church from Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/photos/mountain-church-kaiserstuhl-church-3611548/
This is a rather mindboggling story: A mid-Missouri church has taken issue with a local LGBT group for promoting homosexuality and transgenderism and has demanded local businesses cut ties with these sinners immediately. Though the group, which meets weekly at the Main Street Coffeehouse, has been involved in community outreach, volunteering at the nearby food pantry and homeless shelter, and providing transportation for elderly neighborhood residents to doctors’ appointments, the church, through its leadership team, has called and written multiple letters — both to the businesses in question and the local paper — and launched a petition calling for them to sever ties with the group or “pay the eternal consequences.”
Wait. I got that backwards.
According to the Daily Signal, The Crossing, a church in Columbia, Missouri, finds itself in the cross-hairs of activists from the LGBT community due to a recent sermon delivered by its Pastor, Keith Simon, addressing sexuality and transgenderism.
But despite Simon’s efforts to discuss the topic from a loving, biblically informed perspective, local LGBT activists immediately cried foul, launching a petition and demanding local businesses cut ties with the church.
Last Thursday, Sager Braudis Gallery, a local art gallery, was the first to cave to activist pressure. Although the church had financially sponsored the gallery for five years, the gallery said it was severing ties to show “solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community” and to register its protest “against institutions who perpetuate and use their powerful platforms for content of this nature.”
That’s right. There’s a change.org petition exhorting others not to participate in/accept donations from a church because it follows biblical teaching. From the petition itself:
Hate has no home in Columbia, MO. We reject all who preach or practice hate by taking an active role in rebuking it.
The Crossing Church contributes millions of dollars to businesses and organizations. When they give money to and sponsor local businesses and organizations, they receive promotion in exchange. This promotion implies that the businesses support, or at least approve of, The Crossing’s policies and beliefs.
By continuing a partnership with The Crossing, even after it published an incredibly transphobic sermon, T/F and Ragtag continue to lend legitimacy to this organization and its message. Furthermore, by releasing a statement touting the partnership as “creating a dialog,” it also tells people that this message of hate is one worth hearing. It’s not. It’s hate speech, and it’s harmful.
This is a call for them to stay true to their values and mission statement by taking the following actions:
1. End their partnership with The Crossing church
2. Release a public statement condemning The Crossing’s intolerance of LGBTQ+ and Non-Binary people, and reaffirming their own support and dedication for inclusion and protections of all people.
Until they do these things, they will be boycotted.
As the Signal’s post notes,
Just last month, the church garnered national attention when it helped members of its community pay off unpaid medical bills. Through partnership with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit organization that helps people pay off outstanding medical debt, church members donated more than $430,000, which was used to pay off more than $43 million of medical debt by negotiating with debt collectors.
At the time, Pastor Keith Simon explained the motivation behind his congregation’s generosity: “We do this because we feel like God has been incredibly gracious to us. He’s paid our debts. We think those who follow Jesus should be radically generous with their time, their talent, their treasure.”
But whatever you do, do not partner with that church in any way. Condemn it!
Okay, time for some frank talk from me: I’m a Christian. A Bible-believing Christian. I’m also a sinner. Because…duh – human. I am, of course, familiar with biblical teaching on this — and many other — thorny subjects, though this one seems to be one of the thorniest. It’s an issue I genuinely wrestle with and I know I’m not alone in that. And I totally understand why members of the LGBT community would take issue with the stance and not want to belong to or associate with the church. I also understand that this isn’t about government suppression or a First Amendment question. I believe in free markets and adore capitalism; I fully support the notion of voting with your pocketbook.
But this goes a step further — a step too far, in my view. These activists are demanding that others not partner with the church (or, presumably, any biblically-based church) for any event/in any way. The price for disregarding? A boycott of your business/event. Don’t you dare associate with them or we will make you pay! And why? Because the church espouses traditional Christian, Bible-based beliefs.
At the close of his sermon, Simon explained that the issue of transgenderism boils down to a question of authority. Who has authority when it comes to our bodies and how we use them? Is it contemporary culture or Jesus? Ultimately, Simon explained, “Jesus is Lord over us, culture, and our bodies.” He finished by exhorting his congregation to show love and compassion to those struggling with gender dysphoria. “Speak the truth in love,” he exhorted.
The church could not have been clearer that the Bible affirms that all people are made in God’s image. Speaking of people who identify with different sexual lifestyles, it stated: “[w]e affirm their full personhood, dignity, and worth. We believe that our government bears a responsibility to protect their lives, dignity, welfare, and all other rights afforded to every other person in this country.”
Per the activists, that is hateful. And it must be condemned. Canceled.
What’s the end game here?