A New Testament: There may be a larger community of gay Christians in New York than you suspect
(Marble Church in New York City)
As Director of the Religion, Faith & Values program at GLAAD, I bring stories to Americans about people of faith who support LGBT people. One person I’m working with is a young evangelical Christian from Kansas named Matthew Vines. Matthew is the creator of a powerful YouTube video that makes the biblical case for LGBT equality, and has received over 400,000 views. He concludes that the Bible does not condemn loving, committed, same-gender relationships. As a gay Christian, I agree, and I believe god created and loves me just as I am.
GLAAD has been working to promote Matthew’s message of god’s love for gay people. We partnered with Marble Church here in New York City, one of America’s most historic churches, to hold a public conversation. I had hoped that at least 50 people would want to hear about LGBT people and the Bible. The community far exceeded my expectations, so much so that we had to move to the main sanctuary to accommodate the 235 people who arrived to hear a positive gay Christian message. The crowd included gay people, straight family and friends, ministers, media outlets and even a promoter from Wet Lube.
The success of this GLAAD-sponsored event demonstrates the spiritual yearning that exists within New York’s gay community. Gay New Yorkers want to hear support and encouragement from Christian leaders. In the search for community, we cannot forget the spiritual community. Fortunately, New York boasts several worshipping communities ready and willing to provide a spiritual home for gay people.
More and more people of faith, churches and entire denominations are actively welcoming, embracing and advocating for LGBT equality. St. Francis Xavier holds meetings for gay and lesbian Catholics and marches in the New York Gay Pride Parade; Pastor Jay Bakker, son of evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and outspoken advocate for LGBT people, leads Revolution NYC, a church that meets in a bar in Brooklyn; and Trinity Lutheran Church in the Upper West Side and Metropolitan Community Church of New York both operate queer youth homeless shelters in their church buildings.
These churches are just a sample of the many Christian and other faith communities that serve the LGBT community. Even if you aren’t a part of a church, know that there are many people of faith who have our back, and will continue to support us. And maybe you want to check a few out, just to see if you can find the faith community that’s right for you.