An Open Letter to the Congregation and Leadership of East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis
Yesterday I viewed a story on WTHR, the local NBC affiliate, in which it was reported that your church is cutting ties to Boy Scout Troop #910, a troop East 91st Street Christian Church has sponsored since 1996. Your church made this decision because the national Boy Scout organization has voted to no longer discriminate against LGBTQ children and youth.
The online report included this quote from the Elder Council Statement,* “This decision comes through much prayer and seeking the Lord’s direction in this matter as we humbly seek to be a church that loves all people with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.”
You say “loves all people with the love and truth of Jesus Christ” at the same time you are explaining why you decided it was important to punish children (Boy Scout troop #910) for a decision made by their organization’s leadership? A leadership they have no control over?
It sounds eerily similar to the argument that is constantly made by some other “Christians” in Kansas. They act in ways that hurt innocent people too, and they say it’s because they love them. I’d be interested to hear how you think punishing children is a compelling example of Christ’s love.
Let’s be honest here. That’s all anyone is asking for. For you to be honest with us, the LGBTQ community, but most of all, for you to start being honest with yourselves.
Stop the “love” talk. When it starts to come out of your mouth, just shut it. This is not about love. If you loved the children who are in the scouting program you sponsor, you would not be taking this action. There’s no love in this.
What we’ve got here is fear. You see LGBTQ equality coming down the tracks. And you see that train barreling down on your families, your church, and your particular version of Christianity (the version that says God wants the Boy Scouts to be made up of only straight boys). And you have made this move to cast out this group of boys in a futile, fear-based attempt to derail the train before it gets to your house, before it gets to your church, before it gets to your heart.
And, yeah, I’m a little stirred up. Because you aren’t being honest with yourselves when you say you are “a church that loves all people.” I can’t help but think if you were actually honest you would say, “We are a church that loves all people, except gay people.” And since that wouldn’t feel right coming from your lips, you would try to love better.
Once you surrender, once you open your heart, once you walk through the fear of the fictional “gay agenda,” the fictional “gay lifestyle,” the fictional downfall of civilization that we LGBTQ people are somehow powerful enough to cause, all you’ll find is more love. Not the end of the world as you know it, not the end of your faith. Just more love.
And that time will come for you, and for your church. I know it. And I want you to know that when you are ready to be honest with yourselves about what “loves all people with the love and truth of Jesus Christ” really means, there are so many of us waiting for you, right here, ready to share and celebrate the precious and expansive love that your God has for you, and me, and those 75 kids. All people.
* In the post as it originally appeared, I incorrectly attributed this statement to East 91st Street’s spokesperson, Jamie Shafer. She was kind enough to send me clarification and I have changed the post to reflect the information she provided.