I still haven't heard anything directly from Mars Hill church since posting the news last week that the conservative, Evangelical church is opening a new branch in SE Portland... but that's not a big surprise, since founder Mark Driscoll has said that “interviews are for wimpy guys who wear Sans-a-Belt slacks and chew sugar-free gum.” (EDIT: Oh wait! That was a joke.)

But anyway, today on their website, Mars Hill's local pastor has posted a response to the issue.

The post spells out their stance on non-straight, nonmonogamous sex, but then add: "We don't hate anyone... We want to be good neighbors and seek the common good of the city of Portland."

When it comes to sex, we believe what Jesus says.

Our view of sexuality is the same as many Christians have held for thousands of years and is currently held by thousands in and around the city of Portland in most churches. Sex is a gift of God to be enjoyed solely within lifelong marriage between a man and a woman. Therefore, we cannot endorse pornography, sex before marriage, adultery, swinging, friends with benefits, bisexuality, or homosexuality, because if we did, we’d be going against what Jesus has said. We get our view from the Bible, and we know that many do not agree with the Bible. We live in an oversexed time and an oversexed city, and we deal daily with the pain and relational devastation that comes from this reality. We do everything we can to help heal the undeniable wounds that come from sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and serial sexual relationships.

Whoa whoa whoa, believe whatever you want, new neighborhood friends, but linking gayness and even "friends with benefits" to "devastation" of serious crimes like sexual abuse and sex trafficking requires some rebutting. That's not saying, "Jesus thinks you're wrong." That's equating personal, legal, consensual life choices with criminal acts.

I'm not going to spend time pointing out that condemnation of queer and nonmonogamous sex is only one take on Christianity, because Reverend Chuck Currie eloquently spelled that out yesterday and there's great pro-gay religious groups all over the country.

In describing Portland as an "oversexed city," Mars Hill links to this OK Cupid number crunching that lists Portland as the city with the most people per capita who say they're looking for casual sex in their online dating profile.

We can assume that someone who creates an online dating profile looking for, among other things, casual sex is someone who, yes, actually wants casual sex. Having consensual sex with various people throughout your lifetime does not make you a human trafficking or sex abuse victim. Putting OK Cupid users on the same level as people who troll the streets looking for prostitutes diminishes the actual trauma and real, terrible issues of people who suffer from trafficking and abuse.

The reality of human trafficking doesn't stem from widespread acceptance of bisexuality or sex before marriage. Its root causes (pdf) are much more sinister and systematic, from global gender inequity leading to lack of economic options for women, to women nationally being far more likely to live in poverty than men, to problems with drug and alcohol addiction. When talking with law enforcement and social service providers about the causes of human trafficking locally, I've never ever, heard anyone explain the crisis as, "Adults having too much consensual gay sex in their own homes." Instead, experts note a shortage of social services for addicts in Portland, a lack of shelter space for women, high unemployment, and lack of affordable housing.

Don't look at Portland's—and the nation's—problems with sexual violence and point the blame finger at the swingers, feminists, and queer folk, Mars Hill. Not only is it wrong, it's not very friendly to your neighbors.

UPDATE 1:54 PM: A reader just sent me a link to—a website mimicking Mars Hill's web style, but with only a video from Basic Rights Oregon's gay marriage campaign.