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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Rapid Response Team gets hazardous duty pay for this one.

How can Christians who despise the LGBT community help in Orlando?

This article doesn’t say, but it does detail how leading antigay evangelical organizations are doing their darndest to get some earned media out of the murders.

Parachuting in first is the Response Team of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, whose CEO is Franklin Graham. In January, Franklin Graham called LGBT worshippers “the enemy in our churches”. He has also declared, he loves gay people "enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it's the flames of hell for you." He accuses gay Americans of “recruiting children” and calls them “perverts.”

I can’t really imagine the bedside manner of a Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Member. Will he urge the survivors to seize the second chance God and the surgeons have given them to repent? How will they comfort families after telling them their loved ones went to hell?

And what will they say to the survivors of the straight people who died in the club, like the mom who died alongside her gay son?

Another early responder was Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

“Today’s deplorable act of terrorism goes against everything we stand for as Americans and as Christians,” he said in a statement Sunday. “We call upon all Americans to come together for the purpose of building a firewall of love, grace, truth and respect against intolerance, hatred, bigotry and violence.”

LGBT Americans are, presumably, outside Rev. Rodriguez’s firewall. Earlier this year, he achieved the remarkable distinction of being the only anti-gay evangelical to serve on the anti-gay advisory panels of not one, but two, Republican presidential candidates at the same time: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Now that’s doubling down.

Southern Baptist supremo Russell Moore took his standard “hold your nose and reach out with your other hand” approach. As the article notes, “In a tweet shared nearly 2 million times by Monday afternoon, Russell Moore, president of Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said, ‘Christian, your gay or lesbian neighbor is probably really scared right now. Whatever our genuine disagreements, let’s love and pray.’”

It doesn’t seem to get through Moore’s judgmental mental filters that many LGBT Americans are, in fact, Christians, too. And even more would like to come home to their churches. It’s just that they can’t figure out how to square Jesus’ message of God’s wildly inclusive love with the evangelicals’ Bible-as-insurance-policy, filled with exceptions and exclusions and deductibles.

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