A few weeks ago, I posted an interview with Brad White, the founder of the Texas-based non-profit group “Changing the Face of Christianity.” Brad said a lot of cringe-inducing things about gay marriage and you all let him have it. I did, too.
He was pretty upset with the response because he really did believe he was doing something positive and different in the name of Christianity — and in some ways, he is — but we were all focused on how his thinking on GLBT issues was really no different from so many of the other Christians we know.
Anyway, one of his group’s new projects urges Christians to confess their own faults. In the process, Brad admits to one of his own:
“My Confession is I’ve allowed my religious convictions to make me numb to the human rights of gays and lesbians. I haven’t consciously fought AGAINST gay marriage, but I’ve allowed outspoken Christian political activists to limit the human rights of LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) and let them speak FOR me through my silence. The Gay community deserves love, not discrimination. And for my part in that, I’m incredibly sorry.” So Brad’s note said “My confession is I’ve been a homophobic Christian. The gay community deserves love, not discrimination.”
I don’t think he’s at the point where he supports gay marriage (regardless of whether the Christian church approves of it), but I think he deserves a lot of credit for acknowledging this. Most Christians don’t even know what they’re doing is wrong; certainly, they wouldn’t admit to being homophobic. Maybe Brad will be on the right side of the issue in time.
His confession is already drawing criticism from some Christians — so he must be doing something right, yes?:
The group’s leader, R. Brad White, shares that his confession is homophobia, which by his definition includes the orthodox Christian understanding of marriage and homosexuality. In other words, his confession is a sideswipe at Christian dogma itself…
What’s more, it’s not even a confession, at least not as I understand it. Having held, presumably, to the dogma of the Church, White at some point in the past publicly repudiated it, and threw in with a group dedicated to representing the Christian understanding of marriage and homosexuality as wicked.
In other words, White’s confession is really about someone else’s “sin.” And this “sin” is in fact an historically grounded understanding of Christian dogma that remained undisputed until Bishop Spong and the dilettantes of the Jesus Seminar emerged to make 2 + 2 = 5 in the eyes of a reconstructed God.
Brad’s not backing down, and good for him for not doing that. When you have Christian fundamentalists and atheist realists at your throat, it’s hard to take it from both sides. During my email conversations with him, he’s been nothing but open about his intentions and his desire to learn from us. He’s slowly taking steps in the right direction.