A church in Orlando is being vilified by Christian right-wingers after it reached out to the members of the LGBT community in the wake of the Pulse nightclub attack.
On May 18, Northland Church hosted a public forum with The Reformation Project, a Christian organization that works to increase LGBT acceptance in the faith. Northland, an evangelical congregation, is one of Central Florida’s largest places of worship, with around 20,000 members.
“We want to talk to increase understanding,” pastor Joel Hunter told the Orlando Sentinel prior to the forum. “We think that’s necessary for the healing of our community.”
Hunter, who served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said thatafter the Pulse shooting, he felt the church had failed the local LGBT community: “Why wasn’t I aware of how vulnerable this community is?”
The forum was intentionally scheduled just ahead of the terror attack’s one-year anniversary.
But even though Northland hasn’t changed its official position that the Bible condemns homosexuality, it’s been accused of heresy by the Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT legal organization designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (Liberty Counsel famously represented Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to marry same-sex couples in 2015.)
“One would have to be blind or complicit to allow The Reformation Project to put on an LGBTQ propaganda presentation in church,” said Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver in a press release with the headline, “LGBT Heresy Infiltrates Orlando Northland Community Church.”
“The name and mission of the organization declare its purpose is to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity,” added Staver. “The mission has nothing to do with dialogue, but rather has everything to do with confusing Christians and distorting biblical and church teachings on human sexuality.”
With the anniversary of the Pulse attack just days away, now might be a good time to let Northland Church know you support their efforts to be more inclusive.