Hundreds of Christian Leaders Denounce the Nashville Statement in an Open Letter

Hundreds of Christian leaders, pastors, theologians and advocates have denounced the vicious, anti-LGBTQ manifesto “Nashville Statement” with a powerful statement affirming the inclusion of LGBTQ and intersex people within faith communities and broader society. The 10-point treatise, titled Christians United, holds “that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and that the great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide spectrum of unique sexualities and gender identities is a perfect reflection of the magnitude of God’s creative work.”

In the first 24 hours of its release, the Christians United statement was signed by over 1,000 Christians from around the world, including top theologians and leaders of some of the world’s most influential Christian denominations.

Prominent faith leaders who signed the letter include the Rev. Dr. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ; Jayne Ozanne, General Synod member in the Church of England; the Rev. Rachelle Brown; Moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches; Bishop Yvette Flunder, Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, President of Claremont School of Theology; the Rev. Dr. Derrick Harkins, Senior Vice President of Union Theological Seminary; and the Rev. Vanna Fox, Senior Vice President of Wild Goose Festival.

The international theological declaration came in response to the so-called “Nashville Statement,” released on Tuesday by a coalition of roughly 150 conservative Evangelical Christian leaders, including prominent members of the Trump-Pence administration’s Evangelical Advisory Board. The statement attacked LGBTQ people, asserting opposition to marriage equality and denying the dignity of transgender people.

The swift response by both faith leaders and the broader public to the Nashville Statement reflects the breadth of support among people of faith for LGBTQ inclusion and equality. Another open letter, spearheaded by The Liturgists, garnered more than 3,500 signatories.

According to Pew Research Research, almost all U.S. Christian groups are more accepting of LGBTQ people. Roughly half (51%) of evangelical millennials agree with the statement, “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”

Read the Christians United statement here:

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Evangelical Leaders Aligned with Trump-Pence Launch Vicious Attack on LGBTQ People

More than 150 conservative Evangelical Christian leaders, including prominent members of the Trump-Pence administration’s Evangelical Advisory Board, released a vicious, anti-LGBTQ manifesto Tuesday attacking LGBTQ people as immoral and sinful, asserting their opposition to marriage equality and denying the dignity of transgender people.

The ugly three-page document they called “The Nashville Statement,” was released as hundreds of thousands of people in Texas and beyond continued to grapple with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, and while the attention of most of the nation’s religious leaders was focused on helping victims of the historic disaster.

That the so-called “Christian manifesto” was issued during a national crisis and in the wake of the Trump-Pence administration’s recent action seeking to ban transgender people from serving in the military enforces its message of intolerance.

Concocted in Nashville last week during the national conference of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the statement elicited widespread condemnation from scores of national religious and political leaders. In fact, the statement runs contrary to beliefs of a majorities of Evangelical millennials and people of faith who support affirming LGBTQ people. The release also sparked swift outrage on social media.

“While the theology espoused in the Nashville Statement is not new, the recommitment to anti-LGBT theology continues these Evangelical leaders’ violence against LGBT people,” said Eliel Cruz, HRC Foundation’s Religion Council member and creator of FaithfullyLGBT. “Christians and non-Christians alike must unequivocally condemn this statement. We cannot stand for this demonization of LGBT people to go unchallenged.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry was among those expressing disgust over the statement, tweeting that the “so-called ‘Nashville statement’ is poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.”

Among the document’s signatories are members of President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, including Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council, a designated hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center; James Dobson, Founder of Focus on the Family; Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor of Cross Church; Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary; James MacDonald, Founder and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel; and James Robison, Founder & President of LIFE Outreach International.

“A predominantly white male coalition of Southern Baptists and Evangelicals have defined human sexuality in the binary that secures their power, with a selective tortured reading of the Bible texts on human sexuality from a time when a woman was her husband’s property,” said Bishop Yvette Flunder, HRC Foundation’s Religion Council member and Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship.

“This is the same group that advocated for the ban on transgender people from the military.”

The New York Times has previously reported that Perkins, a signatory and president of the Family Research Council, had for months lobbied Donald Trump and Mike Pence to ban transgender people from the military.

“‘The Southern Baptist Convention is the same denomination that once used the Bible to condemn inter-racial relationships and to defend the “Godliness” of chattel slavery, and had to repent. They will need to repent again,” Bishop Flunder said.

In 1987, the same group denounced “secular” feminism and equality in marriages in a manifesto it called “The Danvers Statement.” 

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