Megachurch Pastor: We’re ‘American Al Qaeda’ for Opposing Homosexuality
He told me a story about getting to know a middle-aged gay man who runs a costume shop. The man asked if Chandler would allow him to take communion. Chandler asked if the man believed that Jesus was the son of God. The man hemmed and hawed. Well, there you go, Chandler told him. You have to believe if you’re going to partake.
But suppose the man did believe in Jesus’ divinity? Could he take communion then?
“Like anyone else who is walking in open sin, no,” Chandler told me. “Brazen, unrepentant sin has to be dealt with before you can come to the Lord’s table.”
Brazen, unrepentant sin. That’s harsh. But Chandler went on to make sure that I understood that homosexuality is no worse than other sins. He also said he was in favor of same-sex partners being granted legal protections like hospital visitation rights. And while he has preached about homosexuality before, offering one of the most detailed biblical cases against it I have heard, that topic, he assured me, isn’t a priority. For the first time in our conversation, Chandler lowered his booming voice. The gays are best discussed in hushed tones.
Like Chandler, Giglio said homosexuality was not a focus of his ministry. But notice what he didn’t say. He didn’t say that his views had evolved since the 1990s. He didn’t say that he no longer thought gays and lesbians were hell-bound. He didn’t say that the dreaded homosexual agenda had ceased to be a threat to these great United States. He just reminded everyone that he hadn’t said that in a while, as if opinions have expiration dates.
The trick is to oppose homosexuality without appearing to be a bigot. Mark Driscoll, the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church, which has 14 campuses in four states, once answered a question about the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality with the following syllogism: sex outside of marriage is wrong, God said marriage is between a man and a woman, therefore gay sex and gay marriage are wrong. But he was quick to name-check other sins and to note that he had been a “fornicator,” i.e. sexually active while single, back before he was saved. “I will not be baited into picking on homosexuals,” he said.