LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Scott Jones

Title

LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Scott Jones

Subject

Queer Omaha Archives
Sexual minorities -- Nebraska -- Omaha
interviews
oral histories (document genres)

Description

Click here to access the interview, LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Scott Jones

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones, LGBTQ+ activist and minister, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on February 9, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. Jones shared information about his childhood in Oklahoma, his theological education and the evolution of his faith, coming out as gay, his fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Oklahoma and in Omaha, meeting his husband, and adopting his son.

Biographical Sketch

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones, born in Miami, Oklahoma, is a white gay man, LGBTQ+ activist, theologian, lecturer, author, and currently works as Senior Minister at Omaha's First Central Congregational Church. Jones earned a BA in Religion and Philosophy at Oklahoma Baptist University in 1996, and an MA (1997) and PhD (2001) in Philosophy from the University of Oklahoma. After serving churches in Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, he moved to Omaha in 2010 with his husband, Michael Cich-Jones, and became a voice for LGBTQ+ rights in Nebraska. Jones was a leader of the Equal Omaha Coalition, which lobbied successfully in 2012 for the passage of Omaha's LGBT Equal Employment Ordinance. As a member of Heartland Clergy for Inclusion, Jones coordinated the #ReadyToMarry campaign, and co-authored the Heartland Proclamation, a statement published by local clergy members affirming and welcoming LGBTQ+ individuals into their ministry. In 2009, Jones was the recipient of the Torch Award from Cimarron Alliance Foundation, and in 2011 he received the PFLAG Flag Bearer Award. Jones currently resides in Omaha with his husband, Michael, and their young son, Sebastian. His forthcoming book, Open: A Memoir of Faith, Family and Sexuality in the Heartland comes out in August 2018.

Interview Summary

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones, LGBTQ+ activist and minister, was interviewed by Luke Wegener on February 9, 2018, in Omaha, Nebraska. Jones was born in Miami, Oklahoma and grew up with one sister, Kelli, in a Southern Baptist family. As a child, Jones was a studious, self-described "nerdy" kid who devoted himself to school and church. He knew at a young age his calling was to become a minister. While aware of his same-sex attraction, Jones had no guidance, information or validation of his sexuality as a child and adolescent, and remained closeted. At age 16, his father Randall suffered a heart attack and passed away, which caused Jones to question some of his philosophical stances. During his undergraduate years at Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) from 1992-1996, Jones's religious and philosophical stances were challenged even further by his professors and coursework, which pushed him further to the left in his political leanings. As he began to meet more LGBT people in college, Jones perspective on homosexuality began to change. In his sophomore year at OBU, one of his peers was outed as being gay and sent to reparative therapy by the university, which Jones believed was wrong and defended him.

While in graduate school at the University of Oklahoma from 1996-2001, Jones became more open to exploring his sexuality and continued to meet gay men who were active in the church, which showed him that his faith and sexuality did not have to be mutually exclusive. Jones experienced a breaking point while serving as pastor at Royal Lane Church in Dallas, Texas from 2003-2005. He decided to acknowledge his sexuality and come out to his crush, John, as a result of watching the HBO miniseries Angels in America. Their relationship was short-lived, but Jones began to come out in other areas of his life and move into his identity as a gay man.

Knowing he could not work long-term in the Baptist church as an openly gay man, Jones moved to Oklahoma City in 2005 to work as a minister at Cathedral of Hope, a progressive, LGBTQ+ affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ. Within a relatively short period of time, Jones went from being closeted to very publicly out as the openly gay minister of a progressive congregation. He went on to become a central figure in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights in Oklahoma, debating anti-LGBT politician Sally Kern on live television. Jones faced significant media attention when he was the first openly gay chaplain for a day for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which landed him on the cover of the Daily Oklahoman and inspired rallies in support of the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2006, Jones met Michael Cich, who would later become his husband. The two moved to Omaha in 2010 and Jones began his ministry at First Central Congregational Church, a congregation that has embraced and accepted him. Wasting no time before diving into LGBTQ+ politics in Nebraska, Jones worked as part of the Equal Omaha Coalition, which lobbied successfully in 2012 for the passage of Omaha's LGBT Equal Employment Ordinance. As a member of Heartland Clergy for Inclusion, Jones coordinated the #ReadyToMarry campaign, and co-authored the Heartland Proclamation, a statement published by local clergy members affirming and welcoming LGBTQ+ individuals into their ministry. In 2009, Dr. Jones was the recipient of the Torch Award from Cimarron Alliance Foundation, and in 2011 he received the PFLAG Flag Bearer Award.

After a long and arduous process of trying to adopt a child, Jones and his husband Michael adopted their son, Sebastian, in 2015. The three currently reside in Omaha. Jones' forthcoming book, Open: A Memoir of Faith, Family and Sexuality in the Heartland comes out in August 2018.

Interview Notes

Some coughing and paper rustling can be heard.

Date

2018 February 9

Publisher

University of Nebraska at Omaha Libraries

Relation

LGBTQ+ Oral History Collection finding aid available at https://archives.nebraska.edu/repositories/4/resources/604

Interviewer

Luke Wegener

Duration

02:28:54

Files

LGBTQ_Omeka_Scott-Jones.jpg

Citation

“LGBTQ+ Voices: Interview with Scott Jones,” Queer Omaha Archives, accessed December 12, 2018, https://queeromahaarchives.omeka.net/items/show/3252.

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