Thursday, January 16, 2020

An Anonymous "Open Letter" against Fr. Josiah Trenham

When Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) received a letter, the first thing he would do is look for a signature. If he saw that the letter was unsigned, he would throw the letter away without reading it, because if someone was unwilling to sign a letter, it was not worth reading. Unfortunately, in this case, the unsigned letter is also an "open letter," splashed across the internet. Given that many will read this letter, I feel the need to respond to it, because a great priest is being slandered, but the fact is that Metropolitan Anthony was quite right, and no one really should give such a letter any credence.

If someone is standing for the Truth, and they believe something needs to be said in public, they should have the courage both to say it, and to own it. The martyrs of the Church laid down their lives for the truth of the Faith; the least that we can do have the courage to speak up in an honest and forthright manner, and to do so like men.

What is interesting about this letter, is that there is very little that is actually cited in terms of things that Fr. Josiah has taught, which are alleged to be in error. Mostly, the author attributes malicious intentions that he believes lie behind what Fr. Josiah has said and done, and suggests that perhaps Fr. Josiah holds views that he fails to actually provide evidence for.
"I’ll get straight to the point of this article—on issues related to homosexuality,  politics, and the Church, Father Josiah Trenham of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese (AOCA) has done incalculable damage. As I will highlight in this article, not only has this damage led to numerous people leaving the Orthodox Church, but it also seems to have spurred a discussion going in the opposite direction of his approach, with arguments being made to accept same-sex marriage as a norm."
It is difficult to imagine that the anonymous author really believes that if Fr. Josiah had kept quiet about homosexuality in the last ten years, that there would now be no voices pressing for the Church to accept it.
"Most importantly, this uncharitable approach has deeply wounded many of our faithful who struggle against same-sex attraction and try to lead a godly life. If we Orthodox are to care for all people who come to us in a way that allows us to stay true to our Holy Tradition, our hierarchy must ensure that priests like Father Josiah are tempered in the same manner as others who have spoken out on opposite sides of the spectrum."
Does the anonymous author agree with St. Paul that those who are homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)? If so, how is it more charitable to not tell homosexuals that this is the case, so as not to offend them, and let them die without repentance and fail to inherit the Kingdom of God?
"My purpose in writing this article is to bring attention to Father Josiah’s words and actions because I am quite certain that my brother clergy and the vast majority of the faithful are unaware of these things. Certainly, had they been aware, there would have been an effort to speak with him privately to remove his material from the internet and to cease speaking and teaching in the manner outlined below. Related to that, I wish to state at the outset that I do know Father Josiah personally, and we have spoken about our disagreements. (Unfortunately, with the current climate on this topic in the Antiochian Archdiocese, I feel forced to publish this article anonymously).) I have even worked with him towards common goals on issues where we are like-minded. I am not calling for Father Josiah to be “punished;” I simply want his teachings that are contrary to the Orthodox faith and witness to be corrected and for those materials to be removed from the public sphere."
When St. Paul said his final farewell to the leaders of the Church of Ephesus, with whom he had invested so much, he said:
"Wherefore I call you to witness this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring unto you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27).
St. John Chrysostom comments on these verses as follows:
"So that he may well say, "Wherefore I take you to record -- seeing I shall be with you no more -- “that I am pure from the blood of all men.” (v. 26.) Do you mark how he terrifies them, and troubled and afflicted as their souls are, how hard he rubs them (ἐπιτρίβει)? But it was necessary. “For I have not shunned,” he says, “to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (v. 27.) Why then, he who does not speak, has blood to answer for: that is, murder! Nothing could be more terrifying than this. He shows that they also, if they do it not, have blood to answer for. So, whereas he seems to be justifying himself, in fact he is terrifying them. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (v. 28.) Do you mark? he enjoins them two things. Neither success in bringing others right of itself is any gain -- for, I fear, he says, “lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away” (1 Cor. 9:27); nor the being diligent for one’s self alone. For such an one is selfish, and seeks his own good only, and is like to him who buried his talent. “Take heed to yourselves:” this he says, not because our own salvation is more precious than that of the flock, but because, when we take heed to ourselves, then the flock also is a gainer. “In which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God.” See, it is from the Spirit ye have your ordination. This is one constraint: then he says, “To feed the Church of the Lord.” Lo! another obligation: the Church is the Lord’s. And a third: “which He hath purchased with His own blood.” It shows how precious the concern is; that the peril is about no small matters, seeing that even His own blood He spared not. He indeed, that he might reconcile those who were enemies, poured out even His blood: but thou, even when they are become thy friends, art not able to retain them" (Homily 44 on Acts).
There are a number of important implications from this passage. First of all, it is clear that to fail to declare the whole counsel of God would make a clergyman guilty of the spiritual deaths of those they fail to fully instruct. Secondly, St. Paul is saying that he did not allow fear to prevent him from declaring the whole counsel of God. How would fear have prevented him? One might infer that this was in reference to the external threats he faced, but it likely also is in reference to the fear one might have within the Church, of telling people things that they don't want to hear. Often when that happens, unpleasantries ensue, and if one just wishes to avoid conflict, it is far easier not to say such things. But Christian clergy are called to not take the easy, gutless way.

Then the anonymous author calls on people to harass Metropolitan Joseph, in hopes of forcing them to silence Fr. Josiah on the issue of homosexuality, and the LGBTQP+ agenda. So while the author is unwilling to sign his own name to his letter, he is hoping to inspire a social media mob against Fr. Josiah.
"I also want to state at the outset that this essay is not an endorsement of the controversial and recently retracted article by Father Aaron Warwick of the Antiochian Archdiocese [Pastoring LGBTQ Individuals in the Orthodox Church and Public Statement]. I have several substantial disagreements with that article, but elucidating those is not my point in writing here. My point is to call attention to the fact that there is a reason priests and laypeople are reacting to Father Josiah Trenham: he has been implicitly endorsed by our church hierarchy who allow him to keep his un-Orthodox and uncharitable material available online—even promoting some of it for sale. My hope in writing this article is very simple. I do not wish to “tar and feather” Father Josiah: I simply hope that our clergy and laity will encourage our hierarchs to privately instruct Father Josiah about the damage he is causing and will have him retract and take down his deeply offensive and un-Orthodox material."
On the one hand, the anonymous author doesn't want to have to defend Fr. Aaron Warwick's words, or actually come clean on his own positions, but he labels Fr. Josiah's work as "un-Orthodox." However, as we will see, he never identifies a specific teaching of Fr. Josiah's that he both demonstrates Fr. Josiah actually holds, and which is in fact "un-Orthodox."
"I should note that I personally know a number of people who have left the Church not only due to Father Josiah’s behavior, but, even more specifically, because of the Church’s silence and inaction, which they believe implicitly condones this behavior. I wish I could wholeheartedly disagree with them. I still want to believe that the hierarchy simply don’t know the extent of what he is doing or saying, or perhaps they just don’t understand the cultural impact of his actions. But it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to do so."
The fact that people leave because they don't like what they hear is actually not a real argument regarding the question of whether they needed to hear what offended them or not. In the Gospels, we are told that quite a few people were offended by what Christ taught, and said "This is a hard saying; who can accept it?" (John 6:60). And then we are told that "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66). What was Christ's reaction? Did he call a Church Growth Consultant to find out where He had gone wrong? No. He turned to the disciples that hadn't left yet, and said "Do you also want to go away?" (John 6:67).

As a matter of fact, however, if you look at every denomination that has embraced the LGBTQP+ agenda, they have been on downward spirals. When I made this point in my response to Fr. Aaron Warwick, the editor of "Orthodoxy in Dialogue" quipped:
"Father Whiteford gloats that all the liberal Protestant churches have emptied out. By this metric, such a righteous, right-teaching priest as himself must have grown his parish to a European-sized cathedral by now. We eagerly await a full report, complete with photos."
In response to this, I would note that the fact that these denominations are emptying out is no guarantee that the Orthodox Church will be the ones who pick those people up. But given that 20 years ago my parish was holding services in a room that is now my study, and we had about 20 people, if they all showed up at the same time; and that now we are typically running around 100 people on Sundays, we have a purpose built Temple (although one getting too small for us), and that our property is current debt free, we are not doing badly, and certainly are not shrinking. But Fr. Josiah Trenham actually has a parish that has a lot more people than most European cathedrals have these days, so obviously Fr. Josiah is not chasing people away from the Church. I would also note that Islam is growing very quickly in the west, and obviously, they haven't changed their views on  the LGBTQP+ agenda to make that growth possible.
"I will outline below, in chronological order, four egregious instances (there are many more) in which Father Josiah’s behavior and words related to same-sex issues have done significant damage to the spiritual well-being of many of our parishioners, as well as irreparable harm to the Orthodox Church’s reputation as a loving hospital for sick souls. Because of his actions, he is now listed as a religious figure promoting hate by both the Southern Poverty Law Center and People for the American Way."
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a leftist organization that has lost all credibility. For example, they labelled the Family Research Council as a hate group, because they take a Biblical stand on homosexuality and gay marriage, which inspired a homosexual terrorist to attempt to murder its staff members. They have also been successfully sued for defamation, and been forced to pay 3.4 million dollars in a single defamation case. They have shady finances, and their founder was forced to step down when he was accused of sexually harassing staff members, as well as being guilty of gender discrimination and racism (of all things). And People for the American Way is likewise a leftist organization, with a very long history of hating anything Christian in the public square.
"Whatever one’s opinion of either of these groups may be, it is important to note that they do not label churches or individuals as hate groups simply for being morally opposed to homosexuality. Rather, they identify figures who, through their words or actions, harmfully disparage and contribute to the persecution of marginalized groups. Sadly, I must agree with them that Father Josiah’s words and actions, both of commission and omission, have clearly crossed these lines. And in each of the following four cases, he has harmed the faith of many Orthodox Christians, a number of whom have left the Church."
What exactly did the Family Research Council or Focus on the Family do that warranted these groups hating on them?
"Father Josiah posted to his parish’s website an announcement that they would begin praying the paraklesis on a regular basis in order to “stem the rising tide of sodomy in our state.” The subtext for this announcement was California’s ballot proposition to amend the state constitution in order to prohibit state recognition of same-sex marriage. (Note: The parish website has been significantly reworked since then and this page can no longer be found.) At the time, I was pastoring ten college students who had recently converted to the Orthodox faith, several of whom even were planning to vote in favor of this prohibition of same-sex marriage (i.e. they were opposed to same-sex marriage being legalized). Nevertheless, Father Josiah’s announcement scandalized all of them for two main reasons. The first was his use of the heavily charged term “sodomy.”"
"Sodomy" and "sodomite" are perfectly good English words, which are often used in well known and highly used translations of the Bible, including the text found in the Orthodox Study Bible (e.g. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). In our time, the term "homosexuality" is often defined, not in terms of the sin of falling into homosexual passions, but as the inclination itself, and so to be clear about what we are referring to, "sodomy" is a useful term which keeps the focus on the sin, rather than on a person who might be tempted to commit it.
"The second reason the students were scandalized, however, struck me even more deeply. They wanted to know why, out of all the social ills going on in the world, from famine to homelessness to wars that our own hierarchs correctly and bravely oppose as unjust, Father Josiah was singling out the LGBTQ community as a menace worthy of special prayer services. One of these young people, who knew the Bible and church history like the back of his hand, wanted to know why Father Josiah was using a politically-charged term like sodomy, and not focusing on what the Bible indicates was the sin of Sodom: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy” (Ez 16:49). As this student correctly noted, this is the underlying sin of America."
I don't believe anyone who actually listens to Fr. Josiah's sermons could honestly say that he does not talk about things like feeding the poor and helping the homeless. Those matters are obviously not subject to the same kind of controversy either. But our society's surrender to the LGBTQP+ agenda has already had a lot of real world consequences that hit very close to home for us all. We now have LGBTQP+ propaganda regularly taught to children in public schools. We have Christian adoption agencies that have been forced to close because they refuse to adopt children to homosexuals. We have seen Christians who oppose that agenda forced out of business, and fired from their jobs. We have seen groups as benign and respectable as the Salvation Army labeled as a hate group simply because they hold to Biblical teachings on homosexuality. And we have by no means seen the last of where this shift will ultimately take us as a society. We won't know that for sure for many decades. So Fr. Josiah's concerns are absolutely justified. And it should be noted that the proposition against gay marriage that he supported passed by a healthy margin, even in the far left state of California, and gay marriage was only imposed upon that state by activists judges abusing their power.

As for the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely that they were not nice to visitors --  that is absolute nonsense. Not only is this clear from the passage in Genesis itself (Genesis 19), but it is even made clear in the very context of the passage our anonymous author is referencing. Ezekiel 16:49 does indeed say:
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."
But that's not all Ezekiel said. In the very next verse, we read:
"And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good" (Ezekiel 16:50).
The word "abomination" in Hebrew is "tô‛êbah," which was discussed in some detail in a previous article (Stump the Priest: Shrimp and Homosexuality). In every other case in the book of Ezekiel in which the singular of tô‛êbah is used, it is in reference to sexual immorality (Ezekiel 22:11; 33:26). Clearly, the abomination that is referred to here is that of sexual immorality in general, and homosexuality in particular. This is how the famous medieval Jewish commentator Rashi understood that text as well (see Robert Gagnon, Why We Know That the Story of Sodom Indicts Homosexual Practice Per Se). Likewise, the Jewish philosopher Philo, who was a contemporary of Christ, understood the sin of Sodom to be homosexuality (Abraham 133-141).

Furthermore, the Epistle of St. Jude makes it clear that the sins of Sodom included sexual immorality chiefly among them:
" Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" (Jude 7).
Commenting on this passage Oecumenius says:
"The unnatural lust in which the Sodomites indulged was homosexuality..." (Commentary on Jude, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament, Vol. XI, Gerald Bray, ed. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervasity Press, 2000) p. 251).
St. John Chrysostom likewise connects the sin of homosexuality with the condemnation of Sodom in his homily on Romans 1:26-27.

The sin of Sodom was not that they were rude to strangers. They were sexually perverse, and this led them to the attempted rape of the two angels that visited Lot in Sodom. This sexual perversity is not merely incidental to this story. Dr. Robert Gagnon spells out the reasons for this in great detail in the following video:

"I assured this young man that Father Josiah’s views were not representative of the Orthodox Church as a whole. But gradually, over the next decade, because no one challenged Father Josiah’s attack on the LGBTQ community, because no one redirected him to Ezekiel’s and Jesus’ attacks on those who fail to care for the poor and needy, over half of these young people no longer attend Orthodox churches, despite the fact that they are still fully committed to living out the Gospel teaching."
Perhaps if our anonymous author had actually declared the whole counsel of God to these young people, the results world have been different. The fact that he clearly agreed with them, contrary to the Tradition of the Church and the Scriptures themselves, that the sin of Sodom had nothing to do with sexual perversion shows that he not only failed to teach them the Truth, but actually confirmed them in their error.
"On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. Faithful Orthodox Christians have been understandably divided on their reactions to this ruling, and I have my own mixed feelings. What is undeniably clear, however, is that Father Josiah’s ensuing behavior the following Sunday was deeply offensive and in flagrant violation of church traditions. At the Sunday Divine Liturgy of June 28, 2015, Fr. Josiah vested in black vestments and preached a sermon entirely focused on the Supreme Court and its ruling, with no reference to the appointed Gospel for that Sunday. (Ironically, he could have easily preached on the appointed Gospel, Mt 8:5-13, and indicated that Christ could heal people struggling with their sexuality just as he healed the centurion’s servant.)"
Had Fr. Josiah been on the Old Calendar, he could have preached from the Prophecy of Amos, since that Sunday was his feast -- which is what I did, but I applied what the Prophet Amos had to say to the results of that same Supreme Court decision (God's Plumbline). I doubt that Fr. Josiah and I were alone on that Sunday in feeling the need to address this issue. There are times during the life of St. John Chrysostom, for example, in which his preaching departed from the lectionary readings, and he felt the need to speak about a burning issue that needed his attention.
"I was, of course, serving at my own parish that Sunday morning and not in attendance at Father Josiah’s parish; but there was a text message on my phone that afternoon from someone who was there and was concerned. I was somewhat in disbelief and assured the parishioner that Father Josiah had simply overreacted and this issue would “blow over.” But then, two days later, Father Josiah proudly published the transcript and audio of his sermon (with description of his actions) on Ancient Faith Radio (listen here). It should be noted that, according to its website, “Ancient Faith Ministries is a department of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America with a pan-Orthodox outreach.” Since this material was posted on a website that is a department of the AOCA, I thought for certain that these actions and comments would be chastised. I felt confident that the transcript would, at the very least, be removed, and, hopefully, an apology issued. And yet, more than four years later they remain in a public location, and one that is often a first stop for inquirers, catechumens, and the faithful. Sadly, I have received many more concerned questions about these remarks and actions since they were published, meaning people are still viewing this uncharitable material."
You will note that there is actually nothing in Fr. Josiah's sermon (A Black Day: Supreme Folly from the Supremes) that the anonymous author has actually pointed out as being false, or in need of retraction.
"It should be pointed out that black vestments are used so rarely in services that many priests/parishes do not even own any. They are for use only in the first week of Lent and Holy Week, and often are reserved solely for Great and Holy Friday. Yet Father Josiah wore them (and instructed all of his concelebrants to wear them) at a Sunday celebration of the resurrection of Christ! To replace festive gold with the black of mourning on a day celebrating the resurrection is inexcusable and disrespectful to the symbolism and tradition of our Church. Father Josiah further explained that what had happened that day in America was worse than if a parishioner had died: “You’re wondering, probably, who died, and I haven’t told you yet. Much, much worse than that, brothers and sisters. I wish that, instead of the cause for wearing black vestments today, I had only the sorrow to tell you that one of our beloved passed away….” Father Josiah has never worn black vestments when American bombs have rained down killing innocent children (many of them Orthodox) in the Middle East—in wars that our hierarchs have vocally and correctly opposed as unjust. Father Josiah has never worn black vestments to mourn the homeless crisis in California that a UN inspector has deemed one of the worst situations in the world. Instead, a Supreme Court ruling that did not directly affect the life of the Church warranted this action in his eyes."
So now we are concerned about liturgical color schemes. As a matter of fact, no one used black vestments in the Orthodox Church prior to the funeral of the Emperor Peter II in 1821. It became the Russian practice to use them on most of the weekdays of Great Lent and Holy Week. It is certainly out of the normal order to wear black vestments on a Sunday, but if you read the Prophets in the Old Testament, they more than a few times did unusual things to get people's attention.

Unfortunately, the United States has been at war on some level or another for most of its history -- and so if we wore black every time our military did something that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, we would be wearing black more often than not. And, at least in most cases, there is no reason to think that we are currently targeting innocent civilians on purpose. But I also know that there is a special sensitivity to the political issues in the Middle East within the Antiochian Archdiocese, and I know that at least some clergy have been told not to make statements on their own, because of the negative impact that those statements (coming from clergy that the Antiochian Patriarchate is responsible for) might have on the Christian population in the Middle East who live in very precarious political situations. Not being part of the Antiochian Archdiocese, I have written and spoken on the immoral policies of the United States in the Middle East. Fr. Josiah probably does not have as much liberty on that issue, and I can understand the concern about blow-back that the Antiochian bishops have.
"If he did these things without the blessing of his bishop, there should have been a sharp reprimand and his sermon should have been removed from Ancient Faith Radio—and it still should be removed now. If he did these things with the blessing of his bishop, then we have an even bigger problem, and the Antiochian hierarchs themselves need to be called out for their hypocrisy and the pastoral harm they are actively countenancing. It is well past time for this rebuke to come, an apology to be issued, and for this sermon to be taken off of a prominent Orthodox website. It continues to do damage to our faithful, as well as to our reputation as a place of love and healing."
Keep in mind in reading these words that the only thing specifically that Fr. Josiah did that the anonymous author thinks should warrant him being disciplined and being forced to issue an apology is to wear the wrong color vestments at a Liturgy.
"Because Father Josiah’s behavior was not disciplined, he went on to catch the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for his disturbing remarks at the World Congress of Families in the nation of Georgia. The SPLC characterized the gathering as a whole a showcase of “anti-LGBT rhetoric and conspiracy theories,” but described Father Josiah’s address as “one of the more virulently anti-LGBT speeches” at the four-day event."
And if Fr. Josiah sued the SPLC for defamation, he might have won 3.4 million dollars too.
"Some lowlights include Father Josiah’s declaration that “today the USA has a national ambassador for the promotion of sodomy,” and his dire warning that the “lavender mafia, these homofascists, these rainbow radicals” will turn Tbilisi into a city like San Francisco, “where there are 80,000 more dogs in the city limits than there are children.” Most horrific of all, Father Josiah—who ordinarily has nothing but mockery and scorn for Muslims, Muhammad, and their sacred texts—referred to the Qur’an with implicit approval, stating, “Muhammad is recorded as ordering the execution of anyone practicing sodomy.” Several in the crowd actually applauded this comment—applause that Father Josiah did not reprimand during the speech, and applause that he danced around when interviewed about the topic, as I will show below."
Rather than focus on the characterizations of Fr. Josiah's speech on the part of those who hate the teachings of the Church, I would recommend that everyone listen to the actual speech in its entirety and judge for themselves whether he said anything untrue or contrary to the teachings of the Church. I would argue that the only people who will object to this speech are those who would object to any speech that insisted that homosexuality really is a sin, and that it is incompatible with the Christian life.

It happens to be a fact that the United States has used its power and influence to promote the LGBTQP+ agenda around the world. Our embassies regularly fly the rainbow flag, our ambassadors regularly march in "gay pride" parades, and we threaten any country with sanctions if they do not play along -- with the curious exceptions of countries like Saudi Arabia, who put homosexuals to death according to Sharia Law.

What Fr. Josiah said about the Quran happens to be true. No one who is trying to be fair here would seriously argue that Fr. Josiah supports putting homosexuals to death.
"The use of such extreme, conspiratorial, and apocalyptic language—in a nation like Georgia, where violence against LGBT individuals remains quite high—is at the very least wildly irresponsible. Groups like the SPLC and People for the American Way are understandably concerned that it can incite violence. Journalist Natalia Antelava gave Father Josiah the opportunity to clarify his position and asked him specifically if he had considered that it could incite violence in Georgia. While he claimed he did not approve of the death penalty for homosexuals, he gave literally no answer for why he did not rebuke the crowd for their applause, only noting that he disagreed with it and so just continued his speech without much pause. You can hear this interview for yourself here: the segment on Father Josiah begins at the 36:45 mark. The applause can be heard at 38:05. There is also a transcript of the interview towards the bottom of the linked webpage."
You will note that if you listen to this speech on YouTube, the applause is not even audible. Furthermore, I doubt he expected that there would be any applause, and so his reaction of just continuing to speak is understandable. When something unexpected happens when you are speaking it's easy to later think of what you might have said or done in response, but it is a lot harder to come up with something in the few seconds you have to process it.
"With complete disregard to widely available statistics and well documented news reports, Father Josiah told Antelava (in the recorded conversation linked above) that he does not believe violence against homosexuals is of any significant concern. He even went so far as to suggest—with no evidence whatsoever—that it is the LGBT community who is a violent threat to religious conservatives!"
Interestingly, I was looking at an old post of mine, which had links to two YouTube videos of LGBT mob violence targeting Christians, and I see that YouTube has removed them both, which underscores the fact that the media skews reporting on this issue. I did a Google search to see if I could find links to articles about the incidents shown in those videos, and Google's algorithms being what they are, nothing turned up. That certainly doesn't mean that it hasn't happened. "Act Up" use to disrupt Roman Catholic Masses on a somewhat regular basis. As I mentioned before, the Southern Poverty Law Center's labeling of the Family Research Council as a hate group inspired a homosexual activist to attempt to kill the staff at its headquarters. And at least in the current climate today, here in the US, where Fr. Josiah lives, it is far more likely that any organized violence is going to be directed by pro-LGBTQP+ activists against those they see as "the haters" than the other way around. Obviously any violence directed at anyone should not be encouraged, but rather condemned. Nowhere has Fr. Josiah ever suggested that violence against homosexuals was a Christian response. His point was simply that the religions that have adherents among the majority of the worlds population all agree with St. Paul that homosexual sex is contrary to nature and a grave sin -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism.

Furthermore, we have already had intellectuals on the left making the case that conservative Christians should be treated like Nazis, and not allowed to participate in polite society. So there is no reason to think that the current level of hostility that they show towards those who do not approve of their views is as far as things will go. If they have the power to do it, things may get a whole lot worse for those unwilling to bow the knee to Baal.
"If there were any hopes that Father Josiah may have been privately reprimanded after his remarks in Georgia, they were dashed by his speech at the Parish Life Conference in Portland, and his subsequent audio series on his website Patristic Nectar Publishing, entitled “Patriotism: The Duty of a Christian to His Nation.” This five-part series is riddled with conservative Presbyterian theological concepts that have dubious place in Orthodoxy. It is worth noting here that Father Josiah has degrees from two Protestant institutions, the evangelical Westmont College and the Presbyterian Westminster Seminary, but no academic degrees from any Orthodox institution."
Of course, since our anonymous author has failed to put his name behind his words, we have no way of measuring his credentials against Fr. Josiah's, but if you want to accuse him of saying something that is contrary to the Tradition of the Church, you would normally need to actually cite something specific which he has said, which this anonymous hit-piece has been very short on even attempting to do.

I would simply note that if you read what the Fathers and Saints of the Church have to say about the commandment to "Honor thy father and thy mother," you will find that they teach that this extends to honoring one's country. As citizens of a country, we do have obligations to that country.
"There is no room here to tackle the numerous problems throughout this series, but a few quick observations are important. First, Father Josiah adopts a stance throughout this lecture series that America is a “Christian nation,” and that its identity as such derives from its enshrinement of Christian morality in our laws. In order to make this claim, one would expect him—especially as an academic—to at least address the racism, misogyny, slavery, Indigenous genocide, and countless other immoral actions and beliefs of the majority of the founding figures of this country. Instead of making any such argument, Father Josiah waves off concerns about these aspects of American history as “nonsense.”"
The fact that the United States was founded almost exclusively by Christians is beyond dispute. That one can point to short-comings among the founding fathers is no less true than the fact that most children can identify many short-comings in their own parents. Unless one commits the sin of Ham, however, we don't magnify their short-comings and ignore their virtues. And it is bad history to judge the people of the past by the standards and conditions that prevail today. We should judge people in the past by the standards and conditions that those people would have known. And if you compare the United States to almost every other country at the time of the founding, it comes off looking pretty good, even if comparing the United States at that time with contemporary standards and conditions is another matter. We wouldn't have gotten to where we are on the issues mentioned had we not had those people then, establishing a government based on principles of God given rights and individual liberties. They had short-comings then, and we certainly have them now. They are not the same short-comings, but as we continue to kill nearly a million innocent babies a year, since Roe v. Wade, we are in no position to pat ourselves on the back too much.
"Second, Father Josiah’s argument fuses classic Protestant theological affirmations of America with anachronistic readings of the Bible and the church fathers in order to endorse American exceptionalism from a Christian perspective and to claim that we now live in a “degraded” and “post-Christian” society. For Father Josiah, a culture that has abandoned the horrors described above, given women equal rights to men, abolished slavery, and ended racial segregation and Indigenous genocide has somehow become degraded and post-Christian because it has legalized same-sex marriage."
I rather doubt that Fr. Josiah praised any of the ills in American History. I remember having a lengthy conversation with him about some of the crimes the United States government has perpetrated in its history, and he did not deny in way, shape, or form, that such crimes had been committed. I am sure that he would agree that killing a million innocent babies a year is worse than allowing gay marriage -- in fact, a good case can be made that the sin of abortion has gotten us to where we on the question of sexual immorality -- but condemning one abomination doesn't prevent us from condemning any other abomination.
"Father Josiah thus makes arguments that come close to theonomy, a form of Christian totalitarianism popular in conservative Presbyterian circles. Theonomists hold that there should be no distinction between Christian morality (Christian law) and secular law. The most extreme adherents claim that all criminal punishments in Leviticus should still be in effect. Father Josiah does not explicitly go this far, but he adamantly defends the idea that Christians have the right to “impose their morality” on others because “all legislation is imposed morality.” America’s status is once again exceptional as a Christian nation, despite centuries of genocide and slavery, but will now bring the curse of the prophet Isaiah (Is 5:20) upon us because we now are practicing the “exaltation of sexual anarchy and sexual perversion.”"
This is a very cheap shot, for which no actual evidence is being provided. And indeed all laws reflect someone's morality (or immorality). Why should Christians not try to have the laws reflect Christian morality? Of course we do not want to impose our faith on anyone, but there is no reason why the laws should not reflect Christian principles of morality.
"Relying on these deeply problematic misrepresentations of history and on non-Orthodox theological “foundations,” Father Josiah feels confident enough to openly mock a gay California politician for stating that he has struggled with his sexual orientation and his spirituality. He cackles at this same man for his “intellectual deficiency,” for being “against nature,” and “for living in open sodomy.” He endorses conversion therapy (which is not and never has been a part of the Orthodox response to same-sex attraction), and he audaciously conflates it with Orthodox conversion and repentance."
Since when has it been contrary to the teaching of the Orthodox Church to provide counsel to someone who comes and asks for help overcoming their sin? Whether any approach is actually effective or not is a question of wisdom, but why should we not encourage those struggling with homosexuality to not allow that sin to be their identity, and to see what can be done, with God's grace to overcome it? There are certainly some people who struggle with homosexuality who are probably never going to have a healthy marriage with someone of the opposite sex, but on the other hand, there have been many cases in which someone has fallen into that sin, and yet gone on to do just that. As I have said many times, I think it would be a great service if those who really want to help homosexuals overcome their sin, wrote articles, held conferences, and conducted studies in which  they examined what can and should be done to help people who have this struggle. I am sure Fr. Josiah would agree. The issue of principle here, which cannot be denied without denying the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church, is that the homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with the Christian life.
"Once again, our bishops continue to do nothing. In fact, Father Josiah is allowed to charge $15 just to listen to his hateful and condescending nonsense. The offensive and destructive implications that these attitudes have for marginalized groups throughout American history is massive. Our college-educated young people are rightfully disturbed. I have witnessed significant numbers of people have crises of faith and simply withdraw. I have seen so many others leave altogether. But perhaps most importantly, I have seen our brothers and sisters, faithful Orthodox Christians who struggle against same-sex attraction and work tirelessly to commit themselves to celibacy, be deeply harmed by Father Josiah’s words, and by the implicit condoning of these words by our hierarchs who allow this material to be publicly available or even sold as valuable Orthodox insights. I will conclude by asking my brother clergy and my fellow faithful of the Antiochian Archdiocese and the broader Orthodox Church here in North America: What kind of Church do we want? Is it a Church that alienates the spiritually thirsty from what we all so desperately need? Do we really want to implicitly (or worse yet, explicitly) endorse the words and actions of Father Josiah Trenham as they relate to same-sex attraction, relationships, and marriage? Or is it an open, confident, warm, and loving Church that teaches a message of hope and a path to salvation that is relevant to all? Is it a Church that stands by its traditional teachings in a loving and welcoming way, or is it a Church that allows its priests to incite violence against marginalized groups and to deeply wound its faithful who are doing their best to live according to the fulness of the Gospel?"
In order to stand by the Traditional teachings of the Church in a loving way, or in any way at all, one needs to actually teach them. One needs to have the courage to deliver the whole counsel of God, and not shrink from doing so out of fear that many people do not want to hear it. It is clear that the anonymous author not only has in mind not teaching the Traditions of the Church on these issues, but is content to misrepresent them. Again, if you really believe that active homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), then failing to convey that fact is the least loving thing you could possibly do for a homosexual. Shrinking from delivering the whole counsel of God will make your life easier. You will have fewer people who will be offended by what God has to say on the matter, but that is the cowardly approach. But of course, someone who would write an anonymous open letter has already shown the approach they prefer. If it was up to me, the Christian life would be the easy way, but unfortunately, it is the straight and narrow way... the difficult path, that the Lord says is the only path to salvation (Matthew 7:13-14). We don't get to pick the Truth, our job is simply to teach it and to live it, and I believe Fr. Josiah Trenham has been doing an admirable job of that very thing.