The gay and lesbian community was mad at the evangelical Christians over a sermon preached 15 years ago.
The evangelical Christians were mad at the gay and lesbian community for calling the pastor a Hate monger.
So I decided to find someone who is a part of both communities.
May I introduce you to my friend H.B. Allaman.
She is a lesbian woman who loves the Lord and works inside of an evangelical ministry here in the states.
She came to know the Lord in college through this ministry before eventually working full time with them.
Because of this organization she developed a solid and intimate relationship with Christ.
Yet because it is an evangelical Christian ministry not everyone is comfortable with her lesbian identity so she is out to only a few close friends.
I asked her a few questions about Louie and the whole benediction/media/online storm…
Ragamuffins, I give you my friend H.B…
[Carlos] – As a lesbian who loves The Lord, what were some of the hardest things to see on the twitter sphere the last few days regarding the benediction at the inauguration?
[H.B] – Whenever there’s a showdown between the gay and Christian communities, I feel a tremendous internal tension. The hardest part is seeing what appears to be a willful disconnect on both sides. There is this kind of insistence on being polarized and a tacit commitment to framing the other side as extreme and aggressive. Both camps are entrenched in their black and white views and refuse to cede any ground.
I cringe when I read articles/blogs/comments accusing Louie of being anti-gay or promoting hate. It’s grossly disingenuous for the gay community to dig up an obscure recording from 15 years ago and paint Louie as a hate-longer when nothing about his ministry is focused on the gay issue. From what I have seen, Louie just doesn’t use his high-profile position to speak against homosexuality. He doesn’t have a dog in that fight.
I also cringe when I read articles/blogs/comments claiming Christians are the innocent victims under attack by the gay agenda. It is just as disingenuous for the Christian community to claim Louie was uninvited from giving the benediction when the story is not clear either way. And rightly or not, I hold the Christian community to a higher standard. We are called to love above all, and with respect to the gay community we have shown them a false Jesus.
The hardest part for me is the visceral hatred on both sides. The demonizing. The hyperbolic language.
[Carlos] – I know Louie personally and know him as nothing more than a man who loves Jesus with all his heart and has one desire, to make the name of Jesus famous.
What do you think about his withdrawal from the inauguration?
[H.B.] – When I heard Louie had been selected to give the benediction, I thought it was really cool. Being in college ministry, I’m aware of the Passion conferences. I believe the Millennial generation will change the world in profoundly positive ways. They are the most globally connected and aware generation in history, and they are exhibiting an unprecedented desire to act on behalf of the vulnerable and voiceless. I see Louie as one of the only high-profile Christian leaders who has heard the Millennial generation and is empowering them. His leadership in social justice issues (the hallmark of the Millennials), and particularly in fighting human trafficking is supremely admirable. It’s obvious that he’s passionate about it and it’s the focus of his ministry. And I’m sure that’s the reason Obama wanted him to give the benediction, as a nod to the Millennials.
When I heard Louie had withdrawn, I was sad. I was sad because I knew one of my communities had sullied the name of an honorable member of my other community. There are plenty of Christian leaders who should be called out for their antagonistic and adversarial stance against the gay community. Louie Giglio is not one of them.
While I was sad he had withdrawn, I also respected him for doing it, and for how he did it. I think it was a very wise and humble decision. He showed a level of grace that’s unfortunately unusual in the public sphere. I interpreted his refusal to explicitly comment on homosexuality as reinforcing that his focus is elsewhere. He doesn’t have a dog in that fight, and he refuses to be lured into it. A Jedi he is
[Carlos] – What are some things that you think the LGBT can work on when it comes to conversations with evangelicals?
[H.B.] – The biggest need on both sides is less shouting and more listening. I challenge every LGBT person to make a Christian friend or two. Family doesn’t count (mostly because Christian family members are more likely to pull out the clobber verses). Don’t let the vitriol online and in the media dictate your view of Christians. Get to know a few personally.
The gay community needs to realize that not every Christian is anti-gay. If a Christian leader is not an ally, that doesn’t automatically make them an adversary. The Church has actually changed its stance on homosexuality dramatically in the last decade. Homosexuals are no longer seen as evil deviants who must be ostracized, except in the most fundamentalist corners of the community (unfortunately those are also the loudest corners that get the most airtime). The median belief is that being gay is not a choice, but that homosexual behavior should nevertheless be renounced. While this seems unthinkable to most homosexuals, they should at least be able to acknowledge how far the Church has moved toward accepting them.
[Carlos] – What are some things you think evangelicals can work on when it comes to conversations with the LGBT?
[H.B.] – Same advice for Christians. Learn to listen. Make a gay friend or two. In their case, family does count, but that’s not enough. Yes, absolutely seek to move toward a gay family member in love. Don’t clobber them with Bible verses. (Believe me, every gay person knows what those verses say.) Listen to them and love them gently. Even acknowledge and apologize for how the Christian community has wounded them. Beyond that, find a gay friend or two, and do the same. I recently read a blog where a Christian woman wrote an open letter to a lesbian and said, “I’m a Christian but I’m not going to hurt you.” That one sentence makes me terribly sad because it so perfectly sums up how badly Christians have behaved.
Also, the Christian community needs to realize that homosexuals are not out to destroy society. We long for the same things you do. Love. Acceptance. Family. Security. Stability. A place to belong. Homosexuals are not freaks. Yes, there are some who are extreme, but every community has that tiny percentage who are extreme. Most LGBT people are very normal, so normal that you wouldn’t even know they were gay. In fact, if you think you don’t know anyone who is gay, you’re probably wrong.
And stop saying being gay is a choice. It’s not. You didn’t choose to be heterosexual. You just are. Same with us.
The biggest question that keeps rolling around in my head is:
Why isn’t God making gay people straight? It’s not a matter of ability. He could change someone’s sexual orientation. But He isn’t. And it’s not a matter of gay Christians having unrepentant hearts. Most gay Christians I know spent years begging God to make them straight. But God is not doing it. Reparative therapy does not work. God is not giving gay Christians victory over homosexuality. Why? I don’t have the answer. But I think we Christians need to honestly wrestle with that question.
[Carlos] – If you could be any cartoon character from your childhood… Which would it be?
[H.B] – For some reason, the first one to come to mind is Yosemite Sam. I have no idea why. I don’t think I necessarily identify with him. But I do remember appreciating his uninhibited nature. I was extremely shy as a kid, so maybe I admired his explosiveness? And totally not PC with the current gun debate, but that’s my answer.
Thanks H.B. for your bravery and Christ filled responses.
This community is better for them.
We would love to hear your thoughts my Ragamuffin friends…