An open letter to non-affirming Christians

By Nathan Barber

Dear non-affirming Christians,

You’ve told me a million times. You disagree with my ‘lifestyle’ (whatever that means) but you still love me. You completely affirm my humanity and believe that I, as a gay man, am just as much made in the image of God as you are. I get it. I wish you would affirm my relationships too, but I get it. I really do. It’s just that I’m not quite sure anymore that I believe that you love me as much as you say you do. In fact, I’m doubting whether you have ever actually meant it at all. Because if you really do love me, then where the heck have you been?

Circulating around Facebook and Twitter last week was an abhorrent video of a man who calls himself a “pastor” claiming that we should execute every gay person in an attempt to achieve an “AIDS-Free Christmas”. His disgusting “sermon” was received with applause and even laughter from his congregation. I’m not going to link to the video because I don’t want to give that man any more attention than he already has, but if you really feel like viewing this grotesque hate-filled sermon, a simple google search should take you right to the video. LGBT people were obviously outraged, and hurt by this man’s words, and they wasted no time dancing around how they really felt. But you, the non-affirming Christians in my life who claim to love me and affirm my full humanity? I didn’t hear a single one of you speak up in defense of me or of anyone in the LGBT community.

So what’s the deal? Where are on earth were you last week? A pastor of an actual church just said out loud that I and everyone like me should die, in order to rid the world of a disease that many of us don’t even have. And you say nothing? Really? I’m going to be honest here. That hurts.

I’ve spoken with a few of you about this recently. One of you gave me a grand speech and told me you don’t believe that this guy is a real Christian because of the hate that he preaches, and therefore he isn’t worth getting angry over. Another one of you said that this man’s craziness is “peripheral” and isn’t worth more than a roll of the eyes while scrolling through your news feed.

I might have been able to appreciate those sentiments if this was an isolated incident. But sadly, it’s not. As Eliel Cruz rightly points out in his Religion News Service article, this “pastor’s” comments are “…a product of decades of homophobic rhetoric that has been promoted from our pulpits.”

Yes, I agree that claims like the one made by this pastor are crazy and outlandish, and they don’t bear even the slightest hint of credibility. But day after day, and week after week, and year after year, people like him are allowed to continue broadcasting their hate, with almost no consequences and barely a peep is heard from other Christian’s in defense of the people these monsters are cursing.

Those of us in the LGBT Christian community, as well as some faithful allies, are fighting hard to create a counter-narrative and we are slowly succeeding. However, our efforts can only go so far as long as so many of you who claim to love us say nothing.

Non-affirming Christians, it’s time for a reality check. The time for privileged apathy is long past. If you really love us the way you say you do, then the very least you can do is speak up in some way to defend the humanity of your LGBT brothers and sisters. A simple Facebook status, would suffice. And we all know how much you love “Farewell Tweets”. Maybe you could actually put one to good use. Anything you can do to counter the narrative that LGBT people are hated by God is better than nothing. If that’s too much for you, then do us all a favor: cut the crap and admit that you in your complacency are no better than this vile man in his hate. Because love is more than a fuzzy feeling. Love is either a verb, or it is meaningless.

I challenge you, non-affirming Christians, to break out of your comfort zones, and boldly fight for justice for the oppressed, even the oppressed people with whom you disagree.

I want to believe that you love me, but I’m going to need a lot more convincing.




  1. So long we have endured the abuse of silence. Maybe this piece will finally get through to those who may be on our side…but fear the repercussions amongst their peers. In the end, it’s all about loving each child of the Creator. Thank-you, Nathan, for eliciting the words I could not.



    1. Thank you so much for this reply. I totally agree that affirming Christians should examine their own role in defending their LGBTQ brothers and sisters as well. In response to the latter half of your post, I don’t disagree with you that people need to do a lot more than say something on Facebook. I was just meaning to imply that it could be a good place to start, and is better than doing nothing. But absolutely agree that advocacy (both personal and civil) needs to be lived out, and cannot merely exist in our words online. Again, thanks so much for your response!



  2. Thank you for this letter. You’re right. We have to speak up and address this. The pastor’s comments are so ugly, so sick. There’s no excuse and it’s wrong for us not to speak up and shout : no more.

    Liked by 1 person


  3. I appreciate your openness and honesty in this post. Pastor Anderson’s remarks to his church reflect the vileness of the human heart, especially against ostracized groups one has avoided long enough to allow for the development of such delusional mischaracterizations. You made a good choice in not providing a link and discouraging people from giving him more attention than he deserves. Moreover, as a non-affirming Christian I appreciate your urging others like me to demonstrate love for the LGBT community in ways that are still consistent with our theology, such as calling out the bigotry amongst fellow Christians. I am sure you had a particular group, possibly a very large one, of non-affirming Christians in mind when making this criticisms but hopefully you would say that such non-affirming yet LGBT-loving Christians exist or are at least possible.

    I do have have a question and would appreciate any response you feel comfortable giving. Basically, do you feel non-affirming Christians responding to the micro-aggressions around them and commenting on social media against bigotry they see in the world demonstrates a Christ-like love for the LGBT community or would you expect a more active effort to get to know LGBT people and take part in larger efforts to overturn systemic discrimination?

    Again, I appreciate your post and look forward to any future pieces that you or Justin put out.



  4. I have not seen the video. Nor am I going to look for it and watch it. I’m sure it would only make me angry and sick to my stomach. I wonder if sometimes we (Chrsitians) don’t speak up because a) we are unaware of the incident (as I was in this case) or b) when we do become aware, we are embarrassed and appalled, ultimately afraid of being lumped into the same category of people and ideas. I rarely, very rarely, post negative videos and articles (even to offer a counter-argument) on social media because I feel like I’m perpetuating the story and negative discourse. Your letter, however, has made me resolve to think more about this. In the future, if I do come across such a story, I will stop to consider and pray about whether it would be helpful to speak out against the message. I had not considered – forgive me – what my silence might be communicating.



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