News

Evangelical blogger ‘outed’ after supporting Chick-fil-A, marriage

James Merritt, whose father was president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he believes sin can be overcome.
Wed Aug 8, 2012 - 6:10 pm EST

NASHVILLE, August 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –  An evangelical blogger has been “outed” as a homosexual after defending Chick-fil-A and opposing same-sex “marriage.”

Homosexual blogger Azariah Southworth wrote of an inappropriate encounter with evangelical writer Jonathan Merritt. He wrote, although he would disclose details of their encounter, “if evidence is required to back my claim it can be provided.”

Image

Merritt, 29, has long distinguished himself as a moderate evangelical who prefers environmental activism to engaging in the culture wars.

His father, James Merritt, served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

The expose came after the younger Merritt supported Chick-fil-A’s right to do business. He has also has said his “Biblical convictions prohibit a redefinition of marriage.” 

“Exposing this truth of Jonathan’s sexual orientation is not an easy decision for me,” Southworth wrote. “I take no pleasure in doing this.”

“Transparency is required of anyone who chooses to lead discussions on a large public platform.” he blogged.

Merritt said he began corresponding with Southworth in 2009 after writing an article telling evangelicals tamp down their rhetoric on homosexuality. Soon, they began sexting. When the Georgia-based Merritt had a speaking engagement near Southworth, they met, and Merritt said the two “had physical contact that went beyond the bounds of friendship.”

After the outing, Merritt told his story, which began after an older man in his childhood neighborhood sexually abused him.

“The experience was followed with a tidal wave of shame and guilt so great that I never told anyone for many years,” he said in an interview with Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research.

Although he says he struggles with homosexual inclinations, “I don’t identify as ‘gay’ because I believe there can be a difference between what one experiences and the life that God offers.”

His experiences, including his failures, “helped shape my worldview that sin can be overcome.”

“I’m thankful that I am able to make better decisions about how to handle a difficult situation,” he said. “I’m committed to pursuing his best for me, which includes the Bible’s unambiguous standards for sexuality.” 

Merritt said, far from being condemned by hateful homophobic Christians, he was “overwhelmed” by the positive response his openness has generated from ”Christian friends who are reaffirming their love for me.” 
 

 


  azariah southworth, chick-fil-a, jonathan merritt