National Coming Out Day

When we got up this morning, we both noticed the amount of Facebook posts declaring this to be National Coming Out Day, with an application sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign.

This is somewhat of a touchy subject in the Christian community, of which I am a part. After all, the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. No, I’m not going to post the scriptures; we all know what they are if we’re interested. If you claim to be a Christian, and you consider yourself to be part of the LGBT community, you will need to work that issue out between you and God; it is not my role to tell you how to work out your salvation.

However, as Christians, we have the next part completely messed up. If someone else says they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered, what does the Bible say we’re supposed to do? Alienate them? Tell them they are “wrong”?

I may not be the brightest Biblical scholar out there, but my Bible commands Christians to love everyone. Period. That commandment comes directly from Jesus. If you have a problem with that, take it up with Jesus. I’m just the messenger.

For a few months, we had two women attend our church. Even though they never told anyone their sexual orientation, most everyone (myself included) assumed they were lesbians. They were a foster family, and had several children they were taking care of. I only got to know one of them. She was from Chicago, and we playfully fought about which team was better (Cubs or White Sox). She seemed to have a great heart, and I enjoyed talking to her.

Rumor has it that people called the church to complain about them. They couldn’t believe we let lesbians in to our church! Apparently these people forgot to read that whole “love everyone” thing.

Fortunately, our pastor gave the correct response. When people complained about lesbians in our church, he responded by saying “good! Those are the people we want here!” He never took the occasion to preach at them, but instead saw this as an opportunity to preach on love, grace, and acceptance. After all, we all have sinned…who are we to look down on someone else just because we think they are sinning? Is my sin “worse” than what I think a lesbian’s sin is?

This year, National Coming Out Day has taken on a lot of momentum because of a rash of recent suicides. High school and college-aged people are being harassed by classmates because they are either professing to be part of the LGBT population or have expressed confusion about their own sexual identity. Bullying is wrong, no matter what the reason. The fact that many have taken their own lives speaks to the prevalence and intensity of the type of intimidation faced by youth in this predicament.

Therefore, on National Coming Out Day, I am taking this opportunity to talk to any Christian that uses the Bible as a reason to not treat LGBTs with love. Jesus has commanded us to love everyone. End of discussion. If you are one of those people calling the church to protest lesbians in your congregation: stop it. Read the Bible, and tell me where it condones this type of behavior…it isn’t there. If your child is bullying a classmate with a confused sexual identity, it is your responsibility as a parent to teach your kid differently.

One more thing: if your motive for harassing LGBT individuals is so they will change…think about what you are doing. Do you think any gay person is going to change just because you treat them badly? Is a lesbian going to reconsider her sexual identity because you don’t want her and her partner to be married? No one has ever been attracted to Christianity because we cajoled someone into changing. They will know we are Christians by our love, not our intolerance for what we perceive as others’ sin. It’s time to realize that we are called to love others, not judge them.

I welcome constructive criticism and conversation below.

One comment on “National Coming Out Day

  1. Bubba, I agree with you on this. I do not know what it’s like to have those feelings and to have to fight them–just as, for example, other people out there do not know what it is like to suffer from depression and have to fight those feelings (which I DO know about). Everyone has his or her own sack of rocks to carry, as my mom says. I don’t envy anyone in that position, but I do know that hate and criticism do not portray Jesus’ love for them. Christians need to look to the example that Jesus set. I think we forget that a lot of times.

    I have enough planks in my own eye.

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