We talked about the Marin Foundation last year, with what I will describe as skeptical encouragement. This is a group formed by Evangelicals to try to build bridges between the GLBT community and Evangelicals. Andrew Marin dropped in to comment and then dipped out again. On his blog and on the Foundation website, they prevaricate around the questions: are they pro or con? Do they really believe that GLBT people are, in the words of Bishop Gene Robinson, "beloved children of God" as gays, or do they see this as a way to promote "change"? Is this just a kinder, gentler "love the sinner, hate the sin"? Some of the concerns about the Marin group were their apparent misconceptions about what it is to be gay, reducing us to a sex act, and assuming we have little understanding of Christian faith.
For example, there is a lot more to the GLBT community than Pride parades, and handsome young men dancing in their underwear are a definite minority overall. But Tristan makes a much better publicity shot than, say, chatting with a pair of young dads pushing a stroller, or even meeting a lesbian couple at the PTA. Pride parades and gayborhood bars are representative of a very small slice of GLBT America, but the press and the public--and perhaps the Marin Foundation-- seem to think that's the whole pie.
My wife BP was moved by the story, as were several of her work friends (gay and straight). She calls me a cynic that I have doubts about the motivation here. I admit, I AM a cynic. I'm a victim of the Prop H8 propaganda. I'm a knee-jerk partisan on this topic. Remember I'm an anti-religion, ex-Roman Catholic only modestly tamed by my Episcopalian wife and my Episcopalian friends :-).
So, what do you think about Nathan's outreach? Is this a good new thing, a way of breaking down walls and building bridges? Or is it something cynical to lure hurting gay folks with the goal to "cure" them? And, even if it IS something cynical, can good still come out of it?
Picture from Nathan's blog.
Update: For another view of Christians at Pride, see this article in the Guardian: Queer, Christian, and Proud
Update 2: There is a spirited conversation going on in the comments to Marin's post on his blog (Marin is Nathan's boss). I wrote
there are authentic Christian communities who do welcome GLBT people, and call them to be people of integrity within their gay identity. I’m thinking of the UCC, or the Episcopalians. These communities are activists for GLBT civil rights. They march with GLBT folks in Pride, or in protest events. The work within their own churches for equal rights. Their clergy include have faithfully partnered gay folks and women as well as men. They aren’t just talking the talk. They are walking with us too.Marin did not like that.
Another poster called Eugene wrote,
More importantly, there is no conflict between “gay” identity and “Christian” identity. A “gay” person is a homosexual person who is comfortable with his sexual orientation. This identity certainly doesn’t imply promiscuity or atheism, so it doesn’t negate the “Christian” identity in any way – unless you believe that Christianity is inherently homophobic.Eugene also points us to a recording of Marin's talk to the Christian side about GLBT people, here (download it).
It’s a mix of Andrew’s good intentions, bad intentions, knowledge and cluelessness. In my opinion it’s pretty harmful, and surely isn’t pro-gay. It’s long, so here are the the most interesting parts:so go hear what Marin says with his own tongue.
03:30-05:30 “Their identity becomes wrapped up in being gay”
15:00-23:00 “Best friend Dan”
45:00-51:30 “I have what I call the continuum of change”
01:25:00-01:28:00 “There is a ton of hope for a person like that”