I am a local church pastor and this is my letter of apology to the people of the LBTGQQ communities in Michigan. I apologize for the harm that has been and continues to be done in the name of Christ. I apologize for your deep pain inflicted upon you by the weaponizing of the Bible. I apologize for the political and theological rhetoric that gives subtle (and not-so subtle) permission for violence. I apologize for the years, the decades, of warfare that Christianity has waged against you. Most importantly, I apologize for choosing silence much too often while you and the people you love have been demonized and marginalized.
I don’t blame you if you are hesitant to trust my apology. I don’t blame you if you can’t help but anticipate the inevitable “love the sinner, hate the sin.” No one pastor can make up for the oppression you have endured—the pain runs too deep, the wounds are too numerous. One Christian voice cannot silence this mean-spirited rhetoric completely. But I hope that this letter might offer, even if only to one person, the tiniest bit of healing.
It is time for another Christian perspective.
I am an ordained pastor in a “traditional” marriage. I am a follower of Jesus. I hold the Bible as sacred and foundational. I cherish Christian community. And I deeply, fully, passionately believe:
- that God loves you, just as you are, with a love that will not let you go,
- that God celebrates and rejoices in love between people,
- that love mends the world, love never harms it,
- that Jesus had/has a special and profound love for those are the margins of society,
- that Jesus never reinforced the status quo because he was rooted in the prophetic tradition of his Jewish faith,
- that Jesus tirelessly challenged unjust and oppressive structures of power, and
- that I am called, because of my Christian faith, to stand in solidarity with the LBTGQQ communities.
I am not the only pastor or Christian with this understanding of our faith. There are thousands of us, hundreds of thousands of us. We are not as loud. We are not as well-funded. We are not as inclined to impose our faith onto others. But we are here. You are not alone.
Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware,
Pastor, The Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ
Washtenaw County, Michigan