July 20, 2009

Driving the Demons Out of Homophobia

I recently shared the video here of the church that tried to perform a "gay exorcism." Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge, author or Bulletproof Faith, wrote this essay as a response to it. Candace also shares the inherent problem of being a GLBT Christian minister. Here's an excerpt:

As a Christian, who just happens to be a lesbian, I find myself a minority within a minority. A large number of gay and lesbian people have abandoned Christianity - and with these sorts of shenanigans going on in the name of God, it’s really no great leap of logic to figure out why. When you have someone, in the name of God, painting gays and lesbians as demon-possessed people with an abhorrent “lifestyle,” God gets a pretty bad rap in the deal.

I always begin my workshops by proclaiming the good news that God loves gays and lesbians just as they are and they should never believe anyone who says differently. As I say this, however, I’m showing images of homophobic people protesting at pride parades and other gatherings holding signs like “Sodomy is sin.” The point is to drive home the mixed messages gays and lesbians get from religion. On one hand lesbian pastors like me say, “God loves you,” while the religious right, with the aid of their large media microphone, screams, “God hates fags.” Who can blame our community for being confused?

The ramifications of this rejection of God in the gay and lesbian community are great. I recently wrote a book aimed at the gay and lesbian Christian community called “Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians.” I expected to have a warm reception by the gay and lesbian media. After all, this is a book written for our community, by someone in our community imparting the good news that God loves gays and lesbians, made us just as we are, and that we have nothing to fear from anyone - especially those like McKinney who believe God hates us or that a demon has infested us.

Except for an online excerpt in the Advocate, my book has been like Kryptonite to the gay press. A few smaller, local papers have done an article here and there, but by and large, I can’t get anyone to even mention it, let alone actually do a story on it. The comments on the Advocate article really tell why. I’m attacked for believing in some imaginary friend and questioned about why I would want to stay in a club that didn’t want me as a member.

That type of hostility Candace refers to is one of the primary reasons we have this ministry here and are working hard to put it in front of as many people as possible--not to promote Jim and Brenda in any way but to offer a voice different to the hateful one Candace refers to in her essay.

She has much more to say, click here to read the rest of her esssay.

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