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Policies of 47 Christian faith
groups towards homosexuality

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Notice:

With the legalization of gay marriage in mid-2015, the response of many Christian denominations has been so rapid that we have been unable to keep the essays linked to this essay up to date.

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Overview:

Most Christian denominations, sects, and new religious movement have stated policies towards gays and lesbians:

bullet Whether to allow known, sexually active homosexuals to:
bullet become and remain church members with full privileges.
bullet be considered for ordination
bullet hold other positions of power.
 
bullet Whether to allow known celibate homosexuals to:
bullet become and remain church members with full privileges.
bullet be considered for ordination
bullet hold other positions of power.
 
bulletWhether to provide a formal religious ceremony for committed gay and lesbian couples. These are variously called union, civil union, commitment, or -- in a growing number of states -- marriage ceremonies, depending upon the laws of the individual state.
 
bullet Whether to have an active study program to reduce homophobia within the denomination.

There is no consensus within Christianity about:

bullet The nature of homosexuality,
 
bullet What Bible passages that discuss same-sex sexual behavior actually mean, or
 
bullet What policies to enforce about gay and lesbian members, candidates for ordination. commitment rituals or study programs.

The core reason for this lack of consensus is related to how an individual faith group defines truth. The main criteria are:

  1. What the six or so "clobber passages" about same-sex sexual behavior mean, according to historical interpretations.

  2. The policy that the faith group has taken towards homosexuality and homosexuals in the past.

  3. The individual members' personal experience.

  4. The findings of scientific research into homosexuality.

Conservative faith groups like the Roman Catholic Church, and Southern Baptist Convention tend to give criteria 1 & 2 much more weight than 3 & 4.

Religious liberals and progressive Christians tend to stress 3 & 4 in comparison to 1 & 2.

The response of Christian faith groups to homosexuality thus cover a wide range. An individual faith group's stance, can be predicted, based on upon their position in the liberal - fundamentalist continuum:

  • More liberal denominations and Christians tend to view homosexuality as a civil rights matter; they generally believe it is fixed, unchosen, normal, natural, and morally neutral sexual orientation for a minority of adults.

  • More conservative denominations and Christians tend to view homosexuality as a profound evil; they generally believe it is changeable, chosen, abnormal, unnatural and immoral behavior, regardless of the nature of the relationship.

Thus:

  • The more liberal denominations, like the United Church of Christ, have changing their positions on homosexuality, in recent years, to adopt a more inclusive stance.

  • Mainline denominations such as the Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians are actively debating the question. Denominational schisms may result., particularly in the case of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and Episcopal Church. USA. Similar splits have occurred in the past over human slavery, whether women should be ordained, and certain theological debates.

  • More conservative denominations are taking no significant action to change their beliefs and policies at this time.

  • Fundamentalist denominations commit significant effort to prevent equal rights for homosexuals. For example, they:
    • Opposed hate-crime laws that protect persons of all sexual orientation,

    • Opposed laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation,

    • Opposed the elimination of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

    • Occasionally expel congregations from their denominations over "the issue." In the case of the Southern Baptist Convention three of their congregations were expelled. The latter had conducted a study of homosexuality, had concluded that the denomination's beliefs were invalid, and had welcomed gays and lesbians as members.

All movement appears to be towards greater inclusiveness towards homosexuality and homosexuals. This is reinforced by the more accepting stance of today's youth. We are unaware of any religious groups becoming less inclusive.

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Partial list of churches and their position on homosexuality:

As we uncover statements about homosexuality by various Christian denominations, we include them in a new essay and link it to the following list. Over time, we hope to add to this list so that it represents all of the large Christian denominations, and some smaller ones. We encourage our visitors to help us add to this list by supplying us with information from their own denominations.

We currently have essays available about homosexual policies and beliefs by the following denominations. :

bullet Alliance of Baptists
bullet Anglican Church of Canada
bullet Anglican Communion, worldwide
bullet American Baptist Association
bullet American Baptist Churches in the USA
bullet Assemblies of God
bullet Children of God (COG)
bullet Christian Reformed Church in North America
bullet The Church of Christ
bullet Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
bullet Christian Science
bullet Church of England
bullet The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
bullet Church of Scotland
bullet Community of Christ: (Formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (RLDS):
bullet Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 
bullet Coptic Orthodox Church (centered in Egypt)
bullet Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)
bullet Episcopal Church, USA
bullet Evangelical Christian Church (Christian Disciples)
bullet Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
bullet Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada
bullet Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark
bullet The Family
bullet Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuality; Witnesses and same-sex marriages
bullet Lutheran Church of Australia
bullet Methodist Church in Britain
bullet Metropolitan Community Church
bullet Mennonites
bullet Presbyterian Church (USA): (3.4 million membership; mainline denomination)
bullet Presbyterian Church in America (0.3 million membership; conservative denomination)
bullet Presbyterian Church in Canada
bullet The Quakers
bullet Reformed Church in America
bullet Roman Catholic Church
bullet Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (RCN)
bullet Russian Orthodox Church
bullet Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (RLDS): See Community of Christ
bullet Seventh Day Adventists:
bullet
bullet Part 1: Background. Events from 1977 to 1999
bullet Part 2: Events year 2000 to now. SDA manual. Other gay-positive groups. Conclusions.
bullet Society of Friends (Quakers)
bullet Southern Baptist Convention
bullet Baptist State Convention of North Carolina
bullet An exchange of viewpoints on a Southern Baptist web site
bullet Unification Church
bullet Unitarian Universalist Association *
bullet United Church of Christ
bullet United Church of Canada
bullet United Methodist Church
bullet United Pentecostal Church International
bullet Uniting Church in Australia
bullet Unity Church
bullet The Way, International
bullet World Council of Churches
bullet Worldwide Church of God

bullet Other Christian groups

* The Unitarian Universalist Association is not generally considered a Christian denomination. We have included it here because about 10% of its members consider themselves to be Christian.

Related essay on this web site:

bullet

Recommended books covering a broad range of Christian beliefs about the LGBT community

bullet
Homosexuality and religion: Policies of non-Christian religions

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Home page > Conflict > HomosexualityReligious groups > here

Home > Religious info. > Basic > Marriage > Same-sex marriage > Menu > here

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Copyright 1996 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2014-JUN-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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