Monday, May 14, 2007
Statement By Bishop And Elders Council
Statement By Bishops And Elders Council
September 11, 2006
On September 11, 2001, some leading Christian extremists portrayed the tragedy of 9/11 as God’s judgment on America for the presence of gays and lesbians. The intervening years have witnessed an alarming escalation of religion-based, anti-gay attacks by both political leaders and religious groups.
“Today, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we, as leaders representing organizations that touch the lives of 98 million Americans, are united in our rejection of all forms of fear-based religion, all political manipulation in the name of Jesus, and governmental hostility toward gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons, especially that hostility that uses Christianity as an excuse to divide society and demonize minorities.
“Today, as Christian leaders who have gathered in Council in Dallas, Texas, we proclaim that discrimination, rejection, scapegoating, and oppression of gay people and their families are incompatible with the Christian ethic of love - and are not spiritual, democratic, patriotic, or fair.
“Today, we announce that the anti-gay agenda against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender is effectively over. Thanks to a rapidly growing movement of churches and faith leaders in communities across the United States, thousands of churches now embrace Jesus’ message that “whosoever will may come,” and open their doors in welcome to same-gender-loving people of faith. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians, along with their families and allies, now have the option of nurturing their spiritual lives in faith communities that celebrate and welcome all of God’s creation.
“Motivated by our Christian faith and to further our nation’s founding goals of justice and equality for all, we call upon all people of goodwill to work actively for an end to discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons by:
“Realizing that the relationships of same-gender loving couples are equal in every way to heterosexual couples and are worthy of both the right to civil marriage and the rites of Christian marriage;
“Reaffirming the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender persons to full equality under the law, including adoption rights, employment and housing protections, and the right to openly serve in the U.S. military;
“Refusing to cooperate with or support political or religious leaders who caricature and condemn the lives of gays and lesbians;
“Refuting the ex-gay notion that sexual orientation and gender identity can and should be changed.
“As unified followers of Christ, reclaiming our faith, we commit to speak boldly with our own communities and the larger culture from out of our experience as those who have been both oppressed and oppressor. We will communicate God’s incessant call for justice, wholeness and peace and work to equip ourselves and others to take concrete action to achieve God’s loving shalom.
“The Bishops and Elders Council further commits to continued work on behalf of all people oppressed or marginalized by poverty, immigration policies, HIV/AIDS, addictions, classism, sexism, ageism, or violence.”
The conference was co-chaired by the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Moderator, Metropolitan Community Churches, Bishop Yvette Flunder, The Fellowship, and Rebecca Voelkel, Program Director of the Institute for Welcoming Resources.
Besides Soulforce, the Fellowship, and MCC organizations present included GLBT and allied Christians from DignityUSA (Roman Catholic), More Light Presbyterians, That All May Freely Serve (Presbyterians), United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns, Lutherans Concerned, Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, National Baptist Conference of Welcoming and Affirming Churches, Reconciling Ministries Network (United Methodist Church), the Evangelical Network, the Intern-Denominational Conference of Liberation Congregations & Ministries, Reformed Catholic Church, Universal Anglican Church, National Black Justice Coalition, Room for All, The Fellowship, and HRC’s new Religion and Faith Program, and the National Religious Leaders Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force."