Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Your Church Anti-Gay?

Michael Adee, Field Director for More Light Presbyterians highlighted a news column on the Church and anti-gay policies in his email alert today. He wrote:

"Syndicated columnist Tom Teepen's column today in New London , Connecticut 's The Day online newspaper offers us an outsider's view into Christianity's relationship with LGBT persons and our families.

Teepen identifies the Presbyterian Church (USA), along with the Roman Catholic Church and North Carolina Baptists as anti-gay...

And, at the same time more and more persons and churches are realizing that it is not possible to be faithful Christians and silent on the matter of acceptance of LGBT persons as children of God with equal respect and rights in church and society to heterosexuals. A clear stand and witness must be embraced - the debate over the sacred creation,worth and place of LGBT persons is over in Welcoming & Affirming Congregations.

Teepen nails it - the Church, by and large, is anti-gay -- and the Church is on shaky ground by clinging to anti-gay positions.

Teepen also recognizes that this is not a theological, legal or academic matter alone - what the Church says about homosexuality and same-sex relationships & marriage affects real people, real families.

Of course most importantly, how do all of these "church battles over homosexuality" affect you, your faith, your relationship with God, your relationship to your local congregation, your denomination or faith tradition, or the larger body of Christ?

Teepen says of the anti-gay statements and actions by religious leaders:

" ... the real-world effect will be to drive homosexuals underground in their own church and, for gays and lesbians, to make the prospect of any pastoral counseling repellent."

Anti-gay attitudes and church laws, as well as the all too common "fence-sitting" not willing to take a stand posturing, will not only drive those of us who are LGBT and our families underground, it will drive us away to churches and faith traditions that are more welcoming and affirming than our own. The choice is not ours, really, the choice is yours -- meaning the local congregation or the denomination.

One's sexual orientation, gender identity or other human difference is not a choice. It is a choice whether or not we will follow Jesus' example and commandments to love God, neighbor and self -- and Jesus did not say "except for gays."

There is clearly a sea change at hand, a tipping point as noted by Teepen."

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