Slideshow image

"The Gay Agenda" - I must admit, as a cis-grender, heterosexual, I've always wondered what is meant when this phrase gets used.  Haven't you?  I've heard it over the years on the news, particularly in political context and almost always in a negative and derogitory way.  Some how "they" (the gays I guess) are going to inflict "their agenda" on "us" or our kids, our country or yes, even our church.  It all sounds so silly to me, but I've been doing advocacy and ally work long enough to know that as silly as it sounds, the threats are serious and have tangible consequences.  

If "they" (whoever they are) were successful, implimenting this so called "Gay Agenda" how would we know if they were successful?  What would be the signs?  I'll let you think about that for a moment....

Coming from a New Thought tradition that prides itself (pun intended) on spiritual values of inclusion and oneness, you would think this is a non-issue.  Aferall, we've had same-gender loving clergy out and proud since forever it seems.  But the more realistic truth is - it hasn't always been so warm and fuzzy.  In the late 90's during the push for marriage equality a resolution in support of it went to the general convention floor of our parent organization, Centers for Spiritual Living.  A contentious debate errupted on the floor and behind the sceens an even more volital situation brewed.  I won't go into the details here, but in the end the resolution was turned down.  It took several years before we returned to the issue and voted again, this time passing overwhelmingly.  Since then its been an ever evolving flowering within the organization of inclusion messures, committees and projects, all aimed at demonstrating more inclusion, diversity and equity.

At the local level as a pastor, I too experienced a bumpy entry into more expressive inclusion.  When I spoke clearly in support of marriage equality in the early 2000's I was told by some congregants that I was "too political" - which only pushed me further into my conviction.  The following Sunday, my sermon was entitled "The Principle of Love: overcoming the politics of hate."  Following that my community joined the Community of Welcoming Congregations and I spent 10 years on the board, 8 as chair. Since then, I wrote about how the alergic reaction we have to "politics in the pulpit" is a threat to our values in my new book "Freedom from Discord: The Promise of New Thought Liberation Theology."   

Now you may think, well that contention is all in the past right?  Surely we are all more loving and understanding now, and our New Thought communities are all safe havens of love and acceptance, right?  Well, let's just say old thinking dies hard in consciousness and we still have work to do.  Just this week I saw an email from a colleague who has conducted a Pride candle lighting ceremony in their community for the last 7 years.  But this year, the minister was approached by the board over concerns that the service was "too political" 

Over the last several years anti-LGBTQAI legislation has been on the rise, particularly anti-trans legislation with over 400 peices of said legislation each year nationwide.  SLCA partners with great organizations here in Georgia - like Georgia Equality and Faith in Public Life and the Fellowship of Affirming Minitries to name a few, and together along with everyday citizens - we have kept the anti-LGBTQAI legislation, in all of its ugly and deceatful forms, off of the governors desk.  Not an easy task for a southern state!  This work is a year-round focus for us.

Meanwhile, This month, in most of the country and around the world, its Pride Month.  A time to celebrate, honor and appreciate our community in all its forms of diversity.  So, if you consider yourself part of the beautiful rainbow - I want you to hear it from me; You Belong.  We celebrate and affirm your dignity, worth and value in the presence of God, as the presence of the Divine Itself.  If creating spaces that are more loving, accepting and welcoming of all the diverse ways the Divine expresses is an "agenda" - well, sign me up.  That's exactly what a world that works for everyone should look like!

"Whoever you are, be proud.  You are a Divine Idea in the Mind of God!" - Ernest Holmes 

Check out these great resources for more information: