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May 9, 2011

Sojourners Declines LGBT 'Welcome' Ad

Some progressive sites are criticizing Sojourners after it declined to run an advertisement urging mainline churches to welcome gay members.

Robert Chase took up the issue at Religion Dispatches where he noted that the ad came from Believe Out Loud, a mainline Protestant parachurch organization.

So, you can imagine our dismay when Sojourners refused to run our ads. In a written statement, Sojourners said, “I’m afraid we’ll have to decline. Sojourners position is to avoid taking sides on this issue. In that care [sic], the decision to accept advertising may give the appearance of taking sides.”

Taking sides? ... I can’t imagine Sojourners turning down an ad that called for welcome of poor children into our churches. So why is this boy different?

Jim Naughton at Episcopal Cafe says that Jim Wallis no longer speaks for progressives, if he ever did.

It would seem to me that if you can't bring yourself to say that LGBT people shouldn't be chased out of our churches you have no business passing yourself off as a progressive leader, Christian or otherwise. In fact, based on recent polling on the far more sensitive subject of same-sex marriage, you have no business passing yourself off as a moderate leader, either.

CT spoke with Sojourners founder Jim Wallis about advertising issues back in 2008.

Are you concerned, though, that taking advertising in Sojourners magazine from Human Rights Campaign [a gay-rights group] makes it seem that it is a bigger issue for you?

Advertising is always a difficult question. I had real mixed feelings about those ads. We probably wouldn't do it again, because when you take advertising it implies you might be sympathetic to the advertising. But we don't take a position on this except promoting dialogue. At Sojourners, we've decided to have a safe place for dialogue and even disagreement on our staff and in our constituency.

Update: Sojourners' communications director Tim King posted a blog post where he said he was encouraged by initiatives such as Believe Out Loud. He also posted the video of the ad and an editor's note at the end.

Sojourners stresses the importance of dialogue amongst those on all sides of these issues. It is our utmost hope that differing viewpoints are not silenced, but are lifted up in a display of Christian and often interfaith sisterhood and brotherhood. It is for this reason, that we wish to engage first and foremost in dialogue on difficult issues within our editorial pages and we typically do not sell display advertising relating to issues amongst people of faith that have unfortunately and too often been reduced to political wedge issues.

Another update: Wallis has posted a statement.


So, my brother and his partner of 35 years, my sister, her wife and their son aren’t welcome in Sojourners brand of Christianity.

So, Sojourners claims of “progressive Christian commentary,” that they seek to “build a movement of spirituality and social change” and promote “unity in diversity” are all lies.

So much for that Commandment and "love thy neighbor as thyself."

Utne Reader has nominated Sojourners for a 2011 award in the Body/Spirit section.

Utne might want to rethink the Sojourner nomination.

Please ask Utne editors to withraw that nomination: dschimke@utne.com, KGoetzman@utne.com

Also, here's a petition to sign protesting Sojourners’ bigotry:


God loves all. He desires all to come to Him. But He doesn't allow sin in His sight. Sounds like the Sojourners are following the right example.

out of line Judybroni - In the words of John piper "goodbye"

I am thankful Jim Wallis and Sojourners is more concerned for truth and God's approval than for man's approval. Stand firm, Jim.

What is Believe Out Loud's agenda? If it is to promote acceptance of gays and lesbians, to come before the Lord to be forgiven and cleansed, as all of us need cleansing and forgiveness--then I am all for it. If it is to make the church accepting of the sin of homosexuality--then I am all against it. I believe in people first before the Lord. Sins we leave at the door. The advocacy groups are trying to make others accept that which is sin. They are not promoting people, they are promoting a lifestyle. Jesus commands us to love one another. when a person is drowning in sin, love is shown by us throwing them a life saver not a mill stone. The acceptance of homosexuality by the church is throwing them mill stones. Where is the love in that? We need to help our homosexual sisters and brothers come to the cross of Christ.

Soujourners doesn't go far enough. They SHOULD take a stand for clear biblical truth. The Bible is clear on this, and only the most amazing twisting of Scripture can support the acceptance of homosexuality.

The Church should be preaching love and acceptance to the homosexuality community, but not acceptance of the practice of homosexuality. Like it or not, God has put restrictions on our behavior, and this is one of them.

Jim Walls demonstrates once again that he will not be swept along with the whims of culture but will stand firm on his own understanding of Scripture. My respect for him and Sojourners has increased.

Stand strong Sojourners with God's plan of salvation for all people. I am SO greatful that the church stood on God's love to me an adultress sinner, so that I would change my ways and see the true light of God's love through His forgiveness and acceptance AT MY CHANGE! So glad Christians do love the sinner, but hates the sin (which is NOT bigotry)for the sake of salvation in our one true God of Love and Truth!

I'm proud of Jim Wallis on this issue. It's important to be accepting, but we don't have to lift up all lifestyles.

Kang, you're making a statement completely contradictory to what God says in the Bible. If you don't believe the Bible, you should say so, and if you do believe the Bible, then please substantiate your claim. I'll take God's Word anytime over that of another sinful human being, which we all are. It's not our opinion that matters, but what God tells us that is important. Souls are at stake since God clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination.

I was molested and raped by a homosexual pedophile as a child. It is appalling to me that President Obama, both democrat and republican congress, the few who have chosen to live the homosexual lifestyle, and now the church, have taken it upon themselves to force acceptance of homosexual behavior upon our nation.
There are people who will not retreat quietly to the safe zone of political/cultural correctness so as to not offend those who blatantly parade their sexual preference from today's elevated stage of moral relativism. I am among that number!

Here are a few factual observations of which the proponents of this political movement won't tell you. Read and learn...