This happened in the mid 1990’s. I was attending a church in which the members were going through a process called ONA. They were going to vote on whether to be open and affirming – of everyone, but particularly of people who were LGBTQ.
This was in a suburb of L.A., and a few members worked in the city, but had to be closeted or lose their jobs. The church offered privacy and sanctuary, and was supposed to be saying, I thought, “Welcome. Come as you are.”
During the tense meeting after Sunday service, people were free to get up and go to the mike to give their views. Particularly offensive, I thought, were people who said that their families had been members of the congregation for three generations (as if that gave them more clout) and they said NO. Another woman asked, “When did church membership become a cash commodity?”
I decided to speak out. I pointed out – calmly – that since many people were fearful of “coming out,” it was quite possible that the person sitting next to you is among those you would exclude. Imagine further, if you can, how you would feel … to be sitting in a place where you were not wanted because of your sexual orientation or any other factor. Others agreed.
The motion passed; the church became officially ONA. I am still not happy with a group who think they can vote someone in or out, welcome or unwelcome. And this is a church!