An Open Letter Regarding the "Traditional Prom"

Posing with my mom at a Superbowl party, 2013
The news story about Sullivan First Christian Church makes me angry and I have to speak out.

Romans 15:7: “Welcome one another therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”

[for readers, please see Dan Savage’s blog about the church in Sullivan, Indiana to get some background and commentary on this church’s plans to throw a “traditional prom,” banning non-straight students.  I emailed this letter on 2/12/13 to the senior minister of this church, Dale Wise.]

Dear Sullivan First Christian Church,

I see in the news your plans to have a “traditional prom” in order to keep out gay and lesbian students. As a Christian, and a straight ally, I find your actions offensive. You claim to be following God’s word, but I find you to be doing the complete opposite. 

1) Though I disagree with the interpretation of the very few biblical texts (6-7) used against homosexuality, there are two points that I would make about them:
     a) none of them were spoken by Jesus
     b) these very few verses are subject to interpretation, which is not the case for so many of the mandates from the Bible about loving others, not judging, reaching out to welcome the stranger, working for justice and providing for the poor. Verse after verse in the Bible admonishes us to act in love, which I do not see in your actions.

2) High school is hard. The national news is full of stories of bullying and suicide. Why are you deliberately working to set people as outsiders, especially in the really difficult teen years?  (PS – did you catch the parts of the gospel where Jesus repeatedly reached out to the people who were made outsiders by self-righteous religious leaders?)

I am sad for you. You are missing out on amazing friendships. You are putting into the margins and into the closet people that God made as incredible individuals. You are blind to the beautiful diversity of humanity.  

Did you ever notice how many beautiful things God made in this world?  There are not just two kinds of flowers, or two places to view a sunrise. God made nature to be abundant with variety and color and beauty.  It is this case for humanity as well.  God made humans as marvelous and unique creations. You are missing out on this beauty and wonder. God calls us to abundant life, and you are closing your eyes to this.

Paul asks us to welcome one another as Christ welcomed us.  Jesus went out of his way to reach out to those who were excluded. So I know Jesus is with those who have been left out of your prom. I’m standing with Jesus, and I’m standing with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students of Sullivan who have been the recipients of your bigotry.

Laura Bancroft

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