Washington National Cathedral is facing a firestorm of criticism for allowing Max Lucado, a popular evangelical minister, to fill their virtual pulpit for a recent church service. The issue, according to the angry members of the progressive Episcopalian denomination, is that Lucado believes in a biblical view of human sexuality.
Lucado spoke about the Holy Spirit, not about sexuality, during the service in question. But the fact that his nondenominational Christian Church in San Antonio, Texas, espouses the biblical view that homosexual conduct is sinful, did not sit well with a vocal contingent of the D.C. congregation.
"Lucado's teachings and preaching inflicts active harm on LGBTQ people," read a petition that was circulated in the hopes of having the preacher be disinvited. "Fear-mongering and dehumanizing messages from powerful speakers like Lucado have been used to justify rollbacks of LGBTQ rights and to exclude LGBTQ people from civil protections and sacred rites. To our knowledge, Lucado has not publicly renounced these views."
The petitioners accused Lucado of preaching a "dangerous theology," and suggested that even if he wished to use his time to repent of the harm he had caused, it was not the appropriate forum.
"If healing is to take place, Lucado has much work to do before it can begin," they wrote.
National Cathedral Dean Randy Hollerith received the petition and responded, acknowledging the Cathedral's firm stance as a "beacon for LGBTQ inclusion" and identified himself as an "ally" of the community.
But Hollerith defended the decision to invite Lucado, saying there was a desperate need for humanity to find "common ground."
"We have to come out of our corners, find common ground where we can, and find ways to live with and see each other as the beloved children of God that we are," Hollerith wrote. "We have all grown too accustomed in our silos and echo chambers. In order to start the process of rebuilding, we need to hear from each other."