A gay evangelical Christian wanted to show Christian love to the Oregon bakery owners who were sued because they declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. His idea was to have a crowd-funding campaign to help the couple whose business folded after the flap went public. The idea was a flop. It didn’t raise much money, and both sides hated it.
Matt Stolhandske, a board member of the newly created Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, wrote a Washington Post op-edOct. 17 asking others to join him in raising funds for Melissa and Aaron Klein, Portland-based Christian bakery owners who, in 2013, declined to bake a cake for a lesbian couple’s wedding. Stolhandske wrote that he knew the campaign would generate “shouts from progressive and gay friends.”
“I am not rewarding their behavior, but rather loving them in spite of it,” wrote Stolhandske, a gay Christian advocate who has worked on international development projects. “It is time for these two communities, which both cite genuine love as our motivation, to put aside our prejudices and put down our pitchforks to clear the path for progress.”
Neither side liked the idea very much.
The idea was unwelcome from both gay activists and those who oppose same-sex marriage. His activism was a conflict of interest given his work with Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, Eliel Cruz wrote for The Advocate.
“You cannot serve on a board for marriage equality, then financially support someone who wants the right to refuse service to LGBT people,” Cruz wrote. It’s full equality or none at all.”
The move was a publicity stunt, wrote Eric Teetsel, executive director of the Manhattan Declaration project, which works to preserve traditional marriage.
“It seemed obvious to me that the right, and truly Christian course, would be to stick up for the fundamental freedom of religion and conscience,” Teetsel wrote on Facebook.
This is why “hate the sin, love the sinner” theology fails. What was missing in this attempt at giving an olive branch was the part of reconciliation that requires the parties to meet and truly hear each other and for everyone to own their part.
Posted by Andrew Gerns.