non-christians alike that many of us are deeply sorry for the way the lesbian, bi-sexual, gay and trans gender community has been treated by the church as a whole.
We should stand at parades with our signs, apologize to family members and seek out ways to embrace the gay community as a way to bridge the line of hate that divides us. It’s not okay for us to sit back and say nothing. It’s a cowardly thing to do- to stand by and watch a group of people being persecuted and not take action. Maybe you're not the bully who is stealing the lunch money or punching someone in the face but you're just as guilty if you don't do anything about it.
So, if you are a gay man or woman and you’ve never heard it before, please know this: not all Christians are against you. Some of us, including me, have been silent and by lack of action, have hurt you. I’m deeply sorry. I don’t feel the same as the church. I’m not alone in these feelings and while many of my counterparts aren’t ready to speak out, I know they’d want you to know.
We are sorry about those who have called you ugly names, beg forgiveness for those who have shunned you from churches. We apologize for Christians who stand behind corporations that support the hatred against you. We disagree with those who use the bible as a weapon to belittle and judge you. We are ashamed of those who use their faith to build road blocks in the way of your basic human rights.
I know that doesn’t make it all okay. It doesn’t do much to make the problem go away but I hope it moves us, even if the tiniest bit, in the right direction. To those of you in the gay community, who at this moment may be feeling isolated and rejected, consider this letter a great, big, giant hug as well as a heartfelt apology from an unlikely source, a Christian. I want you to know that I promise to do a better job of speaking up when what I hear is wrong and of standing next to you and holding your hand as you fight for your justice and respect.