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Religious Tolerance logo

Beliefs about Homosexuality
by other Christian groups

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The following are some statements made by various religious groups that are not affiliated with a specific denomination or religion. They are arranged in chronological order.

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1975: Declaration by the National Council of the Churches of Christ:

The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA stated that: "as a child of God, every person is endowed with worth and dignity that human judgment cannot set aside. Therefore, every person is entitled to equal treatment under the law." The resolution also urged member churches and their members "to work to ensure the enactment of legislation at the national, state and local levels that would guarantee the civil rights of all persons without regard to their affectional or sexual preference." The Council includes among its members most of the large liberal and mainline denominations in the US.

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1998-JUN: Declaration of Religious Support for Same-Sex Unions:

The Progressive Religious Alliance, a multi-faith group centered in Los Angeles CA, circulated a declaration concerning same-sex marriages. They sought  the support of individuals and groups who wish to make the institution of marriage - both its civil privileges and its religious rituals - available to all committed couples. The deadline for returns has passed. We added this declaration to our site for historical purposes.

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1998-NOV: Evangelical Anti-Homosexual Beliefs Confirmed:

The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) held its 50th annual meeting from 1998-NOV-19 to 21 in Orlando, FL. The society is the largest association of Evangelical theological professors in the world. Included among its 2,500 members are representatives of almost every conservative Christian denomination, college and seminary in the United States. They also have many members from Canada and Europe. All are required to agree with a statement that "The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written, and therefore inerrant in the autographs." The term "autograph" in this case refers to the original, hand-written copy of a Biblical book by its author(s). No such autographs exist today. Fundamentalists and other Evangelical Christians generally agree that copying errors and intentional forgeries have altered the original text, so that isolated sections of ancient copies may not be inerrant. And of course, when any text is translated from Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek into English, errors in interpretation will occur.

Their meeting was held a few months after a high-profile gay bashing homicide in Wyoming. Some radio and TV personnel at the time noted that the main opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians comes from conservative Christian groups. Some in the media speculated that this opposition might be interpreted by the lunatic fringe of homophobes as giving permission to bash gays. The argument is analogous to a suggested link between the Pro-life movement and the bombing of abortion clinics: i.e. that Pro-lifers create an atmosphere of protest and disturbance around abortion clinics. This might influence a few unstable people to violate the fundamental principles of that movement, and bomb clinics, murder abortion providers, etc.

Being from the academic community, the ETS rarely issues statements on social matters. However, the new ETS president, Wayne Grudem, said that "this situation transcends denominational and political differences among our members: The whole evangelical world, and the gospel itself, are under vicious attack from the national media in this matter. I was convinced it would be wrong to remain silent, since we are by far the largest organization of academic leaders in the Evangelical world."

The 1,296 registrants debated and passed, by an overwhelming voice vote, a resolution that:
bulletnoted "the heinous beating death of Matthew Shepard," a gay university student in Laramie, Wyoming
bulletnoted that "...some in the national media [have] accepted and perpetuated homosexual attacks on the moral witness of the Church without any factual basis and have thereby failed in the fundamental journalistic responsibility to report truth and not false accusation ..."
bulletasked that the media "refrain from and repudiate unsubstantiated, untruthful, and hateful accusations against evangelical Christians and to report truthfully concerning the Church's true message of the good news that God offers forgiveness for sins through faith in Jesus Christ."
bulletnoted that "...advocates for the social normalization of homosexual behavior have laid the blame for hate crimes on the moral witness of the Church and God's gracious offer of forgiveness to repentant sinners..."
bulletaffirmed "as biblical and do ourselves agree with the position that Christian moral opposition to homosexual behavior is not and can never be license for anyone to engage in any form of slander, harassment or violence against one with whom we disagree." It may be worth noting that they did not include discrimination in employment or accommodation in their list.
bulletreaffirmed that homosexual activity is contrary to the teachings of the Bible: "...we affirm that Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual conduct is always an abomination in the sight of God for all human beings, both men and women, in all circumstances, without exception, (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9) ..."
bulletrebuked the U.S. media for  "unsubstantiated, untruthful, and hateful accusations against evangelical Christians."
bulletwent on record as being opposed to hate crimes legislation. Such laws are based on the concept that if a criminal is motivated by the hatred of a group or class of people at the time of the crime, that they should receive a longer jail sentence. So, a mugger might normally receive a sentence of, say, 12 months for beating and robbing an individual who he selected at random. Their sentence would be increased if they selected a victim because he was Jewish. The rationale is that a hate crime is different from a regular crime. It is partly motivated by a desire to terrorize an entire segment of the population: those of a specific religion, race, nationality gender, sexual orientation, etc that the criminal hates. The ETS quoted the Bible passage: "man looks on the outward appearance...[but only] God looks on the heart." They argued that judges and juries cannot accurately judge a criminal's motive at the time of a criminal act. "..the idea of hate crime is about adding civil sanctions for something no human being can accurately or fairly discern in any other..." The gay-bashing murder of Matthew Shepard is "already subject to the most severe criminal sanctions...we oppose any attempt by civil authority to judge the hearts of men and women for any purpose, much less for the purpose of creating a legal fiction that can only ensure unequal treatment for equally heinous criminal actions."

President Grudem expressed the hope that this resolution will "give courage to the churches in all Evangelical denominations to hold firm to the clear teaching of Scripture on moral right and wrong and on forgiveness and power to change through Jesus Christ." Evangelical groups frequently believe that gays and lesbians choose their sexual orientation and can change it through prayer, counseling and personal effort. Almost all gays, lesbians, human sexuality researchers, liberal Christians, psychologists and psychiatrists disagree with this assessment.

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