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National Cathedral invites preacher despite past anti-LGBTQ statements

National Cathedral invites preacher despite past anti-LGBTQ statements

Controversy arose after the National Cathedral on Wednesday announced the preacher for the main Sunday service on February 7th.

We’re thrilled to welcome one of America’s best-known pastors and authors to the Canterbury Pulpit as our guest preacher…

Posted by Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The drew post drew negative comments and a petition for the Cathedral to withdraw the invitation.

As Episcopal News Service explained Friday,

Washington National Cathedral faces a growing backlash from some Episcopalians for inviting popular author and evangelical megachurch pastor Max Lucado as guest preacher Feb. 7 despite Lucado’s past statements against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Opponents of that decision also have circulated an online petition urging the cathedral to rescind its invitation to Lucado over his “fearmongering and dehumanizing messages.” They point specifically to a 2004 article in which Lucado calls homosexuality a “sexual sin” and outlines a biblical argument against gay marriage while suggesting it could open the door to legalizing polygamy or incest.

Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith defended the decision in a written statement that the cathedral is providing to people who ask about the invitation to Lucado.

“Our commitment to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters is unshakable and unchanged,” Hollerith said. “We believe the Gospel calls us to nothing short of full embrace and inclusion.” Hollerith continued that he understands the concerns about Lucado’s past statements on LGBTQ issues and doesn’t agree with those views, but “repairing the breach” starts with listening to people who disagree.

See ENS’s story for more of Hollerith’s statement and more from the opponents of the invitation.

Lucado has expressed his bafflement over the evangelical support for former President Trump.

The Episcopal Café shared the ENS story on its Facebook page where it also drew considerable comment.

Lucado did preach Sunday.

In a surprise, the Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson served as celebrant at the service.

Following the Peace, Robinson spoke for 8 minutes about the controversy saying he stood with the Cathedral’s decision. The Cathedral tweeted video of his statement.

It was not of course the sermon which the controversy, but rather the preacher and his past statements.

The same video was posted to the Cathedral’s Facebook page where it drew considerable comment. The Facebook link to the service has drawn over 1,500 comments.

Sunday evening, the Bishop of Washington weighed in with a defense of the decision:

I wish to respond to those who have expressed your feelings about Washington National Cathedral’s decision to invite Max…

Posted by Mariann Edgar Budde Page on Sunday, February 7, 2021

Critics remain unconvinced. For example:

I listened to Bishop Gene Robinson, who is my friend and whom I admire deeply, this morning, and I still haven’t heard a…

Posted by Jim Naughton on Sunday, February 7, 2021



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Michael Bruno Thorne

For many of us the Episcopal Church has been our country of refuge. After heartbreak, rejection and flight from the other expressions of christendom we discovered it, studied it, came through its many doors and made it our new home. We rejoiced in finding a safe and welcoming place here. We became active with our time our talents and our love. So the invitation to preach at our greatest church to a man who persecutes and reviles us was a shock that seems like a betrayal.
This mega-church celebrity preacher is a threat to us. Why was he offered the pulpit.
We have a wealth of great preachers among our own sons and daughters why him.
It was an insensitive and harmful act.

Scott Arnold

All of our messages are mixed. We all attempt to preach a pure Gospel, but we fail. We all interject our own prejudices, politics, our own needs and realities into the telling of the Gospel. The hard part is to listen to all the differing voices and piece together the truth in each… whether, fundamentalist, evangelical, Anglo-Catholic, etc… and find Jesus.

Stuart Schadt

Our call to enter into dialogue with those whose views we may not share nor even understand is a worthwhile endeavor. But as someone who holds that word and sacrament are jointly sacred parts of our worship and life together, I find beginning that dialogue by intrusting the sermon at a Sunday morning liturgy to a person who disavows LGBTQ rights and women’s rights in the church to be highly questionable and even hurtful. I am sorry this happened.

Eric Bonetti

My question is this: Would Randy Hollerith be prepared to invite someone from the KKK to preach, then ask those hurt by the invite to come together so they can talk about it?

This decision, with its resultant fauxpologies and suggestions we just get over it is profoundly offensive.

The Cathedral can say goodbye to my financial support.

Lexiann Grant

Max Lucado??? Why? What was the public of having him? This guy’s theology is about as far from Episcopalian as you can get.

Bruce Cornely

Why be surprised. The National Cathedral has strayed so far from traditional Anglican/Episcopal theology and behaviour that nothing they do or say surprises me. The present attitudes and behaviour are an embarrassment, and it might be time to lift their franchise!

Joseph Smith

Perhaps the National Cathedral and any other parish or diocese that strays from “woke theology” should be banished to the Anglican Church in North America.

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