Shane Idleman
California pastor Shane Idleman

via YouTube

I have neither the time nor spare brain cells to watch an hour’s worth of Shane Idleman. Idleman is either dishonest or an idiot (some of you instantly said “or both” to yourselves). Here is the beginning of Idleman’s sermon:

The title of the message this morning is
confronting sin in the church and it
probably should have renamed it to this
sermon is illegal in California. Now I
don’t know if you’ve been paying
attention to the news but they did pass
legislation. I don’t know what’s going to
happen there. It’s a Assembly Bill where
you cannot say that certain sexual sin
is a sin. You have to actually embrace it
and encourage people in their sexual sin
or you’ll be penalized. Christian
counselors pastors. California has lost
its mind and so is the rest of the
nation what they’re saying is it’s
because of the high suicide rate the
high suicide rate is because you’re not
giving people hope hope in Jesus Christ …

The video was posted today, Monday so I suspect that it was sunday’s sermon. Comments, by the way, are disabled.

Shane Idleman is pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, California which is about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. Presumably, Idleman is referring to California Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 (ACR-99). ACR-99 is not public policy. It expresses the consensus of the state assembly that clergy should be encouraged to refrain from dependence upon conversion therapy.

Idleman mentions suicides. Let’s put that in context with a sample of what the resolution actually says:

WHEREAS, Conversion therapy has been rejected as ineffective, unethical, and harmful by leading medical, mental health, and child welfare organizations in the United States; and

WHEREAS, The stigma associated with being LGBTQ often created by groups in society, including therapists and religious groups, has caused disproportionately high rates of suicide, attempted suicide, depression, rejection, and isolation amongst LGBTQ and questioning individuals;

[…]

Resolved, That in addressing the stigma often associated with persons who identify as LGBTQ, we call on the people of California–especially its counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators, and legislators–and the institutions of California with great moral influence–especially its churches, universities, colleges, and other schools, counseling centers, activist groups, and religious centers–to model equitable treatment of all people of the state…

Even if ACR-99 were binding — it is not — the idea that “you cannot say that certain sexual sin
is a sin” is just crazy. Pastors can say anything that they like from the pulpit no matter how insane their utterances might be. Nor is anyone required to “embrace it
and encourage people in their sexual sin
or you’ll be penalized.” That is just imaginary victimhood.

What is public policy is a ban on juvenile conversion therapy by licensed counselors. Pastors are not affected even where that law proscribes an activity by others. They are free to damage children.

Idleman claims that “California has lost its mind.” No, it is Shane Idleman who has lost his mind. And, of course, his sermon is not illegal and would not be illegal even if ACR-99 were state law which it is- not. I am never quite sure with these guys whether or not their dishonest hyperbole is a ploy for raising money or if they really believe their own bullshit. We do not need to answer that question. We just need to know that it is BS.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.