One by one, Christian denominations, and selected leaders of others, are recognising that Inclusion and welcome for all is at the heart of the Gospel message. The Disciples of Christ is the latest to have done so, formally resolving that “all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity”. Would that more denominations could see this (they will, but its taking time.) Instead, too many continue to spouting blatant prejudice under the cloak of religion : “Christianism”, where they should be preaching and practicing Christianity.
Disciples of Christ Church formally recognizes gay members in its congregation
The Disciples of Christ denomination voted to formally recognize and welcome LGBTQ members of its congregation in worship after a general assembly meeting in Orlando, Fla. this week.
Resolution GA-1327, “Becoming a People of Grace and Welcome to All,” was overwhelmingly accepted by members of the general assembly on Tuesday, meeting attendees said. It states that “the General Assembly calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to affirm the faith, baptism and spiritual gifts of all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that neither is grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, but we celebrate that all are part of God’s good creation.”
The resolution was 16 years in the making, after a general assembly meeting in 1997 included dialogue about encouraging the church to “give continuing research and reflection ‘concerning the participation of gay and lesbian persons in the full life and ministry of the Church.’”
Many gay men and women see the Christian Church as unjust and bigoted towards them. For purposes of this article, I will only consider the situation of the Catholic Church. Just today, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in publishing its notice about Sr. Margaret Farley’s book on sexual ethics, reaffirmed the teaching that: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” It is not difficult to see how gay men and women could find these words hurtful and even demeaning, even though the CDF precedes this bit about “intrinsically disordered” by affirming the fact that the Church also teaches gay men and women “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”
I should like to see the Catholic Church, and the broader Christian community, do more to focus on the teaching about “respect, compassion and sensitivity” and think Melady’s and Cizik’s article does this. It does not ask the Church’s leaders to do something they do not think they could, i.e., change the Church’s teaching. It does not ask the Church to reverse its views on marriage. Instead, the call to oppose unjust discrimination against gays in Uganda asks the Church to do what it can.