Actor Chris Pratt loves his church.
Good for him.
He says they helped him when he was going through his divorce.
Good for them.
When it was pointed out that his church was anti-LGBTQ, he offered a defense that I’m sure was sincere: "I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone."
However, he clearly lacks an understanding of the problematic nature of his statement.
Personal Note: I am not discounting Pratt’s experience (I don’t do that!), and appreciate the help he’s gotten from his faith. I love my church as well, and value my faith.
This is not about Pratt as a person.
When my husband and I were looking for a church home, we had well-meaning friends invite us to their church. One was Southern Baptist, one was Church of Christ and another went to a Fundamental Bible Church. I’m sure they were sincere, but I knew better. So I asked how their pastor felt about LGBTQ people, and the answers…like the one Pratt gave…showed they didn’t “get it” either.
“He never talks about that.”
“We have all kinds of people here.”
“We love everybody.”
“We’re all sinners.”
“God loves all of us.”
“Church shouldn’t be about your sexual orientation.”
The truth is: we might be “welcomed” in those churches, but there’s more to it that than!
We could visit and give our money, but we could not join.
Welcome is not the same as inclusive.
Welcome is not affirming.
And please know: this is not mere semantics.
Disclaimer: If you believe being gay or lesbian is a sin, or if you don’t think this is an important issue, or this matter doesn’t bother you/affect you, or you’re fine with your church’s position when it comes to LGBTQ people, this post is not for you.
Are YOU part of Chris Pratt’s church?
I don’t mean his actual church.
Are you part of an anti-LGBTQ church that “welcomes” but doesn’t affirm?
If you’re unsure, it might be time to ask (and answer!) some difficult questions.
What does your Pastor believe about homosexuality?
Listen to how he/she talks about LGBTQ people—the words, the terms, the phrases used to describe.
Is it a sin? A choice? An abomination? A “lifestyle?”
Can it…should it…be “healed” or “cured” or “fixed?”
Can a homosexual go to heaven?
Are LGBTQ people expected to remain celibate?
Can LGBTQ couples marry?
Does your Church have policies specifically about LGBTQ people?
These could be official or unspoken.
Are homosexuals excommunicated or excluded from the church because of their “sin?”
Could an LGBTQ person join and/or be baptized into the church?
Would they be allowed to hold a leadership (paid or volunteer) position?
Is ordination (e.g., deacon, elder) available?
Would the pastor perform a same-sex wedding ceremony?
Could a same-sex wedding be held in the church?
If you don’t know these answers, consider asking your Pastor directly.
Request an appointment, when there’s time to talk privately, without interruption.
Be polite and respectful.
Ask your questions, but don’t make it debate.
It will be an uncomfortable conversation, and you might not get the answers you hoped for.
But in the end, you will know.
(Be wary if your pastor refuses to answer your questions!)
If you learn that your pastor and your church is anti-LGBTQ, then you…like Chris Pratt…have a difficult choice to make: stay or go.
I’ve heard multitudes of reasons why a person goes to their church.
I like the music / the worship.
The pastor preaches the Bible.
It’s where I grew up.
All my friends are there.
Our congregation does lots of good in the community.
A church, a pastor or a church member can believe whatever they choose about LGBTQ people, based on their understanding and interpretation of the Bible; that’s Freedom of Religion. But unlike a belief about how much water should be used in baptism, a message of exclusion is not harmless. It reduces a person to some preconceived (and I think, inaccurate) concept of “sin.” It feeds the prevailing, dangerous mentality that LGBTQ people are unacceptable…that God has abandoned them. It says they should be rejected, and avoided. It affirms that discrimination against them is acceptable.
You (and Pratt) can attend whatever church you choose; that’s also Religious Freedom.
But here’s the harsh reality: you (and Pratt) are not an ally of LGBTQ people…or even a friend…if you support any group or organization (religious or political) that actively or passively oppresses the LGBTQ community.
Don’t pretend you are!
LGBTQ kids are dying by suicide at an alarming rate. Forty percent of homeless kids are LGBTQ because they were rejected by their parents. Hate crimes against LGBTQ people is on the rise.
We must stand up and speak out to confront the church’s role in this growing problem.
The message of exclusion is dangerous.
If you go to an anti-LGBTQ church…
Your silence is tacit consent to the message of exclusion.
Your continued involvement sanctions the message of exclusion.
Your finances perpetuate the message of exclusion.
Are you okay with that?
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.,
Important Note: I own that what I’ve shared represents my strong opinion on this issue. I don't apologize for that, but accept some of you will disagree with my perspective and conclusions. Feel free to express your opinions as well. However please do not Bible Bomb me with verses about homosexuality, sin, marriage or church doctrine. Not to be arrogant, but I’ve been studying and teaching the Bible for 40+ years; it will not be something I’ve not heard/read/seen before. (Check my bio on the website!)
The Bible is not “perfectly clear” on these matters, so I don’t argue interpretation.
Also, please do not dismiss my faith, demand my repentance, or consign me to hell because my beliefs don’t align with yours, or those of your chosen church/denomination.
Don't employ pejoratives or sweeping generalizations to describe me or LGBTQ people.
Such comments will not be published.
Thank you for your understanding and compliance.