During the recent (March 1st) Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, 100 “revs”
marched with the expressed purpose of apologizing for not making the church a place of welcome for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people.

While I still find myself sympathetic (although not in agreement) with churches and pastors who firmly believe that homosexual behaviour is sinful, I do not believe that the church can move forward on LGBT issues without making some effort to welcome us without judgment.

It is clear that the church’s double standard regarding homosexuality needs to change. Andy Crouch commented on this at recent pastors convention in San Diego:

“According to Andy, “Humankind is not divided into homosexual or heterosexual categories. We are all sexual beings who tend towards self-satisfaction.” Additionally, many churches rally around these categories, “which leads to a double standard: chastity for those who are gay and a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy regarding sexuality for the rest of us.”

A much-loved Australian pastor, Rowland Croucher, also used this argument to suggest that the church’s attitude towards homosexuals was sinful:

“There are three categories of sexual activity which are proscribed, in the Bible. And I believe this too. Fornication – sex between at least one unmarried person, Adultery – sex with a married person whose not your spouse, and homosexual activity. Homosexual activity and adultery are generally policed pretty thoroughly [in the Church]. But not fornication. The vast majority of our young people who are married in conservative Churches, and other Churches for that matter, are not virgins. So not to put too fine a point on it they’re fornicators. But they are not disciplined publicly as the others might be. Now I have a question about that kind of hypocrisy.”

 

As for the 100 Revs, it was recently reported that some of these pastors have been threatened by their churches for their involvement in the Mardi Gras. I guess this was to be expected. And it shows the courage of these ministers who made a stand for the grace and truth of the gospel. They make me feel proud to be an Australian (few North American church leaders have shown this kind of courage) and they give me hope for the church. I pray that the church worldwide will take note of their humble and loving example, begin to support them, and find other ways to demonstrate the love, acceptance, forgiveness, truth and nonviolence that is the heart of the Christian message.

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