Wednesday, July 06, 2016

What U.S. Christian Denominations Teach About Homosexuality

The Roman Catholic Church has no monopoly on hypocrisy in the wake of the Orlando massacre. Indeed, as a piece in Religion Dispatches lays out, the vast majority of America's Christian denominations remain steadfastly anti-LGBT and homophobic.  Even in instances where members of the denomination disagree with their church's official position - even as they continue to attend and/or financially support the anti-gay church hierarchy.  What these church members need to do is either demand that their denomination change or leave the denomination. Here are article excerpts (read the entire piece):
The massacre of 49 individuals in an Orlando gay nightclub on June 12 has ignited a fierce and ongoing public debate about whether anti-LGBT laws and rhetoric lead to violence.
Yesterday’s New York Times lists some of the more horrific statements made by Christian pastors, like Tempe, Arizona’s Steven L. Anderson, whose only objection to the tragedy was that “they should have been executed by a righteous government.”
Both conservative religious figures and politicians have offered their condolences to survivors and family members of the Pulse victims, but LGBT activists and allies have countered that those same figures and politicians, through their support of religiously-based discriminatory legislation and teachings, have helped create and maintain the culture of hatred and fear that breeds attacks like these.
“While most Christians would never kill someone because of their sexual orientation, most churches have still caused deep, lasting pain in LGBT people’s lives,” wrote Matthew Vines, author of God and the Gay Christian. “It is legitimate to be angry not just at the shooter, but also at all those who have caused you to feel afraid and ashamed of who you are. Unless you’ve long been a vocal advocate for LGBT people, you’ve likely contributed to that suffering—intentionally or not.”
How much has American Christianity contributed to that suffering, whether through explicit or tacit rejection of queer lives? While most Christian leaders have denounced the shooting, Rebecca Barrett-Fox (who has contributed to RD) commented: “[Conservative Christian leaders] don’t really believe that these people had a right to be peacefully doing what they were doing, partying at a gay bar.”
And in fact the teachings of many denominations, religious bodies, and churches in the U.S. explicitly consider homosexuality to be, “condemned,” “[a] disorder,” “an abomination,” “aberrant,” “deviant,” “sinful,” that it “does violence to the human spirit and distorts God’s intent,” and other similarly unyielding expressions of disapproval.
While we can’t overlook statements of compassion and solidarity from conservative Christians in the wake of a tragedy like Orlando, it’s also important to remember, particularly at moments like these, that such public statements don’t tell the whole story. So, in the hope of telling more of that story, RD set out to assemble the stated beliefs of several of the largest Christian denominations and bodies in the United States, which we’ve listed below. Included with each is the percentage of members who believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, as reported by Pew.
Roman Catholic ChurchMembers (as of 2010): 68,202,492
According to a 2006 Guideline for Pastoral Care released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, any sexual act taking place outside the bond of marriage is morally wrong. While the church does not consider homosexual attraction or “inclination” to be a sin, “homosexual acts” are considered to be “contrary to the will of God,” “contrary to the natural law,” and “incompatible with the Christian life,” according to the guideline.
70% of members believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Southern Baptist Convention (Evangelical Protestant)Members (as of 2010): 16,136,044
According to the SBC’s position statement on sexuality, “homosexuality is not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.’” Although “the Bible condemns it as a sin,” it is not “unforgivable,” and homosexuals may seek redemption, according to the church. Under the SBC’s bylaws, any church that acts to “affirm, approve, or endorse homosexuality” is not in cooperation with the Convention.
30% of members believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.
United Methodist Church (Mainline Protestant)Members (as of 2009): 7,774,931
In 2008, the United Methodist Church resolved to “strengthen its advocacy of the eradication of sexism by opposing all forms of violence or discrimination based on gender, gender identity, sexual practice, or sexual orientation.” However, according to its 2012 Full Book of Discipline, “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” “Self-avowed practicing homosexual” ministers are not allowed to be ordained by the church.
60% of members believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)Members (as of 2010): 6,157,238
According to the LDS website, “the church’s doctrinal position is clear: Sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married. However, that should never be used as justification for unkindness. Jesus Christ, whom we follow, was clear in His condemnation of sexual immorality, but never cruel. His interest was always to lift the individual, never to tear down.”
While it includes numerous reminders that the Church’s position “neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians,” it also notes that: “Because the Church believes that the sacred powers of procreation are ‘to be exercised only between a man and a woman lawfully wedded as husband and wife … any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family.’”
36% of members believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Church of God in Christ (Historically Black Protestant)Members (as of 2010): 5,499,875
In a 2004 statement, the COGIC said “homosexual practices of same-sex couples are in violation of religious and social norms and are aberrant and deviant behavior. We believe that these unions are sinful and in direct violation of the law of God in that they are a deviation from the natural use and purpose of the body.”
38% of members believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.
National Baptist Convention (Historically Black Protestant)Members (as of 2010): 5,197,512
On its website, The National Baptist Convention USA Inc. says it has no “official” position on any issues with regards to homosexuality, in keeping with the polity’s mission not to make any authoritative statements on behalf of its constituency. However, it states: “if you were to take a poll of traditional, missionary Black Baptist Churches, it is very safe to say that you will find a majority of them:  Against homosexuality/lesbianism as a legitimate expression of God’s will.
54% of members believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Note the high numbers of members in some denominations who disagree with their denomination.  My question to these individuals is why do they continue to support a church that they disagree with and that is actively making life Hell for others?  When will they end their complicity?  

1 comment:

EdA said...

At over-long last, at least there is some minimal attempts at efforts to call Christianists to some sense of accountability for their actions, nonetheless there is still a vastly excessive amount of indifference.

It is still possible for religious "leaders" to be associated with a presidential campaign despite calling repeatedly for the deaths of about 16 million LGBT Americans. But should any LGBT person call for the deaths of even a single Southern Baptist, who have about the same numbers -- each and every one of whom had volunteered to associate themselves with this cult, I suspect that there would be massive loud screaming and screeching.