The story seems to sort of begin in 2009, when a teenage boy in North Carolina, amid depression and suicidal thoughts, tells his mom he’s gay. She’s shocked, naturally, and she’s known for years. As she’ll write: “We’d had inklings all along, ever since he was about 3 years old, that he was just different. His interests, even then, were dressing up in his sister’s tutus, twirling around the room like a ballerina, and playing in my Tupperware.”
Subtle cues a mother picks up on?
Later, as a gesture for National Coming Out Day, the mother decides to write Beth Moore, the Evangelical woman’s leader, and one of the most homophobic humans on the planet.
Meredith Indermaur tells her Christian story.
I saw it as a moral failure, a lie, a rebellion, and an abandonment of who he really was. I wondered where my husband and I had gone wrong as parents. No thanks to James Dobson, we had been led to believe that our parenting was to blame somehow, but we didn’t fit the mold of those gay-making parents to which Dobson referred. What, then? Had we not prayed enough? Taken our son to church enough? Was the problem that we were in a mainline rather than in a non-denominational church? Should we have forced him to stick with soccer, or t-ball, or maybe thrown him into football? He had accepted Jesus into his heart at a young age: Was he too young? Did it not “take?” Was our son’s homosexuality the result of some sin in my life or the life of my husband? Was it due to his birth order — the third child born after 2 girls?
After awhile, she realizes it wasn’t her son who needed to change, but her.
“God used my son — and others like him — to break my heart so that more of Him could get in.”
She doesn’t hear from Moore, but a staffer writes back.
“I am deeply sorry that any portion in the teaching offended you. I realize there are differences in preferences, and in perspective, and I thank you for writing with yours. You have been heard.”
Indermaur posts the exchange to a Facebook group of mothers with gay children. In 2015, a blog with that focus re-prints it. The next day, Rachel Held Evans, the famous progressive Christian, puts it on Twitter.
Fast-forward to 2018. Evans and Moore are having online exchanges. The tricky subject of anti-gay rhetoric comes up.
Amazingly, Moore seems vaguely contrite?
Evans gives her a lot of leeway.
In 2019, after Evans has died, Moore is under fire among more conservative Evangelicals for her call for women to be recognized as spiritual leaders, amid serious problems with sexual abuse, misogyny, etc.
Her enemies, not sure they can get on those grounds, release an “Open Letter” to try and pin her down on gay stuff, since she must’ve gotten squishy on that too.
With these factors in mind, and knowing that millions of people follow your teachings, we would like to ask you:
Do you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful?
Moore defends conservative sexual ethics, but she’s notably dodging the issue. It’s confirmed: there’s been a shift.
In a later Tweet, she invokes Eugene Peterson—a pointed allusion, if you have ears to hear, to the beloved minister and translator who came under intense fire as he was dying for his announcement he didn’t think being gay was wrong.
I wouldn’t have said this 20 years ago, but now I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do. I think that kind of debate about lesbians and gays might be over. People who disapprove of it, they’ll probably just go to another church. So we’re in a transition and I think it’s a transition for the best, for the good. I don’t think it’s something that you can parade, but it’s not a right or wrong thing as far as I’m concerned.
He was attacked, and backed down.
So she’s squishy on the gay issue. How squishy?
Her 2009 book, Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds, features a long, annihilating attack on gay people.
It is one of the most anti-gay texts as could be written, stopping short only of calling for gays to be executed.
She removes the passage from the Kindle version.
The book is still anti-gay, keeping a reference (from an erroneous translation of 1 Cor. 6:9–11) to gays not being able to “inherit the Kingdom of God.”
But there’s no more claim that homosexuality is a special deception of Satan, and one intended to thwart the relationship of Christian people with Jesus.
She removes, as well, the appeal to homosexual people to leave that “lifestyle.”
The deletion was noticed by Moore’s critics, and new rounds of warfare on her erupt. Pressed to comment, in a July 6, 2019 blog post, she addresses it.
“I exceeded Scripture and singled out same-sex sin as particularly satanic,” she says.
She acknowledges the subject has come up before.
I also heard from some heartbroken mothers about their kids who were having a hard enough time feeling ostracized as it was. This prayer book sits on the bedside tables and on the shelves in many Christian homes. Picture a 13 year old struggling with an onslaught of sexual feelings and temptations who has no idea what to do with them. The child picks up the book and reads my words, only, in this case, comes to the conclusion that he or she is particularly demonic. Not only is that devastating to the child. It is not even biblical.
The biblical message, she says, is that “the Bible sets apart marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman.”
I want that kid to know my gracious and merciful Savior, Jesus, and that I would have had reasons in my past to have been thrown out of the camp under Old Testament law if not stoned to death. By the power of the cross of Christ, I live. By His grace alone, I serve.
Her message is that she’d have been put to death under Old Testament law, so they’re all in the same boat? They’d all have been executed, so why not just suspend executions for now?
It’s not really clear, but she is rhetorically evoking John 8, where Jesus refuses the stoning of the woman ‘caught in adultery’.
If gays benefit from Moore’s new stance . . . thank Mary Magdalene?
Beth Moore goes off to sleep it off.
Meredith Indermaur was thrilled.
Christian gay leaders were quick to praise Moore.
For Evangelicals, the old message was: Homosexuality is grotesquely evil, interrupts our spiritual practice even after we’ve kicked you out, and also, you’re going to Hell.
Moore’s new message: Lots of sins are bad?
That’s progress, if you’re Evangelical.