Raleigh pastor to NYT: Religion-based discrimination at root of gay teen suicides

The Rev. Jack McKinney, a former pastor at Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, gave a few of his thoughts in a New York Times story on religion-based discrimination and September’s rash of gay teen suicides:

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As a result, it has also intensified the intrareligious strife over homosexuality. While there is no indication that Mr. Clementi or the other teenagers — Seth Walsh, 13, Billy Lucas, 15, and Asher Brown, 13 — had been personally assailed by religious leaders, liberal clergy members firmly believe that the traditional condemnation of homosexuals and homosexuality in organized religion enables, indeed ratifies, the bigotry inflicted by peers.

“The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘Oh, no, not again,’ ” said the Rev. Jack McKinney, a Baptist minister who does private pastoral counseling in Raleigh, N.C.

“And because there’s an epidemic of suicide among LGBT young people, my next reaction is anger,” he said using a common acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “I’m convinced that the root of a lot of this is religion-based discrimination and defamation. Frankly, I think there’s a lot of spiritual malpractice going on.”

Read the whole article at The New York Times

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

One Reply to “Raleigh pastor to NYT: Religion-based discrimination at root of gay teen suicides”

  1. A gay-affirming church can be a tremendous positive force in a gay person’s life. By coming out spiritually, within a supportive mostly gay congregation, I developed the self-esteem to come out eventually to co-workers, relatives, friends, et al. Conversely, an anti-gay church can nudge a fragile gay person toward depression or suicide. I pray that clergy choose their words very carefully when they dare to pronounce judgments on gay and lesbian people. They may not know just how many closeted teenagers are sitting in their pews.

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