WASHINGTON – The Honorary Chairman of next week’s National Day of Prayer has a history of speaking out against LGBT Americans.
Pastor Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California and is a part of Harvest Ministries. Laurie will be in Washington next week to lead events at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill as part of the 2013 National Day of Prayer.
Pastor Laurie insists that being gay is a sin. His organization, Harvest Ministries, claims LGBT people are “denying and disobeying God.” A “Statement on Homosexuality” on the Harvest website reads:
“A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not!”
“Pastor Laurie’s message is out of step with what the majority of people of faith across this country believe,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion & Faith Program. “In greater numbers than ever before, people of faith are feeling compelled to speak up and organize for equality – because of their faith."
Pastor Laurie’s implication that being gay is a choice is not only inaccurate; it’s also a dangerous assertion. The nation’s leading medical organizations are in lockstep agreement that efforts to change one’s sexual orientation can have harmful consequences. Full statements from the medical groups are available on HRC’s website.
Earlier this week, a one-time leading advocate of efforts aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation issued an apology and denounced the dangerous practices. John Paulk, who was once associated with the ex-gay group Exodus International, says change efforts are harmful and don’t work. Data indicates that youth exposed to practices aimed at “changing” their sexual orientation are more prone to suicide attempts, depression, and drug use.
Last week, pastor Laurie appeared on James Dobson’s “Family Talk” program, warning that our nation was experiencing a “complete, total moral meltdown.”
Dobson is the founder and chairman emeritus of the anti-gay group Focus on the Family, an organization that has blasted relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples and attacked the idea of same-sex couples raising children. Dobson’s wife, Shirley, is the chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
“People of faith are guided by the core tenets of their faith to love their neighbor as yourself and judge not," Groves said. “Pastor Laurie’s offensive teachings stand in direct contradiction to the core values of many people of faith and an increasing number of religious institutions that have encouraged full inclusion. It is time for him to listen to the religious voices that recognize supporting all LGBT people as a faith value.”
Laurie will be participating in a prayer breakfast at the Pentagon next Thursday morning. Laurie and Dobson will then lead the official observation of the National Day of Prayer from an event on Capitol Hill.
OutServe-SLDN calls on Pentagon to drop pastor Laurie from Day of Prayer
Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson called on the Pentagon to remove the pastor from the agenda, citing his blatantly anti-LGBT message.
"Mr. Laurie represents the worst our nation's communities of faith have to offer when it comes to fairness, justice, and equality. His hurtful, out-of-the-mainstream rhetoric stands at direct odds with the mission the Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of Defense have laid out: that this nation's military will be an institution that respects the dignity and honors the service of our gay and lesbian service members, veterans, and their families," said Robinson, an ordained Baptist minister.
"On behalf of our 6,000 members and their families, representing over 67,000 LGBT members of the armed forces, we call upon the Department of Defense to rescind their invitation to Pastor Laurie and invite in his place a faith leader who can speak with integrity and respect to the needs and concerns of all of our nation's courageous service members," she said.