The Harm of Denying LGBTQ+ Reality

Will the anti-LGBTQ+ Nashville Statement, a vain propaganda piece which Al Mohler cleverly and ironically names "loving," actually cause a change in our society? No. The Nashville Statement is merely a benign document to which conservative evangelicals can sign their name, so that they feel part of a "biblical" community regarding LGBTQ+ issues, and garner a (false) sense of righteousness (right-standing with God). I scrolled through all the names of those who signed the document and it is a veritable Who's Who (or, better, Who's That?) of the evangelical world. These people needed a formal document as a way to draw a line in the sand on LGBTQ+ issues, insisting that the line of all that is "biblical" on the subject is represented on their side of the line, while the rest of us believe that they are on the wrong side of the historical line.

What irritates me most about those involved with constructing the Nashville Statement is how they perceive those who oppose them on this issue. They quickly adopt a persecution complex, as did their Puritan forefathers, when they are not at all actually being persecuted. Opposition is not persecution. If so then evangelicals have been overtly persecuting everyone for decades. Denny Burk, Al Mohler &c., you are not being persecuted. You are being opposed, and shown the error of your ways, but you are in no sense being persecuted. Please be advised.

The disturbing trend among these male, patriarchal, evangelical leaders is their dismissive attitude towards LGBTQ+ reality. I intend to address the Nashville Statement point by point. But before I do I have to expose this raw nerve: encouraging people to deny their inner reality is actually harmful to their well-being. This is what the Nashville Statement effects: emotional, psychological, and potentially spiritual harm to LGBTQ+ people created in the image of God.

For example, Article 10 states (all emphases added):
WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a mater of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.
What, exactly, is "homosexual immorality"? This Statement is actually rife with presumptuous and ambiguous terms that are assumed by the community that drafted the document. To discern actual meaning and inferences one must already be baptized into said community. Is "homosexual immorality" merely of a sexual nature, the sex act, or does such include innate same-gendered attraction? In what sense does the metaphysical reality of transgenderism (sensing that one's biological composite does not agree with one's metaphysical reality) immoral? Transgenderism proper is not sexual in nature -- such does not necessarily involve an immoral sex act. What specifically is "immoral" about transgender metaphysical reality?

The sophomoric and presumptuous nature of this Affirmation is embarrassingly appalling. But they have accomplished their task: further division and alienation. God has not granted these patriarchal evangelicals any spiritual or eternal fortitude to declare that those who approve of loving homosexual relationships, and of transgender metaphysical reality, have departed from an essential component of Christian faithfulness and witness. But I did take note of those who signed their names to this document; and now I understand how they view me and other progressive regenerate followers of Christ. The LORD alone shall decide between us.



In the meantime I will continue to expose not only their toxic patriarchal agenda but also their harmful anti-LGBTQ+ sermons and blog posts and statements. There is a reason why the "ex-gay" ministry Exodus disbanded. After nearly 40 years, LGBTQ+ people were not experiencing change, and some were exhibiting emotional and psychological issues. Others left Christianity behind because, like the Nashville Statement, the promise of "the transforming power of the grace of God," as noted in Article 12 of the Nashville Statement, did not transform them into straight men. The promise, then, at least for those who labored for years to change, becomes a lie -- all in the name of the right-wing, conservative, complementarian-evangelical Jesus.

In conclusion of this post I will address my own personal experience with this sort of false teaching that the Nashville Statement promotes. One of the contributing factors leading me to maintain distorted thought patterns -- ultimately leading me to offending a college dormmate and former friend -- was a constant denial of my inner reality. I was gay, I was scared to death for others in my conservative Southern Baptist environment to find out that I was gay, and that fear and inner shame for being gay instrumentally led me to seek consoling myself. Am I suggesting that immersion in the ideology of a document like the Nashville Statement instrumentally led to me being immoral? That is exactly what I am suggesting.

In therapy I was asked if what I really wanted in life, given the freedom to do so, was to fool around with straight guys. My response was no: if I had my way, I wanted to fall in love with a guy, and be committed to him for life. He asked what was standing in my way of living out this desire. I answered: "My conservative religious upbringing." You might think: "Ahhh ... now I see why you're affirming." Actually, no, I remained within this context for years. Only within the last year have I been affirming; and only after engaging an affirming hermeneutic did I slowly change my mind. Prior to then I was taught by evangelicals how to lie to myself and others.

"Lie? That seems harsh" you might respond. Is that any harsher than encouraging LGBTQ+ folk to deny their inner reality? Is that any harsher than promising transformation and freedom from same-sex attraction by the grace of God and then never receiving what was promised? Is that any harsher than offering LGBTQ+ folk salvation by grace through faith in Christ plus following a complementarian sexual ethic and threatening those with whom they disagree anathema? Really? Harsh? What is harsh is telling a transgender person how the individual ought to feel or think -- how one had better feel and think if the person hopes to be saved.

2 comments:

Hugh Krone said...

Most of the signers are not surprising they have to try to keep themselves relevant (sarcasm) but some of them really make me sad. I expect the statement will become a hiring tool for many of these organizations

The Episcocrat said...

Agreed. The hiring tool comment is spot on as well.

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ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.