This is gross, but there’s a silver lining. Jeremy sets it up:
One one hand, it’s great that Pastor Michael Martin of Arlington, Tennessee’s Oak Spring Baptist Church is telling his congregants that blood is thicker than water. On the other hand: he’s selling truly disturbing snake oil, telling these same congregants that the main reason you maintain the relationship is so you can “save” your kids.
So, listen to the audio, then I’ll point out a couple of things:
First of all, Arlington is a Memphis suburb. Although it’s disturbing to know that these sorts of messages are still being preached not far from where I used to be a closeted gay teenager, it’s not surprising. This stuff is still, unfortunately, everywhere in conservative religion. But I would simply point out to anyone who might stumble across this, who is somehow affiliated with this church and who might be in the closet, that there are myriad wonderful, open, affirming churches in the Memphis area, including predominantly black churches. So, gay teen who is hearing that message on Sunday morning at the Oak Spring Baptist Church, you have options!
But here is the silver lining. We know that the whole idea of people being “delivered from homosexuality” is a myth, and it’s one that any parent in that church, if confronted with LGBT offspring, will either have to wrap her head around or risk losing her child. Because no, parents, neither you nor your God are going to “deliver” your children from homosexuality, but if this pastor is teaching parents not to kick their gay kids to the curb, then that’s sort of a good thing. Now if only Pastor Michael Martin would speak next Sunday about also not making their gay kids’ lives a living hell, then we’d have something to work with.
(Not holding our breath.)
Also, for the easy counterpoint, an example of of what a truly good parent to an LGBT child looks like: Magic Johnson.