A response to the Enid Library Board’s ban on LGBTQ+ affirming book displays
It is not the place of the Church to wedge itself into the middle of every public debate. But there is a clear and unavoidable exception. When public policy seeks to marginalize, oppress, segregate, or harm a group of God’s children, the Church must not remain silent. The Enid Library Board’s ban on LGBTQ+ affirming book displays is such an instance.
By banning families of LGBTQ+ people from seeing a public display addressing the issues they face, the board has sent a clear message to LGBTQ+ people in this community: You should not be seen. This is not a new tactic. Our society has a long and lamentable history of suppressing representation of minorities in the public realm, notably in our previous attempts to eradicate Native American culture, and to segregate other faiths, and Black, Indigenous and People of Color, from the public view of white Christians.
When we do this, we deny the image of God in our sisters and brothers — whatever may be their faith, national origin, race, language, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Refusing to acknowledge the image of God in our neighbors — or worse, using positions of public authority and the Church to repress it — is nothing short of blasphemy, and only adds to a culture of oppression that drives LGBTQ+ youth to twice the national rate of suicide.
To our LGBTQ+ sisters and brothers, especially to the youth, I and the parish of Holy Cross Orthodox-Catholic Church have a simple message: You are seen. You are made in the image of God. You are loved and worthy of love, just as you are. God created a beautiful diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity, and you are a beloved part of that creation. We love you. And we are here for you.
The Rev. Fr. James Neal, Holy Cross Orthodox-Catholic Church