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