Pastor Bob’s February Letter
Dear people of God:
I heard a story recently on the radio that angered me; some of you may be angry at me for writing about it. But it feels right, given who we are as a church and that February we think of as the month of love.
A Lesbian couple in Tennessee were unable to adopt a child through their church’s social service agency, because it is the agency’s policy not to place children with same-sex married couples. Tennessee state law protects the right of faith-based agencies to refuse to serve same-sex married couples (Note: Neither Nebraska nor Iowa has such a law).
Now, I am not angry about Tennessee state law, specifically; I am not writing to you about state support for discrimination against LGBTQIA+ persons. Rather, I am angry with the ongoing assumption that Christian faith demands exclusion of such persons from our life, witness, worship, and social services. Whenever there is a public conversation about the rights of LGBTQIA+ persons, the general assumption is that Christians are opposed to equal rights.
These two women in Tennessee are active members of their congregation, yet the denomination of which they are a part has identified them as unsuitable to adopt a child, simply because they are both women. No consideration was given to their Christian faith, their financial stability, their ability to provide a good home. “We are Christians and therefore we consider you to be wrong” is the message.
Will we speak up and say that “We are Christians and therefore we are opposed to rights for LGBTQIA+ persons” does not follow logically? That we, like many congregations, welcome all who trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation?
One more note, which Chris Petersen mentioned in our recent gathering. He and I learned that the Human Rights Campaign asked LGBT young people if their church accepted them as they are. The results: 8% said “Yes;” 22% said, “Not at all;” 53% said they didn’t know. They didn’t know if their own church would accept them. If we do not say it, how will people know?