A couple of years ago I had coffee with one of the youth at my church. He used to be very involved in the life of the church, even went to Annual Conference the year before, but had become disengaged. So over coffee at a Burgers Bagel we chatted about why he wasn’t active in church. He said he no longer believed in God.

His reason for not believing any more was directly related to his experience at Annual Conference.

He cannot and will not believe in a God whose people treat one another with so much hate and disrespect. If the church has no room for LGBT people, then the church has no room for him, a straight ally. For this teenager, the only logical conclusion was that if this was the people of God, surely there can be no God.

I wonder how many other people we have chased away. I wonder how many people have left the church because of the rhetoric around these issues.

I wonder how many no longer believe in God because our ‘good news’ is not for them.

We need to do better. We need to realize that we are not only excluding LGBT people from the church, we are also excluding their friends, family members, and allies. It is time that we take God’s love seriously. God freely loves every single person, it is not up to us to decide who is and who is not welcome at the Table, who is and who is not offered Grace. God loves, no exceptions.

It’s time for the church to love without exception.

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