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Christian Group Says 'I'm Sorry' at Gay Pride Parade in Chicago

Imsorry

A group from The Marin Foundation, a Christian group whose goal is building bridges between the religious and LGBT communities, set up in an area adjacent to Chicago's Gay Pride parade over the weekend, writes Nathan, a Director of Pastoral Care at the foundation, in a blog post:

"I spent the day at Chicago’s Pride Parade. Some friends and I, with The Marin Foundation, wore shirts with 'I’m Sorry' written on it. We had signs that said, 'I’m sorry that Christians judge you,' 'I’m sorry the way churches have treated you,' 'I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry.' We wanted to be an alternative Christian voice from the protestors that were there speaking hate into megaphones."

Nathan discusses the various reactions to the group as people read their signs and "got it", but was most touched by one parade participant:

He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”

Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs.

This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified.

I think a lot of people would stop at the whole “man in his underwear dancing” part. That seems to be the most controversial. It’s what makes the evening news. It’s the stereotype most people have in their minds about Pride.

Sadly, most Christians want to run from such a sight rather than engage it. Most Christian won't even learn if that person dancing in his underwear has a name. Well, he does. His name is Tristan.

However, I think Jesus would have hugged him too. It’s exactly what I read throughout scripture: Jesus hanging out with people that religious people would flee from. Correlation between then and now? I think so.

Read Nathan's whole blog post here, and an update.

Like Dan Savage, who originally pointed me to this story, I don't know too much about The Marin Foundation or its underlying goals and philosophies, so I'm hesitant to endorse them as an organization. If anybody knows whether their actions are sincere or mask some sort of goal that hasn't been disclosed, feel free to let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: And it appears I was right to be skeptical. Check out this article written by Michelangelo Signorile for The Advocate in 2006, which exposes Andrew Marin, the group's founder, and reveals how he suckered national LGBT groups with his message.

"I invited Marin to be on my program on Sirius Satellite Radio , where he would not answer a simple question I asked four times: 'Do you affirm homosexuality as normal, natural, and healthy?' Marin claimed that as a 'bridge' he had to be circumspect and also denied ever saying the foundation would make him rich. He also said that he had the full support of HRC, GLAA , and GMHC , which he had linked to and listed on his Web site as 'sponsors and donors,' even though he admitted they had not given him any money."

Watch the group's video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Andrew Marin is a Christian who has been living in Chicago's Boys Town for several years. He has reached out to the GLBT community (calling them GLBT, not teh homosexuals) in all forms. He has tried as much as possible to know gay and lesbian people in all forms. The website is www.loveisanorientation.com.

    Here's a dustup he had with LaBarbera:

    http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2008/04/labarberas-shameless-self-promotion-may-damage-a-real-ministry/

    That's all for now.

    Posted by: JFE | Jul 1, 2010 8:19:12 AM


  2. Wow. Just wow.

    Posted by: Rocco | Jul 1, 2010 8:21:22 AM


  3. If this is for real it's effing awesome and so empowering for our straight allies to see and hear.

    Posted by: RONTEX | Jul 1, 2010 8:30:46 AM


  4. I've follow his writings for a while since I live here in Chicago. I don't think he ever answers the question on whether or not "it" is a sin. Partially I think because it would damage his outreach attempts if he does believe that and said it. I think he's the type to let the "spirit" guide you to that answer through personal journey...but he also seems to apply that to religious wing-nuts too.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 1, 2010 8:51:04 AM


  5. There is nothing "awesome" about it. This group can't even say that homosexuality isn't a sin.

    "The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, God breathed by the Holy Spirit through human authorship (2 Ti 3:16). Our organization does not attempt to rewrite scripture so as to either affirm, or declare judgment on the GLBT community."

    I guess it's a new version of "love the sinner hate the sin".

    Fuck them.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 1, 2010 8:52:08 AM


  6. I would love to see something like this in NYC.

    Posted by: Andy | Jul 1, 2010 8:52:31 AM


  7. Eugene --- living in peace with others does not mean EVERYONE has to believe the same thing.

    They can be sorry for past actions and not being loving enough - and can still believe the message of their religion for THEIR choices and actions.

    If they ever supported keeping gay people second class citizens --- then they are are not sorry and are the enemy of equality.

    All they have to support is freedom and choice.

    It seems they may not be there yet.
    But we should not reject progress in it's baby steps.

    Posted by: tony x | Jul 1, 2010 9:16:12 AM


  8. Frankly, if they're biblical literalists who think I'm sinning and destined to hell, and they still came out to the Pride parade to apologize to us for their fellow Christians, and partied and showed love to us the whole time, I'm more impressed.

    It's the attitude that everyone who doesn't believe exactly what you do is your mortal enemy that's going to destroy our movement and any hope for lasting peace.

    I marched by these guys and gave them a thumbs up, and one of them smiled and thumbs-upped me back. It was moving.

    Posted by: JeffRob | Jul 1, 2010 9:26:29 AM


  9. @tony x

    "living in peace with others does not mean EVERYONE has to believe the same thing."

    You're right. When 50% of your neighbors believe that you shouldn't "flaunt" your sinful homosexuality, you can live in peace by staying in the closet.

    "They can be sorry for past actions and not being loving enough - and can still believe the message of their religion for THEIR choices and actions."

    The thing is, religion doesn't work this way. They certainly don't think that I have a different God, so they can't possibly think that only THEIR homosexuality is sinful.

    "If they ever supported keeping gay people second class citizens --- then they are are not sorry and are the enemy of equality."

    What if they genuinely believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman? Don't they have "freedom and choice" to elect anti-gay politicians? Either way, this Marin guy doesn't seem to say much about "equality".

    The only good thing about this group is that they apologize for some actions of OTHER Christians. It's impressive. But the problem with their strategy of "bridge building" is that it implies moral equivalency between gays and homophobes. It's as if I'm the bad guy for refusing to tolerate Christian homophobia.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 1, 2010 9:49:58 AM


  10. There are Christina groups that actually welcome gays (UCC, for example) and others, like this one, that want to welcome you but also want you to change once you get comfortable in their church. It's a method of luring gay people in, not truly embracing us. Who needs it.

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Jul 1, 2010 10:06:06 AM


  11. Houndentenor -

    You are incorrect about the UCC. It varies from church to church. Those who have gone through a process called "Open and Affirming" have made a commitment to invite LGBT persons into their church and simply accept them for who they are.

    You may have just gone to a church who has not gone through the O&A process, and probably wouldn't.

    Posted by: taodon | Jul 1, 2010 10:26:09 AM


  12. @ Eugene

    I have to say you're filling in a lot of blanks about the organization and about Marin himself without taking the time to get to know them or reading about him (or reading his book, "Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community"). He's not exactly going easy on hardline Christians either.

    Now I'm gayer than Gay Gayerson and just about as agnostic as it goes, but it doesn't get closer to peace by not responding to an olive branch. We've got no choice in the end, we have to live together. I for one am tired of the fight.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 1, 2010 10:31:09 AM


  13. I agree the Marin group appears to be just another version of "love the sinner, hate the sin." Like all these groups, their "unconditional love" comes with lots of strings attached.

    Posted by: Z | Jul 1, 2010 10:47:48 AM


  14. @Dan

    No, I took the time to take a look at their website and other sources. I don't like what I have seen.

    “Does (Marin) consider homosexuality a sin? When I ask, Marin writes the question down on a piece of paper and studies it carefully. ‘It’s theologically sloppy to say it’s not a sin,’ he replies."

    " He's not exactly going easy on hardline Christians either."

    Yep, he's like a man who hates both Nazis and Jews. It saddens me beyond belief that gay men are so comfortable with anti-gay bigotry.

    "Now I'm gayer than Gay Gayerson and just about as agnostic as it goes, but it doesn't get closer to peace by not responding to an olive branch. We've got no choice in the end, we have to live together. I for one am tired of the fight."

    But it isn't an olive branch. Marin implies that it's OK to believe that homosexuality is a sin. He doesn't seem to care about gay rights. He doesn't condemn the "ex-gay" industry. I, for one, need a friend, not a hugger.

    If you're tired of "the fight", you can go back into the closet. After all, Marin's beliefs wouldn't have changed without the fight.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 1, 2010 10:59:32 AM


  15. They don't even speak for all Christians, so their apologies should only be personal. Otherwise, their outsized egos condemn them.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 1, 2010 11:19:37 AM


  16. Sorry, but I've never met a Christian I could trust. It has always been my experience that when dealing with "good Christians" I must guard my wallet and protect my back.

    Posted by: Bob R | Jul 1, 2010 12:29:46 PM


  17. Andrew's a good guy and is definitely on our side. He traveled to Iowa City and attended my wedding with his wife when my husband and I got legally hitched this past January. The Marin Foundation is a Christian organization, but it's nothing like the 95% of the Christian groups out there. He's interested in trying to reduce the culture war static. He's also interested in making the church more friendly for GLBT folks who are seeking a place there. But, really he's just trying to get the Christian community to reduce their rhetoric and relax on the gay stuff.

    Posted by: Jon Trouten | Jul 1, 2010 12:34:16 PM


  18. @Eugene

    First of all you misquoted me...

    Secondly, "Yep, he's like a man who hates both Nazis and Jews. It saddens me beyond belief that gay men are so comfortable with anti-gay bigotry."

    You're the one it seems to be bringing hate to the table. In case you missed it, he's trying to embrace both sides. I'll admit I don't understand how he's able to do it as I've taken the liberal slant, but he's merely asking people on both sides to question their beliefs. I would think if you're secure in what you hold to be self-evident then you wouldn't be bothered by it.

    "But it isn't an olive branch. Marin implies that it's OK to believe that homosexuality is a sin. He doesn't seem to care about gay rights. He doesn't condemn the "ex-gay" industry. I, for one, need a friend, not a hugger."

    How do you suggest one become a friend without a hug first?

    "If you're tired of "the fight", you can go back into the closet. After all, Marin's beliefs wouldn't have changed without the fight."

    I suppose I should have said "fightING". Constant bickering on both sides has taught me (being 35 years IN the fight) that it gets you nothing but extremism and slows progress. As for going back in the closet I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. I couldn't be further from it.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 1, 2010 12:36:52 PM


  19. I was gonna help eugene out here...but I dun hafta...good job! Lotta church fags up in here!

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 1, 2010 12:44:20 PM


  20. I think this is a great beginning. I really do! My question is: "How does being "proud" of who you are have any corelation with prancing around in public in nothing but your underwear?" How could anyone take us seriously and with any validity when this is our representation? I just don't understand the presentation. I try, but I just don't get it. I personally want to be recognized as being just like everybody else despite my sexuality.

    Posted by: Jason | Jul 1, 2010 1:02:23 PM


  21. @Dan

    "You're the one it seems to be bringing hate to the table. In case you missed it, he's trying to embrace both sides."

    OK, he's like a man who's trying to EMBRACE both Nazis and Jews, thinking that it would be "theologically sloppy" to say that Jews aren't an inferior race. From my perspective, it doesn't really change a thing. But, yes, let's ignore Christian homophobia and pretend that I'm the one who's "bringing hate to the table".

    "I would think if you're secure in what you hold to be self-evident then you wouldn't be bothered by it."

    How can I feel secure when I don't even have legal equality? The thing is, we all live in the society, and my security and well-being strongly depend on other people's beliefs, so it's a little ridiculous for Marin to pretend that it doesn't matter if homosexuality is a sin.

    "How do you suggest one become a friend without a hug first?"

    The point is that a hug is not enough.

    "Constant bickering on both sides has taught me (being 35 years IN the fight) that it gets you nothing but extremism and slows progress."

    Is it really "bickering" and "extremism" to say that homosexuality is a healthy variation of human sexuality and not a sin?

    "As for going back in the closet I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. I couldn't be further from it."

    If all gay people go back in the closet or become "ex-gay", there will be no "bickering" anymore. But that's not what we want, do we?

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 1, 2010 1:11:11 PM


  22. So many fundamentalists up in here...

    Posted by: Rocco | Jul 1, 2010 1:51:16 PM


  23. Mr. Marin is doing a good work. Many in the GLBT community, and in the religious community (and those simultaneously in both) are guilty of reductionism.
    People, and, to be sure, sexuality, are far to intricate for that.
    It's not because he's wishy-washy or non-committed, that Andrew isn't answering the question with a "yes" or "no" A yes or no answer will inevitably alienate one group or the other. That very act will negate any bridge building. To "elevate" the conversation, as both he and Brian McLaren are trying to do, is to leave the "list of sins" theology behind. He's not trying to "change" gays or the religious folks. He recognizes that we all, gay, straight, or somewhere in-between, need change. The kind of change, and what direction that change takes, is between the individual and God.
    Therefore, the elevated conversation is about relationship with God, and with each other, and about leaving the whole "sin" issue in God's capable hands. He's not so much avoiding the question, as he's saying that's it's not our question to ask. We just need to love each other, and encourage each other towards growth in Christ. God can take care of what, if anything, needs taken care of.
    I'm sure someone will still want to argue, but that's my take on it.

    Posted by: David Foreman | Jul 1, 2010 2:11:05 PM


  24. It seems to me that gays and lesbians who are okay with and supportive of a so-called religious ally who believes that homosexuality is a sin themselves believe that gay civil equality is negotiable. The melissa etheridge types... They believe that those opposed to our legal and civic enfranchisement represent a "legitimate" perspective that is entitled to respect and acknowledgement. Unfortunately, our "community" is rife with such apologists and passive useful idiots, and they inhibit effective activism and outreach, because anyone who is willing to subscribe to that notion of placation and tolerance of intolerance is not going achieve anything of any substance for this movement in the u.s.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 1, 2010 2:21:49 PM


  25. "Therefore, the elevated conversation is about relationship with God, and with each other, and about leaving the whole "sin" issue in God's capable hands. He's not so much avoiding the question, as he's saying that's it's not our question to ask. "
    Uh yeah, this is total non committal BS from Christian Fundies pretending to be our allies so they can get our money. Even in the best case scenario, I can't help but think these losers think that once homos find their way to their god they will suddenly not want to be homos anymore and see that our "lifestyle" is a sin. Fuck that! I'll take the Flying Spaghetti Monster instead.

    Posted by: AdamN | Jul 1, 2010 2:41:08 PM


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