Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Christian Affirmation Declaration Responds to the Anti-LGBT Manhattan Declaration

Back in November, more than 150 Christian leaders, including Protestant and Catholic, signed the Manhattan Declaration, condemning marriage equality and LGBT rights. (I had a few words to say about that.)

Thankfully, not all Christians, LGBT and non-LGBT, agree with such bigotry. They have gathered and written a response titled The Affirmation Declaration (full document). An excerpt:
We take heart in the knowledge that Christ has been where so many in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (GLBTI) community are. He has gone through the pain of rejection—particularly, the pain of being rejected by the very ones who should have been a wellspring of living water. We are thankful that the God of all comfort has been a keeping power to countless GLBTI Christians, who could, at many times, turn to no one but Him for love, affirmation, and support. We proclaim that He has been enough; but we also unwaveringly declare that He has more in mind for His children than spiritual and emotional isolation—that He desires all of His body of believers to be in fellowship one with the other.

We assert that the pain brought upon our GLBTI brethren in the name of God is not an expression of love. It is not love to bring shame and self-loathing upon people. It is not love to tell parents not to accept their gay children because their affirmation will supposedly make their children not want to change. It certainly is not love to teach the damnable heresy that GLBTI people cannot be saved or go to Heaven until they have been delivered from their natural orientation.

We also call attention to the horrible spiritual effect that antigay theology has had on the secular world. We are deeply troubled by the number of people who have been made to despise Christianity because of the oppressive and tyrannical acts of our Christian brethren. However well intentioned they may believe themselves to be, they continue to short-circuit the gospel of Jesus Christ by imposing their religious beliefs upon the general population. Whether homosexuality is sinful or not, opposing same-sex marriage is not only counterproductive to evangelistic ministry, but it is diametrically opposed to the concept of religious freedom—something that the proponents of the Manhattan Declaration claim to cherish. It appears that what they, instead, champion is their freedom to impose their religious beliefs on others. We reject this hypocritical opposition to same-sex marriage, and stand for true religious liberty in the United States of America and the world.


Finally, we assert that no godly end is served by the cruel treatment of GLBTI people. While we are certain that some among our opponents are bigots and cannot be changed or reasoned with, we humbly challenge those who sincerely disagree with homosexuality for theological reasons to reexamine this most serious issue. For the love of Christ, and the GLBTI population that He so dearly loves, give this issue the due diligence that it is deserving of. Expose yourselves to the other point of view and see, if perchance, Scripture actually does not say what you always believed it to say. If you engage in such an effort sincerely, and emerge with your existing beliefs affirmed, we will bid you Godspeed and pray that Christian fellowship can be maintained while we agree to disagree.
To those who wrote and have signed this declaration - thank you! This is true Christian love if I've ever witnessed it. Though I myself am not a Christian by definition (I do not believe that there's only one path to God while Christians believe Jesus is the one truth path), I respect the core principles of the religion. I was raised in a Christian household. This show of support and love gives me a lot of encouragement that true Christians still exist, and I hope your actions will show the LGBT population that not all are crazy wingnuts.

So far, 405 people have signed the declaration. If you are a person of faith, you can sign by going here.

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