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Current Events, Guest Author, Marriage Equality, Relationships, Southern Nazarene University

Let Them Eat Cake

Let Them Eat Cake: Homosexuality and the Church’s Image Problem
By Jake O’Bannon

An article like this warrants full disclosure up front. So let me tell you who I am.

I am a 22-year-old male from Oklahoma. I have been raised in the Nazarene church and still attend the same church today. I am straight and engaged to be married in July of 2014. I do not have a lot of gay friends, and I don’t often see the ones that I do have. I have never felt judged, silenced, bullied, or denied because of my sexual orientation.

That’s who I am. As you can tell, I lack life experience when it comes to homosexuality. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on it. And as a Christian in today’s culture I think it’s a topic that needs to be talked about more than ever. Which the church having a major role in the current homosexuality debate, the question must be asked: How is it doing?

To answer that question I think it’s best to look at it through the scope of someone in the LGBT community. Again, as you noticed above, I am a terrible example for that, but I’m going to try. If I were an LGBT person, the church is not the first place I would want to go. You may have heard the stat, but according to a study by the Barna Group in the book “Unchristian,” 91% of non-churchgoers between the ages of 16-29 believe that the church is antihomosexual, and 80% of churchgoers believe the same.  That was the number one answer given by participants in the survey when asked what they think about the church.

No matter what you think about that statistic, there is no denying that there is an image problem. Even if you agree that the church is antihomosexual and believe that to be right, you’re still part of a group that is losing followers for coming off as judgmental. It’s a touchy subject, but there must be a better solution.

I once heard a story about a Christian man in Colorado who owned a cake shop. He sold a cake to two men one day, but when he found out that the two men were gay and the cake was for their wedding, he refused to give them their cake. The case even went to court because the man continued to refuse their business. Now you might have read that and agreed with the shop owner. If you did my response to you is that’s foolish. Also, it’s part of the reason why young people are leaving the church.

Let me ask you this: What is the worst thing that could have happened if he gave them the cake? To some it might be that they feel affirmed in their sexuality and they “don’t change.” To that I would say that if your goal is to change people, denying them a cake isn’t the way you’re going to do it.

But what is the worst thing that could happen if he didn’t give them the cake? That’s easy, because it only takes a Google search to find out how damaging it can be for a Christian to deny a gay couple their wedding cake. Articles from ABC News to the Huffington Post were published about the story; the story of a Christian man being judgmental. Thousands of people around the world read it. And we wonder where the 91% number comes from…

Our job on this Earth is not to play the judge. It just isn’t. The man who did not give that couple a cake is destroying the very faith he confesses to follow.

There is no better quote for this issue than the words of Billy Graham when he said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” No matter what your personal views on homosexuality are, it’s time for Christians to stop playing the role of judge and start making cakes.

Open Door Blog

Jake O’Bannon, special contributor to Nazarene Ally,  is a 2013 graduate of Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma. He is now pursuing a degree in law from Oklahoma City University. Jake enjoys ushering at church, and going on dates with his new fiance. Jake is also a founder of OpenDoor, a blog developed to “be viewed as a type of paradigm shift. OpenDoor consists of a group of Christian young people who see problems with our world and are willing to talk about them.” This article was first published on “OpenDoor Blog” on January 3rd, 2014. Posted with permission.

About Ty McC

Urban designer & blogger. Faith and Religion correspondent for The Huffington Post and 'The Gayly' Founder of Nazarene Ally. Love God, love others.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Let Them Eat Cake

  1. Appreciate Jake’s view and honesty even in the face of minimal experience. I heard Tony Camoplo speak on this recently. He states ‘The mantra recited a lot lately has been “love the sinner and hate the sin” however, that assumes the latitude to Christians to continue to judge others in that context. Instead I feel the mantra should be “love the sinner and hate our own sin.”‘ There’s plenty of work to do while looking in the mirror rather than looking around picking others apart to make myself feel better.

    Posted by Travis | January 15, 2014, 9:56 PM
  2. I grew up on the same church as Jake and honestly have about the same amount of exposure to this topic. I was confronted with it last week when I found out that my female OBGYN who delivered both of my kids is gay.
    I honestly struggled with knowledge and if I was going to continue to see her. Then I remembered that she saved my life with my son and realized that if I trusted her with my life, could I not trust her to be professional? And what good would it do if I did stop going? Just reinforce the stigma that Christianity is about the rules and not about the relationship with one another.
    So here’s to my doctor! And her cake!

    Posted by Lisa Stitt | January 15, 2014, 10:42 PM
  3. Very poignant and honest article. For some time, I have believed in the power of the relationship and how it can transform not only our thoughts of others, but also our responses to those who are different from us in any way. In our complex natures, we often find that we struggle with many things, including how to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. But, when we are focused on loving our fellow human, the answers to how we must walk and talk among each other become ever more clear, and the road we tread to freedom becomes the beaten path toward sensible discourse about the worth of all human beings regardless of sexual orientation. So, I say also, let them eat cake.

    Posted by TheXuischar | January 16, 2014, 2:13 AM
  4. You know what really bothers me is that people don’t look at others as an equal. We are all created by God, and in God’s eyes, we’re all perfect to him. The problem with society today is that they believe one thing and are so passionate about their beliefs that it becomes okay to them to dictate peoples lives. If people are so passionate about the Bible and they follow it as they say, then take note that it says “Don’t judge lest you be judged as well” Our country was not based on Christianity but on the “Freedom of religion” -Sam Adams. People should be able to love whoever they want to love and live a life without worry. Watch this video I posted and take into consideration what it would feel like to be treated like that if the shoe were on the other foot.

    Posted by M&M | January 16, 2014, 11:37 AM
    • Wow, what a powerful statement of the reality. I grew up in the home of a Nazarene preacher. I attended Olivet Nazarene college. I was lucky enough that no one connected the dots before I was an adult or my story would no doubt have been just like this little girl’s dramatization. I came out as an adult male after two failed straight marriages. All the unnecessary pain and grief. All because of “christian values” – its a messed up world.

      I’m no longer a christian of any stripe, but I’m glad to see that there are Nazarenes brave enough to start grappling with this issue.

      Thank you,

      Bronze

      Posted by Bronze | May 2, 2014, 11:06 AM
  5. Amen! I appreciate you.

    Posted by jrcummings93 | February 6, 2014, 10:04 PM
  6. Thanks Jake!

    Posted by Clint | February 22, 2014, 2:07 PM
  7. All this gay stuff comes from WHORING heavy drugs and sex outside of marriage, when that happens people receive evil spirits. If you go out as a young person to bars looking for the opposite sex and wind up in the sack with someone involved with bi-sexuality or someone involved with the occult, and you didn’t know it …u received a evil backwards spirit.

    Many people in this generation have evil spirits and (don’t know it) that includes straight people..because of whoring and very few have repented. Others are polluted with evil spirits and r possessed and sleep around everywhere infesting more people…inside of those who r possessed, “{gay)”,many many r waiting to be freed from the grip of satan because they r possessed and there is nothing they can do about it, unless someone prays for them. Which very few do, because for whatever reason, no one seems to understand.

    At the same time many gay people who r possessed, secretly get involved with churches not telling people they r gay and end up wearing holy e tire….telling the people to except the gay life style, blah blah blah and because so many people have very little faith, they will except whatever they r told to keep peace and for the good of humanity….which is a pile of crap!

    This is a current list of accused priests http://bishop-accountability.org the number of accused priests is beyond staggering!

    Many other churches have the same problem…a good church is far and wide between in this generation.

    If u were to look back in history, there was alot of gays in the early 1900′s and gay movies at theaters. In 1917 The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to children in a place called Fatima. She gave a warning that if people don’t repent God the Father will punish us by a world WAR…that happened, not just once but twice. When the wars was over, in the 40′s and 50′s was the cleanest time with many living with good morals. Divorce was taboo, the movies were clean and decent and people like my mom did not even know what a lesbian was until the 60′s.

    In the 60′s young people rebelled…heavy drugs, dirty feet and dirty bodies and hair…open sex ,orgies and whatever. The singer Cher was a part of that and tried a lesbian thing that she realized was not for her….the point is, she tried it! and got cursed for it, just look at her daughter or son…whatever this person is? that goes with many many others…it started back in the 60′s and many r cursed by it. There is even prophecy that the pope at that time stated “the smoke of satan has entered the church.

    Here’s something off the wall. The Lord has different ways of showing people stuff, if they r receptive. The rock star Alice Cooper was the first man to have a woman’s name .We all know how he flaunted sick images of all kinds in everyone’s face. Alice Cooper comes from a very strong long line of ordained Baptist Ministers and other preachers in his family. His father was a ordained Baptist Minister and the woman AC married, her father is also a ordained Baptist Minister.

    When he first came out IN 1968 0R 69 the majority of people hated his guts BIGTIME!…In LA people would buy tickets just to walk out….even when they came to see Jim Morrison and the Doors…they cleared the building empty when Alice Cooper took stage before the Doors.

    Within ten yrs after Alice Cooper …gay bars flourished in all major cities…men dressed like women and women dress like men…Everything u see when u look at Alice Cooper is what this generation is all about…total darkness. What people use to hate is now excepted as a normal thing. When AC chopped babies to pieces in front of the world…they didn’t realize, it’s about them and the onslaught of abortions everywhere!…instead, they would point the finger at AC and say your sick! when it’s really the whole generation that is sick.

    AC has never, ever, whored around, never divorced, and he’s not covered in tatoo’s like everyone he is surrounded by.

    There is more to this, The Blessed Virgin has appeared everywhere around the world…VERY FEW LISTEN….There is a Great Warning coming to everyone…After the Warning, many will flock back to church not realizing many of the churches r sick. Soon, after the Warning, the ANTI CHRIST will come out as a man of peace and per sway the people that gay is ok, and preachers the current pope and governments political people and many by the multitudes will agree with this anti christ…until he shows his full colors.

    When he shows his full colors, persecution of Christians will be alarming…..the same thing that everyone has seen at a Alice cooper concert…the hangings guillotines, electrocutions will happen in real life to many Christians and to those who will not take the mark of the beast…which will be a computer chip on the hand or forehead..

    It’s true…The Second Coming of Christ is right above us. It’s going to happen in our life time…once the Warning, then the anti christ for approx 3 and a half yrs…then The Second Coming.

    Only Catholic prophets r calling out about the Warning in the Christian world..all other Christians from different denominations….r putting flames to it because it comes from the Virgin Mary and only a few listen to her when she appears with messages for the whole world. Even many many Catholics today r against these messages of The Warning and Second Coming of Jesus.

    Because a whole pile of them, r queer.

    In Jesus Name, Thy Will Be Done, Amen and Amen (*)

    Posted by The Flash | August 25, 2014, 9:24 PM

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