The Nashville Statement and the Moral Bankruptcy of Evangelicalism

I’m not going to dignify the CBMW’s Nashville Statement with any kind of point by point response, the whole thing is a tiresome rehash of what evangelicals have been saying about LGBT people for years. I already did a point by point breakdown of the SBC’s anti-trans resolution a few years ago, it basically covers the same things I would say here, so consider that my response to the statement itself. What I’d rather talk about is what evangelicals aren’t issuing joint statements condemning, namely, white nationalism. Their silence in the face of the rising tide of fascism and white supremacy in this country is deafening.

Read more

On public mourning when Evangelical culture kept you in the dark

My Twitter feed is full of remembrances from queer people tweeting about how much George Michael meant to them as kids, watching his videos and recognizing something of themselves in him. They all have these memories of his music as the soundtrack of their youth, while meanwhile the soundtrack of my teen years was Steve Taylor singing about how much God hates me. 

Read more

Get your own house in order

When I was in high school, my sister and I once invented, on the spot, a rule against riding in cars with men we weren’t related to, in order to avoid being driven home from babysitting by a Growing Kids God’s Way dad who creeped us out. That was the last time we babysat for that family, we made up an excuse about being too busy with school work but the truth was that we didn’t feel safe. When we ran into the family years later as adults, he remembered how old we were during that short time we sat for them, something neither of us could recall, but that made me uncomfortable for my teenage self all over again. I tell this story because while everyone is running around screaming about how we need to ban trans people from bathrooms because a few predatory cis straight men might take advantage, I can’t stop thinking of all the times my creep-dar kicked into high gear. None of them were in bathrooms. None of them were around trans people. No, all the times I felt unsafe or uncomfortable growing up, the times when every fiber of my being were screaming, “run away, stay away, keep your distance and don’t ever be alone with this man,” were all around “good Christian family men.” I remember the man at my church who I felt strangely sexualized around, although I was too young to understand it, just that I felt very much aware that I had a body. He moved his family away, became quiverfull homeschoolers, his wife and daughters started wearing long dresses and head coverings. Some time later we got word that his wife was leaving him because she’d discovered he’d been molesting her oldest daughter, his stepdaughter, for years. Nobody reported the[…]

Read more

Millennials and the church, or, How evangelicals turned me into a cynic

It seems that everyone these days is talking about millennials leaving the church. CNN even gave Rachel Held Evans valuable front page real estate to write about it. Since everyone else is writing about it, I figure I might as well add my two cents, especially because I feel like nobody’s actually asking those of us who have left or are leaving the evangelical world. This is my story. Ahh, but Kathryn, you say, isn’t everyone saying that millennials are leaving the church because of how evangelicals treat LGBT people? Aren’t you just another example of that? Here’s the thing though. While that may be the cherry on top of the icing on the cake, it’s a far cry from having anything to do with what turned me into a cynic.  I’m a cynic about American evangelicalism. I might as well just say it. I don’t trust evangelical leaders and if I see you on TV or find your books in giant stacks in the front of Barnes and Noble, I’m going to automatically be on alert. I have a hard time shutting off the cynicism and distrust when I’m in an evangelical church. To be blunt, I can’t step into an evangelical church without my bullshit meter going on high alert. I think the breaking point for me was when I was living in Vietnam. The South African interim pastor at the international church sent out an email to the church mailing list that said that the election of Barack Obama was the WORST THING EVAR and we should all pray for American Christians because they would soon be facing persecution. There was also something about how the California state supreme court challenge to Prop 8 was the WORST THING EVAR and proof of the coming persecution because people[…]

Read more

Brokenness

I get it now. I think I finally get it. For the longest time, I haven’t been able to understand why it is that when I try to explain to people within the church that it’s incredibly harmful to gay kids to grow up in a church world that tells them that they’re fundamentally broken, the only response I get is bafflement at why I’d think that telling kids they’re broken is a problem. I mean, it seems obvious to me. Teaching kids that they’re broken and repeating it so often that they internalize the message is a bad thing, why would anyone think it’s no big deal?  I finally figured it out. It’s because so much of the evangelical world, or at least the reformed part of the evangelical world, teaches every child that they’re broken. They don’t see why it’s bad to tell gay kids that they’re broken because they believe that about themselves too. They’ve internalized the brokenness message to the point that it’s normal. A few weeks ago, Stephanie Drury at Stuff Christian Culture Likes posted the following tweet from a reformed pastor on the SCCL Facebook page. Teach your children they are broken. Deeply broken. — Steve McCoy (@stevekmccoy) July 1, 2013 That tweet has prompted an outpouring of stories from people who have been incredibly wounded by growing up hearing that message of brokenness. I thought I’d quote from a few of those stories, though you really should go read the full pieces for yourself because they show just how much that message has messed with people’s heads in profound ways. This is because when you teach a child they are unworthy and somehow intrinsically broken/flawed/less-than, you set them up for disaster–not just in their relationship to God but in their relationships with people.  Indeed, my biggest[…]

Read more

Dear Evangelicals: This is why the rest of the world thinks you’re backward bigots (Or, did I just fall through a time warp to 1965?)

It’s 2013, the nation is on the verge of full marriage equality, possibly even as soon as this month, yet over on John Piper’s Desiring God blog, it seems that they’re still trying to convince readers that interracial marriage is not a sin. And not just in the abstract either, but because someone asked Piper the question and he devoted his podcast in response. However, that wasn’t enough, there is a followup with not one, but two posts on interracial marriage. The first from what has to be the world’s most gracious and conciliatory African American woman (I’d be like, “WTF are you even asking this question in 2013???”), and the second on dealing with disapproving family. To comment on the first post, the very fact that in 2013 it’s apparently necessary for a woman to write an exceptionally conciliatory post to convince conservative Christians of the morality and rightness of her marriage to her husband is an exceedingly dark mark on the American church. I don’t care that Loving v. Virginia was in 1967–only 46 years ago–it is a great shame on this country that it took until 1967 for people to be free to marry no matter the race of the person they loved. It’s an even greater shame that it took until the 1990s for more than 50 percent of white Americans to drop moral opposition to interracial marriage. It is an exceedingly great shame that in 2013 the Evangelical church is still discussing this issue as if it is a matter that is up for debate. Can you imagine someone in 2013 feeling the need to convince people that slavery is morally wrong? It’s such a settled issue that we don’t even debate the question any more. Interracial marriage is not and should not be treated as a[…]

Read more