On November 13th I was contacted by a reporter with the Kansas City Star wanting to talk about the state of Missouri’s new law legalizing same sex marriage and what our family shelter policy was or would be regarding sheltering “legally married” same sex couples. Why the Star wanted to begin such a story by focusing on City Union Mission is something we haven’t been able to figure out. We can only guess that the intent was ultimately to stigmatize our conservative Christian/Biblical values.
As you may know, a large part of our ministry is providing both emergency shelter and long term resident programs to those who are homeless – whether single men or single women or married heterosexual couples or moms with children or dads with children or entire families.
I shared with the Star reporter that we have always sheltered anyone who was in need whether they were alcoholics, drug addicts, registered sex offenders, gay or lesbian - or simply because they were out of work, lost their housing or had no other place to turn.
We shelter birth gender men in our men's shelter dormitory and single, birth gender women in our female dormitory. I also shared that because we are a Biblically based & Christ centered ministry that we would not shelter same sex couples in a private room. They would be sheltered but would need to stay in separate rooms or in our women's dormitory with other women. That, of course, is not acceptable to those espousing the homosexual lifestyle because those who practice homosexuality or approve of homosexuality and same sex marriage would not agree that this lifestyle choice is sin. Therefore the Mission (and myself) is considered guilty of very mean and unChristian, unloving behavior.
The agenda of the LGBTQIA wants nothing less than for every person in the United States to not only approve of any and all homosexual behavior but to endorse and support the same. Our opinion was and is that any ministry that is Christ centered and Biblically based must obey God and His Word rather than the dictates of gay rights, the media and current culture.
The news article came out online on Sunday, Nov. 16th and then in print on the 17th. Also on the 17th I was interview by channels 4, 5, 9, & 41. The “can of worms” was now wide open and many hundreds of people began commenting on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, phone and the mail. You can still google City Union Mission to find the original news article as well as many others and the television reports.
There has been MUCH discouraging, even hateful comment but thankfully MUCH encouragement for standing up for the truth of God’s Word, the Bible! I’ve shed more tears these past few weeks than any time in my life – but they truly have been tears of overwhelming gratitude for the encouraging calls, letters, Facebook posts, and e-mails I’ve received.
We know of several dozen past supporters who have told us they would never give again to a ministry that would show such hate by discriminating against “married” same sex couples by not allowing them to sleep together as truly married heterosexual couples (actually none of our shelters have beds larger than twin size). Such letters are still coming three weeks after the initial news reports with no sign of slowing. I've had several use words to describe me that I've never used myself - I think that is something Biblical/Evangelical/Conservative Christianity will experience in growing intensity.
I've tried to prepare our staff and board for the last several years that this time was coming - sooner rather than later. It was still a shock for it to have come so quickly after the state of Missouri approved of same sex marriages. Our stand is that we must be more interested in obeying and trusting our Heavenly Father than we are worried about the future and concern over the loss of financial support. This issue will not be going away and we are even now hearing undercurrents of ways to “force” our hand to do as the homosexual community wants. I’m praying and we’re praying for God’s protection, for His strength, for His wisdom and for His continued provision. The cost could potentially be great . . . but God is so much greater!
I've been nearly non-stop in responding to messages of both support & removal of support. You may be having people ask you about things too & that's partly why I'm sending this - just two simple points to share when people ask about this issue.
1. City Union Mission provides shelter to everyone who comes to us providing they are cooperative and will abide by basic rules necessary for congregate shelter living. In the men's shelter the Mission doesn't turn men away just because all the beds are full. Once the 300 emergency shelter beds are full, more mattresses are placed in open areas. The high # in 2013 was over 370 men.
The family shelter is quite different. We are generally full there so it sometimes takes a few days (even a few weeks at times) for someone to get into our family shelter. Soon we may be looking at the need to again add additional shelter space for housing women and families.
2. City Union Mission believes that the Bible teaches that only marriage between a man & a woman is legitimate before God. Therefore the Mission cannot put a "married" same sex couple in a private room together. They would be placed either in separate rooms or in a dorm with other women.
Some of you have asked what you could do to help. Help for City Union Mission would include prayer support and encouraging others to consider financially helping as they are able. Writing letters to the editor of the Kansas City Star isn’t necessarily recommended because it seems to just keep those in opposition speaking their minds about our “distorted view” of the Bible’s teaching.
Please continue to pray about what your role or your church's role is or should be on this issue that is literally changing our nation. We have some wonderful Christian attorneys & organizations that are working hard on this kind of issue - support and pray for them. We have some great local radio talk show hosts (both secular and Christian) that are standing strong for Biblical truth and the rights of Christians and Christian organizations and Christian owned businesses.
In many ways it feels like the time the king of Aram was trying to capture Elisha. The servant of Elisha saw all of the kings horses & chariots surrounding the city of Dothan - then Elisha prayed "Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. We have a great army of believers around us who also believe God's Word.