Heartland Proclamation

I read today the article posted at KETV.com:  “Omaha Minister Organizes Effort To Welcome Gays to Church.”  The tagline of the article is “Clergy Proclamation:  Being Gay Not a Sin.” I hoped that someone had found a voice to say:  “We welcome everyone.  Being gay is not an unpardonable sin.”  I was disappointed. Rev. Erick Elnes, pastor of Countryside Community Church has collected signatures from area clergymen for “The Heartland Proclamation,” calling for an end to religious and civil discrimination based on sexual orientation.  He was quoted as saying, “we were just fed up with the popular notion that the Christian point of view is anti-gay.” Personally, I wish we would acknowledge the fact that, in the wide sense, there is virtually nothing that qualifies as “the Christian point of view.”  Under the umbrella of “Christian,” we can’t even agree whether Jesus Christ is the only doorway to heaven.  Maybe that’s the nature of Rev. Elnes’ comment.  He doesn’t want to get lumped in with other so-called Christians who believe such and such.  I’m okay with that.  There’s a lot of diversity under the “Christian” label.  If the Heartland Proclamation makes people more aware that all “Christian” churches are not setting dates for the rapture or disrupting soldiers’ funerals, I welcome the consequence. That diversity within Christianity is apparent even in relation to the term “anti-gay.”  Does Rev. Elnes mean “set against people who consider themselves homosexual?”  Or does he mean “opposed to the political agenda and personal lifestyle of homosexuality?”  I’m confident that he would refuse the distinction.  To me it’s critical. According to the article, the Heartland Proclamation declares:  “We believe homosexuality is not a sin.  It’s not a birth defect or a choice.  God created people this way.  and if God created them this way, they need to be honored for who they are, and fully included in church life and wider society.” There are at least two problems here.  First, nowhere in the Bible does it say that God created people homosexual.  Therefore, this statement does not bear the authority of Christianity.  It bears the authority of the Omaha area ministers who signed it.  For those of us Christians who believe the Bible alone is God’s Word, the Heartland Proclamation is nothing more than a clergy opinion press release. I also take exception to the claim that homosexuality is “not a choice.”  Whether some people are somehow hardwired for homosexuality is not even the issue.  Jesus said:  “I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  That statement alone should dispel the myth that God does not hold us accountable for what “feels natural.”  A homosexual disposition may not be a choice.  A GLBT lifestyle most definitely is. At least, that’s what this “Jesus is my example,” “the Bible is my authority,” “Christian” believes. GLBT people should come to church on the same terms as we all should.  Not because acceptance is offered by outmoding sin.  But because grace means God did for us, in Christ, what we could not do for ourselves. Here’s my clergy proclamation of inclusion:  Homosexuals Remain Important Subgroup of Sinners Being Forgiven Every Day.

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