The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

Faith, Hope And Love: Ending LGBT Teen Suicide


Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) pri...

Rev. Patrick S. Cheng, Ph.D.

I have been simultaneously horrified, saddened, and enraged at the spate of suicides in the last month by teenagers and young adults who were bullied for being, or being perceived to be, gay. Billy Lucas, 15, hung himself on September 9 from the rafters of a barn. Seth Walsh, 13, hung himself on September 19 from a tree in his backyard. Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped off the George Washington bridge on September 22. Asher Brown, 13, shot himself in the head on September 23.

As an openly gay minister, theologian, and seminary professor, these suicides have brought back vivid memories of being bullied myself in junior high school. I remember being taunted so badly at the bus stop on Helen Drive that I no longer wanted to go to school. I remember being kicked out of my tent at Cutter Scout Reservation, with my possessions thrown in the dirt, and spending the rest of the night under a picnic table. I remember spending my recesses and lunch breaks in the Taylor Intermediate School library, which was a place of refuge for me, thanks to Mr. Rand, the kind-hearted librarian.

I believe this recent string of suicides by LGBT young people is, at root, a religious problem. For me, there is a clear and indisputable link between these horrible deaths and the rhetoric espoused by anti-gay Christians who continually condemn lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as sinners worthy of divine punishment. Where else do you think the bullies learn their behavior? No matter how well intentioned, anti-gay Christians need to understand that their nonstop rhetoric of sin and punishment creates a toxic environment that views LGBT people as less than fully human and thus deserving of socially or religiously sanctioned violence — including self-inflicted violence.

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October 8, 2010 Posted by | Commentary, Current Events, Societal Concerns | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Was The Real Sin Of Sodom?


The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a paint...

Rev. Patrick S. Chang, Ph.D.

To many anti-gay Christians, I’m nothing more than a “sodomite” who is damned for all eternity. It doesn’t matter that I’ve spent the last decade immersed in the Bible, ancient biblical languages, and the Christian theological tradition. It doesn’t matter that I’ve dedicated my life to preaching, teaching, and ministering to all people, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The simple fact that I’m an openly gay man makes all of that irrelevant. To anti-gay Christians, God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in chapter 19 of the Book of Genesis is a warning to people like me.

Ironically, I believe that these anti-gay Christians actually have it backwards. The true sin of the Sodomites as described in the Bible has nothing to do with same-sex acts per se. Rather, the ancient Sodomites were punished by God for far greater sins: for attempted gang rape, for mob violence, and for turning their backs on strangers and the needy who were in their midst. In other words, the real sin of Sodom was radical inhospitality. And, ironically, it is often anti-gay Christians who are most guilty of this sin today.

The biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah begins when two angels, disguised as travelers, arrive at the gates of Sodom. They meet Lot, a relative newcomer to the city, who insists that they spend the night in his house. The other men of Sodom learn about the two strangers in their midst. In contrast to Lot’s gracious hospitality, which includes preparing a feast for his guests, the men surround Lot’s house and demand that he turn over his guests so that they may “yada” them (Genesis 19:5). Anti-gay Christians have interpreted this Hebrew word narrowly to mean “to have sex with” and thus have interpreted the sin of Sodom as nothing more than engaging in same-sex acts, as opposed to “rape” or “molestation.”

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October 3, 2010 Posted by | Biblical Studies | , , , | 1 Comment

Eddie Long Victim Of Spiritual Warfare: Condemned As Predator And Monster


Christian Science Monitor

One of the four young men accusing Bishop Eddie Long of abusing his pulpit power to force them into sex has now gone on Atlanta’s airwaves to condemn the charismatic megachurch pastor as a “predator” and a “monster.”

Bishop Long, who denies the charges but admitted from his pulpit Sunday that he is “not a perfect man,” has decried the case on television as “spiritual warfare.”

But even as the heated exchanges multiply in the Atlanta media – in what some observers say could be an attempt to jockey for position ahead of an out-of-court settlement – a more immediate question is looming for Mr. Long: Can his ministry, and his 25,000 member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, survive the increasingly explicit accounts of Long’s alleged misdeeds?

Some who study the black church will be watching to see how his flock reacts when Long passes the plate at Sunday service.

“There’s a lot of theater here, it’s a live chess match,” says Tulane sociologist Shayne Lee, author of “Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace.” “The plaintiffs want to keep the blood flowing, and Bishop Long is trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding. But the longer this goes on in the media, the more [church] members are going to demand cogent responses to the claims instead of vague denials.”

Long became emblematic of an anti-homosexual strain of the black church after he marched in gay-friendly Atlanta against gay marriage in 2004. Part of his ministry is dedicated to “delivering men” from same-sex inclinations. At the same time, the lawsuits allege that some in the church community were aware of Long’s alleged same-sex trysts.

On Sunday, most New Birth parishioners loudly and excitedly voiced support for Long. But for some, Long’s rebuttal from the pulpit fell short of assuring parishioners that he’s telling the truth.

“He wasn’t genuine,” one woman said as she left the church Sunday, ABC News reported. “It was very heartbreaking.”

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October 1, 2010 Posted by | Current Events | , , , , | 1 Comment

Eddie Long Can Repent By Apologizing For Gay Bashing


Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Embattled mega church preacher Bishop Eddie Long came as close to confessing his sexual debauchery as any debaucher could come without actually confessing. He cryptically told his singing, shouting, handclapping flock that he wasn’t a perfect man, and that he would face some painful situations. This was a good step forward for Long. He didn’t do the usual soft shoe, duck and dodge around the issue. Or worse, defiantly claim that he was being persecuted for being a pure and righteous man of God. Or even worse still, break out in a teary eyed plea to family and flock for forgiveness.


Long set the standard of bigotry and bias for a new generation of conservative fundamentalist mega black churchmen on gay rights. An apology and outreach won’t undo that. It can though be a step toward his personal repentance. God, I’m sure, would approve.

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September 26, 2010 Posted by | Current Events | , , , , | Leave a comment