Over the past year I’ve heard a lot of reason why people don’t think they or their congregation should become publicly affirming of lgbtq people. I thought about writing a response to each reason - there really aren’t that many. Maybe I still will, but before laying out counter-arguments, I decided it was important to start with why I think becoming a publicly affirming congregation is the necessary ethical action to take.
Why your congregation should become publicly affirming and join the Supportive Communities Network:
All people are loved by God. It is our responsibility to treat every person with respect and dignity. Our responsibility increases when a group of people is systematically marginalized and oppressed.
When religion is used as a tool to exclude, discriminate, harm, or promote fear and hatred, it adds a layer of spiritual abuse on to the harmful action. Additionally, it damages the reputation of the religion and the ability of religious followers to be a witness for love and justice in the world.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been treated poorly by our institutional denominations, and by individuals acting in accordance with what they have been taught at church. At best, we have been treated as second-class members - at worst as sub-human.
As (Mennonites or Brethren), as Christians and as human beings, it is time for us to end all discriminatory policies and practices, promote lgbtq inclusive theology and education, and engage in (personal and institutional) reflection about how we Christians once again managed to use our religion to support our bigotry.
Joining the Supportive Communities Network means doing these things and standing with other communities who are doing the same.