Saturday, May 10, 2014

Anti-Gay Rights Ordinance Fighter, Jim Minnery Asks: "What do you do when your child declares himself to be gay and wants to bring his partner to a family gathering?"

The Alaska Family Action hosted a discussion Friday night entitled: Loving My Gay Neighbor.

Jim Minnery is the Anchorage incarnation of the gay equivalent devil after he successfully led two campaigns to stop LGBT folks from being added to Anchorage's anti-discrimination ordinance.  His Alaska Family Council has been tied to the Koch brothers.  And now he's talking about loving his gay neighbors.  I needed to hear this.

I have a lot to write about this, but I want to take my time and think it through - what I saw and what it might mean.

But meanwhile, here's a little video of the answer to a question Jim Minnery posed to the panel.  The main answer comes from Andrew Walker.  Here's a short bio and discussion with Andrew Walker and here are some of his writings that I could find online.

Here's my transcript of the video.  A few parts were hard to hear, but I think this is pretty accurate.

Q:  What do you do when your child declares himself to be gay and wants to bring his partner to a family gathering?

Andrew Walker:  I would say, this is not me saying, “Thus said the Lord . . .” but “Thus said Walker . . .”

I would say there’s no point which you stop loving the child, showing grace to a child  who has rejected the biblical truth of the teachings on these issues. 

If that were my child, off the collar, identifying as same-sex or gay, homosexual, . . .I would do what I could to communicate the biblical truth to that child, to love that child. 

I have a son and a daughter and another on the way, so I could be experiencing this myself.

I would say, out of love, you should allow that child to bring the partner.  In so far as they both want to come, you have the ability to freely express your values  . .

One of my mentors recently told me that he [had] someone in his office and he says, “Hey, my daughter is in a gay marriage and they have a child by artificial insemination and I love my daughter, ??? where I stand.  I love this child who is now my grandchild.  I want to influence that child’s life, but I feel that some in my church don’t want me to be extending so much love supposedly not caring about the the lifestyle situation they’re in.  And my mentor said, “No. Love. Love, grace. Grace and Truth.   Bring them to the house.  Love that child.  Be a model father for that child. So, that’s what I would do in that situation. 

I would be interested in your (Peter’s) comments as well.

Peter Hubbard:  I agree.  We have been asked that questions, at various levels, consistently, in our church.  So with that many people, that size group, you’re going to have a lot of family connections, with a variety of moral choices.  I believe you have to distinguish between church discipline and family relationships. The fact that a wife has a husband who, for whatever reason, is under discipline from the church, doesn’t mean she has nothing to do with her husband.  The same would be true for children, I believe.

 A major issue, as I understand it, for many young gays, is fear of how their families will react to their identifying as gay and this, if you listen to Dan Savage at all, seems to be particularly problematic among fundamentalist families.

So, in one respect, this is a very positive development - love your child first.  And Peter's explicit distinction between family relationships and church discipline.

But, they all see homosexuality through what they call "biblical truth" and that means homosexuality is a still a sin.  A key note in the discussion last night was that homosexuality has been singled out as a special sin for which there is no redemption.  Peter mentioned that while people would publicly share their struggles with a variety of sins - drugs, promiscuity, pornography - he realized no one had every publicly shared their struggle with same sex attraction.  This particularly sin was treated as irredeemable, that homosexuals had been given over by God and were no longer candidates for grace.

He talked about changing that in his church and his book, according to a reviewer Jim Challies, puts the sin of homosexuality in line with all the other sins. 
Hubbard writes as a pastor, as a counselor and as a man deeply marked by the gospel of divine grace extended toward human sin. He insists that the gospel makes all the difference, for before the cross we are all the same, we are all sinners, we are all in desperate need of grace. He says, “We need Spirit-empowered love to move toward those struggling with [same sex attraction] without despising or excusing their sin, because their sin is our sin—our hearts are no different! … My sin always seems reasonable to me, and your sin inexcusable. Left to myself, I can find a way to justify anything I really want, and the choices I make can hurt the people I most love.”

This is just over three minutes of a three hour discussion.  I'll post more soon.

[UPDATE May 12:  Here's the follow up: Love Your Gay Neighbor Night At East High - Minnery Tries Out A New Approach  


  1. Steve, thanks for taking time to go to this conference. I wasn't there so I can only say it's good to hear that we gay folk might be welcome at Christian family dinner tables, as this is precisely the metaphor I’ve used in addressing our alienation. The discussion is a great first step and it’s welcome. In fact, I experienced just this when I visited my (born-again) Tea-party uncle two years ago at his home in Minnesota.

    I was there to visit him as he is my mother’s brother. We both wanted to see each other after my mother passed. It was a chance to talk about her and why we saw things as we did – Christian uncle meeting his gay nephew of a rather certain religious doubt. No angry words were uttered in the four hours we talked and ate together. Jim Minnery should know that. Love works when all else fails.

    He and my four or so of my cousins said many things that I once believed, that my Lutheran pastor father once taught. I likened biblical truth to good theatre: it must tell a story well. I spoke to how humanity responded to nature in ways that led to myths about the unseen, using story-telling to cast natural forces and thereby reorder the unseen.

    To me, our specie's power to observe, our invention of scientific method, gave us ways to reexamine our myths and to recast what religion had shaped as good and evil – ancient world analogues of light and dark.

    I told them I now study our biological past to explore what conditions our moral sense and our present reasoning – that humanity itself is every bit a part of a very natural and evolutionary process, not necessarily ordered by a creator.

    Perhaps, to those attending this conference, I would risk loosing (their) Lucifer's light in to the world, that I have chosen the 'lie' as St Paul writes, giving up the Creator’s wisdom for man's.

    Perhaps. But this rebuke cannot appreciate that I have never said religion isn’t valuable to us as human beings. Religion and faith does have value and I am an eager student of its power to explain our past, if not our present.

    Yet I must state that just as faith isn't evidence, science isn’t scripture. Gay people exist not due some special license from hell but because of natural and needed variation in our species. Too often, the kind of faith that denies my experience also opposes a secular state, the very thing that often protects my civil rights.

    So to Mr. Minnery, I say I would be happy to eat at your dining table as I still respect your faith; however, while we may eat together, and can share together, we may not agree by dessert, that’s all.

    Blessings on our houses.

  2. What do you do? You say, "Welcome to our home. So nice of you to come." And you do that because someone's sexuality is really nobody else's business.

  3. Anon, except one's sexuality, when made evident by bringing the boyfriend home to the family, makes it everyone's business. Apparently this conference addresses this scenario and I give them some credit for that. It's a first step for families that need and want this discussion.

    For me, and what I wrote about, is that there is the larger problem of the wall built between religion's faith and science's reason. It makes any conversation largely untranslatable.

    Yet regardless of the scepticism we may feel toward efforts to understand one another, I can only hope we don't give up trying. Reconciliation is worth the effort.


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