The Heartland Clergy for Inclusion are inviting clergy to read and sign if in agreement.
As Christian clergy
we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.
In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:
- to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;
- to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;
- to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;
- to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;
Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.