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Religious views on homosexuality and gay marriage

Statesman Journal, USA
Mar. 7, 2004
John Marikos
news.statesmanjournal.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday March 8, 2004

Religious views vary on homosexuality and gay marriage. Here are snapshots of how major religious denominations address the issue:

Assembly of God

“The Assemblies of God believes strongly that God has declared great displeasure and opposition toward homosexual conduct.” Homosexual orientation is not genetically determined. Ministers and psychologists are successfully treating homosexuality with success. Members are encouraged to reach out to homosexuals in love, so that they may repent and receive forgiveness. Churches practicing a gay-friendly theology of compassion are lowering God’s holy standard to mankind’s preferences, and this is an abomination in God’s sight.

Southern Baptist

Homosexuality is not a valid alternative lifestyle and is a sin, but a forgivable sin. Redemption is available to homosexuals. Marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Roman Catholic Church

The church’s catechism says that homosexual acts are not approved and homosexuals are called to chastity. The cause of homosexuality is unexplained. Members are asked to accept homosexuals with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Discrimination is to be avoided. The Archdiocese of Portland issued a news release Thursday strongly opposing Multnomah County’s issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. It stated that marriage is only between a man and a woman for the generation and education of children.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Accepts all professing Christians. Acceptance or rejection of homosexuals varies among membership and congregations. The regional minister for the church in Oregon knows of no same-sex marriages performed by the church’s ministers.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Members are encouraged to love homosexuals as sons and daughters of God. If homosexuals violate the law of chastity and the moral standards of the church, then they are subject to the discipline of the church. Church is actively opposed to same-sex marriage.

Episcopal Church

The church is committed to continuing discussions about homosexuality and recognition of committed relationships between members of the same sex. It recognizes that its membership is not of one mind on these subjects, but is committed to equal rights and protection under the law for homosexuals. The leader of the church hopes that the national discussion of these issues will be thoughtful and respectful and open to the views of others.

International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

Homosexuality is considered an abomination that excludes someone from the Kingdom of God. Homosexuality is a personal choice. Church members are to encourage homosexuals to cease those practices. Marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Homosexuality is aberrant behavior and sinful. Scientists haven’t found a gene causing homosexuality, but genes may influence us. People are responsible for their behaviors. Homosexuals can change their behaviors with the church’s help. The church opposes same-sex marriages.

Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Homosexual behavior is considered sinful. The church makes an effort to avoid implying that homosexual orientation is a choice, but doesn’t allow homosexuals to use this as an excuse for their behaviors. The goals of the ministry include confronting homosexuals with their sinfulness and asking them to repent while assuring him or her of the love and acceptance of the church. Church goals include offering the world “biblically alternative models of sexual celibacy outside of a committed, permanent heterosexual marriage.”

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America

“The 2001 Churchwide Assembly has mandated that this church engage in a study on homosexuality and a study on sexuality. The first is to deal with the blessing of same-gender unions and the rostering of persons in committed gay or lesbian relationships.”

Some in the church are eager to pursue this work while others are not or are apprehensive. Members are encouraged to focus on God’s mercy, to love and seek to understand each other even when it’s difficult and minds are made up.

United Methodist Church

Church supports equal human rights and civil liberties for homosexuals. It affirms the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

Presbyterian (USA)

Homosexuals must be treated with the same respect and care as anyone in the congregation. Homosexuals are welcome in church and can feel free to be candid about their identities and convictions. Homosexuals may not serve as ministers, deacons or elders. Churches are unavailable for same sex-unions and marriages. Ministers may not administer same-sex unions or marriages.

Statesman Journal news librarian John Marikos compiled this information by reviewing the Web sites of major religious denominations that have churches or followings in this area. If statements or positions concerning homosexuality and gay marriage were not on the Web site, an e-mail request for information was sent to church officials. Readers should be aware that churches have additional views on these subjects.

E-mails were not returned from Baptist Conservative, Baptist Independent, Christian Science Church, Church of God (Indiana), Church of God (Tennessee), Evangelical Church of North America, Friends Church.

Independent churches and denominations with few churches were not reviewed.

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