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Secret Activists Queering Evangelical Churches?

Senior church leader warns of apparent plot to infiltrate conservative congregations and use legal force to affirm trans rights
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Earlier today, I was interviewed by a Christian television show. The reporter asked me how the churches have received Live Not By Lies. I told him we had sold over 150,000 copies in just over a year, and that I hear anecdotally about individuals and churches preparing, but that overall, it seems that most American churches, and American Christians, prefer to console themselves with the idea that everything is going to be just fine if we keep doing what we have been doing, only with more heart. This, I said, is dangerously naive.

Well, late this afternoon, I had an extraordinary telephone conversation with a friend who is a senior state leader in a nationally prominent Evangelical denomination, one that skews conservative on LGBT issues. He just returned from a conference, and said, “I think you need to know what the next front in the culture war is.”

My friend told me that pastors in five different churches in the southern region of his state reported at the conference the same phenomenon. They have had strangers come and join their congregations, and six months or so later, come out as transgender, and demand their rights as official members of the congregation. It has happened to so many of these churches, in the same period of time, that they believe it is part of a concerted effort to undermine those churches. I don’t have permission to give identifying details of the denomination and the particular state, but my friend told me that there is serious concern among the denomination’s lawyers that these undercover trans activists have found a legal way to force these congregations to capitulate on trans issues, or face ruinous lawsuits.

“There are a lot of churches in our denomination that don’t have a lot of money,” my friend said. “If they get sued, they won’t have enough resources to even defend themselves.”

My friend said he just met with the pastors of this region, who have all been poleaxed by this. Many of them are barely able to understand gender fluidity as a concept, much less figure out how to deal with it from a faithfully Christian point of view. They are sitting ducks, according to my friend. He said that on the advice of lawyers, the congregations are rewriting their bylaws to protect themselves from this kind of sneak attack.

He went on to say that most of the people in his denomination believe that being a Christian is mostly about holding certain cultural beliefs (including politics) and being nice. “They can’t understand why people don’t like them, and they think that if they’re nice, they’ll win people over,” he said. “I have tried to explain why this isn’t true, but most of the leaders in [my denomination] don’t want to believe it. In ten years, this church is going to look very, very different.”

My friend and I talked further about how diabolical this strategy is by trans activists. It sounds crazy, because it is crazy. If I did not know the man I was talking to, I would have trouble believing it. But look, this is not a rumor: again, this man I talked to today spent the last few days talking face-to-face with the pastors who are dealing with this, trying to help them understand what’s happening. My friend is pretty savvy about this kind of thing, but this left him shaken.

This is the reality that traditional Christians in this culture have to face today. We know that Generation Z is likely to be the first generation in American history in which a majority will not be affiliated with a church. We also know that Generation Z is far more liberal on sexual morality, and far less liberal when it comes to tolerating dissent. I suggested to my friend that it is going to take most of the Boomers dying off for church leaders to have a clearer picture of the peril that conservative Christianity is facing. He agreed. He told me that he is deeply discouraged about the future of traditional Christianity in his denomination and in his state, saying that the leadership in so many churches prefer to keep their heads buried in the ground, because they can’t emotionally accept the reality of what is happening.

You have been warned. If you are a leader in a traditional/conservative congregation, denomination, or Christian school, I strongly urge you to contact Alliance Defending Freedom and get information on how you can protect yourselves legally. And if you have the financial resources to help ADF, please give generously, so they can help imperiled churches, religious schools, and individuals.

And please, prepare yourselves, your families, and your churches. Do not wait for your congregation’s or denomination’s leaders to take the initiative. It’s not likely to happen. Father Kolakovic faced the same indifference from the Slovak Catholic bishops in the pre-communist years. They didn’t think persecution of the church could happen in their country. Father Kolakovic knew otherwise, and built a network of resilient believers — and when the Iron Curtain fell, they were ready. If you’ve read Live Not By Lies, or plan to read it, here is a free downloadable study guide for your group. 

UPDATE: An experienced religious liberty lawyer e-mails to urge churches to join the ADF Church Alliance. 

The lawyer says that every church absolutely must have updated their Statement of Faith and related bylaws for the post-Obergefell era. If churches do not have detailed, clear “theologies of the body” that are written down, they will be vulnerable. You cannot wait until you get sued or challenged to address the issue. Do it now. Contact ADF for more information.

UPDATE.2: A friend emails (I’ve slightly edited to protect identity):

 It’s frustratingly vague, I know. Going back to 1990 or so, in the [diocese], there was an active Cursillo movement. You know Cursillo as an evangelical-flavored, huggy weekend experience designed to strengthen and renew faith. (It did accomplish this for many people.) My spouse and I were involved for a while.
This strange thing happened. On the Friday night, when you go around the room and say something about yourself, two women who had come together began crying and saying they loved each other, but their parish was very rejecting to them.
This put the deeply conservative Cursillo leaders in a bind. The ambiance of the weekend is extremely affirming and consoling, sentimental, and really huggy. So they kind of had to say comforting things to this couple, while baffled about how to treat it as a larger topic.
Not long after that, we left [that church/denomination], but we kept hearing about gay couples revealing themselves on Friday night.  Eventually, those Cursillistas moved into leadership roles as weekend staff, just like any Cursillista can do. And before long Cursillo was entirely taken over by gays.
Rod, that’s my memory of 30+ years ago, and I really can’t be sure I’m remembering right. I don’t even know anyone you could contact to verify it. But it might be that these transes joining congregations now, and revealing themselves later, are following a playbook that was proved successful decades ago.
UPDATE.3: Naturally in the comments, liberal readers are mocking this. Fine, I expect that. I just want the rest of you to understand that this is a real and urgent issue. A reader writes:
This move is alarming and its exactly what I’d expect. Yes, churches should get their theology of the body statements and contact ADF. Absolutely. But that will not save them.
Yes, churches can expel/bar members for any reason. But in America, you can sue for any reason. The trial itself can be the trial–lawfare. Lengthy legal procedures can be financially ruinous and just sap people’s strength. How many times was the Colorado baker sued? Maybe a Bush/Trump appointee will throw such cases out, but an Obama/Biden judge? May very well allow the procedure to continue–that’s the persecution. How much money and resources do these churches and denominations have?
The case doesn’t have to win to put churches out of business, it just has to drag and take up resources. Secularists have thousands and thousands of lawyers on standby chomping at the bit for causes like this and there are millions if not billions in funds from wealthy liberals for such purposes. There are tons of secular attorneys, think tanks, and professors in various academic fields willing to throw everything including the kitchen sink at coming up with new BS arguments. But even if the arguments are BS, some attorney has to argue they are BS. And the time, money, and resources are on the side of the enemy even if the law is not.
Finally, I doubt winning the case would even be the primary objective. Closing the churches is. Making Christians live in fear. Chasing the members away. Making people afraid to identify with their churches or as Christians. You can bet MSNBC and their ilk will widely publicize any such cases. Will Chase Bank continue to let such a church put their money in? Or give them a loan?
Hard to keep a church building going if you can’t have a bank account. Haven’t we already seen banks purge political undesirables already?
Then there are the members. The activists will no doubt identify and expose the members. To the public and probably their employers. Joe the auto mechanic might be fine, but the medical doctors? Attorneys? Engineers? The people who carry the financial burden of your church? What do you think their employers will do? These people will be subjected to public struggle sessions by the activists/media. If they say the wrong thing, they could find themselves unemployed. How many members will even need that to run away and hide? Just being known to the public as a bigot might be enough for many members to disassociate.
The members themselves need to be prepared for persecution.
UPDATE.4: I just landed in the UK and received a detailed letter from an academic, using their own name, explaining how their former research center actively recruited interns to go into churches posing as parishioners to spread gender ideology. The academic asked me to make vague almost everything about this story, because they (I’m obscuring gender at the academic’s request) left the institution because they could no longer in good conscience work there, and left academia entirely because they could no longer stand having to watch every word they say for fear of being found out as a wrongthinker. The academic — I met this person once, and believe them — says that they burned out, and are now trying to find their way forward out of the ruins of their academic career. The academic simply wrote to say that what the Evangelicals in that state are dealing with is something that the academic’s research center hired activists to do (though I’m guessing that because the academic’s state is geographically distant from my Evangelical source’s state, these aren’t the same activists).
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