Rev. Phil Snider’s surprising speech on LGBT equality became a viral sensation this week, more than two months after he originally delivered it at a council meeting in Springfield, MO.
On Saturday Snider, pastor of the Brentwood Christian Church, spoke about the feedback he’s received from the clip, which has received nearly two million hits to date.
I’m really heartened by all of the emails, Facebook messages, and kind words that I’ve received over the last 24 hours. As I read each one, I don’t see them simply as messages that seek to affirm a particular talk I gave on a particular night in Springfield, MO (as grateful as I am for such affirmations), but rather, I view them as a reflection of the thousands — indeed, the millions — of people who, on a daily basis, are journeying together because we believe that our world can be a better place, a fairer place, a more beautiful place — for all people and not just for some — and we won’t stop calling for a more beautiful world to be born.
I’m also grateful for all of the people who have come before us — many whose names history won’t recall — who have allowed us to be where we are now, on whose shoulders we stand. These folks may not be famous — more times than not they are friends or family members who have bravely told their story, often in the face of major consequences. They are the ones who have brought us to this place, and we carry their stories with us as we try to build a a more just world…
A lot of people ask, ‘How can a pastor who values the Bible take this kind of stance?’ Truth be told, there are a bunch of pastors and people of faith across the country who are open and affirming — not in spite of their faith, but precisely because of it. And the number of open and affirming people of faith is rapidly increasing…
Secondly, to the many of you who said, “I wish I lived in Springfield, because yours is a church I could actually attend!” Well, this kind of statement makes my day. … I also want you to know that there are several churches around the US with a similar ethos. We may not be big churches or fancy churches, but we are there.
Finally, a quick disclaimer related to my speech: I recognize that the discrimination experienced by African-Americans in the history of the United States has its own nuances and characteristics, so it’s important to highlight the different ways that discrimination functions in our society…
To be sure, all forms of discrimination are obviously problematic, and none are acceptable. But the experience of discrimination in the US is not a one-size-fits-all category, and the more we recognize the differences between various forms of discrimination the more we honor those who’ve experienced discrimination, and the better equipped we are to work toward building a better world that honors the integrity and dignity of all people.
My gratitude to each of you as we try to build a better world together, as we try to live into what Desmond Tutu once called the dreams of God for this world. Not for some people, but for all people.
While Snider’s home state is gearing up to vote on a marriage-equality ban in November, he was actually addressing a new ruling in Springfield that adds LGBT people to the list of minorities protected from discrimination.
You can read his full comments here.