anti-LGBTQ discrimination

TIMELINE: LGBT People and the Recent Church

The recent history of the church’s treatment of LGBT people has been one of big abuses, big apologies, and gradual redemption. But, as leading evangelical ethicist David Gushee writes in “Disputable Matters” (Sojourners, January 2015),“this fight feels like it is reaching a crescendo. History will record who was on what side, and when.”

Recently, Gushee placed himself on the side of solidarity with the LGBT community. In the January 2015 Sojourners, Gushee explains why his theology shifted from scriptural condemnation of LGBT people to scriptural affirmation.

View this timeline to see a recent, abbreviated history of the church’s treatment of the LGBT community. Which side are you on? What about your church? Help expand upon the timeline in the comment section below.

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A Faith, Broken: When Inclusion Evokes Christian Ire

Fallen church, vietnamphotos /

Fallen church, vietnamphotos /

I have great respect for religion writer Jonathan Merritt, even though we disagree on a lot of social and theological issues. He evoked a maelstrom about his article suggesting the Arizona law allowing businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people was less than Christian, and yet he stands behind his words.

Basically, many prominent voices from the Baptist and Neo-Calvinist camps went berserk about his call for tolerance; never mind that he didn’t even take on the moral issues surrounding LGBTQ identity itself. It was simply enough that he called for equal treatment of all people as fellow human beings, period. But he broke rank with the conservative Christian rank-and-file, which depends heavily on uniformity of voice and position on key issues.

Merritt took a risk, knowing full well that he’d likely suffer for it. And he did. In a small online forum of fellow religion writers, he expressed dismay both at the aggressive, hateful nature of peoples’ response from the right, as well as the relative palpable silence from the center and left.

For that, to the degree that I can speak for myself and others like me, I’m sorry, Jonathan. When someone steps out like this, putting himself at risk, we should rally to support him, as much as those on the right rally behind causes.