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A fool's errand?

Having been mentioned in Mike Signorile's story as yet another GLBT organization "duped" by Andrew Marin ["The Preacher Lied," October 24], Dignity/Chicago would like to set the record straight about our involvement with the Marin Foundation.

The mission of the Marin Foundation to build bridges between evangelical Christians and the wider GLBT community presents both challenges and opportunities; some see it as a fool's errand. We at Dignity/Chicago see possibilities. Leaders of our organization met with Andrew Marin in 2005 to discuss working together. We admired the foundation's goal to bridge two communities that have very different views on human sexuality. Specifically, we were interested in supporting the opportunities Andrew's spiritual education classes presented local faith communities, realizing that he presented the broad variety of Christian approaches to the issue of homosexuality, including those with which we disagree. We had a realistic expectation that a handful of the students would get introduced to our chapter as a faith community, and indeed some have. We did not, however, have any lofty expectations that our membership would significantly increase as a result of this relationship.

Of course, the larger issue is just how one engages people of faith who, for a variety of reasons, have strong negative reactions to homosexuality. Having struggled for more than three decades to bring change within the Catholic Church, we are not surprised that Andrew has to take a nuanced approach to issues of sexuality, sin, and scripture when dealing with evangelicals; one can hardly build bridges with them by shouting support for same-sex marriage, as some seem to suggest Andrew should do. We find it unfortunate that there are those who wish to discredit Andrew personally; in our own meetings with him, we have found him to be a person of spiritual depth and integrity, though, like all of us, he has lessons to learn when it comes to dealing with media. Plenty of ink was given to Andrew's detractors, but it doesn't appear that Andrew was given a chance to respond. There is plenty of naivete to go around.

STEVE FORST Chicago, Ill.

[Signorile responds: In an interview, Steve Forst told me quite clearly that Dignity / Chicago members were very concerned about Marin's remarks in the media and had planned to discuss them with him. Forst also expressed his disappointment regarding the few Marin Foundation referrals. The group has obviously softened its stance toward Marin since that time--unlike several national gay groups that became alarmed and broke ties with Marin--but I stand by my reporting on that initial reaction.]
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Title Annotation:FROM THE READERS
Author:Forst, Steve
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Dec 19, 2006
Words:426
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