LaBarbera’s Shameless Self-Promotion May Damage a Real Ministry
Yesterday, I noticed a post from Peter LaBarbera concerning The Marin Foundation. I remembered hearing Andrew Marin’s story on a podcast from The Gay Christian Network (GCN) and something didn’t click. Marin was a self-confessed “bible-banging homophobe” brought up in the Assemblies of God. His life was changed by the coming out stories of his three best friends in college. It led him to immerse himself (Marin is straight) in the gay community to understand and identify with the struggles so many have.
He has a passion to be a genuine, unconditional representation of God’s love to both the gay community and the traditional evangelical community. These and similar terms he uses are not meant to express a false dichotomy, but simply to make it easier to describe his concepts. He now lives in Boystown, Chicago, with his wife and has formed The Marin Foundation.
I had always been under the impression that Marin was one of those few success stories, one of the truly “good guys” who is affected by the honesty and truth of the GLBT people in his life and changes because of it. To see him described on LaBarbera’s site as “the other side of the same coin” caught me off guard. I wrote Marin and told him this, and asked him if he had given the only real quote that LaBarbera used. He replied quickly, and sincerely, and it led to a conversation which you may hear below.
My own assessment of what I have heard is that LaBarbera has co-opted the good will and reputation of another for himself. He already has the idea that someone is spending millions of dollars just to counter his fringe voice, so there is no doubt that he is self-absorbed. But it would appear he is willing to negatively impact both friend and foe in his struggle to be noticed.
In matters of faith there is little agreement, but one does not need to agree with Marin to sense his sincerity. I found him willing to listen and teachable. Like Wendy Gritter, he had a profound sense of the hurt LGBT’s have suffered because of the actions of the Church. But he wants nothing to do with ex-gay anything; his work, concern, and love are unconditional. You can decide what you like about Marin, but I hope you will listen to the conversation and see what you think of LaBarbera’s actions toward him.
The first part is a quick background on Andrew Marin, then his description of the issue with LaBarbera.
Great interview David.
I think if I were to consider following a God, I would be more inclinced towards Andrew’s God of love than Peter’s God of deceit. Just seems more right somehow.
Andrew…I am sorry that you have been abused in this way. It’s always rotten to be mischaracterized, especially by those who claim to work for “God.” I think what Peter does is the ultimate of taking God’s name in vain.
For those that listened before now, the original audio cut out a couple of minutes early. If you want to catch what you missed, you can forward to about 21 minutes and listen to the last 4 min.
Gay Liberation Network was one of those sending critical emails to Andrew Marin following his interview on Moody radio, and his favorable comment to antigay bigot, Peter LaBarbera. GLN and LaBarbera have a long history, and we take credit for playing a role in driving him from leadership of the rightist Illinois Family Institute.
Concerning David Roberts’ interview with Marin, several hard questions were not asked. One needs to get behind Marin’s verbiage about “love” and “not judging,” to discover his views on homosexuality which will certainly influence how he does his “educational work.” Does he adhere to the Biblical view that homosexuality is sin, as affirmed by his friends at Moody and LaBarbera? Also, where does Marin stand on equal civil rights for gays, such as marriage equality? If you love gays as Marin claims, why does he oppose our equal rights? In a Reader interview several years ago, Marin flunked the test on both of these questions.
Another important question for Marin: There are Christian denominations that openly support gays in their sexuality and affirm their right to marry, such as the United Church of Christ. The Episcopal church has an openly gay bishop. Why is there a need for a “ministry” like Marin’s when all one need do is point gays who want religion to one of the above churches?
The following is text I posted to the listserv of Gay Liberation Network, and to which I copied Andrew Marin.
Several years ago, The Reader newspaper showcased Andrew Marin’s so- called “bridge building” efforts between the Evangelical Christian and gay communities. While some gays praised Marin’s efforts at trying to “understand” the community, others– myself included– called Marin an unabashed homophobe who considers our humanity to be disordered by standards set by a god, and who would deny us basic civil rights, such as marriage equality.
Well, with Marin now praising Peter LaBarbera as a man who “takes a bullet for us all”– meaning Christians who teach Bible bigotry and its attending discrimination against gays — there is no longer room for doubt where Andrew Marin stands. Hopefully, the Moody Bible Institute’s and Marin’s “shared ministry of ‘immersion’ evangelism in Chicago’s ‘Boystown’ homosexual neighborhood” will be identified and condemned for what it is: a velvet-gloved hammer of antigay bigotry and discrimination.
To be honest, Bob, it wasn’t really an interview at all. I had a splitting headache and thought it would be easier to get the details of the issue with LaBarbera out if I just let Marin explain over the phone. That’s the first time I’ve done that, but it seemed ok.
I admit the post is soft on Marin — I talked to him for the first time yesterday — but it’s not primarily about him; I would still consider what LaBarbera did pretty slimey even if Marin holds all the views you attribute to him. Most of the negative I have seen about Marin so far comes from a single interview with Signorile, and subsequent article by same.
If there is more, we might do an stronger post. If you have information which you think we should have, but is OT, you can contact me at email@example.com. Thanks.
I can’t hear the interview. The voices are extremely sped-up. It might be a browser problem. I’m using Internet Explorer 6.0. Any idea what I should do to hear the conversation?
Yes, I am getting the same thing on AOL.
Aparantly Peter LaBarbara has worked out a comedy routine. Speaking in the third person, he says
Haaaaaa ha ha ha ha
Whew, he really got me laughing with that one
I don’t seem to be able to edit the above comment. I noticed that the description was given by Julie Roys, not Pete.
The older flash plugins won’t handle the odd sample rate of the original file. I’ve change it so it should work. Let me know if it doesn’t.
I think that Bob must not have listened to the interview!
I am an ‘out’ gay man who lives in Chicago and who has participated in The Marin Foundation’s work. In the 2 years I have participated in his organization I have NEVER, EVER felt any type of judgement against me or my sexuality or my sexual behaviors!!! He genuinly cares about my soul and how to help gay people like me know what the love of God feels like. The Marin Foundation is not political, and why do people always make things political. Let it stand that he loves the Lord, he loves the gay community and he is committed regardless.
Too often people on the outside who have never been involved with anything his organization does just stands from the outside and scream.
Bob is no better than Peter Labarbera – he is Peter just from the gay side. I am embarrased to be gay with comments like that. Andrew and his true, genuine non-judgmental love is as real as the clouds in the sky.
I have been so hurt many different times by the church and I was at the point of killing myself – his organization is a blessing by God to our community. I know people might be skeptic, as was I when I first went. But I just want to let everyone know he is for real. I’ve never met another straight Christian like him – and I doubt I will until I’m in Hevean with the Father.
Joe, I’m glad you have had a good experience with Marin, but no one gets a free pass. While I heard about him earlier, I had not talked with or really followed Marin or his foundation until yesterday. I can’t vouch for him, only give my impressions from the discussion. Bob has a right to voice skepticism and certainly doesn’t deserve to be compared to LaBarbera because of that.
This is a watchdog site, and we are naturally skeptical, but we also like to be fair. This story is a little off our beaten path but it seemed important to me. We may look into Marin and his foundation in more detail in a future article. For right now, it seems this is only one of many examples of LaBarbera’s poor character.
And Joe, you might want to display some of those ethics you are learning when dealing with people here. Just a thought.
Mr. Marin sounds like a nice guy but he was a bit naive to leave himself open to P. LaBarbera like that.
He should know that folks like LaBarbera will use any comments he says for their own purposes.
Thank you for saying that David. I’m sorry for those harsh comments. As there are many of us who are gay who have been so hurt by faith, my emotions produce strong thoughts – especially when it is for someone, and something that really has helped me when others just want to fight and/or ostrasize. I appriciate this site and view it often…the first time I’ve commented.
All in all, yes – this whole thing is about LaBarbera and what he did was horrible. I thank you David for doing what you do. As Andrew said on the interview, your character shows a lot about you and that was represented through your work in getting the truth out.
Nothing to add for something that already speaks for itself, especially from a resounding LaBarbera.
However, this is nice for personal reflections. So I am subscribing to the comments here.
I am part of the subject of this post and I wanted to say a few things. First, I appriciate the opportunity that I was given by David to explain what happened. I also appriciate everyone’s comments, and I want to let all of you know that I want to be as open and transperent as I can possibly be.
With that in mind I would like to address Bob’s concerns one by one because I am not trying to hide anything from anyone. I want to be honest about my life, my expeireinces and my organization – and so here are detailed answers for each of the concerns that were raised.
1. To explain my verbage of “love” and “not judging” and how that influences our “educational work”:
As I said on the interview, my view of love is lived out through the following definition – love is a tangible and measurable expression of unconditional behaviors that no matter who you are, what you say or what you do I have your back 110% and will never leave or give up on your salvation/belief in God. I believe that the word love has become a trivial word coming from the Christian community to gays and lesbains because too often Christian expressions of love has become conditional. My goal is to unconditionally be apart of, and involved in people’s lives to overcome that negative perception and truth of what “love” has become. The Father is unconditional; Jesus is unconditional; and so to do I want to follow that example whether or not there is any “change” because at the end of the day only God can allow someone into hevean. So why not seek validation from the One who can bring eternal validation. Humanly opinions have no bearing on heveanly judgement, and therefore my wish is to take those humanly judgemetns away and focus on our Lord and let Him do as He sees fit for each of our lives. Therefore our entire educational work is based off of this premise.
2. Is homosexuality a sin?
Does anyone else ever wonder why when it comes to the most divisive topic in the church today that most questions revolve around one word, yes or no answers? I started to think abou that, and I’ve come to the conclusion that both sides ask those same yes or no questions at the beginning so they can then label you and place you on their side, or the opponents side. This is nothing more than an expression of an “us vs. them” mindset. Building bridges cannot happen through an us vs. them mindset. Therefore, is homosexuality a sin?
I have three clear answers:
1. Romans 3:23 – we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
2. James 2:10 – in God’s eyes, if you have committed one sin you have committed them all
3. Matthew 7:1-2 – the measure you use to judge others will also be used to judge you
Theologically I believe that sin has been propitiated to us all through the Orginal Sin, and we are all born sinful into a sinful world. My position is that it is time to elevate the conversation past what is always fought about and shift our mindframes to belief and communication with the Creator. If we can focus on a tangible expression of love, belief and a humbled understanding of ourselves, and each other’s point of view as valid to their experience – in our lives and our sexuality (from both sides) then we can advance the worship and dialogue past negative debates and onto more important eternal issues. I stongly believe that we are all on the same plain constatnly learning and growing in our lives and faith trying to figure this life out. The unique juxtasposition is that we will never figure it out and have to live by that same faith to continue on another day, in what many times is a non-felt security by God. We know He’s there and yet there are times, esepcially during the extremes of when things are great and when things are horrible, that we don’t feel Him. Hebrews 11:1 states that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. I feel as though it is my job to tangibly reach out to the GLBT community and apologize for what has happened in the past – and then help both sides to move forward to bring faith and spiritual reconciliation to a community evangelical Christians have traditionally only fought against.
3. Where do I stand of civil rights issues such as marriage equality?
I let the politicians handle the politics. I head a religous organization that is solely focused on religion and spirituality and to a bridge being built between time-tested opposing communities. I believe that politics does not have to enter into every conversation. I understand that many of the “religious right” have placed themselves in the middle of political debates and agendas, as well as many on the “left” have done the same. I will do neither. I have been put here for spiritual things, and that is my only focus. When our governemt decides either way, I will so live by those laws and not argue, disagree or fight in either direction. My world is not of this world because of what is to come.
4. “If I love gays, why do I oppose gay rights?”
I have never commented on gay rights so I am not sure where that statement is coming from – this is the first time. Just because I was connected by a third party to LaBarbera does not mean I agree or disagree. Others can continue to fight over poliltics, I just wish to focus on beign as best of a representation I can to the one true God.
5. “In a Reader interview I flunked both tests”
The link to the Reader article is
and if so inclined, please read it in its entirety. I believe that all quotes need further context, but becuase this issue was brought up here is a direct quote from that article:
The Marin Foundation takes no official position on gay marriage or gay adoption, although Marin praised one of his gay students who took in foster children from a third world country with his partner. And he says there’s no reason gays shouldn’t serve in the military. But these familiar debates are, for Marin, “nitpicking,” so mired in the realm of politics and worldly power that they detract from his broader spiritual mission. “I’m not political,” he insists. “I’m religious.”
6. There are other denominations that affirms the GLBT community so why do you need a “ministry”?
First, The Marin Foundation is not a ministry. We are an organization that is not connected to a church or denomination. We work with 9 different denominations in fact, including Episcopal and UCC churches. We are here because there are many people in the GLBT community who are frightened of church – the building, the dogma, the stigma that comes with the name. As a non-profit organization we are not a church, and therefore a safe place for people to come to talk, be validated as a child of God, listened to and not have to feel like they are being preached to or tied down to one thing or the other. Many people in the GLBT community who participate in our organization say that is the reason they go to us and not a church. Also, the Episcopal and UCC are traidtionally litergical in their approach. We have found that there are many GLBT people who were raised in evangelical homes and wish for that same environment. The Marin Foundation is one of the ways to retrun into spiritual things that are more comfortable for them then attending a church of any particular denomination. My denomination is the belief in God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit who love me as their child.
7. Bob called me an “unabashed homophobe” and that I am a “velvet-gloved hammer of antigay bigotry and discrimination.”
I in deed was, for the first 19 years of my life a homophobe. There was no two-ways about it. But to call me that now, with so many people in the GLBT community who love and respect me and the work that I do through The Marin Foundation who has helped so many GLBT people who have been really hurt by religion, is off base. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and after I read Bob’s post I had an epiphany this morning.
“I need to release the burden of having to feel like I have to convince people who don’t like me, of the things that I know are true in my life whether they agree or not.”
This might seem like old hat to all of you reading that, but my probelm is that I take way too much too personally. So when I am insultued it really hurts my soul. I’m not a hardened season veteran of this issue that insults don’t hurt. I don’t have people call me names everyday of my life, so it stings when it does happen. Maybe it’s because I’m younger than most who are already involved, maybe I am naive? I don’t know. But regardless of where it comes from the reason I felt that I needed to write all of these issues down was to clear my conscious of being saddened by what Bob said.
I believe now, that I have covered all of his major points. I am very open to peaceful discussion and I look forward to continuing this very important dialogue.
Thank you very much.
“Like Wendy Gritter, he had a profound sense of the hurt LGBT’s have suffered because of the actions of the Church. But he wants nothing to do with ex-gay anything; his work, concern, and love are unconditional.”
Alas, EXODUS does not seem to be listening to the likes of Wendy Gritter any more. After much initial fanfare, that “breath of Canadian fresh air” has blown back North. EXODUS says it has “cultural differences” with her. The “thrill” Alan Chambers felt on first hearing her message seems to have dried up rather quickly — and the “positive head nodding” has apparently stopped completely. With her out of the way, EXODUS can now continue with business as ususal.
Old article (2006) on Marin in the Advocate:
My solution for LGBT evangelicals who don’t like liturgical services – try Metropolitan Community Churches, where most congregations are majority ex-Baptist, Pentecostal, and other conservative denominations, with some ex-Catholics sprinkled in.
As I said, anything negative I have found so far all leads back to Michelangelo Signorile (including the article you linked). Like him or not, I think we can agree that if he wanted to, Signorile could make any of us look like a nut if he hit us broadside on his show. I’ve also found him to be rather negative all around concerning faith. So I have taken that into consideration when researching Marin recently.
It is also my understanding that The Advocate printed some sort of retraction/apology for a great deal of what was said in that article. I’ll ask them about it, or if anyone finds it please post.
As for MCC, many people enjoy those services, others don’t feel comfortable there. I think it’s good to mix things up with more choices than to always split the world into gay this and straight that. If Marin is the real deal, more power to him.
Andrew Marin writes:
“2. Is homosexuality a sin? Does anyone else ever wonder why when it comes to the most divisive topic in the church today that most questions revolve around one word, yes or no answers? I started to think abou that, and I’ve come to the conclusion that both sides ask those same yes or no questions at the beginning so they can then label you and place you on their side, or the opponents side.”
Sorry, Andrew, the reason people ask a simple honest easily understood question is because they’d like a simple honest easily understood answer.
Which, obviously, you refuse to give.
Or more accurately, you refuse to give right now. You’ve been quoted in other publications or broadcasts as answering the question truthfully rather than evasively. And your answer in other forums has obviously been the simple one-word answer, yes. You do believe homosexual behavior is a sin.
If you can’t be transparent and honest on the simplest, most straightforward of questions, why should EITHER side of the question trust you?
Let’s try some other equally easy questions:
Is adultery a sin?
Is robbing a bank a sin?
Is flying airplanes into buildings a sin?
Be careful how you answer, since answering clearly might limit your ability to minister to adulterers, bank robbers, and Islamic jihadists.
I hesitate to engage you Gary based on your previous displays here, but could you back this up with a link to a time when Marin gave a one-word answer:
Here is a letter by one of the principles mentioned in Signorile’s Advocate article who countered the portrayal of his own words in that piece. It appeared in The Advocate on Oct 24, 2006.
This appears to be a letter by Andrew Marin about the same thing, also printed by The Advocate on Oct 24, 2006.
We are still looking for more information — and I’ve not come to any firm conclusions — but this particular article, which appears in several places, doesn’t seem too solid.
David, he who hesitates is lost.
You asked: “Could you back this up with a link to a time when Marin gave a one-word answer?”
No problem. I was simply referring to Michelangelo Signorile’s article in The Advocate, in which he wrote:
“Marin said in the article, ‘It’s theologically sloppy to say [homosexuality is] not a sin.’ Both Knox and Creager say they had not previously heard this from Marin. But a quick review of the (Marin) foundation’s Web site shows that Marin had articulated this position several times before on Christian radio programs.”
Signorile was citing the following passage from the Chicago Reader article:
“Does (Marin) consider homosexuality a sin? When I ask, Marin writes the question down on a piece of paper and studies it carefully. ‘It’s theologically sloppy to say it’s not a sin,’ he replies. But he quickly adds that all Christians are sinners, according to Romans 3:23. ‘We’re all dealing with something.'”
(Which would be the exact same answer Pete LaBarbera would give, by the way.)
Now, if Signorile and the Reader reported and quoted Marin accurately, it actually took Marin nine words to clearly provide what I figuratively, not literally characterized above as the one-word answer “yes,” i.e., he does believe homosexual behavior is a sin.
But you may not consider Signorile or The Advocate or the Chicago Reader to be reliable sources.
And Mr. Marin refuses (above) to answer the question here.
But no matter how many words someone uses, it really is a simple one-word answer one way or the other.
Regardless of which side you’re on.
Is Mr. Marin’s “bridge” based on hiding the truth of what he believes? If he tells the truth — i.e., if he gives the one-word answer (regardless of how many words he takes to do it) — does the bridge fall down?
I did some reading and found this in “The Revealer” written in 2006. It’s from an article “Does God Hate Fags.”
Here’s a link:
It is now possible to closeout the book on Andrew Marin’s view on gay sex: It is sinful, but he’d rather talk about love and let god send the sinners to hell. That he tailors his remarks to his audience is also clear. The Moody radio commentator– the woman who initiated the present controversy with her remarks posted to Peter LaBarbera’s webpage– knew that Marin calls gay sex “sin.” But when addressing gay activists, Marin hedges. Although he claims to distain politics, he ought to be running for president.
When I wrote that Marin “flunked both tests” in The Reader interview, I meant in addition to the sex issue, he failed to back gays in our fight for equal rights. Remember, in 2006 we were a community beseiged by bigots, many of them Christian Evangelicals, who were passing antigay marriage amendments in many states, and who threatened to enshrine bigotry in the US Constitution. A “friend to the gay community,” one who claims to “love” gays would have backed us in our struggle. Don’t your friends do that when you’re attacked?
Marin knew this was a hot botton issue for his Evangelical friends, the folks at Moody Bible Institute for example. Beyond this, I expect that he believes marriage ought to be between one man and one woman. Could we get a “yes” or “no” answer to that one, Andrew?
As a non-religious gay man, I still welcome support to my humanity including my homosexual orientation, and backing for my equal civil rights from any and all persons of faith. People who deny my humanity by opposing my sexual orientation, or who oppose my equal civil rights are not friends.
People like Marin who claim to be friends, but whose public words and actions say otherwise, ought to be shunned as people working in opposition to our interests.
Gays who want religion in their lives could do themselves a huge favor, and the rest of us as well, if they chose spiritual leaders and organizations that embrace their humanity/sexuality, and who realize that a right relationship with god requires doing justice in the world. Such as supporting equal civil marriage rights for LGBT people.
What is the point of asking for tolerance if we hammer on an individual’s personal beliefs after they’ve given it to us? That’s not tolerance, it’s forced acceptance. It’s ironic, I think, because I’ve gotten so used to seeing members of the religious right use that exact phrase, “forced acceptance” as a dysphemism to misrepresent LGBT people’s calls for genuine tolerance. Now I’m seeing it for real.
I know I can’t speak only for myself, but in the end I don’t care what my friends think about my sexuality with respect to their personal beliefs, what makes them my friends is that the love and friendship they share with me is identical to what would be shared if I were straight. Similarly, what makes a person tolerant is their recognition of my right to exist just as they do, with all the rights that they have, regardless of their beliefs.
Yes, sure, I think it would be great if all of my friends put on their political shoes and joined me in a march, but I feel it’s not my place to judge them simply because they choose to remain apolitical. Using a vote against me to deny me equality is one thing, choosing to remain apolitical as a compromise for the conflict between one’s beliefs and one’s desire to show tolerance is another. Rejecting a person’s love or tolerance because they won’t meet you 100% on all that you demand, suggesting that this person be shunned, all of it strikes me as hyperbolic, nonconstructive, short-sighted and extreme.
Are we trying to build bridges or do we reject them while expecting and waiting for the chasm to just up and disappear all at once? Just my thoughts.
I agree with Christopher. It’s simply childish of some people to expect 100% agreement. Like it or not, some Christians are always going to believe that homosexual behavior is a sin. Now, how would you like them to respond to that? Like Andrew Marin and Wendy Gritter or like Peter LaBarbera? Wording matters here, folks. Opposition is going to happen, no matter what your beliefs or stances are. However, would you prefer your opposition to be respectful, open-minded, and gracious, or slanderous and self-serving? I think Gritter and Marin are great examples of people who maintain their beliefs but in a matter that is respectful and genuinely cares about their ideological “opponents.”
Furthermore, there are always going to be gay Christians like myself who aren’t going to feel comfortable just moving to a “gay-affirming” church such as the MCC just because of our orientation. In fact, some of us, after much independent consideration, actually believe in a traditional Biblical sexual ethic and try to live, celibately, according to it. We may be a minority, but we’re people too, and it’s great to have people like Marin and Gritter to have around for support instead of the FRC, FOTF, NARTH, and most of the Exodus crowd.
I think Bob and Gary provide a splendid example of why Marin does not know how to express his answer to the great litmus test, “do you consider homosexual sex a sin.” How could he answer (except to lie) that would please you? People of good conscience, many of them gay, are split on this very point themselves. As Jay said, do we want them to be loving, honest and fallible about what they believe, or do we want them to be shrill, hateful and arrogant like Peter LaBarbera? I’ll take the former, thank you.
I do not consider intimate, monogamous relationships between two loving people of the same sex to be sinful. But hey, I’m fallible, too. And I refuse to require that someone believe in a way they do not understand to be true just because it would make me feel better. As long as they are not actively working against my interests, I consider that just fine. We’ve been telling Exodus and the like just that for years. Do we mean it?
This thread wasn’t even about Marin’s bona fides, we’ve not had time to even investigate those. And still, look where it went. Seriously, this really is intolerance, as bad as any I have seen from anyone. People have to come to these answers on their own, and in their own time. It’s how they act in the mean time that strikes me as the defining factor.
As I re-read the thread, I think it “went” a few places. Since this is a public forum, I would expect no less. Fundamentalism is not a phenomenom unique to Christianity, there are apparently fundamentalist gays as well. When I use the word “fundamentalist” here, I refer to the dogmatic stance of inerrancy. I think several on this thread clearly agree with your stance “I’m fallible, too”(I certainly do, and I think I was pretty clear about that in my opening comments). Andrew Marin seems to have the same attitude, which presents the common ground for relationship. As long as a person can say: “this is what I believe, but I could be wrong,” we can be friends. It’s when one slides over into I am right and you are wrong that we enter the war of superior vs. inferior, where someone has to “win.”
I personally think, most here would be content if the ex-gay movement would opperate from the stance of belief vs. that of absolute ‘knowledge.’ I am not a Christian, but I have no problem with people who place their faith in such. However, I do not consider fundamentalists of any sort to be people of faith…just the opposite.
I would agree with you Paul. And what I meant by saying that the thread wasn’t concentrating on Marin’s beliefs in great detail is that I thought we could accept at least that he was abused by LaBarbera, which was the topic. Some seem to think nothing of that, and zero in on Marin. That’s not a bad discussion to have, but it wasn’t the point of the post.
David, as you wrote to me previously, if you were approaching Marin as an activist, you might say things differently. If so, believing as you do in your “fallibility” on the possible “sinfulness” of gay sex, and asserting that “People of good conscience, many of them gay, are split on [gay sex sinfulness] themselves,” would leave you at a distinct disadvantage in the fight for gay rights and equality. I have straight friends, Christian believers, who are quite clear on what they might call the god-given sexuality of gay persons, and who are squarely behind civil equality for gays.
Not only am I in no doubt as to the fullness and rightness of my humanity as a gay man including my sexual behavior, I do not recognize the legitimacy of views in opposition to this. Although you earlier defended me against a contributor who called me a “gay LaBarbera,” it troubles me that you now refer to my views as “intolerant.” Should I tolerate views that denigrate my very humanity? And what’s at stake here is not my “feeling good.”
I am a huge fan of the Civil War, which I consider to have been a struggle to overthrow the brutal system of chattel slavery. Are we to equate the struggle of white southerners, many of them deluded non-slave owners, with that of African Americans fighting for their freedom in the Federal forces?
Although I agree that Peter LaBarbera seized an opportunity for legitimacy and self-promotion, this is nothing new for him, and in my opinion Marin’s apparently frequent appearances on Moody radio point to the larger issues raised by me and one or two others in the thread.
As for “Marin’s bona fides,” this whole thing began when LaBarbera posted words that Marin doesn’t deny: “You take a bullet for us all.” “Tolerating,” much less embracing, people like Marin, a man who believes that gay sex is sinful, who is allied with the anti-gays at Moody Bible Institute, and who won’t fight for us in the civil arena, is to spread confusion about our commitment to gay freedom, and to disarm ourselves in the struggle. I think this is especially true when dealing with persons impacted by the “ex-gay” movement and its harmful “ministries”– your core constituency.
It appears that Ex-Gay Watch operates from an Evangelical Christian perspective, and I doubt that there’s much of an audience here for my views. Please accept my thanks for allowing me to post on XGW, and with that I’ll move on.
I feel that for the purposes of what I am trying to do in building a bridge, it is a waste of time for me to enter into a debate that can never be solved from either side’s perspective because there are plenty of people on both sides already doing just that. The broader Christian community will diligently continue to research the behavioral choice and ex-gay positions no matter what the GLBT community claims. Just the same the GLBT community will endlessly search for a gay gene or a way to prove that orientation is not a lifestyle choice regardless of what the Christian community brings forth. This is what I call Sexuality’s Infinite Continuum. Infinity goes on forever with no end in sight, and a continuum stretches from one extreme to the other. An infinite continuum encompassing sexuality will infinitely go in circles from one extreme to the other with no end in sight as each community is stuck demanding the other to drop what they have committed their entire lives to prove – that the other is wrong.
Sexuality’s Infinite Continuum persists because there will always be people in both communities that continue working off of a false model of “the ideal situation” which states that one side will realize their mistake and give up their whole belief system on the issue and join the other side. This ideal situation can’t happen because neither the community as a whole will ever let it happen! Neither side is going to give up the genetics/environmental/sin/politics debate in the foreseeable future, and instead of continuing to verbally and scientifically abuse each other my goal is to start to work off of another model that promotes a new paradigm: it is ok to disagree and yet still peacefully listen, learn, dialogue and build a bridge to eternity by focusing on the One that will ultimately win the battle. That is why I am so blessed to have been a part of this thread and Ex Gay Watch because of how David and many others through their comments and thoughts are already doing just that.
Until now arguments and debates have been the common ground between our two communities and, even as each are starting to rise up new pockets that are practicing this new paradigm, neither – in a larger sense – has formulated the proper foundation towards productive bridge building. People exist from all walks of life as we have seen in this thread and although the end result within a particular community might be a unified thought process against the other, individual stories and lives can be dramatically different than we ever originally thought or perceived.
Our own ideal situation and preconceived thoughts towards each other have plagued us for too long. This is the reason why my organization is trying to start a new conversation that is peaceful and productive for all to be included, right where they’re at – from both sides.
Frankly Bob, I don’t think you have been around here long enough to be able to say that. We have to encounter the evangelical perspective more often than most because that’s where most ex-gays come from. We are not a typical gay activist site, we primarily watch the ex-gay organizations and their work, and call them on any deception or failings, and occasionally praise them for moving in a more civil direction.
However, you appear to be mixing two separate issues; civil rights and equality with a theological perspective. While we respect an individual’s right to their own faith and understanding of whatever scripture accompanies it, we do not in any way accept the work of those against the civil rights of GLBT persons. Marin does not appear to work for or against, which I can accept because historically ministries did not involve themselves in government. That is mostly a phenomenon of the late 20th century.
Now you may go by the precept that if someone isn’t working for our rights, they are working against them, and you are certainly allowed to live by that. However, there will most likely always be someone who reads this or that scripture, and sincerely understands it to call homosexual acts sinful. The intolerance I spoke of is one that would demand that someone, here and now, change that understanding for the benefit of another to feel validated.
As long as another person is not engaged in a fight to deny my rights, or otherwise make my life any more difficult that the next person, and they are willing to see me as another human being like any other, I do not intend on demanding that they think the way I do or the way I would want them to concerning their faith. That is an intensely personal thing and I would likewise not accept someone telling me that I had to believe the way they do either.
We have atheists, Mormons, Christians, and who knows what else participate here, so if there is any reason you cannot comment it would not be from us. The one thing we don’t allow in that area is demeaning anyone’s faith, or lack thereof. That is necessary for civil discussions of the type we must engage in to deal with the ex-gay movement.
As for Marin, I have no idea what my final opinion will be of him. I simply don’t have enough information or history. I’m not persuaded one way or the other by the information I’ve found, so I’ll leave that alone for now. You are welcome to comment anytime, but you probably won’t find war analogies very useful here.
And as for being fallible, yes I am fallible. I hope that isn’t a surprise 😉
If we are going to use this bridge analogy, I think we will only end up with bridge that will never completely align itself. There are too many complex complications in the materials and nobody has finalized any clear blueprints. Just how far off from ideal in matching our alignment could be 2 cm or 2 meters…and it’s a pretty big bridge.
Today my daily calendar quote-of-the-day says:
“The world will not change until we do.” –Jim Wallis
I think the key item in this discussion is trust. I have distrust with making a bridge with my former clergy and faith. Their past actions and pronouncements seem to indicate some change is happening but that is only after the elders in my faith have just now re-evaluated their past miscalculations. I’m at the point where the bridge building has and will be for a long time on the religion side of the chasm.
For many ex-gay survivors, I think this is very true cowboy. There is a lot of pain and trauma there. I personally see a greater value in something like Andrew’s work helping the conservative Christian side feel safe getting to know GLBTs. Time will tell.
Well, that’s why we very rarely say anything about him — he doesn’t appear to have much reach (plus he is mostly not part of ex-gay issues). Frankly, most people on the “other side of the aisle” speak of him to me as if he were a bizarre cousin they would just as soon hide in the basement.
But in this instance, there was a new dynamic, he was taking advantage of someone who would seem to be a friend of the Church as much as anything. Trust me, you won’t see his name here much.
Probably late in the argument, but why does anyone take LaBarbera seriously? I could go on and on about him, but why waste electrons? His website speaks volumes about him and his cohorts. He’s a professional fear-monger.
David, your basement comment got me laughing.
I spoke with Andrew Marin today about his beliefs etc, this guy is the real deal. We discussed my main issue; how do you deal with those verses in the Bible that are causing all the mahem. He mentioned the pedophilia aspect of the times back then, it was rampant, and I have always believed all the Biblical homosexual verses refer to the prevention of man/boy scenes rape etc, so naturally a law was designed to make that a punishable crime buy the government (God if you will).
Short of throwing out verses of the Bible which ain’t ever gonna happen, I believe the pedophile aspect is the trump card that needs to be adhered to, and blasted out there loud and clear. If we do not take the customs of the times into consideration, then we won’t ever be able to make digestible sense of the verses.
It could be said that these verses were particularly aimed at clergy and priests, and that the Bible was trying to do its own form of in-house cleaning, Unfortunately, dat didn’t werk.
I’d like to see Marin Foundations all over the world, and being a Virgo, I am one tough eagle eye critic to get past. Andrew did so with flying colors.
“This ideal situation can’t happen because neither the community as a whole will ever let it happen! Neither side is going to give up the genetics/environmental/sin/politics debate in the foreseeable future, and instead of continuing to verbally and scientifically abuse each other my goal is to start to work off of another model that promotes a new paradigm: it is ok to disagree and yet still peacefully listen, learn, dialogue and build a bridge to eternity by focusing on the One that will ultimately win the battle. ”
This is certainly better than the current situation, but it begs the question:
Why on earth is this considered an important question to begin with? The world is vastly overpopulated to the point of unsustainability. People in Darfur are starving. North Korea has nuclear arms AND a nut job in charge. The salmon industry in California is ocllapsing. The dollar is losing ground and may become irelevant. There are multiple wars everywhere. Britney is a mess. This is just a partial listing.
compared to these, what makes the Colonel snap to attention is of no importance, at least in the reality based community (thanks, Pam), and is of aboslutely no consequence to anyone except myself and the snappee.
What the bible says about sexual morality in general and homosex in particular is highly debatable on many grounds, and doesn’t matter to me, because it is not my book. Nor does it apparently matter to the bulk of its adherents. Which way you go in “highly debatable” is dependant upon what you have already decided must be true, ar Mr. Marin acknowledges.
But “highly debatable” is what tells me that this is not about truth in any objective sense of the word, which means usually that it is about something else.
Mr. marin addresses the “something else” by saying let’s just all go to Jesus. That bridges to me and my question– why are different standards and authorities directed at gay people than at straight people. My belief is that the something else is the answer to my question– how much the very existence of gay people bothers some people, both straight and wish-they-were-straight-but-they’re-not.
Andrew Marin pretty much acted on the principle of empathy. Which is a commandment of Christ, after all. This is something I try to organize speaking to anti gay people of faith with. That we’re living in an age of great opportunity to know each other better. To not have to be so fearful and teach fear to children. Especially by lying to them.
Marin immersed himself with socializing with gay people. I’ve maintained all along that what sets me and other straight allies apart from Christians who think themselves well meaning, is listening and empathizing. REALLY doing it, being there to see the damage, or triumphs, acknowledging the brain trust and what truly having a gay person’s love and seeing THEM loved really means.
People like LaBarbera aren’t the least bit interested in what gay people really think or say and he arrogates himself to speak FOR gay people in nothing but negative terms. I think I personally wouldn’t have been so soft on LaBarbera. I would have called him on his outright lies and misrepresentations.
LaBarbera isn’t the least bit concerned with the souls of gay people, he’s already PASSED judgement while taking advantage of certain 21st century media to assert Bronze Age principles on a SINGLE group of people.
At least Andrew Marin by now has experienced gay people in the diversified spheres they really live in.
LaB goes to sex and raunch drenched underground situations, and completely ignores the fact that heterosexuals do the same thing. At least he doesn’t report that this is so.
He’s not attending the “Power of Us” conference, for example. Or any PFLAG or COLAGE gatherings.
He’s free to attend and everyone is welcome.
Marin, would go. LaB wouldn’t.
The measure of these men for me is that they are NOT two sides of the same coin.
Marin sees gay people as human beings, as he is himself, as equals.
Peter LaB does not see gay people at all, because he never has wanted to experience gay people fully. EVER.
And he won’t.
LaB’s ONLY feelings are for himself and that is the difference. A big one.
Mr. Marin, you can tell me if I’m wrong, but I won’t cut LaB any slack.
In My opinion, if LaB isn’t willing to confront, then he needs to go stand in the corner. And until he is ready to come clean, he needs to be fully ignored. The deepest fear of the religious right is abandonment. If there is noone to listen or control, they come unglued.
We are homosexual humans for humaity, and are about truth honesty integrity reality and rational thinking, others need not apply and we do NOT need to keep recruiting them as if they are necessary for some inane reason.
Support those who want support, make laws that protect our human rights, love those who want to be loved. Teach those who want to be taught. This is the new paradigm. Pulling along the unwilling is useless wasted energy.
Banning mean mangey barn yard dogs is a sign of healthy boundaries.
Focus on the prize, the black sticky goo along the way only makes one’s part in the game difficult.
Good point Devlin, and good imagery 😉
Glad you got it David.
I have been working for Andy and with The Marin Foundation for 16 months. I specifically have been focused on “relational” ministry, as my title has been “Youth & Development”, but I would like to take a moment to share some thoughts with respect to this thread.
I’m very encouraged by the diversity of perspectives represented in this thread. I’ve been reading XGW for about 4 years (give or take) and have found it a wonderful place to get involved in some of the conversations surrounding the ex-gay movement. I appreciate the grace given to Andy, by some, in his efforts to act as a bridge between the broader LGBT community and the church.
As a gay man, as a Christian, I have found very few organizations, Christian or otherwise, that have been committed to the lives of LGBT individuals unconditionally. I know that Andy’s heart is completely and totally sold out to the unconditional, tangible expression of God’s love, especially toward the LGBT community. On the other hand, it’s not for myself to convince you of this in your mind or heart. I think sometimes we are more concerned with needing to be convinced of things than we are in actually living out a reality of love for our lives.
I noticed that there were comments that pointed at agreement and disagreement with where people stand specifically on issues related to the LGBT community and/or sexuality. For some, it’s important for someone to share concrete, black and white statements before relationship can be developed. For some, this process is an important filtering to keep themselves removed from “another hurtful situation” (Lord knows I’ve had them). What I love about Andy’s heart and about what I see in The Marin Foundation, is a desire to go beyond this. We are not on one shore, we are a bridge. Many have a problem with this idea because they’d like to know on what foundation we exist, on what belief system or theology. It’s clearly both shores. Whatever your shores may be, they are all different for each of us.
I had such a problem with the imagry of this lyric because it’s so accomodating, yet so uninviting. Yet, I believe that as Christians, this can often be the reality of our relationships with eachother, in disagreement, or in anything. The bridge is not here to judge, but to love.
The bridge is such an amazing thing, so drawing, so luring, but not all experience it that way. For some it’s cold, it’s distant, it’s harsh. I love that we are called to ‘risk it all or die trying’. I believe that is a critical focus with respect to the bridge.
The bridge identifies with both shores. Absolutely and without condition or compromise. Either shore boasts disidentification in their claim of having crossed the bridge.
I don’t believe we are meant to always live in this picture of the bridge, I’m not sure if that’s how God intended things to be and if that’s how things will always be, but it seems that this picture, this idea, is so close to the reality before us. Different shores, disagreements and we are free to move in, around and between. We can know each other or paint each other foe. Either way, we are called to love both.
I’m encouraged to continue with The Marin Foundation to bring this reality to two communities which have found great means to isolate themselves from each other.