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Dr. Richard Mouw,

As a former Evangelical, as a Christian and as a gay man, I have been stunned by the relative silence that I have heard from Evangelical circles in the wake of gay teen suicides of the last few weeks. I was eager to hear your interview and eager to hear something meaningful added to the conversation.

Thank you for your emphasis on civility, respect and reverence for all people.

Thank you for your clear compassion, humility and desire to honor the divine in those with whom you may disagree.

However, civility without respect for the individual is condescension. How is your response different than the 1950's woman who declared, "Why we're not prejudiced; we love our black servants!?"

When will Evangelicals recognize that when some people are deemed unworthy of equal rights, that they are also deprived of the compassion, civility, respect and reverence that you have sought to establish?

The problem is that Evangelicals (and Mormons, and Catholics, and others) take a few scriptures out of context and demean one set of people.

No where is Scripture is the subject of same gender, committed relationships discussed. Because of the patriarchal and misogynistic cultures of middle eastern peoples, (and hence the Scriptures) it has never been possible to raise the issue. Fortunately, our "morally relativistic" world of today has opened the conversation so that voices previously denied access to the table are speaking up.

It is time for Evangelicals to come to the same conclusion that they have on other issues. Sometimes Scripture has culturally mandated commands that are not rooted in the heart of God. No reasonable Evangelical expects women to keep their heads covered anymore. Though Paul clearly taught that they should. No reasonable Evangelical believes that women should be kept separate. And, no reasonable Evangelical believes that divorced people should not be allowed to remarry.

I greatly appreciate your effort. But, you fall short. Only by conceding the error of your theology (like those who repented of racial discrimination before you) will you be able to demonstrate respect and reverence for all people.

Thank you for your efforts.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness.
May God lead us all as we seek to honor him in our lives and our witnesses.

Respectfully Yours,

Jim East