Faith

'Church Clarity' Website Seeks to Out Churches on LGBTQ Issues Using Crowdsourcing

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Demonstrating the growing divide among churches on hot-button issues, a new website seeks to provide a service that allows people to know exactly where churches stand on the issue of LGBTQ rights.

As Church Clarity sees it, the problem is that “at the level of the local church, policies are often communicated unclearly, if they disclosed at all. In many churches, especially evangelical ones, clarity is elusive.”

The website has a solution, though:

Church Clarity is not advocating for policy changes. Together, we’re establishing a new standard for church policy disclosure:  We believe that churches have a responsibility to be clear about their policies on their primary websites. Following a simple, yet consistent method, our crowdsourcers submit churches to be scored on how clearly their website communicates their actively enforced policies. Once the information is verified by Church Clarity, it is published to our database.

We believe that ambiguity is harmful and clarity is reasonable. Learn more below, about how you can help us create this new standard.

Some of my most shared and discussed articles are those in which I detail the growing divide among professing Christians over LGBTQ rights. While there are many hot-button issues, some more important than others (tell me a church’s stance on Biblical inerrancy and I can predict where they’re going to eventually land, if not already there, on many hot-button issues), it’s impossible to ignore the evidence pointing to LGBTQ rights as being the hottest of hot-button issues among professing Christians.

It remains to be seen, but I’m skeptical about the long-term validity of Church Clarity’s claim that they’re “not advocating for policy changes.”

The website’s founders are George Mekhail, Sarah Ngu, and Tim Schraeder. All three have a personal stake in the progressive side of the issue; in fact, labeling them as LGBTQ rights activists wouldn’t be incorrect. Ngu and Schraeder are both homosexual (Sarah Ngu identifies as “queer,” for what that’s worth). Ngu co-organizes Queer Communion at her church that is “committed to creating Christian community for anyone who identifies as queer or questioning.”

George Mekhail is on the staff of The Riverside Church, a large, interdenominational church in New York City. The church is gay-affirming and champions its LGBTQ advocacy ministry, Maranatha. Tim Schraeder identifies as “faithfully LGBTQ” and writes about his experience as a “gay Christian.”

It seems highly unlikely that the three will be able to refrain from using their new platform to champion LGBTQ rights.

That being said, I am hopeful that Church Clarity will finally force churches to take a stand on the issue.

Too often, many professing Christians and churches seem to equivocate on the subject. As Jonathan Merritt points out at Religion News Service, “Many evangelicals have decried the theological ambiguity of some churches and have called for greater clarity on the matter.”

Church Clarity can provide an important resource to Christians as they seek to find a church family that is committed to the Bible’s teaching on sexuality. Hopefully, the website will not become a bully platform to shame churches into compromise.