NO. Some people assume that our database exists to point LGBT people to LGBT-affirming churches, for instance, or to warn them about non-affirming churches. Although this is a common byproduct of our public database, it is actually not our primary goal. If that was so, then we would certainly enable people to post “personal reviews” of their experiences in churches, much in the way that Yelp does. But we don’t.
Our goal is to score churches for how clearly they communicate their actively enforced policies. It is a “communication” score above anything else. We cannot score based on the “reality of what happens in their congregations,” but rather based on their online presence. That is why we confine our scope purely to any online evidence available on a church’s website, on its denomination’s or network’s website, and any pastor statements.
We sometimes get emails from pastors and congregants telling us that the score we’ve given to a church does not accurately reflect what happens in their church. We always respond by saying, “That’s good to know; please update your website so that this information is publicly available and also consider becoming Verified Clear; we’d love to update your score.” Or, “Please provide us with online evidence of what you’re talking about on the church or denomination website, and we’d love to update the score.”
Why do we do this? Our goal is to motivate churches to become clear on their websites because that is presently the most visible advertisement to the public. Clarity is reasonable on your website. Sometimes this helps people find churches that are aligned with their values -- that’s great, but that is not our primary goal.
Why do we strongly believe that policies should be on websites? Great question. We have an answer for that in our FAQ.