Recently the news has been dominated by the efforts of conservative Christians to push back against laws protecting LGBT rights. In Alabama, state judges have resisted a federal ruling to issue licenses for same sex marriages. Several conservative Christian business owners have refused services to gay and lesbian couples who are about to get married. The Kansas governor just rescinded his predecessors executive action issued in August 2007 by then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the state government. This news masks a larger trend where Christians of all denominations are increasingly supporting LGBT rights and are increasingly supporting same-sex marriage. Many Catholics, Mormons, Evangelicals and other Christians are fighting within their churches to change attitudes and teachings regarding homosexuality and are working for reconciliation between the Church and the LGBT community. In much the same way that Christians during the civil rights movement in the 1960s fought to integrate churches and change racist church teachings, today’s Christians are fighting the homophobia within their churches and denominations and are making the church live up to the Christian spirit.
Darrell Lucas wrote an article entitled Some Evangelical Churches Becoming More Open To Gays about how some Evangelical churches are changing their views on LGBT rights. Lucas wrote:
GracePointe was forced into a major rethink when its most famous member, Carrie Underwood, declared that she supports marriage equality. That prompted Westboro Baptist Church to pay a visit to GracePointe–and also started a nearly three-year debate within the church. Eventually, Mitchell decided that the only thing the church could do in good conscience was to extend the full privileges of church membership–including the chance to serve in leadership–to openly gay members. He himself felt so strongly about the need to change church policy that “if I do not say what I say today, I cannot be here any longer.”
GracePointe isn’t alone. A number of evangelical churches and leaders are at least willing to rethink their traditional unyielding opposition to marriage equality. Those who have hopped the fence on the issue base their stance on the Bible. For instance, Ryan Meeks of EastLake Community Church near Seattle, who last fall decided to embrace marriage equality, says that as he sees it, “the message of Jesus was a message of wide inclusivity.” There’s even a nascent group of LGBT-affirming evangelical churches, the Association of Inclusive Evangelical Churches.
New Ways Ministry, a group dedicated to fighting for LGBT equality within the Catholic Church, wrote a blog entitled Catholic Parents Offer Home & Family to Rejected LGBTQ Youth. It was about a Catholic couple that gives shelter to homeless LGBT youth. The blog wrote:
Catholic parents with LGBT children are some of the most committed and effective advocates for a more just and inclusive Catholic Church here in the U.S. Yet even among this group of prophets, Deb and Steve Word of Memphis stand out. The couple were recently profiled in a national newspaper for their efforts at personally housing LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness…
…To give perspective to these gaping wounds, there are up to 400,000 LGBT youth who experience homelessness annually which is 40 percent of the overall homeless youth population. Many of these young people are on the streets because of family rejection, which often has religious roots.
New Ways Ministry is also reporting on the efforts of Catholics who are protesting the firing of LGBT individuals and straight allies by Catholic institutions. In Marian High School, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, more that 100 school community members have held rallies protesting the firing of Barbara Webb, the lesbian chemistry teacher and coach fired in August for becoming pregnant outside marriage. Members of the Cor Jesu Academy community, St. Louis, Missouri, held rallies for Olivia Reichert and Christina Gambaro who lost their jobs due to their same-sex relationship. Students in the Philadelphia area protested the firing of Michael Griffin, a foreign language teacher, from Holy Ghost Preparatory School because he and his male partner obtained a marriage license. In a blog entitled Catholic Schools Inspire Resistance to Injustices Against Church Workers, Bob Shine wrote:
This week is National Catholic Schools Week, a celebration of the church’s educational efforts in the U.S. There is much to be celebrated, but it is also an opportune moment to consider the firing of LGBT and ally church workers.
Last year, Bondings 2.0 reflected on fair employment practices in Catholic schools during this week. Since then more than twenty church workers have lost their jobs in LGBT-related disputes.
This year, we are highlighting the many instances in which those educated by Catholic schools organize resistance against these unjust actions. Students have walked out of their schools in protest, held rallies to support beloved teachers, and even held a national day of action last January.
Pastor Danny Cortez of New Heart Community Church, La Mirada, California gave a sermon on February 9, 2014 on why he changed his mind on homosexuality. He relayed this change in his belief to the Southern Baptist Convention. Pastor Cortez changed his beliefs after his son came out.
Rev. Wade Griffith, Liberty Crossings UMC in Birmingham, Alabama gave a sermon on January 25, 2015 about opening his church to gays and lesbians. His sermon gave an argument on why homosexuality is not a sin.
Here is a video of Carrie Underwood coming out in support of gay marriage due to her Christian faith.
“Fortunate Families” is a book by Mary Ellen Lopata and Casey Lopata that tells the stories of Catholic parents who love their gay sons and lesbian daughters. It began as a descriptive survey of over 200 such parents, which grew until it became a book.
Dan Savage thanks straight allies for their help in fighting for marriage equality in this video.
Here are some links for straight Christians and LGBT Christians who are looking for groups in support of LGBT equality within the church.