Did You Hear the One About the Evangelical Blogger?
Apparently at least some bloggers are seeing plenty of action these days. And we’re not talking about the hits and analytics either. Jonathan Merritt, an Evangelical blogger who’s written much about his conflicts with the church over homosexuality (he recently showed his support for Chick-fil-A in a piece for The Atlantic, though he’s also criticized leaders for taking a hard line against gay Christians), was outed by another blogger – Azariah Southworth – who says he had an affair with the son of a preacher man.
According to Southworth’s blog, the two sexted and met up back in 2009 before embarking on a relationship. Merritt admits to the texts and said this: “We had physical contact that went beyond the bounds of friendship.”
Merritt, the son of a paster who runs a mega-church in Atlanta, admits he long sought support in counseling and his faith, writing many missives about the “brokenness” of the gay community and himself advocating that fellow Christians be more forgiving of gay people. But he’s never formally “come out,” something Southworth is advocating.
“Exposing this truth of Jonathan’s sexual orientation is not an easy decision for me,” writes Southworth, who hosted his own Christian television show before coming out in 2008. “I take no pleasure in doing this. As I type this my stomach is turning because I know of the backlash he will receive. I have thought about what all of this will mean for him and for me. I base my reasoning in the importance of living an authentic and honest life.”
And while Southworth hasn’t disclosed the intimate details of his alleged relationship with the evangelical blogger, he adds, “I truly hope for the day when leaders of the LGBT community and leaders from the anti-LGBT community can come to the table with no secrets or agendas but simply to know one another.”
Interestingly, Merritt has taking anti-gay zealots to task over the years, suggesting that when they condemn and discriminate against homosexuals, they are committing sin. “Christians – myself included – have allowed our leaders to spew hatred at a community of people who are no more sinful and no less precious than the most pious,” he’s written. “Is it any wonder that many churches have no out-of-the-closet gays attending but enough out-of-the-closet gluttons to fill up a dozen church buses?”