CINCINNATI — Dozens of protesters gathered outside Crossroads Church in Oakley Sunday morning.
Organizers said they want accountability from the church after guest speaker David Mahan, director of policy with Center for Christian Virtue, made transphobic and homophobic comments in a July 18 sermon:
“If you have a child struggling with gender dysphoria and you go to a clinic in this area, eventually you’ll get down to brass tacks on if you want a dead daughter or a live son,” said Mahan.
Crossroads issued a statement after Mahan’s sermon, saying, in part, “Regardless of a person’s sexual or gender identity, we love them and welcome them, as does God.”
But supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community assembled Sunday to tell the church more needs to be done. While inside, Pastor Brian Tome said he was sorry for the pain Mahan caused.
“This past week, we have heard from a wide diversity of people who are hurt,” Tome said. “We love people in the LGBTQ community, and that wasn't clear last week. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. That is on, that's on me. God loves all people.”
Mahan later said he simply wanted to help kids steer away from suicide due to gender dysmorphia. Protesters said it’s the other way around.
“It's going to lead to more suicide,” said Beth Beischel.
Protest organizers on Facebook said they want Crossroads to disavow Mahan, and to affirm the right of trans and other LGBTQIA+ people to safely exist within the church.
“There may have been people in the audience who are part of the LGBT community, who may have heard things that made them feel unwelcome,” said Amy McKenzie. “They should come to church and feel loved and feel hope.”
Another protester said it’s not about getting an apology from the church, it’s about warning church-goers what they’ll find inside.
“We don't need an apology from Crossroads, said Jack Crofts, a co-organizer of Sunday’s demonstration. “We're not looking for them to say that they love gay people or support them. We just want their information and their stance to be public so that people coming in can know ahead of time.”
Now, both sides are trying to find ways to move forward.
“They can heal the wound,” said Brian Garry of Neighborhoods United. “They can bridge that divide because now there's a divide in the community over Crossroads.”