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Karen Swallow Prior’s Awkward “Dialogue” at Gay Film Fest

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…it sounded like an uncomfortable attempt by an eighth grade girl trying to explain her parents’ views, of which she isn’t fully convinced herself. It, frankly, reminded me of the same uncomfortable squirming one sees when Osteen addresses the topic of hell. It was painful to watch. Never using the word sin, addressing the topic of repentance or gospel, or even hinting at the possibility that one cannot be an unrepentant homosexual Christian (which might have been handy given she was in a room full of those under such an impression), one wonders why she was there at all. Being absolutely indifferent on civil same-sex marriage, reminiscing about her joining a Planned Parenthood speaker to lecture on abortion in a similar way she’s now doing with Level Ground, was bizarre. I was left wondering what on earth the woman was doing on a stage…of any kind.

That was my preliminary, off-the-cuff review of Karen Swallow Prior’s second “dialogue” at the gay-christian film-fest, Level Ground. We previously reported on Prior’s first galavanting at the first gathering of the LGBTQXYZ event here. That post, and others, have been linked by WorldNetDaily (WND) and other press outlets covering a peripheral story (which we have also written about), which is a local Chick-fil-A franchise sponsoring the homosexual event. Thankfully, WND also saw the controversy of Karen Swallow Prior publicly thanking Chick-fil-A for supporting an event clearly intended to promote the LGBTQXYZ agenda. If one can’t see the scandal of a Southern Baptist entity research fellow thanking a previously-stalwart Christian-owned business for sponsoring an event designed to undermine biblical sexuality, then…well, you probably have a discernment judgment intelligence common sense problem.

To give a brief re-cap, we’ve brought to you the following information:

  • Karen Swallow Prior taking celebratory, happy selfies on the gay red carpet after the first Level Ground fundraiser (the audio or video must have been sucked into a black hole, apparently), and laid out a number of very, very concerning statements and associations from KSP (source link)
  • We explained why KSP’s attendance at such an event – especially given her troubling words and “gay-affirming language” (to quote a certain apologist) – was a major problem in a post entitled, Living in Laodicea: Evangelicals and Friendship with the World (source link)
  • We defined “gay-affirming” for you, considering the outrage among P&P critics who for some reason have deferred to Matthew Vines and the LGBTQXYZ lobby to define the term for us, and explained that one can affirm homosexuals in their sin while still giving lip service to its sinfulness, in a post entitled “What is Gay Affirming?” (source link).
  • We gave even more info about KSP’s affirmation of homosexuals by her behavior and associations, as an example, her pondering about the legitimate possibility of a “Third Way” (source link)
  • Seth Dunn wrote a Minimal Facts Case for KSP’s liberal and social progressivism as well (source link)
  • In this post, entitled Stupid or Sinister: How to Tell the Spiritually Deviant from the Spiritual Dullard, we laid out for you why the common apologetic for KSP among her defenders – which is that she’s a nice lady who means well but just needs a better theological education – is probably naive (source link)
  • We gave more information regarding KSP’s troubling affinity and partnership with the Roman Catholic Church (source link)
  • I did a podcast episode relating to KSP’s sophomoric assertion that if she names her pets they get ‘personhood’ and will go to Heaven with her, our first indication that she was deep within the Animal Liberation Movement (source link). Seth Dunn later wrote a post about that topic (source link).
  • We explained why Karen Swallow Prior was wrong to say she is open about attending a gay wedding (source link)
  • I did a podcast episode about Karen Swallow Prior’s defense and endorsement (encouraging people to read, rather than endorsement of context) the gay porn comic, Fun Home (source link) and did a post on that same topic (source link)
  • We reminded you that when Doritos came out with their rainbow colored chips in support of the LGBTQXYZ agenda, they partnered with the It Gets Better Campaign, which KSP said “the church should be excited about” (source link)
  • We brought to your attention the ERLC (an entity of the SBC) joining with radical animal rights organization, the Humane Society and others, in an animal rights campaign centered around a document co-written by Karen Swallow Prior (source link)
  • I did a podcast episode on the above topic, playing startling and shocking clips of KSP in a podcast episode bemoaning the human “domination” of animals, in which she attacks the farming and ranching industries as “cruel” and “inhumane” (source link)
  • We brought to you our original post about Chick-fil-A sponsoring KSP’s gay-christian friends, in the hopes other press outlets would pick up the story (source link)
  • We did a post explaining why exactly Karen Swallow Prior is a feminist (hint: she says she is…in her own words…and started an organization for feminists, says she disagrees with the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and so on…) – (source link)
  • We brought information concerning how various animal rights groups saw KSP as an important evangelical ally (and even named her as such) to help sneak the Animal Liberation Movement into the Christian Church (source link)
  • We gave even more documentation regarding KSP’s long-term fascination and participation within the Animal Liberation Movement, advocating for an end to medical testing and even more (source link)

So then, some who have defended KSP’s “conservative” credentials have found it increasingly hard to do so. Desiring an end to industrial farming, a moratorium on medical testing, wanting people to eat less meat, her serving on the advisory council of the radical Humane Society, her vast popularity in the LGBTQXYZ “community,” her attacking of Christians trying to share the Gospel to her gay friends in social media, her repeated use of “affirming language,” her saying she would attend a gay wedding (if it was someone she loved dearly), her applauding of Bernie Sanders speaking at Liberty University, her recent attendance at a Roman Catholic church service, her highly ecumenical attitude and behavior, these are all things that are incredibly hard to defend, especially piled up one upon another. Even today, a tweet was scrounged out of the memory hole in which she blamed rape upon complementarianism and called complimentarianism unbiblical (source link). Why any supposed conservative evangelical would think it’s a good idea she’s helping to shape the policy of the already troubled ERLC (see this link for why ERLC has serious issues), I don’t know.

Other than, of course, folks have a tendency to dig in when they’re wrong.

So then, people on both sides of this issue have been awaiting eagerly the video from the Level Ground event to see exactly what KSP would say this second time around. The thought went like this…parading around and becoming cohorts with those who claim Christ but also profess unrepentant homosexuality is acceptable, so long as it’s done in order to provide a stalwart defense of Biblical sexuality (or something like that). Put succinctly, as long as KSP was going in there to really speak some hard truths, then all the hubbub about her selfies on the gay red carpet last year is much ado about nothing.

I’ve received only a few direct messages from people on the other side of the aisle saying KSP “did well” and that this should close the matter. Of course, if KSP went all Dr.White-Dr.Drew at Level Ground, that doesn’t at all close the matter of her animal rights activism, ecumenism, promotion of mind-filth like Fun Home, or her feminism. Regardless, however, does KSP really demonstrate any semblance of convicted conservatism in her time at Level Ground?

Her defenders certainly were crossing their fingers praying that she didn’t let them down.


Let’s see if she really “presented a biblical position” in any meaningful way…

First, a kudos to Ms. Prior for specifically saying that experience should be subjected to Scripture. Prior also said that Scripture was her foremost conviction. Well…let’s hope so. Unfortunately, Prior also said the following…

The single greatest concern with professed Christians yoking themselves to those who should be purged from the church as unbelievers in accordance with the 1 Corinthians 5 mandate (and the general concept of Christian holiness) is that affiliation will unnecessarily lead the unrepentant to believe that they are, themselves, believers. The only acceptable way to speak in this type of setting is to do what Dr. Mohler did when speaking at Brigham Young University – to make it clear that we have two entirely different eternal destinations. One must wonder how, in KSP’s mind, there are “many different expressions of Christianity in the room” when the room is full of those who by 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 cannot possibly be Christians.

In one foul swoop and careless comment, Prior insinuated that the unrepentant professors of Christ were possessors of Christ, making our worst expectations come to pass. Made worse by not explicitly (or even implicitly) stating the opposite or clarifying that one cannot be both an unrepentant homosexual and a Christian, Prior had just baptized them in fellowship.

When asked what her view on homosexuality is, Prior said this…

  • Her Baptist tradition has been very weak on a “theology of the body” and Catholics have been better
  • Scripture is her starting point, but trying to “reconcile all these different views,” she says that views of sexuality must be rooted in the “logic of the body” or else it is gnostic
  • “It” begins with embodiment. Human sexuality is very “complex”
  • Homosexual behavior (along with other behaviors) in the Bible is prohibited
  • God is familiar with homosexuality because Christ was here during a time of rampant homosexuality
  • God prohibits it “along with other things” and “we’re all fallen in some way or another.”
  • She considers herself fallen, even in her sexuality so they can all disagree, but in love

Interestingly, even though KSP said she would appeal first and foremost to Scripture, she did not. Rather, she referenced a theology of the body and a logic of the body and credited the Roman Catholic Church with doing a better job (which her counterpart, Luke Timothy Johnson, seemed to think was odd) and that Baptists were deficient in that area. KSP spoke of “embodiment” and the complexity of human sexuality. One wonders what is so incredibly “complex” on this sin issue, but Prior is used to cloaking things in so many layers of nuance I really have no idea of what she speaks. Regardless, there was absolutely no reference or even an elusion to the Holy Scriptures, but only (presumedly) to the series of lectures given by Pope John Paul II by that name. Given KSP credits the Catholic Church with their focus on this topic, it’s doubtful she’s referring to anything else.

But…but…she’s presenting the Biblical position, right?

Prior does say that homosexuality is “prohibited” by the Scripture, but quickly adds – in the very same breath – that the Scripture condemns it “along with other things” and the she also is fallen…even her own sexuality.

This statement is bizarre.

Is our sexuality, as penitent believers in Jesus, a perfect reflection of an incorruptible nature? Certainly not. Our sexuality, like our mental faculties, emotional states, and even physiological condition, is tainted with a depravity that is total. But why, one must ask, would one speak on the “prohibition” (I think you could read that as a less nuanced word, sinfulness) of homosexuality and in the same literal breath level it with other sins? A Biblical perspective on human sexuality would be honest in affirming the particular illustrative depravity of homosexual acts in the same way that Paul describes the act in Romans 1. It is the depth of human depravity. While whatever sinful leftovers of a previously unregenerate nature may plague your own marriage bed, to level it with acts of unrepentant sodomy seems more designed to lull homosexuals to spiritual sleep than to jar them awake. Paul did not list homosexuality in Romans 1:24-27 as the depth of human depravity and then add, “…but I’m broken too, y’all…we’re all broken…and lots of things are prohibited.”

Prior’s comments range from unhelpful to counterproductive, with no points awarded for presumed good intentions. Anyone should be able to discern that Prior was about as comfortable giving the Catholic position on the Theology of the Body as a cat in water. With the awkwardly obvious hems and haws and stutters and painful pauses, choosing each word carefully to cause as least offense as possible, wrapping it in a layer of nuance before letting it out in hardly intelligible phrases leaves almost every hearer scratching their head. For someone who seems so incredibly comfortable among homosexual friends, Prior seemed incredibly uncomfortable trying to provide a clear and comprehensible thought on the topic of Biblical sexuality.

I considered her answer on the topic of same-sex marriage to be equally as excruciating, and would give a penny for Prior’s un-nuanced thoughts…

Did you notice her repeated use of the phrase, “marriage…in the church”? Marriage in the church is obviously “prohibited” for same-sex couples. But for the civil government? Prior says, “obvioiusly in a secular society we can’t expect people outside the church to have the same purpose for marriage.” Is Prior on record regarding Obergfell v Hodges? It seems that Prior would take the socially-progressive approach of letting the church keep their conscience, while letting society be thrust into a depraved oblivion.

Some insight into Prior’s fascination with “common ground,” can be heard in this clip, in which she discusses speaking alongside a Planned Parenthood director to find common ground on abortion (which we wrote about previously, here). I don’t know what KSP is aiming for with the incessant “common ground” talk on important no-compromise issues like human sexuality and abortion, but it seems important to her that she find areas of compromise and to sit at the table in fellowship with those who hate God.

And then, Prior discusses being a “gay magnet” at Liberty University. Which is totally something a non gay-affirming person would be…right?

Listen, people…do you think it’s normal for a stalwart defender of biblical human sexuality to a “gay magnet”? And add to this fact that Brandon Ambrosino and the other homosexuals who chose Karen Swallow Prior to “come out” to are still, to this day, unrepentant in their sin (and convinced they’re still Christians)? Wake up.

Her more-liberal counterpart asks why they view her as a “safe space”…

I think we all know why that is. Anyone with common sense knows why that is. In all of her behavior, her attitudes, her worldview, her associations, her comportment, she is gay affirming. Yes, I’m a Baptist, she would say. Yes, I believe homosexual acts are prohibited…but lots of other things are prohibited. Yes, it means your sexuality is fallen. But mine is fallen, too.

You can listen to the rest of the audio, and all of it in context, here. And for a bonus, she ends by promoting a “hermeneutic of love” (a line original to Augustine, but expounded upon by NT Wright and used by Emergent leaders like Brian McLaren and Prior’s friend, Rachel Held Evans, to defend….homosexuality). Pffft. The woman is just plain dangerous. Please, get her off the stage.

Do you want this individual shaping policy at the ERLC? If you’re a Southern Baptist, contact the ERLC trustees and tell them enough is enough.


[Contributed by JD Hall]