Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Gay Baptist Preacher Calls on Churches to Repent of Anti-Gay Attitudes

Rev. Dr. Stephen Sprinkle speaking to a rally at the University of Toledo (Toledo Blade Photo).

Toledo, Ohio – An ordained gay Baptist minister has called upon churches to change their anti-gay attitudes and language.  Dallas Baptist preacher and theologian, Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, speaking to a packed house at the University of Toledo last month, said that the notion Christianity and the Bible are considered irreconcilably anti-gay by many in contemporary churches is simply wrong. Citing Dr. Peter Gomes, the late chaplain of Harvard, Sprinkle said that the biblical teachings on hospitality to those who have been deliberately excluded by society, “the poor, the discriminated against, people of color, women, homosexuals, and all persons beyond the conventional definition of Western civilization,” is far more significant than the few misinterpreted Bible texts used to condemn LGBTQ people.  Sprinkle went on to note that Christianity arose in the cosmopolitan world of the Greeks and the Romans, who in the main were tolerant of same-gender-loving people for much of the classical age.  When taken as a whole, the early churches exhibited very little concern about what we today call “homosexuality.”  “Homosexuality,” Sprinkle said, “is not mentioned in the Top Ten [Commandments], and is not in the message of any of the Prophets.”

The Republic reports that Sprinkle was invited to speak at a rally sponsored by Equality Toledo in response to the so-called “billboard wars” over LGBTQ acceptance in the Toledo church community.  A progressive United Methodist congregation put up a large billboard on a well-traveled street in April proclaiming that “Gays Are a Gift From God.”  An evangelical mega church responded by buying up space on nine huge billboards around the city rebutting the Methodist claim with the slogan “Gays Are NOT a Gift From God.”  Sprinkle, a professor at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, and Theologian in Residence at Cathedral of Hope United Church of Christ, the largest LGBTQ predominant congregation in the world located in Dallas, is a widely-sought speaker and teacher.  His most recent book, Unfinished Lives: Reviving the Memories of LGBTQ Hate Crimes Victims (Resource Publications, 2011), is an anthology of stories of people murdered for their sexual orientation and gender identity, most of whom were killed by people who claimed justification from the Bible and church teachings. He is the founder of the Unfinished Lives Project, and the web master of http://unfinishedlivesblog.com, a blog seeking to remember the victims of hate crimes violence in the United States.

November 28, 2011 - Posted by | Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Being Gay is a Gift From God Campaign, Brite Divinity School, Cathedral of Hope, Central United Methodist Church Toledo, gay men, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Homosexuality and the Bible, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Ohio, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, transgender persons, transphobia | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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