A newly launched, crowd-sourced website called Church Clarity is scoring American churches based on their policies towards LGBT people. This LGBT church website launched last week and opened with 40 big name churches on their site. Thus far, they’re focusing predominantly on American evangelical churches and claim to have received 700 user submissions since their launch.
The inner workings of the LGBT church website
Church Clarity’s submission page asks people to identify the church, add links to their website and social media accounts and to share any web links or personal stories about the church’s attitude towards LGBTQ people. The website then scores the church based on whether the church is affirming or non-affirming of LGBTQ people and whether that is clearly designated on their website or unclearly defined through non-web actions like sermons and in-person or community activities.
Website co-founders Tim Schraeder, Sarah Ngu and George Mekhail say that they were compelled to create the site after August, 2017 when more than 150 evangelical Christian “leaders” signed a anti-LGBTQ statement referred to as “The Nashville Statement.”
According to the Church Clarity website, churches receive public taxpayer-funded subsidies as tax-exempt religious organizations, but none are held accountable for the role they play in their communities. To attract new congregants, churches will often avoid “fully or clearly disclosing their church policies,” even sometimes publicly saying that they are “welcoming” or “loving” to all people, “while quietly refusing to officiate weddings or grant full membership to LGBTQ+ people.”
The LGBT church website’s coming nationwide protest
The website’s co-founders say that they’re not looking to reform anti-LGBTQ churches, but rather to start a conversation about their policies. They also have some immediate plans for the future.
Schraeder told Vice:
This Tuesday is the 500-year anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, so we’re hoping to get 500 people across the world to join us by leaving posters on the door of their churches. There will be a space for participants to write their thoughts or questions about their respective church’s positioning on LGBTQ matters. We’ll also hopefully have 500 parishes scored on our site by then.
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