Christian Leaders Respond To Anti-LGBTQ 'Nashville Statement' With A Message Of Acceptance

"A new day is dawning in the Church."

Earlier this week, an evangelical group called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released "The Nashville Statement," a manifesto of 14 beliefs, signed by 150 evangelical leaders. The statement made headlines for its anti-LGBTQ stance, declaring it "sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism."



Many on social media have spoken out against the message, including Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. According to USA Today, the document was named after Nashville because that is where the draft was finalized. However, Barry made it clear in a strongly worded tweet that the statement was "poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville."

And Barry isn't the only one condemning the document. According to HuffPost, a group of more than 300 Christian leaders, educators, and activists (that's twice as many as the Nashville Statement) signed a statement of their own on Wednesday. The document, titled "Christians United," sends a message of acceptance and inclusion.

"A new day is dawning in the Church, and all Christians are being called to step out boldly and unapologetically in affirmation and celebration of our LGBT+ siblings as equal participants in the Kingdom of God," the statement reads.

It goes on to outline 10 articles, modeled after the Nashville Statement's wording of affirmations and denials. "WE AFFIRM 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," the first article reads.

The statement also denies that marriage is designed only for a man and a woman, and condemns the use of "treatment or therapy" to change someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, a practice which is still legal in much of the United States.

"WE DENY that Christ rejects anyone from his loving embrace because of their sexuality or gender identity. We likewise deny that homosexuality, bisexuality, queer sexuality, trans* identity, asexuality, or any other queer identity is sinful, distorted, or outside of God's created intent," the document concludes.

Others in the Christian community who agree with the "Christians United" statement are encouraged to add their own names. According to the website, the document received over 1,000 signatures from Christians around the world in the first 24 hours.

Another statement, released by spiritual artists' collective The Liturgists (who have a podcast of the same name), has earned thousands of signatures of its own. "In the same way that we no longer accept the morality of slavery based on its inclusion in our scriptures, we can no longer project first century notions of sex and sexuality on people today," the statement reads, later adding, "We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ folks, and commit to standing alongside them in the work of resisting those who persecute them."

The statement also suggests donating to various LGBTQ Christian organizations, including Faithfully LGBT, The Reformation Project, Nomad Partnerships, and The Gay Christian Network.

These messages of solidarity and inclusion come at an important time for LGBTQ people in the United States. As Brandan Robertson, the activist who drafted the "Christians United" document, told HuffPost, "The reality is that there is a rapidly growing wave of Christians around the world that embrace an inclusive, unifying, healing message, and that's what I had hoped to portray in this statement."

(H/T: Bustle)

Cover image via Shutterstock /txking.

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