I am an ordained evangelical minister and was the executive director of New Creation Ministries in Fresno for 17 years.
During my tenure, I championed the message that God loves the homosexual person. I also presented the gospel of Christ as a means of salvation for all people (including gays and lesbians) and the hope of healing for all who struggled with sexual brokenness, which included sex addiction and homosexuality.
While there are conservative evangelical Christians and organizations doing amazing things that are transforming lives and communities, the way they view and treat gays and lesbians is a whole different story. I’m ashamed to say that I am a part of a larger church that has been, on the most part, judgmental, self-righteous and condescending when it comes to gays and lesbians. Even though we may not have agreed on issues concerning causation and the scriptural view of homosexuality, it does not excuse the harsh and hateful way that we, the church, have treated you as a part of the GLBT community and felt justified in doing so.
I stand here, as a part of that church, confessing the sins we have committed against you and seek for your forgiveness.
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I confess that we have taken the position of moral superiority, spiritual self righteousness and biblical arrogance when it comes to sexuality. In so doing, we have considered your sexual sin and brokenness as worse — even more heinous — than our own. Historically, we have treated homosexual sin as one of the worst sins, while ignoring or minimizing heterosexual sexual sin.
We have used the Bible to beat gays and lesbians over the head while ignoring what it says about our own blatant sin of idolatry, greed, racism and failure to help the poor. Instead of using the Bible to condemn homosexuals, why not proclaim the heart of the gospel as it applies to all people: “For God so loved the world (gay and straight) that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
I confess that we have treated you like lepers and have judged and rejected you. We were not there for you when you needed us. Our churches were not places of acceptance, healing or refuge for you. Instead, we have treated you as outcasts, forcing you to go into the closet of pretending or to find others outside the church to be your friends, family and support network.
I confess that we were not good representatives of God’s heart of love, hope, mercy, grace or healing for all people. Instead we have given a picture of God that is angry, disgusted and repellant towards gays and lesbians. We have also expected you to change from gay to straight as a requirement of salvation and fellowship, as if that is what God expects, too.
I confess that we have often demonized and vilified the GLBT community. We have maintained an “Us vs. Them” mentality where we see ourselves as superior and you as subhuman.
In the past, our leaders declared that AIDS was God’s judgment on homosexuality. More recently, the devastation that hurricane Katrina caused was also blamed on homosexuality that existed in New Orleans and the country as a whole.
Whenever God’s judgment is proclaimed as a reason for natural catastrophe or national ruin, homosexuality is often at the top of the reasons why. We have portrayed homosexuals as child molesters, while the evidence proves otherwise.
We say that legalizing same-sex marriage will ruin the traditional family. No-fault divorce and adultery are on the top of that list. The truth is that we, the church, abandoned you and have made you the scapegoat for our own corporate sins.
These sins I confess and hope that you will forgive us. At the end of the day, we all are just people created in God’s image for which He sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem by His death.
The Rev. Bud Searcy is a resident of Fresno.