A daughter’s coming out, a father’s faith shaken
Photo credit: Bobby Johnson
February 26th, 2013
09:08 AM ET

A daughter’s coming out, a father’s faith shaken

Programming note: Learn more about Kelby’s story and see how she and her dad have overcome prejudice and bullying in the AC360° documentary “The Bully Effect” on Thursday, February 28 at 10 p.m. ET and March 3 and 9 at 8 p.m. ET.

Bobby Johnson’s daughter Kelby came out of the closet at age 14. The reaction from their church, he says, was immediate. “The pastor’s response was, ‘you can come here but you can no longer teach, you can no longer hold any position of authority or power within the church because that’s a part of our bylaws,” says Johnson, adding, “since that day … we have not been back.”

It was a defining moment for a man raised in a deeply religious household, and was the beginning of a journey of introspection of his faith.

“As I began to see the hate, the anger, the intolerance that came out in the community with Kelby, that really made me reflect on what I was taught,” he said.

“One of the things that is always driven into your head growing up in Christianity is that God, being the personification of love, there is no greater love than God. So now as a parent, I look at my child and I think of my unconditional love for my child … I could never sentence my child to an eternity to what Christianity calls Hell,” said Johnson, adding, “I no longer believe in the concept of Hell as it’s taught in modern Christianity.”

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Johnson and his wife Londa were not just congregation members of their Baptist church but also helped found it. “The church actually started at the local high school … then after we raised enough money to build the building, between the time we were meeting in the high school and the time the new building was ready, Londa and I actually took over the youth group and ran that out of our house. So on Sunday evenings all the youth would gather at our house.”

The treatment from their church was compounded by the reaction to Kelby from their small Oklahoma town, as a whole.

“The gay lifestyle in this area in the country … it’s so frowned upon, and so shunned, and so disliked,” said Johnson, adding, “It’s not an exaggeration to say we lost all of our friends, I mean it’s literal – we have no friends left in the community.”

Kelby says she also faced bullying so relentless at her high school, her father began to fear for her safety. “My dad actually made the decision of ‘something needs to be done. I can’t let you go into that school knowing whether or not you’re going to come home.’ So my junior year we actually decided to take me out of school and I went and got my GED.”

While Kelby anticipated some animosity from the rest of her community, she thought their church would be their sanctuary. “This is where you’re supposed to be accepted. You’re supposed to be loved. This is supposed to be a haven for people to come and that wasn’t the case. And that shocked me,” she said. “Because of all that has happened to me, I am now atheist.”

For her father, watching Kelby struggle with her spirituality has been difficult but because of the lesson he was taught, he gives his children room to find their own path.

“You got to be open to questioning what it is you believe. You know you’re taught one thing growing up, but when you begin to see evidence that leads you down a different path to me you are going against everything that means to be a human being to not question that,” said Bobby.

“I think Western Christianity has really chosen to be selective about what they believe and don’t believe in regards to what the Bible says and what they are going to enforce,” he said. “You can walk into any church around here and how many … sitting in that church are divorced? They all know what the Bible says about divorce, but that’s OK. Gambling, alcohol, sexual addiction, those are all lines that are OK for us to cross. We’re going to draw that line on homosexuality.”

Bobby continues to look for a new church that better fits his much different outlook on religion but so far has been unsuccessful. While his faith in humanity is shaken, his faith in God remains.

“I will never doubt my belief in a creator,” he said. “My understanding of that God has changed completely, however, because of this situation.”

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Filed under: Bullying • The Bully Effect
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. James

    The church took the right position. Welcome the person, but don't mix incompatible belief systems together.

    March 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • James

      I should probably clarify my previous comment, as it will inevitably be misconstrued into something it's not.

      This article creates a problem with its use of buzzwords with little to no contextual definition surrounding them. The statement is made that the church ceased to be a safe haven, implying some kind of bullying going on, but the only concrete thing actually stated was the pastor's position which merely separated the church's belief system from Kelby's. It leaves the reader in the position of wondering if there was bullying behavior that wasn't mentioned in this article, or if the church is being labeled a bully because it didn't abandon its teaching of the origin of intimate relationships.

      The statement is then made that bullying went on from the community. Because the previous statement remained vaguely undefined, the ambiguity carries over into this statement as well. One wonders what actually went on.

      Did the bullying involve any kind of threats, insults, condescending attitudes, or any other devaluing behavior? Such behavior is indefensible, especially when done by so-called Christians. On the other hand I hope the church will stand up for an understanding of intimate relationships as being perfectly designed for our good, by a loving Creator, when used in the way that the Creator intended.

      March 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
      • dave

        sexual identity is not a belief system -- I never chose to like girls, it just happened to me

        March 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Leigh C.

        The article implies that Kelby was shunned by her church and community, which she was. Telling someone that they are not welcome in a church because they are gay is the church's right, but that does not make it RIGHT. The Bible teaches that Jesus bestowed his grace and love on those who needed it the most. They were often people who were shunned by their communities and cast away, including prostitutes, people with diseases and disabilities, and the poor. Am I comparing someone who is gay to these people? Yes, because they are people in our society who are discriminated against because of something they can't change, and they should be accepted as they are. If Jesus were alive today, he'd be welcoming them to his side of the table. Not because they need pity, because those who discriminate against them need to be shown how to treat others. Most of the stories in the Bible involving Jesus involve him teaching others how to accept and love everybody. How is it that people who study the Bible and spout hate towards minority groups such as those who are gay can't see this.

        March 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  2. Paul

    All sinners are welcome to come to church, but should they be allowed to continue in their sin? No, absolutely not. Yes, Christians are called to love others and they should, but that doesn't mean they should condone sin. And if they really love their fellow man, Christians and the church should help them overcome the struggles of their particular sin whether it's homosexuality, adultery, stealing, lying, coveting, etc...

    March 4, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  3. Douglas Gray

    Jesus talked about adultery, not homosexuality, as it so often involves lying and being unfaithful to a spouse, as well as hurting children who are affected by a breakup. Why do these churches focus on gays and not on something which is far more damaging a pervasive?

    March 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Terry

      The church does not concentrate on this one sin because no sin is greater than the other. This just happens to be the prevailing topic. The church, I believe, took its stand to say that we don't need anyone in authority with these issues before the congregation. It sends a mixed message. Homosexuality is a sin and should be treated as such. The daughter should be treated with dignity but, she should also know that her behavior will have consequences.

      March 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  4. Chris

    So, let me get this straight – you help start your church. You know what they stood for and believed, you taught what they believed, you invested your time, money and energy into spreading what they and you believed.

    Your daughter ends up gay, the church is willing to welcome her to services but because of what they and you believe and have in your by-laws she can no longer hold a position of authority?

    After teaching it, supporting it, spending your money on it – NOW you take issue with it?

    I don't think it is the church that has the problem. Agree or not with what they believe YOU chose to be a part of that fellowship and YOU agreed with what they believe. You changed, not them.

    March 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Mark H

      Agreed. Well said Chris.

      March 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  5. Adrian

    This is a very delicate subject.

    What bothers me most, however, is that the definition of who God is and what He requires changes (in our minds) according to what is going on in our lives. For this young lady, there is now no God because of one congregation/community's ill treatment. For this father, he may have supported the church's stance AGAINST homosexuality had his daughter NOT come out as a lesbian. I'm assuming he understood the bylaws of the church he helped to establish.

    More and more Christians are practicing 'situational' faith. If it fits MY situation, MY lifestyle, and MY choices then I will believe. If not, I will change what I believe and talk all about God's love but completely ignore the parts of the bible that do not fit MY ideas. This includes those who have premarital sex, multiple marriages, adulterous relationships, gossipers, liars, and yes, homosexuals.

    I wrestle with scriptures against homosexuality. I wish they weren't there. I don't believe homosexuality is a choice. Actually, I don't think it's any of my business what a person does in his/her bedroom. But scripture is NOT silent on this topic. How much bible would we have left if we toss out everything we don't like or that which makes us uncomfortable?

    Situational faith, like situational ethics, is a slippery slope indeed...

    March 4, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Scott


      The bible explicitly condones slavery too. How do you reconcile that with your literal view of the bible?

      I'm truly curious, because I have asked this of several Christians, and they basically say it is ignored because it is inconvenient. I don't know how you could think that the bible may have gotten slavery wrong but on human sexuality, a very complex subject, it got everything 100% right.

      Let's hear your take, because you seem so very sure about homosexuality. Thanks

      March 5, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • chelle

        This father accepted his daughter, looked at his faith and said "how could I have been so wrong". That is commendable, not something to scorn. If it took one of his own to show him that no, homosexuals are not evil, that is great. He changed his mind. As to the text of the Bible that people point to when condemning homosexuals, well there are many scholars who say it has been misinterpreted and it does not even address homosexuality. When a book is translated over and over, sometimes bad translations happen. Look at the common portrayl of Christ being nailed to the Cross through his hands. That is not what the Romans usually did – the nails went through the wrist, and the Hebrew word for hand apparently includes the wrist....it was translated to hand in English and a myth was born.

        March 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Richard

      Does your situation allow you to ethically wear mixed fibers? Scripture is, as you must know, NOT silent on that abomination either. Everyone has a closet.

      March 5, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • Bob

        Old Testament Law on the mixed fibers. Jesus came to fulfill the law so mankind is no longer under Mosaic Law which you speak of! Let's not spread untruths.

        March 6, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
  6. Anissia

    I am so sorry tha this family had to endure so much. That is so awful to be treated that way. Please, do not turn your back on God. He loves you anyway that you are. He know the trials and tribulations that you face. He is giving you the strength to endure while you await your award from God. Call upon him, wait and listen. God will answer you.
    God Bless

    March 4, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  7. Mike

    God bless Kelby and Bobby Johnson. God bless Kelby for coming out (which isn't easy, especially in a traditional American town) and challenging her community and their beliefs; I pray that she might find faith again someday. God bless Bobby for his spot-on comments about the current American Christian hypocrisy; I pray that many more will hear his words and take them to heart.

    March 3, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  8. Rob

    I hope they find a Unitarian Church to attend at least once. There they'll very likely find the acceptance of who they are AND what they believe.

    March 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  9. sam

    It's always amazing to me that people can suddenly change what is acceptable to them in their religion when the circumstances are no longer convenient. The Bible is very clear on a few points. Embrace it wholly or disregard it entirely – but you can't pick and choose.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Dave

      Sam, you make it sound like the Bible is intended to be followed just as it is written. There are statements in the Gospels that make it clear that what is in the Old Testament is no longer valid. The Bible is not meant to be "embraced wholly." As far as Christianity is concerned, much of the Old Testament is referred to for historical context. I am not saying that is completely true, but I am saying that there are over 600 rules in the Old Testament that Christ says don't need to be followed anymore because He died for our sins. I continue to research the Bible as a new Christian, but one thing I have learned is that not EVERYTHING in the Bible has to be embraced wholly.

      March 5, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  10. Keven

    Seems to me the good lord has sent you one of his angels in the form of your lovely daughter. The question is how will the people of your small Oklahoma town welcome Gods gift? So far, they are not doing a very good job. Thank goodness you and your family have recognized Kelby as exactly what she is, Gods angel and messenger. Keep up the good work and be proud Johnson family!

    March 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  11. Rachel

    Or you could all face up to the intellectual honesty and admit there is no such thing as god, it's a bronze-age myth. Why not make the leap into reality and choose a community of progressive and enlightened people?

    March 3, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • kieran walsh

      Yours is the most intelligent posting here.

      March 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  12. Alex

    Here's a very simple and logical question folks can ask themselves about homosexuality and the Bible ... Why would God explicitly condemn homosexuality in the Bible and then allow people to be born gay?? Answer, homosexuality is a lifestyle choice and not caused by God or genetics.

    If there's just ONE false statement in the Bible, then you can throw out the notion that A) Bible is God inspired and perfect B) The entire Christian religion itself. Amazing, with writings thousands of years old, people are still searching for the smoking gun trying to discredit the Bible. The Bible is what I call absolute truth.

    March 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
  13. Brian Gillespie

    To the Johnsons:

    I have walked in your shoes. Number one, love your children unconditionally as Christ loves us. Number Two, I believe that many posters are correct in that there are many churches that are perfectly fine with who you and your family are.

    Finally, to the many religion haters out there: I find your intolerance even more troubling than the misguided leaders of their church. Many posters in this thread clearly illustrate this.

    March 2, 2013 at 8:18 am |
  14. Katie

    Peace and love to this family. You sound like wonderful people and it's a shame that you aren't treated as such.

    March 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  15. Melissa

    This family should move. They will find a much better, bigger life than what can be found in a small, narrow-minded Oklahoma town.

    March 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Krismarie

      I agree. But more to the point, their church and community completely failed them. They might have followed the letter of 'their' law, but the tenets of God's law? They should have circled this family with prayer and support, should have learned that it's now considered by science that being gay or lesbian is genetic, NOT a choice. That the Bible preaches love, not hate. My father was a Conservative Baptist minister and his level of loving his fellow man included prayer groups with local ministers- including Methodists, Catholics, Anglicans etc. He didn't discriminate but showed love to all. Being a Christian means being 'Christ-like'. And that community FAILED this most important lesson.

      March 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • Bob

      Narrow is the path of salvation and wide is the path of destruction! As Christians and all believers salvation should be the ultimate goal ... not what "feels right" while here on Earth. In the end we need to learn what is expected of us and DO IT ! Just like the old Nike commercials!

      March 3, 2013 at 6:15 am |
    • Suzanne

      People who share your opinions are part of the problem in our feeble and week minded country. Bravo Kelby I wish I had your courage and certainly this Melissa person would benefit from even an ounce of your courageous and brave spirit. Kelby you are an inspiration and I wish you the very best.

      March 4, 2013 at 2:34 am |
  16. Karen

    To the Johnsons: I feel so much for the pain you've gone through in this time of your lives but applaud your loving, accepting attitude toward your daughter. Please know that there are faiths and houses of worship that have beliefs more in line with your own. Part of the problerm you are having with friends and lack of churches to welcome you is where you live; if you were located in the Northeast or the West Coast you would find a very different climate. In those parts of the country, there are more immigrants and a more heterogenous population. The midwest and south tend to be much more homogenous, so if you don't fit within the norm, you are out of luck. Please keep the faith, literally and figuratively, and continue to demonstrate your beliefs that all people are deserving of love and respect, regardless of their sexual orientation.

    March 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Bob

      The Old South maybe but otherwise your characterizations are just opined heresay!

      March 3, 2013 at 6:12 am |
    • bella

      What the heck immigrant have to do with this? This is just another christian accomodating chrisitanity to his needs. Like all of them do.

      March 4, 2013 at 6:13 am |
  17. Jennifer

    You may have lost your friends in your tiny community but you have a friend in East Lansing, Michigan. Keep your chin up and know that those judging you are wrong – not the other way around. I agree with the poster that said try the Episcopal Church. My daughter was baptized on a day we welcomed 3 same sex couples into our church – love it! Godspeed to you and your family.

    March 1, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  18. adrianne black

    The biggest sign going acroos the wall of my home Church in Nashville says just this one word,"...Whomsoever...". That is Christs' point of view: We are all welcome in His place!

    March 1, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Bob

      Good !

      March 3, 2013 at 6:10 am |
  19. Suzie N

    So, whatever happened to "tolerance" and "acceptance" ?
    They all preach it

    March 1, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Bob

      No, "they" don't !

      March 3, 2013 at 6:09 am |
    • David Turner

      No, Jesus preached it and most of us give lip service to it, few of us actually practice it. The world suffers from an imperfect understanding of who and what God really is and our place in the vast universes of time and space. The bible is just a fragmented collection of genealogical information, simple parables and misunderstood or misinterpreted stories. There is truth in some of it but truth can be adulterated and twisted especially once a human being gets a hold of it. It has always amazed me that Christianity places such a lot of faith in what is really just a very old book and never bothers to reconcile the fact that Jesus never left behind any personal writings himself. His disciples did but only many years after he was gone. You will read the other posts talking about scripture and God's word but they wouldn't know God's word if it bit them on the ass. The simple truth is that your relationship with God is personal and no one else has the right to judge you or come between you and God. Jesus himself fought against a rigid interpretation of the scriptures in his day and it wound up costing him his material life on this planet. True religion does not require anyone to be other than who they are and it is just fear, ignorance and petty mindedness that causes any so called christian to judge another based on sexuality. God does not concern himself with human sexuality all he requires is our faith and that we love one another as he loves us. Now let the games begin.

      March 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  20. Michaela

    I hope this family might try the Unitarian Church, which is known for its support of the gay community. It's also known for many other spiritual and biblical values – such as acceptance, respect, love and service.

    February 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  21. Sarah Parker

    I have to comment that the actions of the church were appropriate. When you affiliate yourselves with a church, you agree to adhere to the teachings of that church. So don't blame the church when they exercise church discipline for the purposes of redemption and love, but they have to do that. Either you agree with the teachings or you leave that church, its not the teachings that's wrong, its that people want to pick and choose from the Bible, and you can't do that. So for this family who is wondering where is God, you have to remember that Christians are imperfect followers of Christ who are a work in progress.

    February 28, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Kathy Kirkland

      The teachings are wrong. Period. We know that homosexuality is not a choice. It is not deviance. It is not mental illness. Bigotry towards homosexuals is comparable to discrimination based on eye color or ear lobe shape. It is wrong wherever it happens.

      March 1, 2013 at 3:06 am |
      • Bob

        OOOOPPPPS ... The Bible clearly teaches that it(homosexuality) is sin. Clearly!

        You left out spiritual wickedness in high places and evil powers as causes. These are spelled out in the Bible.

        To choose NOT to follow the Bible is clear rebellion against God ... the true original sin!

        March 3, 2013 at 6:08 am |
    • Peter Johnson

      I missed the part where Jesus preached hate.

      March 1, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • Nancy

      Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • David

      Sarah is correct that the church was well within its rights. There are no laws that require that they actually emulate Jesus' teaching of love and tolerance. As long as they don't legally infringe on anyone's rights, they should be allowed to be hateful, bigoted and unChristian.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
  22. jen

    You are a better father and person than any bigot can ever be! I am not gay, nor religious but can relate to the love you have for your

    February 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
  23. Marion

    The lord said love your neighbors – what if your neighbor is Gay, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, into Vodoo, Transgender, every religion you are not of – your neighbor could be any of these people – you love them as Jesus said to. He was quite adamant when he said to LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU WOULD LOVE YOURSELF. So do it. Do as he says and the world will be come such a nicer place.

    February 28, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Karyn

      I totally agree that God was very specific in saying that we are to love even our enemies, He always said, "Go, and sin no more". Where is our love and compassion for people as God has had for all of us.

      March 1, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • Bob

      So, I guess if one does not accept sinful behavior that would constitute hate????

      I've always heard that Christians should love the person but hate their sin. Corinthians exhorts the church on how to handle those living immorally - go to them with 2 elders exhorting them to change, then with a group (if they refuse to change). If they continue to live in sin and rebellion to the teachings of the Bible then, and only then, should they be shunned!

      March 3, 2013 at 6:02 am |
  24. Tara

    I grew up in a southern baptist church. but because of the harsh beliefs, i left. now i attend and am a worship leader at a church called The Living Room, a sister church of Hillsong in Australia and Wave church in VA beach. They are more of a "liberal" church. they accept anybody, regardless of sexual orientation, race, or addiction. look up churchs like this one, or go onto thelivingroom.us, it has alot of the sermons on there. atleast to get to see that there ARE churches who are accepting and loving no matter what.

    February 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Brian

      Whilst you may be lucky in your church being tolerant, Hillsong church is far from tolerant. They have produced anti gay advertisements on Christian radio here in Australia and funnel monies into the rabidly anti-gay "family first" party. I refuse to support churches that use the Hillsong songbooks since royalties (paid out of the collection plate mind you) paid to them goes to anti-gay organisations. God bless.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  25. Max

    Try the Unitarians. It's difficult to find a more forward-thinking group on the entire PLANET...

    February 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bob

      Are they in obedience with the Bible? If not why involve yourself, just go out and do anything you want as that is disobedience too.

      March 3, 2013 at 5:55 am |
  26. Elizabeth Siler

    Consider the Anglican Communion (defined in the US as the Episcopal Church). Very God focused, very meditative, very welcoming to all - but not at all "PC" about it. It's not like you have to take a loyalty oath to a liberal platform - you just have to be willing to share the tent with others. I really like it!

    February 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Bob

      Good stuff!

      March 3, 2013 at 5:56 am |
  27. Marion

    Yes, Martha is quite correct. The United Church of Canada is a wonderful community. We chose that church because it has open arms for the work of women, does not discriminate on sexuality, and is just loving and giving.

    February 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  28. GroverSage

    Peer Pressure. That's the real fear.

    Adults who are deathly afraid of being thrown out of their community of 'friends' are the REAL reason why gay people are hated.

    EXTREMELY ironic since these 'communities' preach that the family is the ONLY thing holding society together................

    February 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Bob

      It is preached that family is important but not more than God. It was said by Jesus ... Love God with all your heart and then love your neighbor as yourself ... in these 2 commandments all the 10 Commandments are covered. So maybe one could be incorrect at calling obedience as "peer pressure".

      March 3, 2013 at 5:53 am |
  29. Joba

    the gods of man do not exist, they never did. Lives wasted in wrong thought, very sad. burn the silly book, put these buildings to better use, grow up and have a beautiful life

    February 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Steve

      How do you know that what you say is truth? Please provide proof. Thank You!

      March 1, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • Bob

      Joba ... do you have even a smidgen of proof of your claim of non-existence?

      March 3, 2013 at 5:49 am |
  30. Chris M

    I suggest they leave that community ASAP, there are many place in the county now where there daughter will be accepted for who she is and there are many protestant churches that will accept her as well. You have to come north, but it is imperative for your daughters life and mental health that you do. She should be going to a quality High School and growing up as a normal teen. Move North or to the West Coast.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Bill Begg

      Chris, I must challenge you about your suggestion that she needs to relocate north. That might have been somewhat true in decades past, but I know through numerous gay and lesbian friends here in NC, SC, Ga, etc. that much has changed here in thw South in recent years.

      March 1, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  31. Rosa G.

    When I hear or read this situations, I become sad, but not surprised. For many people that call themselves Christians still do not know the true character of God. He is love, merciful, and kind. My heart goes out for the parents as well as for their daughter. Regardless of her life style as a christian is our duty, to love her and accept her even if we do not agree with her life style. For we are no one to judge, we are not call to judge, but we are call to love. I have belong to the SDA church for many years, and I have been through lots of situations, but no matter what there is no excuse to renounce faith or to blame God. He is not to blame, for the hardness of heart within his people. You are still loved, for nothing can separate us from the love of God. He will continue to love you and your family even if you choose not to love HIM anymore. Please look up to HIM and what HE did for you, not at the people.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Todd English

      @Rebecca (and others), when you talk about Kelby's "lifestyle", what on earth do you mean? She was 14! The day before, her "lifestyle" was fine, as a founding family of the church, and when she says she's a lesbian, suddenly her "lifestyle" is unacceptable and the whole family is kicked out of the church – for the same "lifestyle" they had the prior day – a loving family. That kind of treatment, by the church and the community is lamentable. Religion is so often the death of spirituality and the quest for true understanding, and a cheap facade for true moral decay.

      March 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Cetia

      I am also saddened to hear about your daughter and those around your family; as a mother and a Christian, it still amazes me how so many "Christians" use their religion to place judgement on others. My Christianity tells me there is only one judge; and it is for certain no other human. All of us....all of us, are sinners. It is so common for these judgemental individuals to declare one persons sin worse than anothers-or their own. The Jesus I was brought up on was one of forgiveness and unconditional love and understanding. My faith teaches me to accept everyone for who they are, not who I expect them to be. God, nor Christ wrote the Bible. It was written my man and his interpreations of the teachings and history of the same. The Bible also states it is ok to have more than one wife, guaranteed the judgemental individuals within this blog will say that is not ok. You can't pick and choose which portions of the Bible are relevant to only your beliefs. Love your daughter-embrace her as Jesus would and leave the judging of those who feel it is their place to judge to their Judgement day. Perhaps one day, they will need forgiveness and understanding and look back to when they were unwilling or too blind to do the same.

      March 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  32. Amy S

    I think it is profoundly sad what this family has experienced at the hand of their congregation. However, the Bible is very clear about how God feels about the homosexual lifestyle. It is not hard to find, and not hard to see that it is an abomination to him. We can't change God's laws to fit our liftstyle. We can't pick and choose what we believe based on what the people around us are doing. I do believe that people can have same-sex attraction. However, I believe that if that person wants to enter the kindgom of Heaven they have a choice to make. They can choose to give into their earthly desires, or they can choose to fight them with every ounce of their being and enter the kingdom of Heaven. This is true of anyone with any immoral desires. I feel for this family, I really do and it is heartbreaking, but I am sorry. It is an ongoing, sinful lifestyle and sin should not be accepted by a church no matter who it is. There is a difference in judging someone and informing them, people.

    February 28, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Dee

      Wow. Have you read the bible cover to cover? Or are you following just what you are told. You have the right to believe what you wish, but it's unfortuate it's all about fear. My daughter and my brother are both gay, I can assure you that they are the most wonderful people in the world. They don't fear.

      March 1, 2013 at 8:19 am |
      • Sierra

        Amy S. speaks the truth.

        March 3, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
      • Joanna

        Dee – Have you read the Bible cover-to-cover? Both the Old and the New Testament clearly indicate homosexuality, along with sexual immorality of all kinds (fornication, bestiality, incest, etc.), lying, stealing, idolatry, etc. (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 for the full list) are unrighteous acts – sinful before God. Why is it that so many people are willing to overlook the prohibition against homosexuality in the Bible, yet they are never up in arms about how it calls out liars and thieves? What folks don't understand here is that if you are truly a Christian (forget all this religion stuff...denominations mean little if you don't truly understand the holiness and righteousness of God) then you DIE TO SELF for the God who died for you on the cross...this means that even if you are tempted by same sex relations, you will forgo them to avoid sinning against God. If a person chooses to do otherwise, then they don't truly love God; He is not their Lord and Savior. We all have a besetting sin...that sinful tendency that's in us that we must fight against. Is it OK for me to be a liar because I want to lie? Is it OK for me to be a thief because I want to steal? Obviously, it is not and most people would be willing to say that but if it's homosexuality that's on the table, we are now hate-filled bigots that don't give a whit about "human rights" for saying these are wrong desires. Well, it's true that I care much less about people's earthly rights than I do about their eternal soul. I would much rather see this young lady in heaven than happily sinning on earth. The Bible says hard things...Jesus says hard things. God is love but love is not God; we have made love an idol in the Christian church today. Jesus spent way more of his time telling people to REPENT and turn from sin than He did tellin them that God loves them. Don't believe me? Seriously, read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and really take notes on what Jesus says. What you will see is that while Jesus spent time with sinners (because the sick need doctors, not the well), He always spoke to them about repentance...not God's love for them. We cannot love people into heaven by condoning things we know to be sinful, though we can certainly love sinful people. And hopefully we love them enough to tell them the truth about God, not just what we know they want to hear.

        March 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Jamie

      According to the Bible – everyone is a sinner – EVERYONE – why do you pick homosexuals to throw out of the church? The smallest child among you is black with sin. Why don't you throw them out as well since you don't like a life of sin?

      March 2, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • David

      The Bible is also very clear about how one should sell one's daughter into slavery.

      Conservative Christians are quick to "enforce" those parts of the Bible they are comfortable with, and turn a blind eye to those parts they are uncomfortable with.

      March 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Joe

      Amy, please learn some history. The Bible is not God's word, it is the words of an extremely small number of men (and definately not women, who are regularly marginalized in this "book") who lived a long, long, long time ago. They are the opinions of a few people who actually commited blasphomy by claiming to speak for God. If you truly believe in God, then you must love all of God's children unconditionally! You do NOT get to pick and choose who belongs to God's family. Besides, this Bible you like to cite represents this history of less than 0.05% of the earth's people of over 2000 years ago. What about the lives and beliefs of the other 99.95% of God's children from all over the world? Do yourself a favour and learn some history. Your mindset spreads intolerance which is completely wrong. Jesus himself liked to walk with those who were mistreated by society. Try following his example and spread some love instead of hate.

      March 4, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  33. Larry Winkler

    No surprise. Most if not all religions are hate groups, intolerant, and frankly made up of people at the bottom of the intellectual, and moral barrel. As much as today, we condemn obvious moral decadence of those Islamists making most of the news, the fact that the vast majority of Christians and Jews and Hindus hold closely to the same belief systems and behavior (less suicide bombings) that these Islamists do. There not an iota worth of difference between them.

    February 28, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  34. Rolly H

    If a Supreme Being such as God does indeed exist, what right do we, as mere mortals, have to label Him as Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc., pretty presumptuous of us to do so, don't you think? What's even more presumptuous than that is when religious groups claim to know the mind of God and come out with hateful and intolerant statements against a person's beliefs and, for lack of a better term, lifestyle.

    February 28, 2013 at 7:32 am |
  35. Matt

    Just because someone disagrees with homosexuality does not mean they hate homosexuals. People try to say it is hatred when someone does not accept it because they are mad about. The pastor was right in what they did. The bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong because it is not natural and it is rebellion against god. People have the right to believe in what they want to believe in just like someone has the right to be gay. God has given every one of us the privilege of freedom of will and freedom of opinion whether he agrees with it or not. If someone chooses not to accept the gospel the lord will deal with them on judgement day as he sees fit. People who say they are Christians and ignore what the bible plainly says are not true Christians. If you have faith you trust in the lord and what his word says.

    February 28, 2013 at 3:03 am |
    • denelle

      The bible was written by mortal man, not god. Homesexual people are gods creations, people who follow the bible as written law say one must follow this book or get prepared for judgement day. Now denying who you are is a lie? Isn't lying a sin as well? I beleive my true god is loving and wants his people to love others.

      March 2, 2013 at 7:35 am |
    • Annabeth

      "Disagree" with homosexuality? It's not a political view, nor is it a choice. It's like disagreeing with red hair, blue eyes, or being bipedal and having a nose.

      March 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • chris

      would someone please explain the phrase "I don't believe in homosexuality"? What does belief have to do with it? They aren't leprechauns or angels so you don't need to BELIEVE in them, you just need to accept that one day you will be looked at as we look at those that opposed the civil rights movement....and move on.

      March 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
  36. David

    I am a Christian who believes the Bible teaches that PRACTICING homosexuality is a sin. But the way the church handled this man and his daughter is not the way Christ would have cared for these people. They should have been cared for, in love, not shunned. That doesn't mean that they have to accept sin, but love the sinner. The Bible teaches we all sin and are in need of grace. They should have shown much more grace.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Hope

      Kudos to someone who appears to have actually read, no not just read, studied it also. Christ did say many would choose the wide path over the narrow path and there would be many....many false teachers. I do have to comment that the sin of homosexuality is no more or no less a sin than any other sexual immorality, lying, bearing false witness and stealing (to name a few). Christ said to sin to one is to sin to them all. But...the good news is we have all been given the free gift of God's grace and his forgiveness......as long as we repent. True there are scriptures that say to keep the congregation "clean" but there are no scriptures that say to Hate. A different approach should have been taken, perhaps a bible study course would have let her see for herself and then she could have followed her own conscious. The whole reason we are tempted and given free choice is because God wants people to worship them with their hearts not because they were forced into it. Make sense? I wish him luck. It is hard to find Christian congregations that adhere to the truth of the Bible yet follow the 2nd Commandment.

      March 2, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Rhonda

      EXACTLY! Well said.

      March 3, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  37. Mal C

    This is awful. I'm glad the family decided to leave their church, and I'm sending them my well-wishes. I've always been a very strong supporter of homosexuality since I learned about it – Love is love, isn't it? A gay or lesbian couple can be just as beautiful and strong and loving as any straight couple, even more so in some cases. God isn't going to "send you to hell" for loving someone. Unfortunately, a lot of my friends have lost their faith due to the harsh treatment of their churches about their sexual orientation. I'm personally Baptist, but I believe in the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule... That's about all I follow from the Bible. The rest doesn't really matter to me. The world has changed, and half of it doesn't really even apply anymore. This includes the idea that a man should not lie with a man in the same way which he lies with a woman. That doesn't apply. Sadly, people don't understand this. I hope this family finds an accepting Church, and I hope the bullying will lessen. As for the issue of the loss of friends, keep looking. You can find good friends anywhere if you search... Some are even right here on this article. 🙂

    February 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  38. Ashleigh

    I just want to share with the Johnson family that churches who accept all people regardless of sexual orientation DO exist-even in small towns. I would invite them to look into Trinity United Methodist Church in Salina, KS that prides itself on it's Open Hearts, Open Arms, Open Doors policy and has taken steps to be identified as an accepting church. Growing up in this church, I was taught to love all people and was never told that homosexuality is evil or wrong. God expects us to love one another-no ifs, ands, or buts. Our youth director when I was in youth group was openly gay and no one ever said anything negative about it. We accepted him and he served in that position for several years. I am so proud of the church I grew up in. Other religions and other churches really made me question organized religion because of all of the people they exclude despite stating that they live to do Gods work. I am so thankful that I grew up believing that God did not judge us on such superficial things as race and sexual orientation but that he loves us all, no matter what.

    February 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Kathy in KC

      I would say the same thing about my church which is Trinity Community Church (A United Methodist Congregation) in Kansas City, KS). I joined this church precisely because it welcomed all people. Many of our members are openly gay or lesbian and all are warmly welcomed. I am a volunteer coordinator and one of the churches we work with is the Rainbow Mennonites which is another openly welcoming church. There is also the Metropolitan Community Church which exists in most larger cities and some smaller ones. Don't give up! There are many welcoming Christians who don't preach hellfire and damnation.

      February 28, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
  39. Mary

    I follow the Seventh Day Adventists teaching of he ll, there is punishment but then the final punishment of sin is death, not eternal burning and torture. Jesus makes it clear, everlasting LIFE or death, not everlasting life or everlasting burning.

    February 27, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
  40. Linda James

    I have great respect for this father & nothing but pity for the town or anyone who views homosexuality as a sin. How greatly they diminish their lives.

    February 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Annette

      ...there is a good, acceptable and perfect will of God...God's love is unconditional and yes Jesus died for ALL not some, however he does correct that which is outside of his instructions. Sodomon and Gomorah were judged. In the days of Noah the world was judged...not as the church has taught wil this "eternal torment", yet when judgement is in the earth men learn righteousness. Sin is "missing the mark". If he made them male and female to begin with then would it reason that this life style is missing the mark?

      February 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
  41. Catherine

    Come to the Methodist Church. We ask that you check all guilt at the door. Our church has several gays, Jewish people, Catholics and others from different faiths. We come to worship and praise God. Thankfully, our leadership rarely ventures into political issues. We are there in love for our God and to worship as a community. Give us a try!

    February 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Dave Sutton

      Since 1983 the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church says "Homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching." That language has been challenged, but reaffirmed, every four years since at General Conference. It still refuses to ordain or appoint openly gay clergy. My father was a Methodist pastor and I was a lifelong Methodist until 10 years ago when I left for the United Church of Christ (UCC), which ordained women in the 1800's, "blacks" in the early 1900's, and gays in the 1960's. The "Open Minds, Hearts, etc." campaign of the United Methodist Church is a dishonest sham. I know that some individual UMC congregations welcome LGBTQ people, but they will never be served by a gay pastor until the 1983 language is removed.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  42. Julie

    I would rather live in a world where people are honest, open, accepting and loving (even if they happen to be loving someone of the same gender) than in a world where people judge, discriminate and promote non-acceptance. Religion is man's creation, my God does not care who I love, as long as I love.

    February 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Annette

      is who or how...he did make them male and female and for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. While God's love is unconditional...this is a complicated subject for man to resolve. He however did bring correction in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot.

      February 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
  43. Cheryl Brown

    I left the Lutheran church at 21 when I realized my sexual orientation was never going to be accepted. Having read the Bible plenty of times since then it finally hit me that God gave us ten rules to live by and handed them to Moses – Jesus added the Golden Rule – everything else in the Bible was written by men living in a particular times and cultures that perhaps while important then, no longer are. Unless folks are willing to stone each other for minor infractions of Biblical law or sell their daughters into slavery because that too is allowed it is time to end the slavish devotion to the parts written by these long dead authors ... let's end the hypocracy of seeing same-sex relationships as sinful and focus on the idea that God is love and to live a life filled with love would be God's greatest with for us.

    February 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • Annette

      Was God "greatest" for us not to have a relationship with him? The Bible is a mystery to sovle and while it has been hidden from the ages, is it now being opened in our age. Why? because it is time. It is true that we are to love, yet not as man defines love, yet that agape love....unconditional love, holy love...not erose or philao, or any of the other types of love...the English language limits the meaning and therefore distorts the content. The Bibles was written as men were inspired by the Holy Spirit....since God created all that is, would he not therefore have that same authority to lead men and protect his word? From Gensis to Revelation it is all a revealing of the life of Jesus...The OT points to his coming and the NT fulfills this life that was meant to give to us a quality of life...a relationship with the Father.

      February 27, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Karla Tommervik

      very well said...I have several friends that are same sex "friends"and they are to the most part acceped in our comunity..we all need to let people live their lives as they chose and look under your own rug and realize you are not of perfect acception to what God had wanted ,but God accepts all,NO IF'S,AND OR BUTS.We have a good world,lets just be happy in what we have and not worry about what others do...

      February 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  44. ivan

    Very challenging situation. Frankly speaking I dont understand why it happened to this family and I would not know what to do in their shoes. Life has unexpected challenges that we are not prepared to face. This is one of those. Parents love their children no matter what so... just try to cope with that and let it be. After all, we are all only dust in the wind.

    February 27, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  45. Silvia

    This story is a perfect example of how our love for our children can open our eyes and teach us how to be a kinder and more accepting human beings. I have a real problem with any religion that teaches in this violent often hate filled world that love between two people of the same sex is wrong.

    February 27, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Annette

      If we look at the days of Noah or the days of Lot, correction was brought to this style of life. God's plan is not a dictatorship...it is by his unconditional love for man that he may have a quality of life. In the world we have temptation but Jesus overcame the world. God, is a creator and made man in his image and therefore to be a creator, to produce. This is a tough subject that takes wisdom to discern....and man sure could use a bit of wisdom these days for these truly are the days that try mens souls, would you not say?

      February 27, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Richard

      Silvia – On what basis do you make that assertion? Is love between 3 people wrong in that case? 5 people? Sorry but your argument is planted in mid-air.

      February 28, 2013 at 1:05 am |
      • Bob

        Our love betwen a man and a child?

        Where is the cut-off? Where do we say ...oooops, you've stepped over the line.

        March 3, 2013 at 6:18 am |
  46. Martha

    I am so sorry. Loss of faith is a daunting and draining experience. I wish you lived in Canada. The church you are looking for may very likely be the United church of Canada. Our church understands that we are all on a faith journey and does not exact specific rules on belief. We are a community or family of faith seeking the path and realizing we experience and understand the concept of God in different ways but we are all children of creation trying to make the world a better place for all.

    February 27, 2013 at 7:59 am |
  47. Dave Brett

    This father did the right thing. God is not only in that church. The words his ex-church spoke were surely of that particular pastor, which he interpreted from that particular version of the his bible. The family can stay home and be with God and their bible just as well. We'll all need to settle things with God alone, and only we'll know if He accepts us or not.

    February 27, 2013 at 6:40 am |
  48. Christopher Rick

    im baptist but i dont beleive in the bible or the churches anymore. The reason i dont is because buy what the bible says we arent suppose to judge people thats gods job. But yet most all the people in the church judge people and they talk about people behind they re backs. And i dont beleive in the bible because its been writen and possible change. But i do believe in god and u dont have to go to church or read the bible as long as you believe and accepted god into your life.

    February 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Laura

      Amen to that. I agree with you 100 percent!
      I'm so glad there are other people who think this way.

      February 27, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Bob

      The Devil believes in God too! You think he'll be in Heaven? One has to follow The teaching of the Bible. Judgeing people is different from discerning sin and calling it out!

      A judge passes judgement! If you tell someone they are going to hell then that is judgement!

      If you tell someone a certain behavior is wrong that is not judgement (If it was almost every parent that ever lived has "judged" )

      Judges Judge ... look up the definition and do a study (Biblical study) so you are not in error by your thought processes!

      March 3, 2013 at 6:22 am |
    • Steve MacLeod

      Chris I do not agree. You do not seem to understand very much about the Bible or Christians by your statements. It is only 1 genreation ago that Gay people were persecuted and now In less than 20 years they are just normal and nothing is wrong and everyone who does not believe this is wrong. What do you believe. There was very little there.

      March 4, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  49. S Smith

    I don't mean disrespect from this question, as my heart really goes out to you and I feel angry on your behalf for how you've been treated. But after reading about your situation I can't help but ask: why not move to a much kinder, progressive, better town? From what we can read, this town does meet your religious, social or community needs in any kind of way. Moreover, your child had to settle for a GED that simply is no way comparable to a decent highschool education elsewhere. It is outrageous you were left this deck of cards in your hand through no fault of your own. But what holds you there? Why not move so you can be around people that will love and respect your family, provide a safe learning environment for your kids, and offer you a Christian church that will meet your needs?

    February 26, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • S Smith

      oops- meant to say this town DOES NOT meet your religious, social or community needs...

      February 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  50. Ryan

    God certainly is love and we are to love people just as they are. Jesus loves us just as we are, but he also loves us too much to leave us just like we are. There is no big sin or little sin, no line to draw with divorce, or adultery, or being sexually involved either hetero or homo outside of marriage ... sin is sin. According to the BIble God is willing to take anyone who is a sinner and comes to Him for salvation. However, one cannot continually live a willful practicing sinful life and expect the Lord's approval. The Bible says come out from among the sinners and be seperate; there is an entire list of things in II Corinthians that we USED to be, but we're washed by His blood and called to walk in obedience of His Word.

    The pastor is in the right to set her down for her lifestyle or any lifestyle that practices willful sin. One must be careful not to be rude but urging someone to repent is not being hateful. Having a different opinion about something in life does not mean hate, so don't "hate" on a pastor or church that has chosen to align with scripture.

    February 26, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Sarah G

      Thank you, well said. Sexual intimacy is not necessary to sustain life. Rather than go against God’s plan for marriage and a Godly sexual relationship choose not to have sex. Abstain.

      February 27, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • Cathy

        Sarah, I was born and raised a Southern Baptist, but have moved away from that at this point in my life, and I thank God for opening my eyes. However, I was always taught that "the thought's as bad as the deed." So what's to be accomplished by abstinence if in your head you have the desire to love who you love? And as far as I know, there are NO sins that are necessary to sustain life...can you name one? If so, are those the "acceptable" sins? Grow up already. There but by the grace of God go you and I...and don't be so pompous. One of YOUR children may just come marching out of that closet one day. Would you want them to live a life of loneliness and emptiness? If so, you're no kind of mother I'd ever want.

        February 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • Bob

          We are taught to bring our thoughts into captivity and obedience to God's will. Not easy for sure but possible. In the meantime we STRIVE to do right (we repent when we don't do right).

          March 3, 2013 at 6:25 am |
          • Cathy

            And bully for you on your path towards perfection. The rest of us are evolving human beings, searching and struggling, and I for one am sure God (yes, he speaks to us fallen souls as well) understands that search and set our feet on this path. He who made us knew what he was getting and I believe he accepts us ALL just as he finds us. I feel sorry for people like you who believe they can contain and define God.

            March 7, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
      • justine

        She can just marry her girlfriend and then problem solved! Good for the Dad to realize his church was being hateful. They can certainly believe what their bible says but not everyone on this earth believes in their book. It is like, who made the Bible the rule of the land? NO ONE.

        February 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • Hope

          Justine, you are very right. No one is being forced to live by the bible or any religious teachings. It is choice. It is the choice of those of us who want to live according to God's Will and have the hope of eternal life. Everyone thinks the bible teaches when we die we all go to heaven, quite the contrary. The bible actually teaches there will be a great resurrection of the dead for both the new Heaven AND the new EARTH. (A teaching many churches tend to ignore because people want to believe when they die their spirit immediately goes on, yet they ignore the countless scriptures that say death is like sleep and talk about resurrection). God said many would take the wide path (death) and few would take the narrow path (eternal life). So yes, no one is forcing anyone, it is up to the individual to make the choice of death or salvation themselves. But if you choose salvation then you need to take the blinders off and accept the fact that no true church will condone sin or any "ACT" that God finds detestable. But there is a big difference between no condoning something and hating someone. In the end it is our maker that will judge us, not man.

          March 2, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • Rebecca

      Ryan, the problem is that the pastor of the church told her parents that they were not allowed to be teachers or leaders in the church anymore. Kelby's parents aren't gay, so why should they have to step down from being leaders in the church? Guilt by association I guess?? Seriously?? Not to mention that all of their friends have shunned them because they have a gay daughter. Good riddance I say! I hope the Johnson's find a REAL loving Christian community. Thank God they stand by their daughter....many parents do not know what unconditional love is.

      February 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Brent

      I think what your missing is the hypocrisy that stunned him as well. The pastor is also 'choosing' to draw the line at homosexuality, whilst ignoring all others who 'sin'. It seems asinine and childish to choose a section out of Leviticus, or what have you, to preach against, yet allow all other sections to go unpunished as well. To take the bible literally in some parts, and to ignore other sections (like polygamy, and the sections that make women inferior) is offensive to those who preach Jesus's message of love and tolerance.

      February 28, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • Steve MacLeod

        Yes it seems that they have singled out homosexual orientation. Do not know the denomination so can't say much more. Did you know the early church was told not to judge those outside the church but those who claim to live a certain way and do not. hypocrisy in side the church. Think a lot of people are shook up by this. Maybe we on the outside should cut them some slack. After all is that not what tolerance is about.

        March 3, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Bob

      So it's alright to disrespect someone just because you believe X is wrong? It's totally alright to shun and bully other people because they support their daughter in a time of personal crisis? Wake up, Ryan: bigotry is bigotry, and this pastor reeks of it.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Liza

      so according to you, just being gay means you're a sinner? how can you be a sinner when you're born gay? that makes no sense whatsoever. if God didn't want gay people in the world, then we wouldn't be here.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • steve

      You are in a state of denial about Christ's love and what makes us human. You can repeat God is love a million times but your brand of belief proves your lack of faith.

      February 28, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Will

      Agree. If a Church doesn't hold to scripture, it's worthless. Sounds like they continued to welcome her, but required her not to teach or lead others. Not seeing the persecution.

      February 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Mike Davis

      Your reply was the only one scripturaly correct. The Bible is God's Word. Christ lived it, He was, and is, the living Word.
      We can not pick and choose parts of Christ"s life that we will obey, and what we don't want to obey. A Christian is one who follows Christ, all others are following a god of their own imagination

      February 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • lenell

        well said mike davis

        March 3, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • rebecca

      I love how you mention how God says we're to love each other as they are and immediately throw in a -UNLESS- you're loving someone we don't think you should be loving and then we'll treat you like pariah to the community and try to convert you to being less sinful in our eyes.

      You realize you're the poster child for every Christian church in America that has alienated, bullied, mocked, and forced people to turn against God because of your judging of others?

      February 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • t davis

      Thank you Ryan – Well said.

      February 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
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