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Minister to LGBT People: Thanks for Making Me More Antigay

Minister to LGBT People: Thanks for Making Me More Antigay


LGBT progress, including marriage equality, motivates him to step up his 'Christian' opposition, a Nashville pastor writes.

A Nashville Baptist minister who opposes marriage equality is nonetheless thanking LGBT activists -- for motivating Christians to stand firmly against LGBT rights.

"Thank you LGBT community for 'poking the caged lion,' the complacent church," writes Kevin Shrum, pastor of Inglewood Baptist Church, in an open letter published as an opinion column this week in The Tennessean. "We have much to answer for -- hypocrisy, theological laziness, truthless, loveless Christianity. Thank you for being a part of God's plan to awaken the church to its biblical heritage and the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ."

He says Christians should emulate LGBT people's courage in coming out. The Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling, he writes, "has renewed my freedom to 'come out' as a Christian who believes God's word affirms traditional marriage, and who offers the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ to all sinners." He thanks LGBT Americans "for this lesson in being unashamed."

Shrum calls upon Christians to resist recognizing marriage equality. "The SCOTUS ruling made every Christian in America a potential law-breaker," he writes. "Christians may face persecution as a result." He does not elaborate on how this may play out, as no church is required to perform a marriage it opposes, although he is likely referring to public employees who don't wish to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or business owners who don't want to provide goods or services for these couples' weddings.

He also does not consider that many Christians support LGBT equality; perhaps he does not recognize pro-equality churches as Christian, but he says merely that some churches "have capitulated on this issue." Shrum's church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which considers homosexuality a sin and adamantly opposes marriage equality and LGBT rights in general (not all Baptist bodies do).

The minister concludes by saying those on opposite sides of the issue must "agree to disagree agreeably" but that he will continue trying to persuade gay people that they must repent of their sin.

Jean Ann Esselink, writing at The New Civil Rights Movement, called Shrum's missive "the world's most passive aggressive open letter" and said it "appears to be a declaration of war." Read the full letter here and see what you think.

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