(Politico / Worthy News)– Amy Tincher is an evangelical Christian who plays bass in the band at her suburban Ohio church, where she and her fellow congregants firmly believe the "words we adhere to" are those in the Bible. But last summer, without telling her husband and two kids exactly what she was doing, she boarded a plane for a conference in Kansas whose purpose many evangelicals would plainly consider heretical.
Tincher was one of 50 people flown from around the country and the world—Canada, China, Nigeria and South Korea—to a four-day Bible boot camp dedicated to discussing, and embracing, gay relationships. The gathering was organized by Matthew Vines, who by then was enjoying modest fame for a 2012 YouTube video in which Vines, looking even younger than his 21 years, delivers an hour-long lecture arguing that the Bible does not, in fact, condemn all same-sex relationships. The video has gone viral, racking up more than 730,000 views to date, landing Vines on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Styles section and helping him raise $100,000 for the conference, where he launched The Reformation Project, a nationwide network of pro-gay evangelicals committed to ending their church’s longstanding hostility toward gay people.
Tincher told me she had once "tried on" an anti-gay attitude to fit in with her conservative community in Liberty Township, outside Cincinnati, but like many evangelicals, she struggled to see how homophobia could accord with an all-loving Christian God. So when her pastor sent her a link to Vines’ video, she recalls, "I remember sitting in my kitchen and just crying. I knew it in my heart, but I had never been told that from the pulpit." …continue reading