For years, we heard that the LGBT agenda wouldn’t affect you. Now, it’s not only affecting you — it’s affecting your church.
When the pastor of Metro City Church in Michigan reached out to help teenagers struggling with their sexuality, he never dreamed the workshop would be a story on the national news. After all, he was just doing what a spiritual leader should: ministering to the hurting. But no sooner had Pastor Jeremy Schossau launched the six-week program and the harassment began. Death threats started streaming into the church office — on Facebook, Twitter, and Metro City’s phone lines. Angry activists threatened to burn the church down or shoot members of the staff all because one congregation dared to offer healing, wholeness, and hope.
The series, called “Unashamed Identity Workshop,” was advertised as a girls-only outreach for kids 12-16 years old, who struggle with thoughts that they should identify as transgender, bisexual, or gay. “Through thoughtful, relevant, and biblical counsel, we will help your girl be unashamed of her true sexual identity given to her by God at birth.” Maybe, Pastor Jeremy says in this video response to the protests (which reached a mob of hundreds outside the church over the weekend), people don’t understand what the church is doing.
“A lot of people are calling this conversion therapy,” he says. “And if you think conversion therapy is grabbing somebody and forcing them into a pastor’s office and beating them with a Bible and condemning them and spitting on them and judging them, that is wrong. We oppose that in every single way. What we are about is conversation — not conversion. We are about conversation, not condemnation… [But] we find it incredibly odd that a community that has been so vocal about tolerance… about freedom, about choice… is seemingly very anti-choice when it comes to sexuality.”
But amazingly, nothing the church says seems to matter. State legislators are so incensed at the idea that people would willingly seek help that they’re calling for an investigation into the church! “It is wildly inappropriate to offer conversation therapy classes in our communities,” state Rep Adam Zemke (D) told local reporters, despite the fact that the church offers no such therapy! “I am proud,” Zemke went on, “to sponsor a bill to prohibit these practices in Michigan.” Until then, he’s calling on state Attorney General Bill Schuette to launch an official probe under the Consumer Protection Act.
This is astonishing call — even for the Left. For liberals to attack an event at a local church (instead of a therapist’s practice or counseling nonprofit) is a radical step into totalitarianism. What’s more, it shows the raw hostility they have for any sort of religious accommodation on social issues like sexuality. A church should be the freest and most logical place to engage in these conversations. Now, the Left is trying to change even that.
“Liberals have shown their contempt for religious liberty,” FRC’s Peter Sprigg pointed out, “suing and driving out of business a Jewish ministry that helped adults achieve the same goal. If they succeed in this attack on a local church, it’s only a matter of time before they try to outlaw even the verbal expression of the truth that a person’s sexual identity can change. Even people with no personal interest in sexual orientation or gender identity counseling should be alarmed at these growing attacks on religious liberty and free speech.”
FRC’s Travis Weber agreed, warning every church that it’s only a matter of time until the Left comes for them. “This should be a wakeup call for any Christian across our country who holds to historic biblical teaching on marriage and sexuality. Those who think they can stay out of the fray and avoid conflict by publicly staying silent on this issue are mistaken. Maybe not today, but at some point, you will have to take a stand for what you believe.”
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.