VIDEO: Interview on MSNBC Live

“Hopefully, Pete’s candidacy is also raising the question for many Christians of whether they need to take a closer look at Scripture and the scriptural passages that Franklin Graham is talking about to make his argument against same-sex marriage to see if, in fact, the Bible is not speaking to committed, loving, same-sex relationships like Mayor Pete’s and like that of millions of same-sex couples and of millions of LGBTQ Christians around the country and around the world.

“So I hope that this will also present an opportunity for many Christians who may have looked to people like Franklin Graham in the past to recognize that this is not a very principled argument anymore, and maybe they need to do their own investigation of Scripture on this topic and also recognize the fact that gay Christians exist and are an important part of the church and that we need to be thinking more critically not just about Scripture, but also about how Jesus would treat the LGBTQ community.”

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Franklin Graham challenges Pete Buttigieg, but voters unlikely to care

Vines said voters — especially Democrats — may be skeptical of the evangelist’s criticism of Buttigieg given Graham’s fervent support for President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric and actions many view as immoral.

“I think a lot of conservative Christian leaders, especially those who have aligned themselves with Trump, are not really aware the extent to which they have decimated their moral authority and ability to speak to this subject in the public square,” he said.

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LGBTQ Christians say Franklin Graham lacks ‘moral authority’ after comments on Buttigieg

Vines said that after his book came out in 2014, the Southern Baptist Convention, which is under the evangelical umbrella, released an e-book that served as a rebuttal to his arguments. In their rebuttal, SBC leaders said the question of same-sex relationships in the church is an issue of a different magnitude than most other issues since it is a question of unrepentant sin.

“While I disagree that same-sex relationships are inherently sinful, I at least was able to appreciate the logic of that argument, that if you believe that I understand why you would see this as a different type of sin than other theological disagreements,” Vines said. “What has been so revealing and discouraging about the last few years is the extent to which the issue of unrepentant sin didn’t seem to matter when it came to Donald Trump.”

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A Beloved Former Pastor Retracted His Support of Same-Sex Marriage. It Will Harm LGBTQ People More Than He May Know

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean.”

That is author and retired pastor Eugene Peterson’s rendering of Matthew 5:37 in The Message, his popular paraphrase of the Bible that’s sold millions of copies and endeared him to Christians across the theological spectrum. The more traditional translation of Jesus’s teaching is famous: “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no,’ ‘no.’”

Unfortunately, Peterson didn’t follow that counsel this week in a statement he is now regretting. In an interview with Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt, he was asked whether he would perform a same-sex wedding ceremony for a gay couple in his church who were “Christians of good faith,” and he responded with one word: “Yes.”

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Poll shows a dramatic generational divide in white evangelical attitudes on gay marriage

Matthew Vines, who dropped out of Harvard University to start the Reformation Project, said Northland was the biggest church yet willing to host a conversation with his group. Vines believes there’s a slow, steady trajectory toward evangelicals affirming gay marriage.

When popular author Jen Hatmaker said last fall she affirms same-sex relationships, her books were pulled from Lifeway Christian Resources stores. But Vines thinks that Hatmaker and others who have become LGBT affirming still retain their influence. “I don’t think they were as successfully farewelled as they would have been three to five years ago,” he said.

Attitude shifts won’t happen overnight, Vines said. “It’s important that young evangelicals have changed their mind, but it’s not enough to create institutional change,” he said.

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Evangelicals Rethinking LGBTQ Rights And Inclusion

Most American Christians have become more accepting of same-sex relationships over the last ten years. Yet most evangelical church leaders do not support same-sex relationships. Now, a wide range of evangelical churches and colleges are starting to have frank conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity they say they have never had before.

Many church boards are also debating their policies that have excluded LGBTQ people. A few have changed their practices to be more inclusive and accepting. At the same time, youth ministers are discussing how to respond to students struggling with sexual identity. Evangelicals and rethinking LGBTQ rights and inclusion.

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Church forum seeks to build bridge with LGBT community

Vines, 27, a Harvard University dropout who lives in Kansas, had begun talking privately to pastors and other Christian leaders, but he wanted to expand the discussion into the public sphere. He hopes the forums will inspire people to show Christian love toward those they may never have listened to before.

The timing of the forum, less than a month before the first anniversary of the June 12 Pulse massacre, was deliberate, Hunter said.

“We wanted to put people in the room who wouldn’t normally talk or agree, to model just how legitimate and how needed that is,” he said.

Part of what made the Pulse shooting so painful is that it happened at a gay club that “felt like a safe haven for people who are rejected by society,” Vines said. “And churches are where the most powerful rejection is.”

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National Evangelical college group to fire all pro-gay marriage staffers

Matthew Vines, who was a member of Harvard University’s InterVarsity chapter between 2008 and 2010, told The News he finds the announcement “incredibly frustrating and disappointing.”

“It doesn’t resolve anything,” Vines, who is gay, said. “All it’s going to cause is a whole lot of headaches. All they’re doing is inviting backlash and inviting colleges to kick them off of campus.”

InterVarsity prides itself on being a justice-oriented evangelical ministry with chapters on 667 college campuses nationwide. By preaching the gospel to college students, the group says it is able to further Christian moral values from the ground up.

Vines struggled to understand how the organization he used to be part of can still call itself justice-minded in light of the recent decision.

“You can’t be a justice organization when you are proudly embracing injustice and persecution of a minority group,” he said.

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Evangelical campus ministry group asks pro-gay staff to quit

But Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian” and an advocate for evangelical acceptance of LGBT people, called the policy “a recipe for institutional marginalization.” He noted that InterVarsity is known for fighting racism and supporting women in leadership positions, even though many evangelical churches only allow male leaders.

“This seems like it really runs counter to their justice stand to be proudly embracing injustice and to be intentionally and actively persecuting a marginalized group within their community,” said Vines, who was active in InterVarsity at Harvard University.

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After Orlando Shooting, Christian Activist Urges Religious Compassion

In the days following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, there’s no lack of public sentiments about thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families. But Christian LGBT activist Matthew Vines says the messages coming from his larger faith community have been mixed.

“On the whole, I think most Christians do want to show empathy, which is good,” Vines said, “but there’s a strong tendency not to want to name, that the people who were murdered were murdered because they are gay, because they are bisexual or transgender, because of their sexual or gender identity”…

That harm, he says comes from clinging to an interpretation of the Bible that says that “all same-sex relationships are sinful and therefore, to be gay should be a constant source of shame and repentance for gay Christians.”

“That does untold emotional, psychological, spiritual damage to millions and millions of LGBT people in the church,” Vines said.

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