by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
Andrew Marin's "I'm Sorry" campaign is merely a bait and switch to keep the pews and the collection dish full; it is nothing close to love and acceptance. In his own words, "I can still dignify someone's story and humanity and experiences as totally legitimate without giving away what I theologically think, feel and believe." If that isn't a classic example of deception, I don't know what is. What I do know is that isn't what I think of as a sincere apology.
When one is sorry, they realize the error in their way. It seems the only error Marin is admitting is vocalizing what he 'really' thinks of Gays. Is as if he's saying, "I'm sorry I said you were sinful and are going to hell; from now on I'll just keep what I really think of you to myself." This becomes painfully clear when you watch the epilogue on the video at the CBN site where the commentator draws parallels between Marin's campaign and that of Paul's campaign to the Corinthians who wwere awash in "sexual sin".
Color me unimpressed. It's all well and good to take a less combative position but at the end of the day, we're still sinners who need to renounce our lifestyles. Language always gives you away: "'I think Andrew does a great job of helping the church realize that there are a lot of people in that lifestyle that are hurting and who want to be reached with the Gospel,' O'Brien said." Translation: a lot of people are committing gay acts which is causing them pain and they want to be saved by Jesus. If only we were nicer to them, they'd see the way!
Until Christians can accept that gay people exist, that suppressing their most fundamental desire is incredibly harmful, and that the best way to channel that desire is into committed, legally sanctioned relationships, we're never going to make any progress. This sounds like another dressed up way to get us to pray away the gay, and I'm not interested. Good for him in realizing what harm Christianity have caused gay people over the years. Unfortunately, he still has a lot to learn.
Andrew Marin's theology is conservative. His education comes from Moody Bible Institute, which has moved from a condemnation of homosexuality to an attitude of showing love to all sinners. The bibliography of Marin's Bible study offers such books as Welcoming But Not Affirming by S.J. Grenz and works from Mark Yarhouse, presenter at NARTH conferences to support the ex-gay philosophy, and Robert Gagnon, a conservative theologian whose fringe ideas are not taken seriously by many biblical scholars. Marin's website declares “The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, God breathed by the Holy Spirit through human authorship (2 Ti 3:16). Our organization does not attempt to rewrite scripture so as to either affirm, or declare judgment on the GLBT community.” He states in a seminar to youth group leaders that it is possible and desirable to move from homosexuality to heterosexuality.
So make no mistake, Marin believes acting on same-sex attraction is a sin. He simply equates himself as a sinner to the gay community and offers an apology for those who act hateful. He may indeed be sincere in his apology and his version of a welcome. Marin can believe what he wants. And thanks, I suppose, for the welcoming smile; it sure beats the vitriol being spewed out there. Some gays are okay with his belief because his behavior is such a pleasant alternative. But he refuses to answer the question of whether he finds homosexuality sinful, finding the idea "divisive." In order for his welcome to be accepted, he has to, and he knows it. Let him stand up for his faithas so many affirming Christians doand see what sort of response he gets then.
I find it telling that not one affirming Christian group supports Marin's foundation. He is fooling people who have been victims of the conservative Christians for far too long. I'm a straight Christian, and I find his duplicity damaging. I know that he is offering the most we can hope for from a biblical literalist. But he will make more people turn from God when they learn of his true theology. Let him at least be honest about it and see how many want his hugs.