Nashville Noise

Jesus-facepalm

You may have seen that a few days ago, something called The Nashville Statement (click the link, if you must) was issued by some group that calls itself “The Council for Biblical Manliness and Womanliness.” Really, I’m not making this up; that’s what they’re calling themselves. It sounds like a secret club started by the Little Rascals after they grew up and the He-Man Woman-Haters Club fell apart, not for lack of woman-hating, but because, well, sex.

gimme the high sign

As silly as the group’s name is, it’s clear that it’s supposed to sound like some respected, august body of religious leaders dripping with gravitas, who, one might assume, somberly gathered together in Nashville to contribute some profound insight into a grave and urgent crisis of our time. In reality, I suspect its list of original 150 signers – which included only a scant few more women than the H-MWHC – was far less such a gathering, and much more something like Tony Perkins having simply texted out the statement to everyone in his phone’s contact list one day, and them texting him back a thumbs-up emoji.

The statement itself is remarkable – but only for its unremarkableness.

It’s really nothing more than a bunch of the usual suspects and self-appointed mouthpieces of so-called Evangelical American Christianity repeating their harmful anti-LGBTQ understanding of the faith, as if people hadn’t already heard those views ad nauseum. The group must have been thinking that they hadn’t gotten enough media coverage lately, so they repackaged their hate and ignorance in the confession format used by many religious groups who were speaking to past historic crises.

In the days since its release, there have been countless responses and counter-statements issued – I’ve read at least half a dozen, and actually signed two. I haven’t had time to offer any thoughts about it until now, because a.) I have a day job, and blogging isn’t it; and b.) I wondered, and frankly still do, if responding to these dead-theologians-walking only served to give them more attention than they deserve. Watching the massive human tragedy unfolding in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey makes me additionally ambivalent about the appropriateness responding to these theological and moral pygmies .

One of the responses that I read was John Pavlovitz’s, titled The Nashville Statement (A Plain Language Translation). I like John’s writing, and this was a good piece, but I have to admit I was thinking based on its title, the article would be more of a point-by-point translation of the Statement’s various Articles out of religious jargon and into plain language that people other than theology nerds could clearly understand. Since he didn’t go in that direction, I thought I’d try to do that now. So here goes. The original Nashville Statement text is in lavender, the definitive gay color, just to tick off its homophobic authors; the translation follows in black.

Article 1

[NS] WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church.

WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.

[Translation] God designed marriage for the purpose of conceiving and giving birth to children – so you gays can’t have a legitimate marriage because you can’t have kids.

Don’t remind us that many heterosexual couples choose not to have children, and we consider their marriages valid. Same with heterosexual couples who can’t have children due to age or other biological reasons.

Don’t tell us that every day, we accept as valid the marriages of heterosexual couples who got married in entirely secular settings, or in religious traditions other than our own, and we consider them perfectly acceptable. We’ll plug our ears and say “LALALALALALALA!”

Don’t point out to us that the concept of an unchanging, universal definition of marriage in the Bible is a complete myth, or that Biblical characters’ marriages were completely at odds with modern American cultural norms, or that there are many Christians even today whose understanding of marriage is very different from our own. Plugging our ears again. Just stop it.

And don’t talk to us about gay couples who adopt, providing homes for the unwanted children of heterosexual procreation. Really, just don’t go there, because it’s better for those kids to grow up without loving parents than to be exposed to gay couples living in ways that will make the kids think we’re crazy when we claim that their parents’ lives are immoral and ungodly. Don’t show us the mountain of research that shows that kids raised by gay parents are just as psychologically well-adjusted as those raised by straight couples. Besides, we really know all those homos just want to have sex with those children, and recruit them into their immoral lifestyle.

Article 2

[NS] WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within marriage.

WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

[Translation] Sex bad, except within straight marriage, and as we define it. Any other expression of our sexual selves – man, we hate to even say the word “sex” – is absolutely unacceptable. If we have to live our entire lives saddled with guilt because we went all the way with Tammy with the big boobs in the back seat of our car after our Young Life meeting when we were teenagers; or because we’ve been secretly engaging in sex in department store men’s rooms and out-of-town gay bathhouses in order to maintain our straight conservative religious public image, then we’re going to drag you right down into the guilt-pit with us. And while those of us who are straight at least have marriage as an acceptable avenue to enjoy sex, you gays get no such option. You are, by definition, immoral, so you shouldn’t have any moral or legal way to express your chosen lifestyle. We’re going to keep trying to get you to feel that guilt, whether you interpret the Bible the way we do or not, because we make our livings by setting ourselves up as the authority figures who must be revered and obeyed in order for us to use our special mojo with God to absolve you of all that guilt that we’ve instilled.

Article 3

[NS] WE AFFIRM that God created Adam and Eve, the first human beings, in his own image, equal before God as persons, and distinct as male and female.

WE DENY that the divinely ordained differences between male and female render them unequal in dignity or worth.

[Translation] Despite the overwhelming, incontrovertible scientific evidence to the contrary, we still stick our heads in the sand and believe that the allegorical biblical creation accounts first composed by pre-scientific nomadic tribesman is historical, scientific fact that tells us everything we need to know about human origins, biology, and anthropology, and God’s attitude about that in complete detail.

We refuse to accept the fact that every year, in one out of every 2,000 births worldwide, the child is born intersex, with genitals that aren’t clearly either male or female. Beyond so-called intersex cases, we refuse to accept the overwhelming positions of medical, psychiatric, and other professional organizations that affirm that gender identity is not decisively determined by physical plumbing; and that it isn’t an exclusively binary reality.

We believe that the Bible mandates a God-designed system where men are at the top of the pyramid (men must be created most in the image of God, since the Bible calls God “he”), and that women must defer and be subservient to men, and that we can treat women as unequal subordinates in countless ways; while simultaneously claiming that aren’t treating them unequally at all, just differently, and we can claim that this is treating them with dignity. We’re tempted here to use the term “separate but equal,” but that language didn’t work out well for us in a previous attempt to treat another group of people “differently.”

Article 4

WE AFFIRM that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing.

WE DENY that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.

[Translation] Even though we believe God is omnipotent and that God’s being and image transcends actual sex and gender, we believe that when setting out to create human beings in the divine image, he (see?) is restricted to only two options, despite the scientific evidence previously referred to regarding actual human sexual orientation and gender. It’s just a black and white issue, because of the whole Adam-and-Eve-is-science thing, so don’t confuse us with your so-called facts, by so-called experts who all graduated from godless, secular institutions rather than the good, conservative, Bible-based institutions we prefer.

Also, we have to say that we disagree with the belief that transgenderism is a now a biological reality different from God’s original plan in creation as a result of “the Fall”/the entry of sin in the world; and that we now need to establish new rules to lovingly accommodate this new reality.

We have to say that we disagree with this idea because we know that some of our Evangelical brothers and sisters have carved out this “Plan B/new reality” way to still cling to the idea of biblical inerrancy, while finding a way to justify being more welcoming to LGBTQ people.

In reality, though, we know that most (alleged) Christians who are “welcoming and affirming” to LGBTQ people have long since moved past that position. They’ve come to the shameful conclusion that there is nothing sinful whatsoever about people being, and living authentically, as LGBTQ; that this is simply part of the normal variation seen in the full spectrum of humanity – all of whom have been created in God’s own image. That is unacceptable heresy to us; you cannot believe this and be considered by us to be a real Christian. Refer to Article 10.

Article 5

[NS] WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.

WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.

[Translation] As we said, gender is a black and white thing – and God doesn’t make mistakes. Don’t confuse us with medical reality. And don’t raise the question that if God doesn’t make mistakes, how do we explain any number of birth anomalies, and why do we routinely engage in surgery and other interventions in order to fix these things without denouncing them as second-guessing God’s will. Stop now, or we’ll plug our ears again.

Article 6

[NS] WE AFFIRM that those born with a physical disorder of sex development are created in the image of God and have dignity and worth equal to all other image-bearers. They are acknowledged by our Lord Jesus in his words about “eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb.” With all others they are welcome as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and should embrace their biological sex insofar as it may be known.

WE DENY that ambiguities related to a person’s biological sex render one incapable of living a fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ.

[Translation] If we have to grudgingly admit to the reality of people being born intersex, then our advice is to just do your best to be a man or a woman – until we disagree with the way you’re doing it. And if surgeons opt to give you the genitals of one gender but you end up feeling like the other, we don’t want to hear about it. Just suck it up and act as we tell you, since it’s all just a choice anyway.

We have to say that a person’s gender identity doesn’t preclude them from living a “fruitful life in joyful obedience to Christ” because a.) we don’t understand that our opponents don’t even remotely believe this; and b.) part of “joyful obedience to Christ” in our eyes is you not living as LGBTQ, since we think that’s a choice that’s contrary to Christ’s teaching. As we said, it’s a choice, and a sinful one that you need to get rid of if you want to be obedient to and accepted by Christ and God, but if you just pray hard enough and live right, God will take away from you. We refuse to recognize the appalling number of suicides of religious youth and adults who, wracked with guilt over being LGBTQ, had tried to “pray the gay away” for years – and when that didn’t work, came to believe that God had rejected them, so they killed themselves.

None of that matters, because upholding our concepts of religious orthodoxy and never admitting that we might be in error trump any evidence to the contrary gleaned from human existence that contradicts our interpretation of scripture. You just have to get right with God, the way we tell you, and God will fix you – and if he doesn’t, it’s your fault.

Article 7

[NS] WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.

WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.

[Translation] Yes, we know we’ve already been making these exact same points in previous Articles. But we had one stubborn person who threw a tantrum and refused to sign the statement unless we used his language, so we threw it in here just to placate him. Plus, if we have more Articles, it makes us look like our argument is more complex and thoughtful than just saying we’re homophobic and want to be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people once and being done with it.

Article 8

[NS] WE AFFIRM that people who experience sexual attraction for the same sex may live a rich and fruitful life pleasing to God through faith in Jesus Christ, as they, like all Christians, walk in purity of life.

WE DENY that sexual attraction for the same sex is part of the natural goodness of God’s original creation, or that it puts a person outside the hope of the gospel.

[Translation] If you feel attraction for someone of the same sex, it’s inherently evil and you must never physically express that attraction. You can live a “rich and fruitful life pleasing to God” just like us, as long as you deny and push down those feelings and never act on them, no matter how miserable, psychologically and physically unhealthy, or even suicidal, it may make you feel.

We uphold this belief, which is at the core of all “Reparative Therapy” programs, which have been denounced by all responsible medical, psychiatric, psychological, and other professional organizations as dangerously abusive and unnecessary; and which have been banned in multiple states as health threats. We still hold this belief because we don’t really trust in any findings based on higher learning or professional expertise when they contradict our own narrow believes about the nature, authority, and interpretation of the Bible.

Article 9

[NS] WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant and toward sexual immorality — a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual immorality.

WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral behavior.

[Translation] We know that people have what we would call sinful – and others might simply call unhealthy or inappropriate – sexual urges and attractions. We choose to consider homosexuality and transgenderism as merely other forms of unhealthy, inappropriate, sinful sexual expression, because they aren’t part of what we’ve been raised and taught to understand. We refuse to consider that our ways of understanding and interpreting the Bible might be wrong, because that would create uncertainty and anxiety in our lives that would cause us to question other matters of faith that we consider essential. Without that certainty, we aren’t sure what our own lives even are, so we will force you to repress and feel guilt over your reality in order to preserve feeling good about our own.

Article 10

WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

[Translation] Not only is being LGBTQ sinful, being welcoming and inclusive and approving of LGBTQ people is, too. It puts a person outside the pale of being a Christian – you simply cannot approve of LGBTQ people living full, honest, authentic lives and consider yourself a Christian, period, let alone a good Christian.

Article 11

[NS] WE AFFIRM our duty to speak the truth in love at all times, including when we speak to or about one another as male or female.

WE DENY any obligation to speak in such ways that dishonor God’s design of his image-bearers as male and female.

[Translation] Don’t talk to us about “preferred pronouns.” We demand the right to speak to you and about you in whatever way we want, regardless of whether it offends you or isn’t the way you wish to be referred to. We will call you a he or a she, a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, based on what we believe, not what you or health care professionals say. We’ll do it while telling you we love you, and that we’re just administering “tough love.” We’ll do it, with all the smug self-righteousness of saying that we’re carrying out God’s will, and upholding God’s standards in a sinful world, because we know best. And if you don’t like it, too bad.

Article 12

[NS] WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ gives both merciful pardon and transforming power, and that this pardon and power enable a follower of Jesus to put to death sinful desires and to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ is insufficient to forgive all sexual sins and to give power for holiness to every believer who feels drawn into sexual sin.

[Translation] This is another one of those places where we’re repeating ourselves in order to placate a cranky signatory. We’ve covered this territory already, but yes, to repeat, what LGBTQ people are doing is wrong, and they need to stop it, and God will change them if they just pray long enough, hard enough, and in the right way.

Article 13

[NS] WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.

WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s revealed will.

[Translation] Really, just rehashing the same point here again. This whole thing masquerading as a confession is really just a sermon filled with red meat for our followers, and we think that the main point of a sermon needs to be repeated several times in order to drive it home, so here it is again.

Article 14

[NS] WE AFFIRM that Christ Jesus has come into the world to save sinners and that through Christ’s death and resurrection, forgiveness of sins and eternal life are available to every person who repents of sin and trusts in Christ alone as Savior, Lord, and supreme treasure.

WE DENY that the Lord’s arm is too short to save or that any sinner is beyond his reach.

[Translation] And to us, every good sermon has to end with an altar call, so here’s ours. Cue Just As I Am, without One Plea. Or in this case, maybe not that particular hymn.

***

Religious people seem to love putting out these kinds of confessions and statements. Some of them are good. Some of them have been milestones in history. Others, like this one, are just mind-numbingly tired, boring, hateful, and counter-Christian statements made by self-righteous blowhards who want to pose as the defenders and arbiters of the True Faith.

For some reason, we religious folk seem inclined to name these pronouncements after the city that gave birth to them. This time, it was Nashville, a fact not at all appreciated by the city itself. In 1924, a group of Presbyterian church leaders issued the Auburn Affirmation, having been drafted at the Presbyterian seminary that existed in Auburn, New York at the time. The Auburn Affirmation was a scathing denouncement of the beliefs that Fundamentalists and Evangelicals considered mandatory to orthodox, true, Christian belief. The first of those teachings – the inerrancy of scripture – is at the root of modern-day Evangelicals’ harmful attitudes toward LGBTQ people and their refusal to consider what’s become obvious to so many others: that LGBTQ people, in the totality of their being, including their sexual orientation, are created just as much in the image of God as anyone else; that God blesses them in their sexual expression and their committed covenantal relationships equally with heterosexuals; that God blesses and encourages transgender people trying to become the people they were intended to be regardless of the vagaries of merely physical characteristics – and finally, that the beliefs expressed in the Nashville Statement are just reheated nonsense, served up by people desperately trying to shore up their relevance in a world that has left them and their beliefs behind.

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A Letter into a Black Hole

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I got a piece of mail today from the Presbyterian Lay Committee, seeking a financial contribution. If you aren’t familiar with the group – and if you aren’t Presbyterian, there’s really little reason why you should be – it was formed in the mid-1960s as a reaction to what they saw as an inappropriate, supposedly non-scriptural, liberal shift in the theological direction of what’s now known as the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The denomination had been embroiled in a bitter divide in the early part of the 20th century, in a debate known as the “Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy“. The controversy had to do with the way the Bible was to be interpreted, and whether the denomination’s clergy were required to adhere to a specific shortlist of doctrinal issues. The issue had been rather decisively settled in favor of the Modernists in the 1920s; the more or less simultaneous playing out of the infamous Scopes Trial, which pitted essentially the same arguments against each other in a courtroom and on the national stage, instead of as part of a church assembly, served as a fitting symbol of the Fundamentalists’ defeat and loss of control within the denomination.
In 1967, the denomination adopted a confessional document – a statement of faith – called, imaginatively enough, the “Confession of 1967.” It was in this document, known as “C67” for short, that the church – brilliantly and decisively, in my opinion – first put the “Modernist” understanding of biblical interpretation in any official confessional statement.
The Presbyterian Lay Committee was formed to fight adoption of C67 as part of the denominational constitution. It lost in this effort. Long after that loss, the PLC continued to promote its views through the ensuing years, never really conceding defeat – kind of like those stories of Japanese soldiers from World War II holding their position in some cave in the Pacific and not crawling out until  decades after the war had ended.
Eventually, the PLC did crawl out of that particular cave – never really conceding their position, but deciding to focus on a target more current and relevant than C67 itself. They found fertile ground to re-energize their conservative base, and to raise funds, by fighting against the denomination’s gradually more welcoming stance toward acceptance of LGBTQ Christians in the full life of the church, including its leadership, and in the most recent times, against same-sex marriage – and particularly, permission for Presbyterian clergy to officiate them – as it’s been becoming the law in more and more states. This group may have been the most strident opponent of these developments within the PCUSA over the past two decades, and probably the loudest crap-stirrers finding any excuse, real or imagined, to bash the denomination and call for people and congregations to disaffiliate with it. Their reaction to the denomination’s recent move to permit its ministers to officiate same-sex marriages borders on the apoplectic.
If you know anything about me, you can probably imagine my thoughts when I received their plea for a financial contribution.
Frankly, I’ve gotten many these junk mailings in the past, and I’ve just thrown them in the trash and forgotten about them. And now, with the denomination’s acceptance of LGBTQ folk being eligible for ordained offices in the church, and with PCUSA ministers being permitted to officiate same-sex marriages in the states where they’re legal, I should really care even less about the PLC’s increasing irrelevance. For some reason, though, this time I felt some crazy, admittedly futile need to reply…
Carmen Fowler LaBerge
President, Presbyterian Lay Committee
Dear Ms. LaBerge:
I received the Layman’s letter requesting a contribution to your organization in the mail today.
I am the Interim Pastor serving the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Auburn, New York. Auburn is the original home of Auburn Theological Seminary. It’s the city that gave birth to the Auburn Affirmation of 1923, which, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a critical document in the history of American Presbyterianism – and which I’m also sure you’re aware, calls for a way of understanding what it means to be a Presbyterian, in terms of doctrinal standards, freedom of conscience, and ordination requirements, which is very different from the one your organization is calling for.
Beyond Presbyterian history and theology, Auburn is a city steeped in the history of social justice in this country. It was the hometown of Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William H. Seward, whose home sits directly across the street from our church, and who, along with his family, were strident abolitionists – in fact, his home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman’s home is just down the street from here; in fact, for a time, she was a member of our congregation and was married here. From its beginnings, our congregation was inextricably connected with the issue of social justice with regard to the abolition of slavery. The congregation was formed when its organizing pastor was fired from his former post for requesting prayers for John Brown, and being “too abolitionist.”
Auburn is also noted for its involvement in the struggle for women’s rights. The noted women’s rights pioneer Martha Coffin Wright lived just around the corner from our church. Working together with her sister, Lucretia Mott, as well as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, they spearheaded the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 – the very first women’s rights convention in American history, and which was hosted by the First Presbyterian Church of Seneca Falls, just next door to Auburn.
Clearly, Auburn is an area that throughout our nation’s history has taken a strong stand toward progressive understandings of a number of social justice issues, and more often than not, by way of progressive religious doctrine which was considered by some to be extremist, dangerous, unorthodox, and sometimes even heretical. And the Auburn Affirmation, which speaks so eloquently and strongly against the positions that, almost a hundred years later, your organization continues to espouse, is one of the crowning achievements of this city’s proud history.
Your recent mailing referred to “the disaster that comes with incremental revisionist, progressive liberalism;” considering this to be an “assault on Christ and His Word.”
Frankly, I couldn’t disagree with you and your organization more strongly. I believe that the social justice advances that I’ve alluded to, in which Auburn has played such a vital part, are unquestionable success stories made possible in large part by progressive strains within Christ’s Church. These are successes – and other examples could be offered – which, in their time, were fought tooth and nail by the more staid, conservative strands of the faith as being contrary to the supposedly clear teachings of scripture. These repeated failings of the conservative wing of the church to see what time has proven to have been the path most consistent with God’s will, Christ’s teaching, and the fullest meaning of scripture, have become utter embarrassments in the history of the Church; shameful bits of history for which repentance is called for.
Continuing this city’s proud history of working for social justice for an ever-expanding circle of God’s people; and recognizing the ongoing disputes within our denomination over questions of the role of LGBTQ Christians in the life of the Church, including serving as ordained servant/leaders; a number of years ago the Session of the Westminster Presbyterian Church adopted the following statement of inclusion:
“Westminster welcomes everyone, no matter where you are on your faith journey or your life journey. In faithfulness to our understanding of Christ, Westminster affirms the full inclusion of all God’s people in the life and ministry of the church. We welcome persons of every race, gender, age, sexual orientation, family status, and economic status into full participation in our faith community. We value questions as much as answers. We encourage curiosity, discovery, and honest struggling with questions of faith.”
Since its adoption, Westminster Church has not merely paid lip service to this policy, but it has lived it out, in faithful obedience to Christ, in any number of ways – not least of which is the fact that the Session has entered into an Interim Pastor agreement with me – an ordained Teaching Elder, a deeply committed Christian who loves the Lord and works each day to proclaim the gospel in word and deed and to serve and lead this congregation, who also happens to be openly gay. Further, without trying to sound immodest, I believe the congregation overall is quite pleased with my pastoral service to them, and is perfectly convinced of my qualifications and the validity of my call to ordered ministry – something that you and your organization would flatly refuse to accept.
Thanks be to God, every day more and more Christians are coming to see the error of our past understanding of LGBTQ-related issues within the church. Most significantly, this is a phenomenon seen across nearly the full spectrum of Christian traditions – Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant; Mainline and Evangelical, Liberal and Conservative. With God’s help, I believe that this will be a complete, or nearly complete, non-issue within the Church within a single generation’s time.
It is my sincere prayer that at some point, you and your organization will finally see this situation for what I, and many, many other Christians believe it to be: evidence of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit, bringing us all to an increasingly accurate understanding of God’s will, just as we had to painfully learn from the Church’s erroneous positions with regard to those other issues from the past.
It is my sincere prayer that at some point, you and your organization will recognize the thoroughly and unnecessarily negative and divisive role that you are occupying within the Church, and that you will repent of your actions.
It is my sincere prayer that at some point, you and your organization will come to understand the immense damage that the Church’s traditional understandings have caused in the lives of millions of LGBTQ people, both within and outside of the Church, over the course of the past 2,000 years. I hope that you finally feel the weight – the evil – that we, the Church, have either perpetrated directly or enabled through others in the lives of these people, all of whom were created in the very image of God, including the sexual orientation with which God chose to bless them.
In light of my strong opposition to the stated mission of your organization, and my doubts that any kind of reversal or repentance on your part is likely to occur any time soon, it’s also my sincere prayer that you don’t hold your breath waiting for a financial contribution from me.
Conservative and Progressive brothers and sisters in Christ are called to work together, serving as a check and balance against excesses of either tendency. I humbly suggest that at this point, the Holy Spirit is making abundantly more clear every day that in this matter, the misguided excess – the error – is found in the positions that your organization is fighting for.
I pray God’s fullest and deepest blessings upon you.
Rev. Dwain W. Lee
Interim Pastor
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Auburn NY