The life of evangelical churches and their spiritual leaders has been portrayed in some recent films and series. Can they help us start conversations?
“We hope that one day soon our society can learn to accept people's differences and different points of view”, said White Magazine owners.
White Magazine, one of Australia's top wedding magazines, has closed down after “a number of advertisers withdrew their sponsorship”, because of owners' refusal to feature same-sex couples.
“We have had to recognise the reality that White Magazine is no longer economically viable”, Luke and Carla Burrell, the owners of the magazine, said in a “farewell” message on their website.
According to the Burrells, “advertisers cancelled their sponsorship “out of fear of being judged, or in protest”.
“WE HAVE TO REFLECT ON OUR BELIEFS”
They recalled that “last year the Australian law was changed, to allow same-sex couples to marry. Since then we have been asked repeatedly why our magazine had not yet featured all couples”.
“White Magazine has always been a secular publication, but as its publishers, we are Christian. We have no agenda but to love. We have no desire to create a social, political or legal war, which only divides people further and does more damage than good. To us, our faith is anchored in love without judgement", the Burrells stated.
They said they “have had to reflect on our beliefs, not to judge ourselves or others, but to intentionally make space for new conversations. It’s a long and continuing journey, it’s not black and white”.
“Our greatest mandate is to love and the biggest question we’ve continued to ask ourselves throughout it is, how do we best love?”.
“A FLOOD OF JUDGEMENT”
The couple lamented that, “instead of allowing us the space to work through our thoughts and feelings, or being willing to engage in brave conversations to really hear each other’s stories, some have just blindly demanded that we pick a side”.
“We’ve experienced a flood of judgement [...] A campaign was launched targeting the magazine, our team and our advertisers. Couples who have featured in our magazine have also been the subject of online abuse, despite their beliefs”, they pointed out.
“It has become clear that while we’re on this journey, we won’t be given the grace and patience that we need, nor can we operate in a way that accurately reflects the deep love we have for all”, the statement concluded.
“VALUES ARE BECOMING MORE IMPORTANT THAN RELATIONSHIPS”
In a video posted at the conclusion of the "farewell" message, its founders discussed the plebiscite vote and the magazine’s position and beliefs.
Carla Burrell believed that “it has just come to a point where there is just a clash against us and against culture and hurting people isn’t part of what we want to do”.
“You see beliefs and values tear families and marriages and friendships apart. Why are values becoming more important than relationships and why can’t we have diversity of thought and feelings?”, Luke Burrell said. “We stand for love, and God's love is for all people”
The video ends saying: “We hope that one day soon our society can learn to accept people's differences and different points of view and love each other no matter what. That's where real positive change begins”.
Wedding industry workers began to boycott the magazine earlier this year, after Lara Hotz, who photographed three covers for the magazine, publicly called the founders out for not including same-sex couples.
“It appears they are happy to take money, content and photographs from LGTB advertisers and contributors, but are yet to support and represent us in the same way as heterosexual couples are represented in the magazine”, she told radio programme Hack.