Evangelical leader says Christians should apologize for treatment of gay Americans
ATLANTA, Ga. – A prominent professor of Christian ethics has published a favorable review of a gay advocate's book which addresses the harm experienced by gay youth when religion is used to justify prejudice, discrimination and violence toward gay Americans.
In his review of Mitchell Gold's book, "CRISIS: 40 Stories About The Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America, " Dr. David P. Gushee of Atlanta, Ga., suggests Christians should ask forgiveness for the harm that they have caused to their gay and lesbian neighbors.
"But after reading these stories, it seems to me that Christians have something to request from God, and from the gays and lesbians among us," he concludes. "We need forgiveness."
The review, entitled "Church-base Hate", appears in tomorrow's edition of The Christian Century, a prominent Christian magazine.
Gold, a successful furniture business CEO and longtime civil rights advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, said today that he consider's Gushee's review a breakthrough moment for efforts to end the advance of religion-based bigotry and prejudice toward gay Americans.
"Dr. Gushee's review coincidentally comes just weeks before the anniversary date of June 1995 apology issued by the Southern Baptist Convention for its role in promoting bigotry and prejudice toward African-Americans" said Gold, noting that Dr. Gushee played a role in drafting the 1995 document.
"In numerous states as late as 1967, the parents of our president would not have been allowed to marry because a majority of Americans deemed minorities as inferior and unworthy and that attitude was promoted and justified by religion-based bigotry."
"In California, we have just witnessed another horrible example of what happens when such bigotry and prejudice is allowed to flourish."
Shannon Minter, an attorney who served as legal counsel on the California marriage equality cases and a member of Faith In America's board of directors, draws a parallel between the Prop 8 case and the harm addressed in Dr. Gushee's review of CRISIS.
"At the end of the day, the issue posed by Prop 8 is about dignity and respect," Minter said. "Same-sex couples have the same hopes and dreams for their families as others. When the government treats them unequally, it sends a message that some families are not only different, but inferior.
"Prop 8 tells every lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young person in California that he or she is unworthy and cannot even dream of growing up to be treated with equal dignity and respect. No matter how talented or hard working such a young person may be, California law treats them as a threat to society. "
Gushee is a distinguished university professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University. He is the author of approximately 80 articles, chapters and reviews as well as the author of 11 books. Ordained as a Baptist minister, Gushee writes for a number of religious publications.
The review can be read at http://www.christiancentury.org/article.lasso?id=7089
Mitchell Gold, a home furnishings business owner and longtime civil rights advocate, founded Faith In America in 2005 to educate Americans about the harm caused when religion is misused to justify prejudice, discrimination and violence against people based solely on their sexual orientation.
In September 2008, Gold published "Crisis: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America" to help bring awareness and understanding to one of the greatest moral failures of our time: Misusing religion in a way that subjects gay teens to traumatic depression, fear, rejection, persecution and even physical violence.
UPDATE from Mitchell Gold:
“Dr. Gushee’s voice might be heeded. He was one of the main architects of the 1995 Southern Baptist Convention’s apology to black people for their role in slavery and segregation. He’s a leading voice in the new more moderate evangelical movement. We should recognize that good people can be transformed if they know more about our lives…the good and the difficult.
Frankly, I would ask all of you to really try to understand the implications of this review…..think about it…and disseminate it however you are able. "