On Saturday, August 27, two events are planned in Charlotte, N.C.: Charlotte Gay Pride and “God Has a Better Way.”
The goals of Charlotte Gay Pride are to:
- Celebrate LGBT families from the Charlotte area
- Provide LGBT individuals with a place to celebrate without harassment
- Advance LGBT rights and visibility in the Charlotte community
- Enpower individuals to be themselves in a relaxed and accepting environment
- gather hundreds of “worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers, talkers and believers of every age, color and size to stand together”
- to “walk through or surround the (Charlotte Gay Pride) event to evangelize, sing, pray, hand out water and reach out with love to those in attendance while resisting the (gay) agenda.”
- And, they “expect this to be a challenging day as sexual immorality, wickedness, and rejection will abound, nevertheless, into the battle (they) must go-and (they) have a plan.”
So, imagine with me, 15,000 to 20,000 members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and their allies gathering to celebrate who they are for one day without harassment from a hetero-normative society. (This is the first year the Charlotte Pride event will be held on public property with access to anyone.)
Hundreds of “worshipers, intercessors, musicians, soul-winners, walkers and talkers of God” enter or encircle the festival event in uniform red tee shirts emblazoned with large white letters “God Has a Better Way.”
Their stated intention is to “reach out in love” and “resist the gay agenda”. I am not quite sure how you simultaneously express love and resist the rights of others, for equality is the “gay agenda”.
The stated beliefs* of the backers of GHABW — with respect to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people — are:
- Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are a deviation from God’s best, God’s intentions and His design.
- Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people can change orientation and be heterosexual with no negative effects.
- If they do not succeed in orientation change, they should remain celibate in order to identify as Christians.( “Gay Christian” is always placed in quotation marks to dismiss the existence of gay Christians.)
- The majority of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are inherently unhappy, unhealthy, sexually immoral or rebellious to the will of God
- Transgender people would best follow God’s plan by using hormonal therapy, prayer and counseling to overcome the issue of gender identity. Sexual reassignment surgery should never be used as an option.
- Acting on same sex attraction is sinful and indicative of non-submission to God.
- Same-sex attraction is a behavior, not an orientation.
How would the holy directive of “love your neighbor” and the intended goal of “reach out in love” translate to the LGBT community while holding in tension the above beliefs?
Well, I wondered — so, I asked.
For a 30 hour period, I linked and quoted the stated goals and intentions of GHABW from their own website. I found there is a universe of difference between intention of GHABW love goals and the message received.
The entire collection of comments from LGBT and straight believers and non-believers is linked here. If you have any doubt at all that the “God is love” message will be severely perverted in the GHABW action, please take the time to read the full page of responses.
As ambassadors of God, these are the messages you will send to the LGBT community by participating in GHABW. God is: shaming, condescending, repulsed by LGBT people, discriminating towards LGBT people, oppressive, hateful of glbt people, shuns them, bullies, attacks, threatens, insults, unloving and sly towards, confused by, patronizing of, disdainful of, hurtful towards, rejecting of, destructive towards, homophobic, hypocritical with His love, narrow, dangerous, attacking, angry, wrathful, threatening, and divisive towards glbt people.
Remember, the way in which you show love towards LGBT people is representative of God’s love for them.
Are these messages you wish to send?
No semantics, no Christian word play games here, please. Love is not defined by your truth, your translation, your moral dictates, your need to point out sin or some form of tough love you use on children. People know what love is. People are drawn to God by His love displayed in our lives.
This is the challenge to those considering participating in GHABW: Now that you know the impact your actions would have on the lives of others, would you willingly make the choice to hurt another person and push them away from God? That will be the result of GHABW.
To the people in Charlotte who are offended that this action is planned in your city, please consider:
- Signing a petition calling on Coalition of Conscience and The Speak Truth Project to cancel the action.
- Participating in the str8apology action. And, if anyone wants to give me a trip voucher or airline miles, I will come to Charlotte (Thank you). I will bring str8apology tee shirts so we can do this as a group to repair some of the damage.
- Partnering with affirming churches on August 27th to love and serve the glbt community in some form (water, information, invitations to welcoming faith communities, listening)
- If GHABW will not cancel the event, create a “sheltering” situation to block them from negatively affecting Charlotte Gay Pride. Be creative.
- Find a way to positively interact with the GHABW marchers to exemplify what love does look like.
“God Has a Better Way” is not a come-as-you-are, whosoever, I-paid-the-price, I-love-you-unconditionally Jesus action. It is deeply flawed in intent, highly conditional in its love message and ultimately destructive. And that, is not God’s way.
“God Has a Better Way” (Facebook page) will be lead by Michael Brown, author of “A Queer Thing Happened to America” which I reviewed chapter by chapter and co-lead by Lou Engle of The Call and the “Kill the Gays” Bill in Uganda.
The Charlotte Pride event is one of the most family-friendly pride events in the U.S. — children’s activity area set up, no profanity from the stage and many families attend. Into this, the GHABW people will be speaking the “destruction of family values.”
If you take part in GHABW, here are just a few of the messages you will send, intended or not. (The full 14 pages of responses I received are here.):
(Real) Christians treat others as they want to be treated. Apparently this misguided group has no interest in sharing the love of Jesus. They are mindless sheep following an ignorant, bigoted shepherd.
These people are nothing more than bullies. I never take a group and walk into their churches and tell them what I think of them. They are pushing people too far with all this behavior and one day someone will get pushed for the last time too far and something bad will happen. And they will have caused it with their bullying
I don’t appreciate anyone telling me that God has a better way in a context that is only used to change or “fix” me into what they think God wants for me. What about what I have come to know God wants for me?
They are not serving Jesus, they are serving their own ignorance … they would do better to stay home and pray — for their own hearts to be right with God.
When I see “God Has A Better Way” what I really hear in my head is, “We want you to be like us, but we know we can’t sell you on that alone.”
God DOES have a better way, people…better than your way, which is narrow and self-centered. Look to God and see that He is infinite. Open. Bigger than anything that can fit inside your minds, and realize that.
I am a Believer. I am transgender. God has told me, shown me, PROVEN to ME that He loves me, that He doesn’t want me to change, that He made me exactly as I am. Anyone believing I am transgender by choice has never talked with a trans person, or they would know that nobody chooses the pain or hatred or lack of understanding and love to which they are repeatedly subjected, most often by “Christians.”