What does it take to preach acceptance and inclusivity in a city that acts as a gay oasis in one of the most conservative, Christian, and sometimes unwelcoming places in the country? A firm understanding of your beliefs is imperative, but having a gay father as a preacher doesn't hurt either.
Judah Swilley, one of five pastors appearing on Oxygen's new series, Preacherss of Atlanta, is faced with this challenge daily. Swilley, a fifth-generation pastor, had always been acceptable of homosexuality, but until his father, a celebrated pastor in his own respect, came out, he didn't understand it explicitly. "My dad coming out made it make sense," he said. "I've always had close friends that are gay, but having a family member makes it reality. You realize, wow. They really are just people and they deserve love."
Swilley counts himself as the most progressive preacher on the show in terms of his theology. "I try to be a bridge builder," he said. "You have to get down in the middle, you can't stand on the other side and throw rocks." He even admits that the traditional rigidity of Christianity is what is keeping millennials disinterested in religion. "This generation is moving past it," he said. "They're too smart for some of the old school Christianity." Swilley understands that younger people understand the bible to be figurative, while previous generations have taken it more literally.