Gay Christian Man Shares Anti-Gay Letter From Texas Megachurch
A gay Christian man from Texas took to Facebook earlier this month, posting a letter sent to him by a mega church he once attended, which outlines that he was booted from the community because he is gay.
"Being gay and Christian seems to be not a thing to a lot of people but I disagree with that, you can be gay and Christian at the same time," Jason Thomas, a technician specialist, told Dallas' ABC-affiliate station WFAA.
Growing up, Thomas believed that being gay was "one of the unforgivable sins." Wrestling with his sexuality, Thomas finally accepted that being gay is not a sin and he came out to his friends at the Watermark Community Church last year.
"I shared my testimony on stage in front of 3,000 people. I believed with all my heart that God would change me. I went to the programs they offered and recommended," he told the local news station.
The programs to which Thomas is referring were aimed to changed his "perceived" sexual orientation - much like the controversial and disavowed practice of conversion therapy. Thomas acknowledged the damage such practices can have on LGBT people, saying, "It's just very sad to hear stories of people almost committing suicide."
Thomas said when he wanted to continue attending Watermark as an out gay man, the megachurch's officials sent him a letter, filled with anti-gay language.
In the note, which was sent to Thomas last year, church officials call Thomas' same-sex relationship a "destructive pattern" and took issue with his "unwillingness to heed biblical counsel." The letter also officially nixed him as a member of the church.
"This means that you are no longer a member of our body at Watermark," the note reads. "We are praying that repentance comes quickly and that you do not continue choosing a path of destruction and one that leads you away from the authority and care of the church."
Thomas decided to post the letter earlier this month to mark the one year anniversary of receiving the hateful message. He told WFAA he is still hurt by the note.
"I just don't think that they are aware of the impact this is having on people's lives," he told the news station. "I don't want to go to war with the church, I don't want to go to battle with them. I don't want to say negative things about them. I just want them to recognize that they can do a better job at loving people."
In his Facebook post, Thomas opened up about his struggles with dealing with his sexuality.
"It was exactly one year ago when you told me that I was no longer worthy to serve, be in a community group, and be a member of your church," he wrote. "I spent years in your church battling against my homosexuality. I believed with all my heart that God would change me; I prayed for change almost daily. But when I wasn't able to change, you turned your back on me."
His post, which includes a photo of the letter, has been shared over 400 times, received more than 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments.
Watermark responded to Thomas' story in a statement to WFAA.
"Like any member whose beliefs move away from the core commitments, biblical convictions, and values of Watermark, it became appropriate to formally change his membership status," the statement says in part. "However, we continue to express to him that he is loved and is always welcome to attend Watermark."
Nevertheless, Thomas said he is attending church somewhere else.
"If even at the end of the day I'm wrong, what's the best way to help me? And that is not kicking me to the curb," he told the news station. "When I put in all my blood, sweat, tears, effort, kicking me to the curb is not the best way you can love me."
Read the Watermark letter in full, along with Thomas' post, below. Also below, watch WFAA's report on Thomas.