Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mars Hill Church Not Actually Volunteering with Lifelong AIDS Alliance

Posted by on Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Well, this is a PR meltdown.

For those just tuning in, it began this morning when Mars Hill Church pastor Tim Gaydos issued a statement celebrating his parish's new proximity to a neighborhood filled with AIDS. As he put it in an e-mail, "being closer to Capitol Hill is a blessing as we are serving and ministering to those who are infected with AIDS on the hill.” Asked at about 11:30 a.m. what sort of HIV/AIDS outreach they were doing—and how being one-third of a mile closer to a gay neighborhood empowered the church to conquer the disease—Mars Hill spokesman Justin Dean explained that congregants intended to teach to the neighborhood's "AIDS victims" about Jesus and the ministry was "at the beginning stages of volunteering with the Lifelong AIDS Alliance." Why would this estimable nonprofit associate itself with a church that won't even allow gay members?

And that's where the question stood until now.

It turns out, Mars Hill Church hasn't filled out any volunteer application forms or undergone a screening process to affiliate itself with Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Kelly Bray, a spokeswoman for the outreach charity, says by phone. She says, in fact, that the church has "no relationship" with her group. Mars Hill did call Lifelong about the possibility of volunteering last fall, but they hadn't heard again from the church until today—"around lunchtime," Bray adds. You mean, the church only touched base again with Lifelong after The Stranger started inquiring about the church's purported Capitol Hill AIDS ministry? "I think the timeline of that synced up," Bray confirmed. "We have not responded yet. We are still working out our response internally."

But would Lifelong even work with Mars Hill? After all, the megachurch conglomerate—which has 14,000 members in 11 branches—reportedly doesn't allow gay people to be members. (Asked why the church bans gay members, a Mars Hill spokesman didn't comment.) It seems a little unusual for a notoriously cultish and homophobic mission to target a gay neighborhood, weirdly brand the area as a hotbed of disease, and then telegraph its plans to use a well-regarded nonprofit as a vehicle for proselytizing their divisive version of Christianity, right?

"We don't discriminate against organizations that walk through our doors," Bray said. "If Mars Hill is interested in potentially volunteering, they would be made aware of what flies by us, the values we uphold, and individuals we work with. We would not put them in any position where they could proselytize." However, Bray was also noncommittal. "We do make some case-by-case evaluations... I can't say that we would be full speed ahead with bringing them on board, but at the beginning we will treat them the same as any other community group."

 

Comments (41) RSS

Newest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
41
There are plenty of opportunities to help, but I'm not so sure a lot of aids cases exist on Capital Hill.
Posted by jencook http://www.volunteercenter.com/ on March 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
40
Mark Driscoll is a shrewd businessman who says what he says because it gets bigots to tithe. End of story. Stop writing about this cunt.
Posted by Bigotlighter on February 2, 2013 at 2:39 AM · Report this
ErinTheAdvocate 39
I think if Mars Hill wants to really help those with AIDS, Africa is hurting much more than Capitol Hill.
Posted by ErinTheAdvocate http://www.erinhavel.com on January 21, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
38
A PR disaster?
Will this be the last we hear from Justin Dean, the PR/Marketing director for the Mars Hill brand? Will Mr. Dean join the pile of bodies under the Mars Hill bus about which the Rev. Driscoll bragged:

"I'm all about blessed subtraction. There is a pile of dead bodies under the Mars Hill bus [chuckles] and by God's grace it'll be a mountain by the time we're done. You either get on the bus or get run over by the bus. Those are the two options. But the bus ain't gonna stop."

Source: http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/…
Posted by Royce on January 16, 2013 at 5:58 PM · Report this
37
I guess I still can't get over the fact that these "Christians" actually won't allow GLBT's in their church. Really? So hard to grasp.....still seems those that wear the WWJD bracelets continue to do the OPPOSITE of what Jesus would actually do. Monica.
Posted by Monica Marie on January 16, 2013 at 3:20 PM · Report this
36
Time to start 'ministering' to these assclowns, perhaps a few hundred (or thousand) visits from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (Abbey of St. Joan)?
Posted by Seamus Ruah on January 15, 2013 at 8:58 PM · Report this
utilitybelt 35
I had christian beliefs pushed on me when I was younger. But really, isn't being nice to the person standing next to you just supposed to be normal everyday decency and not "the word of christ?" I babysat kids (for free), worked with a mute kid in a wheelchair in fourth grade, just recently gave someone money trying to get a ferry ticket (he looked clean, not like an addict kicking crack or alcoholism) and it's just because it is/was the right thing to do! I don't need an imaginary deity or a 3000 year old book to tell me it's a good idea.
Posted by utilitybelt on January 15, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
pfffter 34
What a bunch of lying liars. Isn't that one of the 10 commandments? Don't lie. Gay sex prohibition didn't make it into the top ten list, but the prohibition against lying did. Maybe we should set up a truth brigade around mars hill to help out those poor folks who can't help but spew outright lies out of their mouths. They're in more grave danger of hellfire than anyone.
Posted by pfffter on January 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
33
I'm definitely not an apologist for Mars Hill, but this is article is slightly out of context (kinda like people taking passages of the Bible out of context to justify discrimination of someone else- I don't think Jesus ever said anything about gay people), the article is here. http://crosscut.com/2013/01/09/religion/…
Posted by beesaregood on January 15, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
32
@26: Honeybunny, it's painful to point this out, but you know that by making blanket assumptions about the people on this thread (how hypocritical and mean and non-volunteering we all are) because you are mad about the blanket assumptions being offered up on this thread about Mars Hill and homophobia- well, pot, kettle, black?

It's seems you are taking the comments on this thread really personally, and I don't know why that is, but I'm going to offer up that anyone who visits slog and has expectations that Mars Hill Church in Seattle is going to be treated with warmth or kid gloves (or with anything other than mockery) is a person who is setting his or herself up for huge disappointment. And in this case Mars Hill has just- maybe with all the good intentions in the world, who knows (you are right, everything that Mars Hill has put out in the public forum has convinced me that there is nothing in that church for the likes of me)- set itself up for that kind of mockery.

Posted by Kumquat on January 15, 2013 at 11:55 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 31
I'd really like to sit down and pick through all of your (yes, you judgmental commenters of this article) lives and find the false fronts and lies you all put out to your friends and family to make you look noble and good and then write an article about it where hundreds of hypocrites comment on how horrible you are.

Come on over. Seriously.

I will stand by my life, how I conduct myself, how I treat people, and what I believe (and don't believe) any day of the week.

I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I am 100% confident that any examination of my life would find it rather consistent with the values I profess.

Perhaps in large part because I don't let those values be dictated to me by (say) a dogmatic egomaniac with a bizarre preoccupation with masculinity.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 15, 2013 at 11:42 AM · Report this
treacle 30
@26 - Oh dear. There is a vast difference between an individual and an entire "godly" organization when it comes to living one's word. If MH is going to say "we're going to help the sick" then they have to put their money where their mouth is, or get called out. Pretty straightforward: They are liars. The evidence shows it. This was a baseless propaganda exercise.
Posted by treacle on January 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM · Report this
monkey 29
Someone needs to explain to Mars Hillians that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Posted by monkey on January 15, 2013 at 10:54 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 28
I think my favorite quote about Mars Hill regarding the gays as members has been, "They don't BAN homosexuals from the church. They just don't want them to become members!"
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 15, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
27
@26 "simplyagirl" = "Grow up." How about ditching a megachurch with a charismatic misogynist leader and getting your spirituality fix where women, not "girls", have equal power and responsibility. You obviously have not read any of the SLOG posts of charitable giving, nor any of the Stranger articles about Mars Hill.

MH may be opposite Westboro in some ways: as vile and crazy as Westboro is, at least Shirley Phelps, a woman, not a girl, is the public face of it. Who is MH's public face? Marcia Driscoll? Mary Driscoll? K'Nesha Driscoll?

Glad you could take time out of licking your lord-and-master's boots and shoveling his paycheck into Mars Hill's coffers to share your thoughts.
Posted by Oh look, the master lets her write inbetween chores on January 15, 2013 at 9:08 AM · Report this
26
I'd really like to sit down and pick through all of your (yes, you judgmental commenters of this article) lives and find the false fronts and lies you all put out to your friends and family to make you look noble and good and then write an article about it where hundreds of hypocrites comment on how horrible you are.

Seriously?

You latch onto the back of any negative article and spew out your toxic comments. Do any of YOU do volunteer work or give back to any community? No one said Mars Hill is full of perfect people. No MH BANS anyone from the gay and lesbian communities.

The judgmental comments irritate me SO freaking much. Back off people. Do something for someone else today. Buy someone coffee. Ask how someone is doing. Volunteer. ANYTHING except unleash horrible comments.

And comparing Mars HIll to Westboro? That is a new low. MH is the complete opposite of Westboro. But....you all wouldn't know because you're throwing out accusations before visiting the church or reading their "what we believe in."

Grow up.
Posted by simplyagirl on January 15, 2013 at 8:38 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 25
@20--that may be all well and good. But the real story here is that the officialdom of the church 1) made a pretty silly statement that seemed to equate a famously gay-friendly neighborhood with being a hotbed of AIDS, 2) when challenged on it, tried to paper over that and their well documented official antipathy towards gay people by name checking a well established and respected AIDS nonprofit, and 3) got totally caught doing so.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 15, 2013 at 7:36 AM · Report this
24
I'm with 22.
Posted by StuckInUtah on January 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM · Report this
23
Leave poor Jesus out of it. Rev. Mars dogma is not Christ-like.
Posted by flaming humanist on January 14, 2013 at 10:41 PM · Report this
Il Porno Star 22
I would rather spend my time with HIV positive gay men on the hill than Christ positive assholes from Mars Hill. The conversation would be way more interesting and friendly. People from Mars Hill are way more into infecting innocents with horrible things than any gay man I have ever met.
Posted by Il Porno Star on January 14, 2013 at 9:26 PM · Report this
21
@20: Look at it this way, do AIDS patients exist to prove a "lesson" to others, like The Help and other magical negros explaining life to the uninitiated?

Hateful Charismatic groups that punish their gay members are probably inappropriate, even if it ~would~ give them more experience. I just don't think it should be at the expense of the ill and dying.
Posted by granted, as you say they don't last long on January 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM · Report this
20
I'm no Mars Hill apologist, but to be fair, in my experience, Mars Hill members aren't all as bad as their pastor makes them seem like they would be. I worked at an AIDS organization that used volunteers affiliated explicitly with Mars Hill working closely with actual clients. As far as I know there were never any issues, although their volunteers didn't tend to last long. And for a lot of conservative religious people, actually getting to know the people they dehumanize/fear can be transformative. I'm definitely in favor of Mars Hill members getting a bit of first hand education. Lifelong seems like they'll have good boundaries around bad behavior.
Posted by TimMathis on January 14, 2013 at 8:26 PM · Report this
19
@18, some of us are low-income and can't afford to do that, because Mars Hill is becoming as obtrusive in this City as Vulcan is and our upset-ness level is going up. But good idea for those who can afford it.
Posted by sarah70 on January 14, 2013 at 8:19 PM · Report this
Greg 18
I have a pact to propose here with all the Slog peeps: Every time Mars Hill does something that makes me upset, I will put aside a few bucks for an organization that is making a real, positive difference in people's lives. Planned Parenthood, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Solid Ground, Medical Teams International, United Way of King County, Compass Housing Alliance, etc. What do you say?
Posted by Greg on January 14, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
KingofQueenAnne 17
Sorry everyone, I fed Mars Hill the bad intel. I let them know that everyone on the Hill has HIV/AIDS (everyone!), and that they're all located on the Hill only—there aren't any other cases in any other neighborhood in Seattle. Also, I told them that everything they need to know about HIV/AIDS capped in 1992, so there's no need to study up on what's happened since then.
Posted by KingofQueenAnne http://blingeejesus.blogspot.com on January 14, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
16
@4 - lets just say your claim that 50% of new HIV infections occur in MSM (men who sleep with men) is true. (I'd like to see a source - stats are notoriously easy to manipulate) Logically, doesn't that also mean that 50% do *not* occur in MSM? So obviously there's more to contracting HIV then risky gay sex.

Anyway, I'm fairly certain educating people on using protection, and needle exchanges would do far more than a bunch of fundamentalist bigots running around shouting variations of "God Hates Fags" and trying to convert people.
Posted by KatTheCanuckistan http://soundmusing.blogspot.com/ on January 14, 2013 at 7:37 PM · Report this
15
@7 well apparently 30 years of telling them to sheath their cocks in the bath house hasn't work either. If neither Jesus nor condom education work, what's left?

Hopeless indignation?
Posted by Or blaming Reagan? on January 14, 2013 at 6:48 PM · Report this
14
Thank you stranger.
Posted by grace on January 14, 2013 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Knat 13
"We would not put [Mars Hill members] in any position where they could proselytize."

So, what, they'd be allowed to sweep the floor and empty the trash bins after the office is closed? In any other role, they'll try. Your rules don't measure up against their imaginary friend's rules, and he insists that they proselytize.
Posted by Knat on January 14, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 12
Fucking predators. Religion is, by nature, a bottom-feeder. They make new money from people who are suffering and desperate and looking for an easy solution.

That's not to say they don't do good work too, but they are predatory.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 14, 2013 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 11
They thought moving would make it easier for people with AIDS to come crawling to Mars Hill for forgiveness. Which sounded great in the meeting.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM · Report this
10
Allowing Mars Hill to do volunteer work for Lifelong would be the same as allowing Westboro to volunteer and donate money to LifeLong as well. I don't care if either organization wants to do work with LIfelong, it's like allowing that Trojan horse into Troy.
Posted by apres_moi on January 14, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
9
Sounds like they were at the "beginning stages", what's your problem?
Posted by dbgill56 on January 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
8
Dominic, good job on your journalistic work today! You are doing the city of Seattle a service. Thank you.
Posted by Vangie on January 14, 2013 at 5:38 PM · Report this
7
@4: And nothing brings down HIV-infection rates faster than assholes screaming "God Hates Fags!" in the faces of gay men. Works like a charm. I'm surprised no one thought to try it before.
Posted by Dan Savage on January 14, 2013 at 5:34 PM · Report this
6
Awesomely awesome blogsmashery sir! What a bunch of phonies.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
5
They're just not used to "I said so, and I speak for God" not being a good enough answer.
Posted by Orv on January 14, 2013 at 5:24 PM · Report this
4
It's not like 50% of all new HIV infections in King County are from gay men.... Oh wait, they are.
Posted by Apparently some still need education on January 14, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Eastpike 3
They lied. I guess it's cute; they're so bad at it! Aw.
Posted by Eastpike on January 14, 2013 at 5:19 PM · Report this
2
i effing KNEW it.
Posted by Adrian Ryan on January 14, 2013 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Baconcat 1
They lied? Not so godly huh?
Posted by Baconcat on January 14, 2013 at 5:08 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Advertisement
 

Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy