Bolt the Closet Door Shut

Andrew Sullivan on the further revelations of Ted Haggard’s secret life:

“At some point, surely evangelical Christians will have to ask themselves: are we going to continue to demonize homosexuality to such an extent that even our ablest preachers and leaders are led into destructive, secret and often abusive relationships because we cannot allow them to pursue open and honest and loving ones?”

The whole thing that I find increasingly troublesome is that the way in which too many churches deal with homosexuality in their leadership ends up making things worse – paying hush money in this case looks a lot like bribery. In spite of everything that might get written or preached on the matter, in spite of every group trying to “cure” homosexuality, a small part of the population stubbornly remains gay. What options does the church offer? Pretend to be straight? Pretend to be asexual?

What if you were a pastor and a committed gay couple came to your church? Are you supposed to tell them to break up and each try really hard to find a straight relationship that works just as well?

Here’s another idea: what if evangelical churches treated gossip like they treated homosexuality? Don’t bother showing up until you have that fixed. The pews would be empty – I know I couldn’t attend. It’s easy to demonize something you know only affects 3-10% of the population.

There has to be a better way.