No Questions Asked

Today’s #WeAretheRCA author, Olivia Mancuso, has attended the First Reformed Church in Schenectady since 2011.  In the fall she will return to SUNY Fredonia as a sophomore, where she is a double major in Sound Recording Technology and Applied Piano.

To the General Synod of 2016:

I have experienced many forms of Christianity in my life.  I was raised Quaker.  My family started attending a Reformed Church when I started high school.  Almost all of my extended family is Catholic.  I attend a Presbyterian church where I go to college.  One of the most important parts of my Christian experience has been this: that God loves each and every one of us.  No matter what we have done.  No matter how we got here.  My faith is in a God that isn’t selective about loving only a part of you or only loving you some of the time.  My faith is in a God whose love is so big that the singular feature of one’s sexuality/gender identity is rendered insignificant.  I believe that being queer and Christian are not mutually exclusive.

I have been lucky enough to be a part of congregations that are welcoming and loving to our LGBTQ+ brothers, siblings, and sisters.  But I have also seen the terrible power of the church to turn them away from the faith.  I have many friends who are queer, and I have noticed a troubling commonality between all of them who were raised in Christian churches.  They all have had an experience where they felt unwelcome, in the mildest of instances.  I know a number of people who have been pushed away from the faith altogether, and the ones that do stay face the painful task of reconciling their very identity with a church that doesn’t accept them.

I cannot stand by, as an ally to my queer friends, and as a Christian, and let this culture of hate be perpetuated in my own denomination.

So I ask you: how many people will you turn away with your prejudice and your refusal to give them a place in your community before you can see what you have done?  Before you see the hurt you have caused?  What gives you the authority to hand-pick the people of God?  If we are going to show queer church goers God’s love, we must love their whole selves, no questions asked.

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