In an emotional sermon before hundreds
of young people, a Lutheran bishop announced that he's gay.
Bishop Kevin Kanouse, head of the
Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana chapter of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), said that he was moved to come out after
hearing the stories of young people attending a conference last
weekend, gay glossy The
In an open letter to local leaders,
Kanouse said that he was “Holy Spirit-moved to tell my own story
publicly, for the first time.”
He said that he kept in the closet –
he raised two sons with his wife of 40 years – because he learned
at an early age that “pastors could not be gay and serve Jesus.”
“On the one hand, I felt safety and
joy in the church, along with a strong sense of call to ministry. On
the other hand, church was also where I felt I most had to hide. I
lived with terribly low self-esteem, self-loathing and feelings of
guilt and rejection,” he wrote.
The ELCA in 2009 lifted its ban on
openly gay pastors and the church recently decided to recognize the
marriages of gay and lesbian couples. Kanouse said that he now
regrets voting against both changes.
“God created me as I am and God loves
me completely and fully,” he said.
He added that he remains committed to
his marriage but “was moved to share my journey with the youth
because I know many are struggling with these and other issues of
self-esteem, rejection and self-loathing.”