The BBC recently ran a story on its website about Andrew Marin, a straight Christian who lives in Chicago’s gay Boystown neighborhood and works to “bring Christians and gay people together in open conversation about sexuality and spirituality,” as the story describes. He even hosts meetings in the back of Roscoe’s, a legendary queer watering hole on Halsted Street, which attract everyone from ex-gays to queer atheists.
His method is clear—facilitating conversations between gays and Christians started.
His goals are little fuzzy, however.
In the BBC piece he comes off fairly harmless, talking about how his friends’ coming out made him question his knee-jerk homophobia and that the purpose of the Marin Foundation is “[to] help the person live the most faithful, God-honouring life that they can through their understanding of where God is leading them.” He’s even put together a course for churches wishing to address questions about sexuality.
But he won’t say whether reparative therapy is wrong or right. He won’t explain whether ultimately gays and lesbians would have to abandon their sexuality to get right with God. He just sort of says how its terrible some Churches turn their backs on the gays.
What Marin leaves out is, it’s a shame they’ve turned they’re backs because you can get more flies with honey than vinegar. Why burn us in effigy when you can weasel your way into our confidence with nice-sounding but vague rhetoric about reconciliation.
Don’t take our word for it. Check out this quote from The Talented Mr. Marin’s 2008 seminar to his religious disciplines:
“Think about this. We have a window here of thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen years old, and that window gives us the realization of attraction of same sex, and there’s a quick two years before they totally come out and say hey, I’m gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.
“And we all know when someone comes out and declares their orientation, they tell everybody — family, friends — and what happens is that then their identity becomes wrapped up in being gay. How much more difficult is it for somebody whose identity is already wrapped up in being gay than it is for someone who might have a same-sex attraction and their identity is not wrapped up in being gay?
“There is a huge, huge period within those two and a half, three years. And what we have to do is start deconstructing the integration. Because once everything is integrated… it is going to be rough!. It’s going to be rough for us, it’s going to be rough for them, it’s going to be rough for parents and family and everybody. So if we can hold off the integration part, the better off we’re going to be with all this. So just understand once again: thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old. “
Radio host/journalist Michelangelo Signorile has debunked Marin’s “loving Christian” con both on his show and in the pages of the Advocate.
His group claims to be a “bridge” between Christians and gays but in fact he refuses to say homosexuality is not a sin and tells gays and Christians both whatever they want to hear while he tries to promote himself.
I worry about young LGBT people, many brought up in very religious homes, who really want to believe Marin is a “bridge” between gays and evangelicals. Because it seems to me… his goal, beyond promoting himself, is to try to get to young LGBT people before they come out, so they can find his version of Christ and take a different route — and one decidedly not about being out and proud or within the LGBT community. His disdain for the LGBT community and LGBT culture is evident here and his disdain for those who ‘come out’ is obvious.
Obvious to everyone but the BBC, which was so busy dreaming up a nice, neat feature package about Gays and God and America, they didn’t bother giving Marin anything but a surface glance. Peep the last lines of the BBC story:
And there is little doubt that the relationships that he has built between Christians and gay people in Chicago would, for now, be unimaginable in many cities around the world—and may just offer a hopeful model for the future.
Uh, no thanks. We’ll take the Devil we know.
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