Thursday, November 16, 2006

Moderate evangelicals on Haggard & homosexuality

Normally I'm hard-pressed to find any good in the media frenzy that feeds off scandals and personal failures surrounding public figures. Yet it seems that one positive fall-out from Rev. Ted Haggard's situation is that it has given more politically moderate voices within the evangelical community a chance to sound off.

From Tony Campolo
I have heard so many of my colleagues in ministry express deep concerns over what this scandal will do to the image of the evangelical movement, but I have heard little concern among us for how all of this will impact those Christian gays and lesbians that we know. They are in our churches. They teach in our Sunday schools and sing in our choirs. Most of them are closeted brothers and sisters who suffer in ways that are impossible for the rest of us to even imagine. They are good people who do not take drugs or visit prostitutes. Will the ugliness of this sorry mess feed a diabolical stereotype of them, which is too often circulated in our churches by unkind preachers who have little, if any, understanding of homosexuals?

From Meredith Efken at Violet Voices
I’m angry that our leaders–with our support and encouragement–have made things like gay marriage such a key battle that we destroyed any opportunities to reach out to the gay community and build friendships and open honest communication with them. And then when one of our own is struggling with his sexual identity, he had no safe place to turn, no network of support.

From Brian McLaren of the Red Letter Christians
Perhaps this painful story will help more preachers (like myself) to back away from the easy answers and binary thinking that are so easy to dispense, and to reject the simplistic moralism Jesus diagnosed in the Pharisees, who, he said, loaded up burdens on the backs of others that they themselves couldn't bear.