I came across a new article from “Believe Out Loud” entitled, “I First Saw a Rainbow Flag in Church…” and it got me thinking.
Here is the link to the article:
In all my years as a Christian, I don’t recall ever attending a church that was explicitly “Open and Affirming”. In fact I know that the concept of “Open and Affirming” was throughout the 80’s (when I attended the United Methodist Church in Wethersfield, CT. where I grew up), foreign and non-existent. There was never any mention of homosexuality or transgender persons. The idea would have seemed ridiculous then to consider gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transgender persons Christians. And the idea that a church would welcome and acknowledge that LGBT persons could be Christians and equal, respected, members of a church or place of worship was even more ridiculous it seemed.
But that was the 80’s a time of fear and ignorance-based hatred and bigotry and discrimination. Now in the middle of the second decade of the 2000’s we are seeing a shift in acceptance and tolerance and respect. We are seeing more churches and religious organizations stepping up to say quite proudly and boldly that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people are just as equal in the eyes of God as any other. The LGBT community has a place among the larger community and they have the right to faith and free religious expression.
But while it seems we have made great strides, much of the hate and bigotry we have seen in the 80’s seems to have returned with violence and even more politically backed discrimination and state-sponsored hatred. As the LGBT community continues to advocate for equal rights and sees progress with same-sex marriage and the passage of protective laws for the transgender community, there is a growing backlash from conservatives and the Religious Right Wing who choose to use religious-based arguments to thwart efforts to establish equal rights for the LGBT.
Churches that have had a history of backing civil rights in the 1960s now have an opportunity to stand with the LGBT community and continue the fight on moral grounds and Christian grounds for equality and equal human rights for all persons– including the LGBT community and the LGBT Christian or LGBT Faith-based communities as well.
Imagine the pain and frustration of being LGBT in a society or environment where you are viewed as an abomination, a freak, an outcast, something disgusting… etc…. then imagine being a Christian as well, faced with a society that wishes to deny you a voice and deny yiur right to worship as well as to be your true and sincere self. It is a double-whammy of discrimination and hatred.
Thankfully there are churches and organizations stepping up and displaying their true beautiful rainbow colors! I hope all churches can step up and show their support for all God’s children– not just the straight, gender “normative” white population.