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Homosexuality and religion

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American Baptist Churches in the USA
and the equal inclusion of homosexuals

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Quotation:

bullet "God's design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of marriage between one man and one woman, ... the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Biblical teaching." Statement of the ABCUSA General Board on 2005-NOV. 1

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Background:

The American Baptist Churches in the USA (ABCUSA) 2 is the descendent of the Northern Baptist Convention that was founded in 1907. They have about 1.5 million members among 5,800 congregations distributed among 34 regions.

They are a mainline Christian denomination whose membership is "...gifted by a variety of backgrounds, [who] find unity in diversity and diversity in unity." 3 Like other mainline faith groups, they are currently experiencing a crisis over "the issue:" whether to extend inclusiveness and acceptance:

bullet To persons with a bisexual or homosexual orientation who are in loving, committed same-sex relationships, and
bullet To other sexually active, unmarried persons.

Being a Baptist faith group, the ABCUSA follows centuries-long traditions of:

bullet Soul freedom -- the independence of individual members to form their own beliefs -- and
bullet Congregational freedom -- the autonomy of each church to develop its own policies.

Conservative members who want to continue the denomination's discrimination against homosexuals by expelling inclusive congregations from their region or denomination can only do so by violating these fundamental Baptist traditions. This adds an extra level of complexity to the homosexual issue that is not seen in other religious traditions.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet Church history, culture, and "the issue"


bullet Resolutions, statements, & actions about homosexuality:
bullet 1987 to 1994
bullet 1995 to now

 
bullet Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists; Schism in the ABCUSA

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References used

  1. "Responses/actions pertaining to homosexuality," ABCUSA, at: http://www.abc-usa.org/ This is a PDF file.
  2. The American Baptist Churches of the USA maintains a web page at: http://www.abc-usa.org/
  3. "American Baptist identity statement," 2005-NOV, at: http://www.abc-usa.org/

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Copyright 1999 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 1999-NOV-28.
Latest update: 2008-JAN-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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