Rainbow bible heart

Note: this sermon was submitted by ULC Minister Troy Jacobs in response to a previous sermon about Pride month, which can be found here. All ULC Ministers are invited to contribute their own sermons for consideration/publication. To submit a sermon, please email it to sermons@ulc.org.

As a gay Christian, I often find my identity being split in two by external forces. But the queer community and my faith aren’t intrinsically at odds with one another. As I see it, both are about love and expression, or at least they should be.

I’m writing here in response to a submission by a fellow minister regarding this month’s celebration of Pride. The blog begins by detailing the author’s physical revulsion to the idea of the festivities, and proceeds to cite the Bible as a means of talking down to and explicitly prescribing death for queers for the remainder of the post.

Responses like this are incredibly common among my siblings in Christ, and it saddens me. Not because somebody disagrees with me or views me in an unpleasant light without knowing me, but because the ubiquity of it has hijacked my faith and defined it by the hatred and unreasonableness of many who hold it.

A Time For Rules

The stream of verses about rules, death, and damnation that make up a majority of minister Baker’s blog is telltale that scripture is being wielded here as an expression of personal bias, and not merely relaying the theme of the Bible. After all, we can take any group of people and draw up a list of all the things they’ve done that have earned them a place in Hell, but that’s not what this faith should be about.

The message of Jesus is clear. He said, “I give you a new commandment; love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another,” (John 13:34). What’s important to understand is that he is fully aware that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and sin is sin. Since the author is no more deserving of salvation than the rest of us, then it is themselves, not the Bible, that has attempted to focus notions of damnation on the queer community.

As minister Baker points out, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Deciding that the sins of queer people are somehow worse than Baker’s own does not come from a place of humility, but rather one of self-righteousness.

A Time for Love

I personally am always amazed by and grateful for the salvation gifted to me by God through his son Jesus Christ. It serves as a model for us that we not view others by their sins, but their place in the tapestry of creation. My life has not always afforded me such a feeling.

My parents are also Christian. While I was a good child that excelled in school, was the first in my family to graduate from college, volunteered with organizations in my town, and had many fulfilling friendships, my parents disowned me when I came out to them as gay.

Decades went by when they didn’t want to talk to me any more than telling me they love me but hate my chosen lifestyle. This felt like a hollow kind of love without acts.

I also found it ironic. The more we study homosexuality, the more clear it becomes that it is at least in part biological. However, being Christian is not. I was born gay but I had to be “born again” to dedicate my life to Christ. I also am not looking for special rights as a gay person, but merely to be treated equally under the law. Meanwhile, every church I grew up attending has the special right of tax exemption; of not giving unto “Caesar” what is “Caesar’s” as Jesus asked of us. 

Yet upon hearing their child is gay, my parents spewed these accusations at me nonetheless. As you can tell from my writing, it hurts to remember it, but I love them and at any moment would’ve gladly had them back in my life.

Lacking a meaningful showing of love from biological families, many queer people surround themselves with others who would take care of them and encourage them to continue to live and live well, not letting the scars of the past cripple their ability to shape the future. 

These chosen families were fellow queer people and allies that showed me meaningful love instead of providing me a list of everything about me that they viewed as imperfections worthy of my damnation, and I’m proud of them for doing that when they didn’t have to.

Finally, after years of taking to heart being disowned by my family, being beaten as my bashers called me an abomination, after having Bible verses thrown in my face for why I am defined by sin, but apparently heterosexuals are not, I learned that they are all wrong.

I learned to love myself and be PROUD for surviving it all and still wanting to be a force for good and help others, to see them with compassion and grace.

Pride is the Season

For me and so many in the LGBTQIA+ community, that’s what Pride is. Being proud that we refused to be torn down, or let our human rights be taken away, all because of who we want to form a life with. We are proud we prioritize love when it would’ve been so easy for us to treat the world as ugly as it had treated us.

It is not the sense of self-righteousness the Bible warns against, and it is not a celebration of what’s done in the bedroom, as so many try to trivialize it as. Conflating it with these things is a deliberate smoke screen to hide people from viewing their own imperfections – their own deservedness of damnation – and from the fact that they haven’t found the sort of self actualization that allows one to manifest a truly fulfilling life.

The Bible says “there is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the heavens,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Rules have their place, but as Christians we need to think about how others view our faith. Sadly, for many in the queer community and their allies, we’ve been far too eager to pass judgment when our heavenly father reserves that right for himself. We’ve been too eager to pat ourselves on the back for “loving the sinner but hating the sin” while we happily ignore our own sins.

Pride is a time for love, joy, and celebration. Minister Baker, as a queer person, as a fellow Christian, as another member of the Universal Life Church, I love you and wish you a happy Pride!


  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    MLK said it best. Content of your character.

    1. Brien's Avatar Brien

      Finally, there is sanity in a sea of crazy. People like Dr. Martin were warriors of the highest caliber. He had his beliefs from which he drew strength. He used his strength in reality to heal mankind of its stupidity. Even though zealots have this great example to follow, they simply refuse to do so. Peace.

  1. Reverend Andrew's Avatar Reverend Andrew

    Very Well spoken and from the heart and soul of a mad that has been beaten down by his fellow man . I was not disowned but I was shunned by people my whole life and told from as early as I can remember I was gay and beaten up for it almost daily. when I chose to go to a christan school I was taught to hate and I hated myself so much for being the way I was born it took me years to start loving myself and start healing the old wounds inflicted by the church and other humans

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    If your religion teaches you to hate, find a new religion.

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    As I have previously stated on a similar post I love my male friends hug and kiss them on the cheek and I'm hetrosexual so what affection to fellow man is what it is today Reverend Nick Page UK

  1. Michael Holland's Avatar Michael Holland

    The message of Jesus is clear. He said, “I give you a new commandment; love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another,” (John 13:34).

  1. Muslim's Avatar Muslim

    What did Jesus say about pride? "If you want to be proud of anything be proud that God accepted your humility."

    1. Brien's Avatar Brien

      Your God is directly responsible for genocide, both mythical and real. If you chose to bend knee to a mass murderer that's on you. Keep your zealot beliefs away from me. Peace

    2. Canadian Yankee's Avatar Canadian Yankee

      Humility is only a virtue if you have something to be humble about, otherwise it is false humility and that is a sin.

      1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

        As none are perfect, we all have something to be humbled by or about. Otherwise we are sociopathic or megalomanical.

        1. Canadian Yankee's Avatar Canadian Yankee

          Your take on religion has caused you to accept original sin and you probably sing Amazing Grace emphasising "A wretch Like Me.." Suggest you take stock of the God you are serving. Mine makes us perfect to the task for which were put here to do.

  1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

    The problem I have is that, either referring to the New or Old Testament, every time the subject of certain sexual activities comes up the scriptures have nothing good to say about them. In fact they say pretty much the opposite of good.

    The new commandment that Jesus gave us is not meant to abolish the others, it's in addition to them. That is why there is the mantra of, Love the sinner but hate the sin.

    But my two problems with pride month iland the public displays is not so much religious as it is simply the unseemliness of it all. Having parades with a sexual theme to celebrate ones sexual practices or identity is just... well it's like some sort of pagan display out of ancient Rome.

    The other problem I have with it is the forced participation of children through their school. Schools of all level but especially Elementary School. Most of these little kids don't even know what they're doing. All they know is they're having cupcakes and music and having a parade with brightly colored costumes or decorations.

    And requiring that the kids participate without even asking permission of the parents is a direct in your face insult to the belief system of those parents.

    1. Tom Thackrey's Avatar Tom Thackrey

      Does it offend you when heterosexuals display affection in public? How about a wedding--isn't everything about a wedding a prelude to sex? Pride is celebrating people who have been marginalized (at best, even the US and UK have had very harsh punishments for being gay) and who are now free to be open about their preferences.

      1. Rev. MichaelRS's Avatar Rev. MichaelRS

        Heterosexuals do not have a public PARADE or gathering over it where people are walking around with less than they wear on the beach with groups or individuals engaging in sexualized displays of their person purposely for others to see.

        And yes, depending on the level of public affection shown, it would bother me if heterosexuals were doing it.

        And it's not just about adult people now celebrating their freedom of choice it has moved to the realm of forcing that sexualized viewpoint on children directly through school activities.

        You may have heard about the group Gays Against Goomers. This group is slandered by most of the alphabet activist community. Why? Who could possibly be against the idea as put forth in their name..unless those are against them have the opposite idea.

        1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

          "Less than they wear on the beach?" Are you tell you me that you've attended these events, and seen gay men and women tromping around with their genitalia clearly exposed? Or have you never heard of speedos and string bikinis?

          And regarding sexualization: advertising has been using sex to sell products for decades.
          That's not exactly private.

          And beauty pageants for pre-pubescent children? I'd call that unwarranted sexualization.

          We ignore our transgressions, so that we can feel justified condemning them when we see those activities performed by others. That's called hypocrisy.

          Does this sound familiar to anyone? "Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone."

          I don't believe that God is necessarily fond of hypocrites...

          1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

            Actually yes and it happens more than you realize. Last years Pride parade at least half of the parade itself in several cities were nude and there's a BUNCH OF VIDEO that there is evidence of it.

  1. Najah P Tamargo's Avatar Najah P Tamargo

    Minister Najah Tamargo USA-ULC

    Minster Jacobs: I truly feel for what you have gone thru. But admire the fact that you put it behind you and carried on to become the person you are today. WELL SAID!!!!

  1. Clay Serenbetz's Avatar Clay Serenbetz

    The Bible stories are not factual and they were not written down for decades. The Bible scrolls are translated by fallable humans with personal viewpoints that sway their interpretation of the written word. Therefore, the Bible's credibility is dubious. If one chooses to rely on teachings in the Bible, then i agree that it's primary message is love. Another key message is that God will judge, not ministers or lay persons. Those who rely on Biblical stories and pick and choose those stories that reinforce their assumptions are missing the Bible's main message and they are indeed self-rightuous.

  1. Thomas H. Powers's Avatar Thomas H. Powers

    The shaming of people by throwing out of context scripture at them is, in my mind, sad. I have met many from the old Catholic faith that struggle to this day with the shame and guilt they were dealt when growing up in the church. I don’t think it is what Jesus had in mind.

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    Finally, there is sanity in a sea of crazy. People like Dr. Martin were warriors of the highest caliber. He had his beliefs from which he drew strength. He used his strength in reality to heal mankind of its stupidity. Even though zealots have this great example to follow, they simply refuse to do so. Peace.

  1. David Arthur Lewis's Avatar David Arthur Lewis

    Well said.

  1. Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Rev. Carol M Anaski-Figurski

    Hi Y'all Great topic. I am straight & my perspective on this sensitive issue of LGBT is That's the way God has made you. Rejoice & be glad in it. God has also said that " he has made you in an image of himself & is well pleased." So do some soul searching with an open mind & accept yourself. I think your focus should be from the inside out start with your soul. When you accept christ in your heart & ask the Lord to be your Savior. It is Christ that lives in you. As a Christian LGBT let your spirit grow, The LGBT community needs to go to church listen to scripture, read the bible & Grow in the Kingdom of God. Let Christ in your bedroom the sacred romance. God already knows everything about you & loves you just the same. Keep Growing in the Kingdom of God & he will direct your path. God is not finished with you yet there is some much you can do living a christian life.

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Well put.

  1. Stacy Cherwoo's Avatar Stacy Cherwoo

    Pearls Before Swine

    1. Rev. Michael Gerraghty II's Avatar Rev. Michael Gerraghty II

      Even before(especially) bacon?? LOL!

  1. BuKhari RaHim MuFasa's Avatar BuKhari RaHim MuFasa

    there is no good or bad way to respond to this post most of the stuff that was said in it did not apply to the post it self but literally placed just to seem right to ones self but I'm not here to put you down about what you think is true in todays world we are rewriting the world as we see it and doing just that thing that make us seem happy we can't go through life wanting everyone to feel the same way we do and want us for the life choses we make GOD was very clear on the subject and he meant what he said but if you can go into the bible and find away to make it sound like what you want to hear than you do you all i can say about the lgbtqia or what it's call is that it is here and seems to be growing till not even the church can stand against it they lost the min. they stopped looking till now i see why for some of them or members of the same group that they can't talk about, it's one thing to say you hate a thing and still love it there is no fight there they stand in the streets and sing Christians sit in the churches and whisper and we need to stop saying we have all fallen short for we do not know that for sure

  1. Jimmy Moon's Avatar Jimmy Moon

    It's still just words. GOD has the final say so on sin. After all, murder is a sin, but we don't have a month to celebrate it. Might need to rethink that, "I was born that way" mentality also.

    1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

      It is far to easy to condemn those whom we do not understand. What happened to the empathy of the Christian? Of "walking a mile in another's shoes"? Is not judging what we do not understand evidence of the sin of wrongful Pride?

  1. Barbara Harris's Avatar Barbara Harris

    Minister Jacobs, thank you! You have spoken so eloquently about a topic that can be heart breaking to many. I lost a very close friend back in the mid-70s when he confessed to his priest that he felt he was homosexual. The priest advised him that his family could pay for prayers to remove him from Purgatory if he committed suicide but couldn't have him prayed out of Hell if he acted on his feelings. He chose the path that would give his family a more promising option. He was a kind and beautiful soul that was lost way to soon.

    I read the previous tirade on Pride month along with all the biblical quotes. It was sad to see such hate being spewed. There are so many passages in the Bible that command death. Destroying and killing every living being in a town when you conquer them. It is sad!

    I could never come to terms with so much in the Bible. And as a young adult I searched through many religions to find an answer. I read the Bible. Discussed it with a Rabbi as well as Catholic nuns. I read some of the Koran and some of the Hindu texts. After awhile I came down to what had been obvious to me as a child and that was I relate to Nature more than any other religion. And now later, I have also added some of the Buddhist philosophy. But still, I too have suffered ridicule and persecution.

    With that being said Minister Jacobs, Jesus taught love. He broke bread with the lowest of the low in Judaic culture of the time. He gave comfort to the lepers. I sense that same love in your post. May your life be blessed with the love you share.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    If he wishes to celebrate this in private or even flying a flag outside his home, then thats up to him. But he has NO authority in any sense of the word to try and require or intimidate others into thinking his way. If he is a Pastor then he follows the rules of the religion he is pastor of. If that does not fit his agenda then he is free to move on and either find a religion that fits him or to ignore religion altogether. Simple and easy peasy...case closed. As others in the LBGT community have found out (cake maker decision/Flower arranger decision/little sisters of the poor/and a host of others) The SCOTUS has slapped them down on more then one decision. You go ahead and be you, but the second you step over the line by demanding that people believe the same way you do, then you have lost.

    1. Robert Edward Szekely's Avatar Robert Edward Szekely

      He never told "people to believe as he does", he only reminded them of their own imperfections", i.e., "judge not lest ye be judged", "why do you concern yourself with the mote in your brother's eye while ignoring the beam in your own", etc. Jesus was never a queer hater. If you believe that, you don't know your own religion very well at all.

  1. Daniel Todd Kamm's Avatar Daniel Todd Kamm

    Love is Love. Some people debate the quality or quantity of Love. If g-d is Love, they dare to debate the quality or quantity of g-d's Love. Silly argument.

    Reb tk

  1. Tiffany Moore's Avatar Tiffany Moore

    As a lesbian minister I feel as though no one should judge. God loves everyone and everyone sin. So the people who blast us. They should be the only to love there partner. Lgbtq shouldn't have love as well. That is not fair and right. We don't know what the person who hate us is really doing

    1. Brien's Avatar Brien

      I am curious, but let me set this question up. First, you should know of my personal belief. I consider all organized religions to be the worst and original evils ever created by man. They were originally created to control the way people thought, to offer rules for all to live by, and to kill, murder, and commit mass genocide against all that did not accept these "creations by god". Ok, now that is out of the way. May I ask what type of minister you are? May I also ask why is it important to identify yourself as a lesbian minister? Does the identifier of lesbian make you a better minister? Does it make you a better person? What you are in life is not as important as how you are as a human. If you can say that you are a good human and believe it, then any other labels simply don't matter. What you are should never be used to describe what you do as a person. We are ALL people, including those that spit hate. Peace ✌

  1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

    Amen. Yours is one of the few sermons that I have heard or read that makes total and Biblical sense. Blessings upon you.

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