Recently there have been a number of articles written about hipster evangelicals and their churches. These articles have focused on the sociological phenomenon of their popularity and how their inability to come forward with the truth of their anti-gay policies is actually part of what continues to make them viable – and dangerous to the lives of the LGBTQIA community.
I, for one, am tired of explaining to people why being ‘welcoming’ isn’t remotely progressive. Imagine your church being ‘welcoming’ to redheads, but not allowing them to hold leadership positions or celebrate their marriages… and then telling them in the membership class that God sees their hair color as something to repent of.
That sours the old ‘welcome’ wouldn’t you say?
Look kids, there ain’t no cookie for your church being “welcoming” to gay people. Congratulations on letting “anyone” attend and give you money. (I love that. They can’t do your wedding, but they can cash your check! Ain’t no sin on that dollar, baby.)
The question is regarding AFFIRMATION and their desperate attempts to keep their mega-congregants in the dark on their position. Let your yes be yes and no be no! Out with it! This is the problem with any exclusivist theology that won’t be honest about itself.
“WELCOME!! 7 months from now we’ll tell you that your gay marriage is something to repent of.”
“WELCOME!! Join a group, so a new friend can tell you that your Hindu faith or your atheism is punishable by hell if you don’t convert.”
The irony is that evangelicals who claim to view the Bible as “God’s Word” are afraid to admit what they ACTUALLY believe it teaches. They have to tuck it under their arm until you feel safe enough for their “Good News” to break your heart.
The saddest part to me is that these very hipster churches are FULL of people who are themselves AFFIRMING! The don’t-ask-don’t tell goes both ways. The affirming attenders want to enjoy the Nickelodeon kids programs and ‘rockin worship’ show with their group of upwardly mobile straight friends, without being reminded that they participate and fund a bigoted institution that wouldn’t hire a gay minister or officiate a same sex wedding. All …’because the Bible’.
This is why the powers that be keep this reality concealed, scrubbed from the website, and only give out answers on a need-to-know basis. Answers that are likely to sound like a non-answer anyway…
“We don’t have policies, we have conversations.” Fuck that convenient bullshit.
Who does this avoidance strategy protect? It protects leaders from either losing the progressive families in their church who love their gay uncle or trans daughter AND from losing the conservative ‘big givers’ who would flip their lids if you changed your policy to AFFIRMING. Trust me, I know what happens when a large evangelical mega-church goes public with a change of heart. It gets really tough to build that new youth center, skate park and cafe on the back 40.
Hopefully people wake up one day and get honest about the fact that the ‘god’ of evangelical theology is hell. It all comes down to hell. EVERY. TIME. And until that horrible Dark Age notion is purged from the collective evangelical psyche, the ‘fear of god’ will keep these megachurches propagating antiquated, repressive views on sexuality and afraid of second guessing formal policies that damage an already marginalized and stigmatized community.