A religious publishing house claims to be out to "give an unfiltered voice to emerging authors who are changing the way people see Christianity." But perhaps it doesn't want to change it too much -- at least when it comes to LGBT issues.
"I am at a frustrated point, not for my book, but this is so symptomatic of what happens in the broader evangelical community -- every day, LGBTQ individuals are told that they are no longer welcome in churches, are kicked out of homes, are fired from jobs, and forced in to reparative therapy by those who claim to represent Jesus," Robertson told Time.
The publisher reportedly asked Robertson to sign an antihomosexuality statement, which he refused to do. Here is the statement the newly out Robertson was asked to affix with his John Hancock:
Destiny Image accepts the Holy Scriptures as the infallible word of God and answers all questions concerning life and godliness. We do not condone, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle. Destiny Image renounces this lifestyle as ungodly and completely contrary to the Kingdom of God.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
Robertson subsequently got word that it was no longer his "Destiny" to publish Nomad: Not-So-Religious Thoughts on Faith, Doubt, and the Journey in Between with Destiny Image. A Destiny representative -- the same one who'd said in an email that the company's vision was "to give an unfiltered voice to emerging authors who are changing the way people see Christianity" -- reportedly spoke to Robertson and told him that his LGBT advocacy raised concerns about the financial viability of the project. That's because religious businesses might refuse to carry the title, though the Time story says homosexuality gets but a "glancing reference" in the text. (Specifically: "One conversation with a close friend who is struggling to be gay and Christian is all that it takes to begin wondering if the interpretation of Leviticus we heard in Sunday school is actually applicable in today's context.")
"Time and time again, I have found myself sitting across the table from Evangelical mentors, leaders, and friends as they have explained that because of my perspectives on this singular issue, I was no longer a part of the Evangelical fold. That I could no longer be a part of my community, or school, or network, because I believed that God blesses same-sex relationships," Robert wrote on his Revangelical blog. (He says he hopes to find another publisher for his book.)
"I find myself today feeling more heart broken than ever at the state of Evangelical Christianity," he wrote. "Not because I lost a book deal, but rather because of the broader reality that this situation points to. The marginalization and discrimination I taste today is only a sliver of what LGBTQ people face every day at the hands of Christians. Every day, LGBTQ individuals are told that they are no longer welcome in churches, are kicked out of homes, are fired from jobs, and are forced in to reparative therapy by those who claim to represent Jesus. Every day, more and more people are pushed away from the God who loves them by Evangelical ministers who value theological correctness more than the human beings standing right before their eyes."
The Washington, D.C.-based Evangelicals for Marriage Equality launched in September, when a statement of belief was published on its website. It said that "we believe you can be a devout, Bible-believing evangelical and support the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by the government as married. Our commitment to following Christ leads us to speak out for equal treatment under the law for others -- whether or not they share our religious convictions."
In connection with the organization's launch, Robertson wrote an opinion piece in which he said he represents "a growing number of millennial evangelicals that believes it's possible to be a faithful Christian with a high regard for the authority of the Bible and a faithful supporter of civil marriage equality."
"Are evangelicals who support civil marriage for same-sex couples watering down their faith to adapt to secular society?" Robertson asks in the piece. "Not at all. Instead, we're making a distinction between theology and politics.
"Many evangelicals believe the Bible describes same-sex relationships as sinful; others disagree. Regardless of whether we believe that God views these relationship or sinful or not, our particular Christian definition of marriage shouldn't dictate the definition of marriage in a pluralistic and religiously diverse society such as ours. ...
"Evangelicals who want to support marriage equality currently face the false choice of either remaining faithful to their tradition by opposing same-sex marriage, or being accused of watering down their commitment to Christ by standing in support of their gay and lesbian friends. I believe that the best way is the middle path that both compels evangelicals to stand for civil marriage equality as an overflow of our love for our lesbian and gay neighbors, while allowing us to have space to wrestle with and remain faithful to our beliefs."
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