February 24, 2009

Evangelicals: Church should welcome LGBT people

by David Masters

A coalition of Evangelical Christian groups has called upon churches to accept LGBT people (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) into their congregations.

Accepting Evangelicals, Courage, the Network of Baptists Affirming Lesbian and Gay Christians and the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian & Gay Christians have issued a joint statement saying that Evangelical churches need to face up to their discriminatory policies and behaviour.

The statement follows widespread condemnation in Evangelical churches of an American anti-gay hate group – Westboro Baptist Church.

However, the coalition said that Evangelical churches must go beyond condemning anti-gay groups and start actively welcoming gay people.

“The real challenge to evangelicals is to face the need for change themselves,” the group’s statement read.

“This means recognising the growing number of evangelicals who have had a heart-change and now affirm faithful gay relationships.

“We would now call upon these groups to reflect on their own attitudes and prayerfully consider what their ‘hate the sin, love the sinner’ teaching does to the minds and souls of faithful Christians who are gay.”

Last week, people associated with Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church threatened to picket a performance of The Laramie Project in Basingstoke on Friday.

Six Evangelical groups condemned the protest

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance UK, Faithworks, the Methodist Church of Great Britain, the United Reformed Church and Bible Society-funded thinktank Theos said in a joint statement: “We are dismayed that members of Westboro Baptist Church (based in Kansas, USA and not associated with the Baptist Union of Great Britain) might picket the performance of The Laramie Project in Basingstoke on Friday.

“We do not share [Westboro’s] hatred of lesbian and gay people. We believe that God loves all, irrespective of sexual orientation, and we unreservedly stand against their message of hate toward those communities.”

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