I would like to nominate Justin Lee to be honored as part of MSNBC’s national “Pride 30” celebration which will recognize those in the LGBTQ community who are considered “stand outs.” Justin Lee is a speaker, activist, author, and founder and director of the Gay Christian Network (GCN) which hosts a prolific online presence and hosts a annual conventions attracting attendees in the thousands. He is one of the most respected individuals regarding LGBTQ affirmation within the church.
Gay Christian Network web site. Here is the LINK.
A nice summary of his work van be found at Wikipedia under his name - Justin Lee. Here is the LINK.
Taken from Gay Christian Network’s web site
Justin Lee had the faith and courage to address LGBTQ issues within one of the major bastions of bigotry in our culture – the church. Most especially the conservative church. Justin Lee was a torch bearer. He started the Gay Christian network in 2001. This was a time when gay acceptance was pushed under the rug for nearly all churches. Justin Lee perhaps more than any other individual can be credited with invoking the conversation between LGBTQ orientations and the church. His first gathering in 2001 had approximately 30 people. The Gay Christian Network now attracts thousands to its annual conventions. These conventions contain “breakout rooms” addressing topics pertinent to LGBTQ’s and those who support them (like me as a father to a gay son).
Church in rural Georgia
When my son “came out” I researched and found Justin Lee’s name. Fortunately, my son came from a family that embraced him… but I wanted to know more. I read Justin Lee’s book called “Torn” and even handed out 30 copies for free at a local “Gay Day” celebration. This book helps one get into the mind of one struggling with their sexual orientation. I perhaps know this struggle more intimately as I knew the culture at Wake Forest University where I graduated a decade ahead of Justin Lee (I am 53). While I was there no one came out as gay. It just didn’t happen although Wake Forest has made life much more comfortable for LGBTQ’s over time.
“TORN” by Justin Lee
Supporting my son by attending NYC gay parade.
Pictured in Purple shirt is Mayor Deblazio.
Justin Lee has created a community where LGBTQ’s feel safe and supported.
Many of the conversations within the church may not be happening if Justin Lee, starting from nothing, didn’t create a powerful network that has helped illuminate the status quo. Someone had to be first. Justin Lee was that man. Of note too is how Justin Lee has advanced LGBTQ affirmation in the church in a remarkably peaceful way. He respects other view points and no one is “banned” from his conferences (OK… the Westboro Baptist Church may be stopped at the door).
Westboro Baptist Church picketed GCN conference that I attended in Portland, Oregon. They were drowned out and surrendered and left the premises.
Justin Lee can be largely credited with the demise of “conversion therapy” as he created the space for its founder, Alan Chambers, to speak at a GCN conference. Chambers lead the powerful Exodus International, which attempted to convert gays to straight folks. Chamber admitted to a packed crowd that conversion therapy was an unmitigated disaster. Alan Chamber could not point to one person who was successfully converted. Since this point a ground swell has emerged and states in our nation have moved to deny this type of therapy.
Alan Chambers and Exodus International
There are other organizations now set up lime GCN. The Reformation Project run by Matthew Vines for example. Matthew Vines is another worthy candidate but I assume I am to just nominate one person. I nominate Justin Lee because he had the vision and courage to be first. Being first brings with it faith and courage without the knowledge of whether or not his pursuit would be successful. Justin Lee stayed true to his principle and the thriving Gay Christian Network is evidence of his faith filled efforts.
Ii is noteworthy that I was a graduate student in ministerial studies at Liberty University. However, I left that school when I learned of Liberty Counsel and Matt Staver (who stood beside the “Kentucky clerk”) who heads the law school. I was shocked when I heard that Attorney Matt Staver of Liberty University was representing pro bono a heinous man named Scott Lively.
Left to right: Mike Huckabe, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, Matt Staver Head of Liberty Counsel
Who is Scott Lively? Scott Lively (charged with “Crimes against humanity”) has been a spreader of gay hate around the globe. In Uganda he helped create a “Kill the Homos” bill which posted pictures of prominent gays in tbe newspaper and asked the public to murder these people. Lively also has worked with Russia in spreading bigotry at the time of the Russian Olympics. The work of Justin Lee is as important now as ever. The recent findings of torture and killings of gays in Chechnya bears this out.
Scott Lively; charged with Crimes against Humanity
I have created my own web site that pulls together much of what I have learned at the Gay Affirming conferences I have attended. My web site is effective in debunking the Bible scriptures against gays that many conservative Christians peel literally off the page. I am also more salty and outspoken than most. See this LINK.
WHAT A PROFOUND IMPACT JUSTIN LEE HAS MADE!
AND HOW IMPORTANT HIS WORK IS GOING FORWARD!
I earnestly ask that Justin Lee be chosen by MSNBC as a pioneer and a difference maker in the LGBTQ community and that he be cited for his efforts which he so richly deserves.
Mark M Robbins
Mark M Robbins
Live in Boca Raton near my twin sons who attend college
BA Economics Wake Forest University
MBA Lehigh University (Graduated at the top of my class)
CMA (Certified Management Accountant) 4 parts similar to CPA
CFM (Certified Financial Manager) 4 parts similar to CPA
Career in Corporate Finance
Adopted twin boys at 9 month (mow 19; one gay and one is straight)
I Am author/administraror of one of the most successful anti corruption blogs in the country (mostly PA) with over 6 million page views. I write on a variety of topics as I feel inspired.