On April 8, 2013, the cover page of Time magazine read, “Gay Marriage Already Won. The Supreme Court Hasn’t Made Up It’s Mind – but America Has.”
Anyone who knows me would probably think that I am ecstatic about this. That surely, after having suffered so much rejection, particularly from the church, my vindication along with countless others is on the horizon. But I have reservations. Right now even the gay advocacy groups are a bit baffled by the sudden surge in acceptance in our country. We’ve never seen a tide rise so quickly in our favor.
I have one theory. Churches’ are opening their doors to gays like never before. I admit, I’m always looking for reasons to point the finger at the churches’ hidden agenda and hypocrisy. But gosh, what could I possibly come up with this time to point once again to the hypocrisy of the church. It’s one of my favorite bashes, what I like to call the Business of Church.
In recent Pew polls, the New York Times reports (here and here) that churches are on the decline. Young adults in particular have no tolerance for intolerance. Young Christians are becoming less interested in church or they are leaving altogether. Why? One of the many reasons is that they have LGBT friends or they trying to figure out their own sexual identity. If you follow religion at all you know the church is most concerned about reaching the young. They have not been able to figure out how to hang on to them. They do not understand how they have lost them so severely once they leave for college. I believe it has a great deal to do with the LGBT issue.
Look at the headlines today and listen to the various news shows. There is a chorus of people saying, “this is the strangest thing we’ve ever seen. Suddenly everyone is gay affirming. We’ve never seen these numbers before.” What I think we might be seeing is the number of churches who have seen the light (and their bottom lines) and are now letting their parishioners off the hook and becoming gay affirming. I do think this is partly due to the work that the liberal and emerging church communities have done. If you want to keep the numbers, you’ve got to accept the gays. Period.
But what exactly, does this have to do with LGBT issues and the numbers we’re seeing. I think the numbers are coming from church congregations who are now able to publicly accept the LGBT community without fear of losing their church standing whether lay person or those in active ministry. Churches need money and they cannot afford to lose what little they are getting now. With all the hand-wringing, someone has finally posed the question; “how much can the LGBT folks bring to the alter? Here’s just one small but interesting piece of research on their disposable income.
But even more interesting, many gay people are seeking the pulpit. It’s lucrative, it’s needed for the cause, and it seems that god has suddenly gotten over his disdain for the once ugly perversion. Everyone, including god, needs re-education. My question is, why is it so important to LGBT’s to be accepted by the church? What is the real reason? Do we somewhere deep down feel that once the church has finally put down the argument we will shine forth as Messiah? I cannot help but wonder if we are still struggling with our own acceptance and we’re playing right into one of the oldest games in humanity. Control the masses with the invisible all-seeing eye. This time, let’s give the almighty a facelift for the 21st Century. Everyone’s invited to the party!
It is difficult for me to point the finger at my own. I want to plead with some of the LGBT people that I know and say, “please, don’t fall for this. You are complicit in the mind-numbing message that continues to spew from the pulpits.
“You are not good enough. You must pay your way to paradise.” Or
“You are good enough, you are loved beyond measure, and makes your checks out to….”
“Oh, you want to do good-works? Great, come join our organization. There are tax benefits and many perks!”
The list goes on. What I am asking of the LGBT and allied community is to personally ask the really hard questions. I want to express caution and say, please don’t jump too quickly and trust those bulging new numbers. Greed has coats of many colors.