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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. "If you are looking for the world to agree with everything you believe - especially everything about religion - you're going to be waiting a while. And if you're going to insist that others MUST agree with you, then you are no better that the churches who do exactly that."

    I demand that people not think I am disgusting because of the color of my skin.

    I insist that people not think I am a sinner because of the color of my skin.

    I hope that people will not think I am uneducated, ignorant, a thief, or criminal, because of the color of my skin.

    But it's okay for people to think the above about me because of my orientation?

    I have no problem demanding that people think I am no better or worse than they are because of my orientation. There is NO middle-ground!

    You're free to believe what you want about me, and I'm free to call you a friend or foe because of it.

    Posted by: Leonard | Jul 1, 2010 10:11:03 PM


  2. Sure, Andrew is a great guy, nice, former 'bible bangin' homophobe' (catchy huh?)

    Please just read this ONE quote, it should tell you everything you need to know. It's from him speaking in a seminar to church leaders who work with kids.

    'We have a window here, of 13,14,15 years old. And that window gives us the realization of attraction of the same sex, and there's a quick two years before they totally come out and say 'hey, I'm GLBT'. And we all know when someone comes out and declares their orientation they tell everybody, family, friends. And what happens is that then their identity becomes wrapped up in being gay.

    How much more difficult is it for someone who identity is already wrapped up in being gay? Than it is for someone who might have a SSA and their identity is not wrapped up in being gay. There is a huge, huge period with those two and half, three years.

    And what we have to do is to start deconstructing the integration.

    Because once everything is integrated, and I'll touch on this construct in a couple minutes here. Once everything is integrated, it is going to be...rough. It's going to be rough for us, it's going to rough for them, it's going to be rough for parents, families, and everybody.

    So, if we can hold off the integration part the better off we are going to be with all this. So, just understand, once again, 13,14, and 15 years old.

    +++++++++++++++
    And believe me, he doesn't sound like an ally in the audio. He's preachy, he sounds appalled by the fact that a teenager might be gay. At the end of the day, Andrew believes it's "Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to love, my job to love". [Marin]

    It won't surprise me if he comes on here and says "you don't know me, blah, blah, blah". He's very quick to defend himself.

    Watch for this as a trend. It's the new kinder, gentler, 'evangelical' response to the gays.

    Sure, hugs are good. So is free pizza. You decide.

    Posted by: jon | Jul 1, 2010 11:34:04 PM


  3. Joe - you interview him and tell us what you think. It's love to hear Dan Savage interview him.

    Posted by: jon | Jul 1, 2010 11:38:00 PM


  4. SO sorry -- ANDY, interview him. oops!!)

    Posted by: jon | Jul 1, 2010 11:40:22 PM


  5. How many of you have actually read Andrew Marin's "Love is an Orientation"? I'm looking for hands, here. Anyone?

    As a gay 25-year-old Christian, I must say that no other book has inspired me more to embrace my entire self. It is a powerful text about unconditional love and asking open-ended questions. To Marin, sex is not a standard by which to judge a life. Rather, he celebrates "God’s acceptance, validation, affirmation, and unconditional love in meeting people as they are, where they are."

    Remember that Andrew Marin is dealing with matters of faith and religion -- not politics. So when you cast him aside for not being a vocal Christian advocate for gay marriage, remember that he's trying to bridge the conversational gap between Christians and many in the LGBT community. One can't be a bridge and stand on one (political) side, and his mission is to pose more questions than to give answers. The more that Christians are brought to individually question their assumptions about gays and lesbians, the more they are moved -- internally -- to change their thinking. One cannot achieve this by telling them what to believe.

    To those of you who think his book might take a "love the sinner, hate the sin" mentality, get ready to be blown away.

    Posted by: TreeHugger03 | Jul 1, 2010 11:54:55 PM


  6. All I need to know is that he praised PETER LABARBARA as "courageously taking a bullet for us (Christians) all".

    He often criticizes Labarbara's "tactics" and "methods" but not his mission or his goals.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jul 2, 2010 12:06:36 AM


  7. I have been following this story on numerous sites and have read countless comments, replies and incensed reactions. I am not a member of the gay community and though I call myself a christian, I don't know that many other Christians would label me as such because I don't believe the exact things they do. I believe that love is love and that everyone deserves equality and respect. If we are judged at all it is through the goodness in our actions and our intentions toward others. Simple as that.

    Having said that, it makes me incredibly sad reading through so many hate filled messages in response to Andy Marin's "I'm Sorry" movement. From what I have seen in response to his efforts, the road of hatred and intolerance is VERY much a two way street - there are as many people in the gay community casting a blanket of distaste and mistrust over the entire Christian community as "The Church" casts a blanket of misunderstanding and phobia on the GLBT community. Is the angry response from those who have been persecuted justified? I have never been judged by my sexuality and would be furious if anyone made me feel "LESS THAN" as so many others have. But one, or even many, Christians do not equal ALL Christianity. Hating Christians is no better than hating homosexuality. SHOULDN'T there be a bridge built between the two? SHOULDN'T there be someone out there who wants to cut through all the pain and misunderstanding and create a path to the Church for those who really WANT it?

    Again, I am not in a position to judge anyone's level of anger. But I do know Andy Marin as my dear friend...from before The Marin Foundation ever existed. I KNOW who he is and he is not the enemy. If you don't trust what his website says then talk to HIM personally, he'll respond and answer your questions. I may not be a member of the GLBT community but HE has become one, walking the streets of Chicago's Boys Town and showing those he comes across that he genuinely cares about them AS PEOPLE - not as statistics or dollar signs or someone to change. He is kind and loving and wants to change the way things are between the church and those who have been injured by the wrong path the Church has taken.

    I don't agree with a lot of things about organized religion. I don't even go to CHURCH...but I do know that there are some of us out here who believe in God and equality and equal rights and that love is love no matter where it comes from. I may believe in universal respect but I do NOTHING to spread the word other than pass on my beliefs of equality to my daughter. I have all the respect in the world for those of you, and people like Andy Marin, who get up off the couch and at least TRY to make a difference.

    Put the mistrust aside. Stop judging when you know how much it hurts to be judged. Be angry but at least be open to hearing what Andy has to say...not the people who have interviewed him, not the people who have written about him - just HIM. He'll stop, he'll listen and he'll be honest with you about his beliefs and his desire to make things better for those who desire to be a part of the church. Just give him a chance.

    Posted by: Katie O | Jul 2, 2010 12:19:24 AM


  8. I think we're getting a lot of christianist message managers here who want to white wash marin's clear homophobia, and the fact that he is not an ally of the lgbt community. Not now and not ever. Don't be deceived by this liars and their agenda of misinformation.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 2, 2010 12:37:17 AM


  9. I'm more convinced than ever that the softer religious rhetoric of homophobia and intolerance is the new tactic to recruit and "cure" through faith healing homosexuality. These people are the borg: one mind, one mission, no understanding.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 2, 2010 12:42:48 AM


  10. There are an enormous number of Christian churches with the same messages. The Episcopal church that I belong to is one of them. Just Google "gay friendly church" and your state and find the ones closest to you.

    My particular congregation has had gay clergy, gay lay leaders, etc., for a couple of decades, and we're about 30% gay congregation with 50% gay financing and participation in management.

    There are many, many others out there. The nut on the street corner with a bull horn at Pride is NOT even a majority of Christianity (or Judaism or Buddhists, or ... )

    Remember, Jesus said not one recorded word on homosexuality, and the only time he DID meet a real live homosexual in the Bible, it was the story of the Centurian, and he was praised for having faith beyond anything Jesus had seen in Israel.

    Not exactly a rebuke.

    Posted by: craig | Jul 2, 2010 3:18:40 AM


  11. @Katie O

    " If you don't trust what his website says then talk to HIM personally, he'll respond and answer your questions."

    I want to know if he believes that homosexuality is a sin. He WON'T answer this question. So how can I trust him?

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 2, 2010 4:40:07 AM


  12. @Nalaih |- Then why does EVERY link to archived Advocate articles have an error? Does that mean everything ever written in that magazine has been retracted?

    Please provide proof of your statement "to be fair to Marin the article which you linked to from Signorlie has been retracted by the Advocate for having so many discrepancies and misrepresentations of Marin and many of those interviewed."

    Thanks in advance and remember the ninth commandment!

    Posted by: Bradley | Jul 2, 2010 11:37:32 AM


  13. What Jon posted above about Marin's speech about gay teenagers is esp. damning. This guy is not our friend but is in fact our total enemy. Sorry, once you start screwing around with vulnerable LGBT youth and their self perception and identity, you are working AGAINST us.
    @KatieO
    Uh...Sorry to disappoint you with our angry words of hate. I get that your straight and possibly totally naive about the subject, but Evangelical Christians in this country have done absolutely horrible things to gay people and are currently waging a WAR against us. They treat us like we are less then human, lie about our lives, try to convert us and fight us in our attempts to gain equality under the law. So are we angry? HELL YES!
    Does this mean that all Christians are anti-gay? Of course not. No-one said that. You might wanna get off the cross here because there are actual real minorities in this country who are legal oppressed whereas Christians are doing just fine.
    Once again, your friend is no friend of the gay community despite his words of "love" or whatever non-committal bs he is saying. If he can't make simple statements about gay people not being sinners, or denying that we need to "change", if he defends EVIL people like PETER LABARBARA, if he talks about "getting" to LGBT youth before they come out then he is most definitely our enemy.

    Posted by: AdamN | Jul 2, 2010 2:57:39 PM


  14. You realize that these people "defending" this douchenozzle are probably Marin himself...and the ones that aren't are church fags (lost to the meme). Marin was exposed yesterday on a blogpost as an antigay evangelical fraud by savage and signorile. The guy apparently says very antigay things to evangelical crowds, and tells gay people what they want to hear...with the exception of saying that homosexuality isn't a sin, because this shady religious huckster believes it is (or believes whatever will get him more donations)--but is willing to say anything, and do anything for money.

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 2, 2010 3:09:52 PM


  15. @Tank
    Yeah, you are probably totally right about the people defending him here. They have the self righteousness (you guys are being mean and angry homosexuals!!) and persecution complexes typical of your fundie Christians.
    I hope Andy does another post about Marin and his gang being total frauds.

    Posted by: AdamN | Jul 2, 2010 3:32:14 PM


  16. @AdamN

    "What Jon posted above about Marin's speech about gay teenagers is esp. damning. This guy is not our friend but is in fact our total enemy. Sorry, once you start screwing around with vulnerable LGBT youth and their self perception and identity, you are working AGAINST us."

    From the Marin Foundation website:

    "Growing up, self-discovery is the most difficult part in learning how to live a fully acculturated and satisfied life. The Marin Foundation is here to confidentially walk with the youth through a process of growth, understanding, and discovery so as to help shape a healthy identity wrapped in Christ, not an identity and worth system based only in ones sexuality." (http://www.themarinfoundation.org/classes.htm)


    Apparently, as a gay atheist I have an identity and worth system based ONLY in my "sexuality". Doesn't it remind you of ex-gay bullshit?

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 2, 2010 3:33:38 PM


  17. @Eugene
    Yeah, it does. Somehow I am sure an identity "wrapped in Christ" is really equal to identity where gays become "closeted for Christ" or self-hating sinners. Once you bring kids into it it is equal to child abuse, no ifs, ands or buts about it. We know what horrible things fundies have tried to do to gay kids in this country, this guy just looks like more of the same. He needs to be called out on it.

    Posted by: AdamN | Jul 2, 2010 3:45:08 PM


  18. Actually, I don't think he's "more of the same". He's a nice guy. But he's straight and Christian, so he doesn't feel our pain. He doesn't understand how insensitive he can be. (e.g. http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/are-gay-equality-rigths-orgs-really-fighting-for-equality/)

    That's exactly why he is dangerous - he is perfectly capable of "building bridges" at the expense of the gay community, while thinking that he's a very pro-gay person. What's worse is that many Christians - gay and straight - will support him just because he "loves" gay people. It's especially ridiculous that pretends to disregard "political" aspects of gay equality when his own behavior is very Machiavellian. For example he managed to say, "I believe LGBT people should be allowed to openly serve in the military" and even "I’m in favor of LGBT adoption", but he dodged the question about gay marriage.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 2, 2010 4:21:24 PM


  19. I can upload the audio for everyone to have.

    But I'd like to change the "created by" tag on the file, anyone know how to do that?

    Posted by: jon | Jul 2, 2010 7:41:40 PM


  20. A year ago these were sent to me anonymously by a concerned adult who works with kids in a church.

    I won't question his motives but his words need to be examined.

    VIDEO clip:
    http://www.4shared.com/video/LTLwenzm/Andrew_Marin_At_15_Its_to_late.html

    AUDIO CLIP:
    http://www.4shared.com/video/fzXF-J76/At_15_its_to_late_Deconstruct_.html

    ENTIRE SEMINAR:
    http://www.4shared.com/audio/eDbW2N_4/How_to_Answer_LGBT_Qs.html

    Posted by: jon | Jul 2, 2010 8:09:11 PM


  21. Thanks for that Jon.
    Listening to the longer audio orientation makes it all too clear: This guy is not our ally and is in fact dangerous for gay kids. He talks a lot about luring gay kids into the church and out of the self acceptance of the gay community. He pretty much says at one point he wants us to be celibate outside of marriage and then says he doesn't believe we should get married. He has an anti-gay agenda no matter what he otherwise may claim.
    Eugene is right, he isn't more of the same as the audio makes clear. I don't think he's a nice guy though. He's much more of a wolf in sheeps clothing then other fundies.

    Posted by: AdamN | Jul 2, 2010 9:11:52 PM


  22. @Jon

    Thanks, Jon. What's especially troubling is Marin's answer to the question about a 15-year old who's gay and Christian (around 85:00). Apparently, it's not the best case scenario for Marin. He says, "there's hope for the kid" because he won't be able to get married and have kids at 35.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 3, 2010 5:55:26 AM


  23. I don't expect those who journey with me in faith to hold all the same beliefs that I hold. I do expect to be respected and give that respect in turn for conscientiously arrived at beliefs.

    In the context of the current culture wars engaged with vigor on the Christian Right, Marin and his fellows are distinctive in that they are offering at least respect and apologies for the egregious behavior of the church. They are acknowledging it. To finesse whether they think same-sex erotic behavior is sinful or not is a demonstration of respect. To demand that they come over to "our side" or they can't be extended respect for their views is simply doing the same behavior our community has bitched at the church about for so long.

    I think many are stretching to make these folks out to have a hidden agenda or be the bad guys.

    Posted by: Mark | Jul 3, 2010 12:12:39 PM


  24. @Mark

    "To demand that they come over to "our side" or they can't be extended respect for their views is simply doing the same behavior our community has bitched at the church about for so long."

    I'm afraid you merely demonstrate that many gay people who "journey in faith" can't be trusted. You don't see the difference between homophobia and refusal to respect homophobia.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 3, 2010 12:40:49 PM


  25. Mark,
    Listen to the last audio link Jon posted. This guy has an agenda and they are aiming it at gay kids. He IS a bad guy.

    Posted by: AdamN | Jul 3, 2010 1:10:44 PM


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