Monday, August 31, 2009

“A ‘Secularized’ Church Pursues Its Mission In Unorthodox Causes

Wall Street Journal, March 13, 1967
“A ‘Secularized’ Church Pursues Its Mission In Unorthodox Causes
San Francisco Homosexuals Helped by Glide Methodist; Some Members Unhappy

Movement “part of a wider trend called ‘secularization.’” “The clergy is a major source of recruits for the civil rights movement.” “Essentially, they say, their job is to apply Christian ideals of charity to urban problems.” “Glide’s members are especially concerned about homosexuality. It is widespread in San Francisco. Police estimate that 80,000 to 90,000 San
Franciscans, or more than 10% of the city’s 790,000 people, are homosexuals.

Glide permitted the Vanguards, a group of young male prostitutes, to have a dance in the church. Glide also has made office space available to the Vanguards, helped them secure a clubroom and bought them furniture. “We were the only ones who would respond to the needs of these people, says Mr. Williams. “If you make yourself available to people, there’s got to be a complete commitment. A commitment just to help those its easy to help is hypocritical.”

Glide ministers haven’t tried to ‘reform’ the homosexuals. But Mr. Durham says some have responded to the sympathetic treatment they have received. “One fellow who was really struggling with his sexual identity has gotten married and found a job,” he says. “Two or three have joined the church. Some who have gotten away from the kind of life they were leading have even come back to help those still caught up in it.”

Whatever else may result from the aid to the Vanguards, it already has opened some communication between homosexuals and the police department. A policeman has been assigned to counsel the group. Oddly, among those unhappy with the Glide, Vanguard relationship were leaders of several other homosexual organizations. “We thought the publicity (about dances and prostitution) would tend to perpetuate in the public mind a stereotype of the homosexual as irresponsible and sexually permissive,” one says.

…[mentions Saul Alinksy preaching, abortion “defender” preaching, CCH, etc.]…

If Glide’s activities appear unorthodox, its ministers say, it is largely because of a strong ‘anti-urban’ strain in American Protestant thinking. While most denominations have willingly, even eagerly, dispatched missionaries to primitive and sometimes savage foreign lands, many religious leaders have sied away freom work in the domestic ‘jungles.’ Heretofore, says Mr. Durham, “The role of the church in the city was somehow to save people from the evils of the city and to remind them of the sanctity of their rural heritage.” But no matter how “atheistic, Godless, immoral, demonic” modern city life may seem to be, Mr. Durham says, God create it and loves it.”

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