I’m queer, and I’m (still) an evangelical (COMMENTARY)

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Evangelicals For Marriage Equality spokesperson Brandan Robertson, in Washington, D.C., on November 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Stephen Voss Photography

Evangelicals For Marriage Equality spokesperson Brandan Robertson, in Washington, D.C., on November 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Stephen Voss Photography

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(RNS) At the heart of this controversy, there's a deeper problem: a fundamentally flawed belief that one cannot be a true Christian if one identifies as LGBTQ (or an ally of LGBTQ people).

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  • CarrotCakeMan

    Once again, Karla wants us to throw out what Jesus said and did, and instead worship someone who never met Jesus except in his imagination, because that someone else is more in line with Karla’s anti-gay political agenda. Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself” is the second most commandment. Also, Jesus affirmed a gay couple. Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10. Many of us are familiar with the Gospel story where Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. In the original Greek, the word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner.

    Please don’t bother telling me you don’t believe Jesus, Karla.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    What’s your problem, Karla? No one cares what fake interpretation of the Bible your Westboro Baptist Church puts out there to promote your anti-gay political agenda? Jesus NEVER condemned same gender couples in ANY WAY. Jesus DID NOT insult the Centurion. It is you who should repent–for LYING about Jesus.

    But thanks for telling everyone how frightened and enraged you are at this sign that yet another major branch of Christianity is beginning to shake the dust of your anti-gay political agenda off their sandals.

  • Karla

    CarrotCakeMan-If would read what I wrote I said all sin is wrong but
    you want to slander me/put me the/a category with these other so
    called “Christians” that only focus on homosexuals and/or abortion.
    All sin is wrong not just gay marriage/homosexuals and/or abortion.

  • CarrotCakeMan

    Karla, you come to every article that involves LGBT Americans. You posted hate speech above. You do indeed “focus on homosexuals,” to the point where you can’t even use a minimally respectful term Why bother denying your “focus on homosexuals”?

  • Shawnie5

    Hey Carrot, when are you going to fill us in on whose same-sex lover Jairus’ 12 year-old daughter was?

  • Larry

    Right after you figure out how “love thy neighbor” can translate to ostracize, attack and discriminate against others.

    Maybe follow up with how you have the authority as the sole arbiter of all Biblical translations and official dogma of all Christian sects.

  • Doc Anthony

    Did Jesus “affirm a gay couple” ?

    Nope (see below).

    Jesus does love everybody — but NOT every lifestyle.


  • Fmr Cath

    Just another “cherry picking Christian”… The Bible says we should not be hateful to anyone but show love. It’s not love to spread lies thereby misleading others at the cost of their everlasting life. GOD’S WORD is very clear on this subject. We cannot continue to PRACTICE SIN if we would like to be approved by GOD. 1John 5:2-3 says this: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and CARRY OUT his commandments.  For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.
    LOVE OF GOD can motivate a person to quit living a life of sin and devote themselves to HIS teachings. People cannot make up or delete verses and ideas to justify wrongdoing… Call yourself whatever you like, it carries no weight with God because it’s HIS truth we must conform to and not that we twist the TRUTH to fit with our current ideas of what’s acceptable. So, can a person be actively gay and be a true Christian? The Bible answers, NO. Read 2Corinthians 6:14-18 where it says to “separate yourselves and quit touching the unclean thing”. Also, 1Corinthians 6:15-20 states: 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I, then, take the members of the Christ away and join them to a prostitute? By no means! 16 Do you not know that anyone who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For “the two,” says he, “will be one flesh.” 17 But whoever is joined to the Lord is one with him in spirit. 18 Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit within you, which you have from God? Also, you do not belong to yourselves, 20 for you were bought with a price. By all means, glorify God in your body.
    So according to scripture, you can’t be ACTIVELY gay and be a “true” Christian…

  • Larry

    Which you interpret as hating people. That common hypocritical Christian two-step. Loving everybody by treating them like crap. We will know a Christian by their deeds. The deeds of Christians with your POV leave a lot to be desired.

  • Peter

    Brandon, bless you for your sincerity and honesty in this matter. However I believe you have fallen into the trap which isolates you from the very group you claim to be a member of, that being an Evangelical Christian.
    I note you don’t place those 2 words together in most of your writings, as if even you understand how wrong they are when paired with an individual who knows God’s word and insists on their own “private interpretation” thereof. Not once (I admit I have not read all of your stuff) have I read you admitting your SSA is “unwanted”, whereas that is one of the hallmarks of identifying as a Christian- a decreasing pattern and desire to sin in any form. Sure we mess up, we are cursed to physical destruction after all, but the Christian looks to the Bible for guidance, not to excuse their sinful attributes by playing word games such as some of the pro-homosexual Bible apologists like to do.
    You are welcome any time in my little Christian Church. We come to worship the Lord Jesus and repent, REPENT of our sins, not excuse them nor complain that “somebody else got away with..” this or that.
    Your reaction to this rejection by the publisher reflects your youth. I expect 10 years from now you will look back upon this as immaturity, hopefully from a real position of repentance and meekness, serving Christ and not the politics of sin of the day. Until then, submit your book to another publisher, but don’t be surprised if another Christian publishing house rejects you like the NRA rejecting a gun-control advocate as a guest speaker at convention. I would not expect anything different.

    The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
    Pride and arrogance and the evil way
    And the perverse mouth I hate. (Proverbs 8:13)

  • Larry

    “Just another “cherry picking Christian”

    Which encompasses the entirety of the Christian faith. Including your own sect. Claiming to follow the entire Bible is one of those things professed but never actually an honest representation of their belief. Christians always find excuses for avoiding whatever scriptures are inconvenient to their personal beliefs. It is ingrained in the faith. When one has to use the Old Testament to sound tough in public but doesn’t actually want to abide by most of its rules, speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth is a given.

    Fundamentalists always labor under the delusion that they are the only Christians out there. You are no more capable of calling someone a “false christian” than than the author is towards your rendition of faith.

  • Fmr Cath

    It’s not ME who gets to say who is a true/false Christian. It’s the BIBLE, the word of GOD that gives the definition/criteria for what it is to BE Christian… Yes, we all sin. We are born into it so we do slip and fall but changing the meaning of SIN or pushing to have SIN approved in the churches isn’t going to change GOD’s mind. Society changes all the time but Malachi 3:6 tells us that God DOES NOT CHANGE.

  • Larry

    Well Brandan, I guess you are dealing with the uneasy truth here. Evangelical Christian is synonymous with conservative views and anti-gay bigotry. For the most part churches and organizations calling themselves evangelical don’t want anything to do with people and views like your own.

    My suggestion is to go outside of the incestuous echo chamber of evangelical christian publishing and congregations. They don’t respect you anyway and will not listen to any arguments or interpretations you make. Its not in their interests to do so.

    Why stay among those who have no compunction with treating you as less than a person?. There are enough sects and avenues of publishing that you do not need to go through these people.

  • MJ

    “Your reaction to this rejection by the publisher reflects your youth. ”
    I’m not sure how in this day and age one can be shocked when their actions/social media posts are held against them. People are FIRED from jobs because of this. What you do and what you say is a reflection of your character. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Brandon.
    Best to you.

  • Larry

    No, its your interpretation of the Bible. Your view. Supported by your sect. God is not coming down to instruct you personally as to what his meaning is in the text. You are highly presumptuous to claim to know the mind of God. So get a grip here.

    You are using your own judgment (or that of clergy and theologians) to cough up with what it is all supposed to mean.

    You chose to define Christian based on your own views. It has no validity except among like minded ones in your sect. Nobody has to take your charge of not being “a true Christian” seriously. The are hundreds of sects out there with their own take on the subject. Your view is just one of many. The appeal of fundamentalism is that it gives people the delusion they are the only type of Christian which is “the real thing”. It is strictly empty ego stroking for the self-righteous.

  • James Carr

    I commend you for your honesty and love of God. I have always believed that every human is a child of God, who loves each of us equally.

    I don’t believe that God wants us to add any adjective before this name of “child” to further describe ourselves, such as queer, holy, gifted, or worthless, for none of them describe our totality of self.

    I believe we must accept what has been eternally named sin, since God is the Author of what is good and what is evil. We must avoid presumptions of any “mistake” in God’s Wisdom.

    Love must never be confused with lust, but any fault made during our life can be forgiven multiple, multiple times. LGBTQ people are more than meager LGBTQ people…..they are loved by the one God Who is perfection itself.

  • Phillip Hunt

    Dear Brandan…thank you for brave stance on LGBTQ issues. There are many welcoming and inclusive churches where LGBTQ people can participate openly and be part of a spiritual family….

  • Fmr Cath

    no, not MY interpretation of the Bible… 1Corinthians 6:9-11: 9 Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of you WERE. But you have been washed clean; you have been sanctified; you have been declared righteous in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.
    “WERE” means they had QUIT practicing these things and became Christians. Can you be a true Christian and still PRACTICE sin (meaning ongoing sin)?
    1Timothy 1:8-11: 8 Now we know that the Law is fine if one applies it properly, 9 recognizing that law is made, not for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, ungodly and sinners, disloyal and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, manslayers, 10 sexually immoral people, men who PRACTICE homosexuality, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and everything else that is in OPPOSITION to the wholesome teaching 11 according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.– You see the BIBLE (not my writings) say homosexuality is in opposition to Christianity. So you can’t be a Christian and be in opposition at the same time. You are one or the other, NOT BOTH.

  • Collin

    Not really interested in becoming a part of the debate. I appreciate your comments. Just wanted to mention that the Greek word παις (pais) is used very often in the NT and simply means servant or child. It can often be translated as “boy” (as in Luke 2:43 applied to Jesus) or “girl” (as in 8:51, 54), but just as often simply refers to a slave or servant (as in 7:7, 12:45, and 15:26). There were lots of Greek words that could be used as euphemisms to describe sexual partners, but that doesn’t mean that those words must take those meanings in other contexts (in fact, part of the point of a euphemism is that it almost always means something else). It seems clear from the context that the man is a slave, since he has already been identified as δουλος (doulos = slave/servant) in 7:2, 3. I suppose you could still argue that παις refers to same-sex partner in 7:7, but then you’d have to explain why he’s called a servant (δουλος) in vv.2-3. If there are other questions you have about the Greek in that particular passage, please let me know and I’ll try to be as helpful as I can. If you wouldn’t mind, is there any way you could direct me to the source where you found your information? Many thanks. Peace be with you.

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  • The Great God Pan

    In historical context, “love thy neighbor” refers to neighbors in a homogeneous society. God was telling his followers to love their neighbors because their neighbors were their tribesmen (*), people with the same identity and beliefs and values as them. The entire point was to strengthen the in-group as a bulwark against outsiders. So it very much DOES mean to “ostracize, attack and discriminate” those who differ from you.

    This is why ancient myths should not be viewed as guides to living. The problem is with religion, not with bad interpretations of religion.

    (*) In fact, I am told that “love thy tribesman” would be the more correct translation.

  • Larry

    Frmr Cath,

    You are full of yourself here.

    You choose to take a specific interpretation to be significant while ignoring others. ALL Christians do that. You choose to emphasize parts which would excuse treating people with humanity and compassion rather than those parts which demand such behavior. Brennan chose the opposite tact. Neither of you have the authority to say who is the “True Christian” here. You are both simply doing what is commonplace in the faith. Picking and choosing which sections are the most relevant to your views.

    Since the word homosexuality is a modern term, your attempt to support yourself by quoting modern translations and interpretations are still self-serving and unavailing here.

    Just because you think a Christian can’t be both, doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of them who don’t have your view. Just because you say someone’s faith is phony, it doesn’t mean it has to be taken seriously. That is your opinion. It cannot be conflated with anything authoritative on the subject.

  • Doc Anthony

    “We will know a Christian by their deeds.”

    Gotta be oh-so-careful when you make that claim, Larry. After all, 1 Cor 6:9-11 is famous for its VERY specific list of “deeds” that Christians are not to be doing.

    1 Cor 6:9-11 clearly specifies the unpleasant final outcome that those “deeds” ultimately lead to. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 also gives a straight-forward historical report about Jesus washing and cleansing those “deeds” out of the lives of the Corinthians.

    So when you invoke “deeds”, you’re actually bringing up yet another Biblical aspect that don’t look so good for, umm, HOMOSEXUAL DEEDS.

    Since you have claimed that “we shall know a Christian by their deeds”, and since Jesus found it necessary to cleanse and wash away **homosexual deeds**, and other sinful deeds, from the lives of the Corinthians as part of their salvation (verses 9 through 11)….

    ….Then you have effectively established that homosexual deeds or homosexual behaviors, are in fact clearly INCOMPATIBLE with the Lord Jesus Christ, and are indeed a sin (as the Bible points out anyway).

  • Larry

    You can say that Christians love humanity, and such belief is worthwhile to civilized living, but one look at your posts destroys any such notions. Your version of Christianity is anti-social, destructive and hateful. It has nothing socially redeeming to it.

    You are entitled to your own interpretation of the Bible and your own beliefs. But that doesn’t mean everyone else has to take it seriously in their beliefs. Calling someone like the author, “not a real Christian” tells us more about you and your beliefs than his.

  • Doc Anthony

    I haven’t said the phrase “not a real Christian” to anybody in this forum, Larry. It is sufficient for me to just call attention to what the Scriptures say; that is my goal. And the Scriptures (especially 1 Cor 6:9-11) clearly show that homosexual deeds/behavior is NOT compatible with Jesus Christ. Not even **slightly** compatible. Can’t serve two masters.

    Now if you somehow happen to believe that the Bible — again, as exemplified in 1 Cor 6:9-11 — does NOT say that homosexual deeds/behaviors are a sin, then I’m all ears. Simply tell me your own beliefs up-front, just place your own textual interpretation on the table, right here right now. Take a chance.

    As for me, I’m just pointing out that the Bible clearly states that homosexual deeds/behavior is a sin, (which is not a difficult item to prove, as you’ve noticed by now!) .

    After all, it was YOU who specifically made “deeds” the standard for how “we will know” who is a Christian. So please tell me: What does the Bible say about HOMOSEXUAL DEEDS?

  • ben in oakland

    I just love to listen to self-described “True Christians” (TM), aka scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites, bloviate on and on about their intimate knowledge of the mind of god, and the relationship between God and any other soul on the planet, based upon their limited understanding of a book written 2000 years ago, by a people in a world a universe away from ours in language, politics, culture, science, morals, understanding of sexuality, history, and social forces.

    This book was allegedly written by God, the creator of the entire, infinite Universe and all of its wonders, which ought to put it beyond anyone’s understanding. It seems to be, because we have 2000 years of unending debate about what this word means in relationship to that word, and the precise shade of meaning of that tense, that indefinite article, that comma, that historical context, and that common sense.

    I just love to listen to self-described “True Christians” (TM), aka scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites, bloviate on and on about their intimate knowledge of the mind of god, and the relationship between God and any other soul on the planet, based upon their limited understanding of a book written 2000 years ago, by a people in a world a universe away from ours in language, politics, culture, science, morals, understanding of sexuality, history, and social forces.

    Actually, there is a great deal of clarity right here: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    I just love to listen to self-described “True Christians” (TM), aka scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites, bloviate on and on about their intimate knowledge of the mind of god, and the relationship between God and any other soul on the planet, based upon their limited understanding of a book written 2000 years ago, by a people in a world a universe away from ours in language, politics, culture, science, morals, understanding of sexuality, history, and social forces.

    But what did he know?

  • samuel Johnston

    Hi Fmr,
    “It’s the BIBLE, the word of GOD that gives the definition/criteria …”
    The Bible is not God, (but perhaps it is a god- to some).
    Wonderful. Why is it that his creation does little else? And that is before the other point which is that understandings change all the time.
    To be crass “Everything is simple to the simple minded”.
    Personal story: My father and my mother’s father were at our usual Sunday family dinner. My grandfather had preached a hellfire sermon (not unusual for him).
    My father (also a minister) had, had enough. “Brother Bonner” he said, “is there anyone that you would wish eternal punishment in Hell?” My grandfather became defensive, “I do not make the rules, God does”. “I see”, said my father,
    “you think you are more merciful, and forgiving than God.”
    His point was that hell was just an idea that my grandfather had embraced,
    without considering it on its merits, and from which he was trying to distance himself.

  • Larry

    The Bible also says that serving bad wine is also an abomination on the same level as homosexuality and that genocide is OK if God commands it. Obviously anyone who tells me that they believe in the entirety of the Bible from cover to cover is a delusional liar.

    All believers pick and choose which passages are more relevant to their belief than others. Whether you consider someone a christian doesn’t mean squat to another christian.

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  • Fran

    Sounds like a “double standard” to me, but that is very popular in this crazy world of ours!!

  • Fran


    How can you honestly call God the author of evil? I would attribute that personality aspect instead to the enemy of God, Satan the Devil, who deceived Eve, our first mom, who caused Adam, our first dad, to sin against God, and bring sin and death to all their descendants, including us? (Romans 5:12)

    It is unthinkable for a perfectly just, loving, righteous, compassionate and powerful God to be evil or do anything wicked!!

  • The Great God Pan

    “The Bible also says that serving bad wine is also an abomination…”

    If I’d known that I would have converted to Christianity a long time ago.

  • Deane

    Right on Pan! Jesus is calling for unity among the poor (primarily peasants and day laborers) to resist the the Romans and big landowners instead of taking out their frustrations of powerlessness on one another or allowing themselves to be played off one against the other.

  • James Carr

    I should have said that God is the arbiter of what is good and evil. Evil is a choice of our free will, introduced to us by Satan.

  • Shawnie5

    IOW, on behalf of yourself and Carrot, “I’da know.” As usual.

  • Shawnie5

    @GGP: You got it just exactly backward. The teacher whose question Jesus was answering by means of this parable was trying to read the Law in exactly the fashion you describe, and Jesus would have none of it.

    This is one example of how the teachings of Jesus were such a radical departure from the worldview upon which the entire pre-christian world operated. It is human nature to minimize our duty to the “other” and for millenia no one had any moral problem with it.

  • MT

    Hi there — I completely agree w/ you that LGBTQ persons should be treated with all of the respect and dignity that all other people made in God’s image deserve. I appreciate that you value and pursue that.

    I differ in that, if God has said that certain behaviors are prohibited — and Scripture seems quite clear that extramarital (man+woman) sex is prohibited — then it cannot be correct to pastorally lead people to construct identities where desires for those prohibited behaviors are the centerpieces. Especially when the thrust is to embrace those identities as cherished.

    This isn’t to suggest we should reject, excoriate, sermonize, or otherwise debase LGBTQ persons. It’s just to say that the thrust of Jesus’ and the NT authors’ teachings clearly aim to make Him the center of identity. They also call us to utterly forsake those ways that are contrary to His.

    But we cannot utterly forsake a given way and make it a cherished identity at the same time. So, like everyone before us, we have to choose: the culture’s way or God’s. Whatever we choose, we can love those who disagree. But I think God’s way is clear.

  • Larry

    So you are going to reject, excoriate, sermonize, or otherwise debase LGBTQ persons but claim to still love them in the name of God.

    Because that is how, “we can love those who disagree” always works out to people with your views. You are contradicting yourself or at best giving excuses to disregard your previous notion that, “LGBTQ persons should be treated with all of the respect and dignity that all other people made in God’s image deserve.”

    You can’t claim to treat people with respect and dignity but consider them hellbound abominations at the same time. At best you are giving excuses for people to act badly towards gays.

    You “love” them, but still feel the need to treat their personal identity as something to be despised and attacked. Its the typical Christian doubletalk. Engage in hateful, malicious behavior but claim to be doing so for the victim’s “spiritual well being”.

  • Larry

    “Jesus was answering by means of this parable was trying to read the Law in exactly the fashion you describe, and Jesus would have none of it.”

    And yet it is so ironic that so many Christians follow the student’s views rather than that of Jesus. People who think that, “love thy neighbor” was a conditional statement with plenty of exceptions and opt-outs where personally convenient.

  • Shawnie5

    Where did Jesus say that lying about sin is loving?

  • Esther Fite

    Preach Karla. People need to stop having a form of godliness and denying the power and let it change them from sinners to born again believers! Thanks for shedding Truth and Light. People are deceiving themselves and God will not be mocked.

  • Shawnie5

    “You can’t claim to treat people with respect and dignity but consider them hellbound abominations at the same time.”

    Jesus treated people with respect and dignity and exhorted others to do the same, but He clearly said that most people ARE hellbound. Love prompted Him to come and offer an escape, not to wave and smile as traffic proceeded along over a precipice.

  • Karla

    Esther Fite- Thank you! Amen and very well said! We all must born again!

  • Karla

    Esther Fite-Thank you! Amen/very well said! We all must be born again!

  • Larry

    So who did Jesus abandon, ostracize, attack, or treat without dignity?
    Some moneylenders in a pique of rage, but that was about it.

    Same can’t be said about Christians. They very calmly use their religious belief as a pretext to malicious harmful acts towards others.

    It is an outright lie to claim to love them as human beings and then act in a way which betrays such claims. The deeds of various Christians who take your view, demonstrate how false such claims of loving thy neighbor really are.

    Acting badly towards others is acting badly towards others. Claiming Jesus sanctions it doesn’t change such facts. Calling it love of thy neighbor, combatting sin, or concern for their spiritual well being is fiction. It may make you feel better about such a position, but it reeks of poor excuses.

  • Larry

    So what did he say about minding the splinters in the eye of a brother?

    “Combating sin” is a poor excuse to treat others badly. Combat your own before you start commenting on others. Unless you are Jesus Christ incarnate, you have your own long list of sins to deal with.

  • MT

    I don’t know how you’re reading so much vitriol into what I wrote, but you are. I don’t hate anyone. I didn’t say LGBTQs were “hellbound abominations.” What a set of words and sentiments to put into someone’s mouth!

    I think everyone is made in God’s image — which is what I wrote — and that God made everything and everyone “very good,” as He Himself said.

    And I think the whole world, and everyone in it, by nature and choice resist Him, until they are saved. That is true for straight people as much as for LGBTQs or anyone else. We’ve all fallen short of the glory of God.

    The good news is that God values us, and wants to save and renew our lives. So I don’t treat people like hellbound abominations, but as people beloved and pursued by God.

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