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yolanda3This past week has been a particularly difficult one for Kinship members in the United States and Kenya.

In the United States, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. It has only just moved on to the U.S. Senate, yet the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the North American Division have already cosigned a statement condemning it.

The church statement claims that “in attempting to provide protection for some, the Equality Act unnecessarily infringes upon the rights of others.” Once again, church administrators are calling for legislation that allows discrimination against the LGBTIQ community. They’re turning their backs on Adventist LGBTIQ people again.

It is heartbreaking to see the church take tiny steps in the right direction, like the NAD booklet “Guiding Families of LGBT+ Loved Ones.” The authors say the booklet “provides practical insights on how to honor God and radically love LGBT+ people in your life,” but then the church turns around and promotes discrimination against LGBT+ people. It feels as though the church is saying “Here’s a pamphlet about loving LGBTIQ people, but it’s fine to exclude them from shops, fire them from jobs, and deny them public housing!” The church is kissing us on one cheek and slapping us on the other, and that’s not “radical love.”

In Kenya, heterosexual people are attacking our LGBTIQ siblings over legislation that would have decriminalized same-sex relationships there. The has emboldened people to threaten those perceived as LGBT+ with harm and death. The great inroads that our Kenyan members George and Rena have made within the church over the past year are being undermined, and the new legal climate has put targets on their backs. We must hold each other up in support in every way we possibly can. I believe that God loves us unconditionally as God created us to be and a horrific act against any one of us is a horrific act against God. The church dishonors God when it fails to protect us.

More and more Kinship members are distancing from the church’s negativity by leaving the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, and we are here for them. Kinship also exists to advocate for those who stay within Adventism. When these types of things happen, Kinship remains on the front lines to hold up all our members and to call out the church for all that it does that negatively impacts our members everywhere.

In the meantime, we can focus on our community and support one another. In a few weeks, it will be our 40th Kinship Kampmeeting. If you haven’t registered to attend yet, please do so. Kinship members have been holding each other up for four decades, and our annual Kampmeeting is such a beautiful, positive experience of unconditional love. We could all use more unconditional love, now more than ever, and I’d like you to experience it with Kinship!

Journey - Chapter 18