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The Mennonite church and Homosexuality

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Background:

In general:
bullet Conservative Christian groups generally teach that same-sex behavior is abnormal, unnatural, and hated by God. Further, most regard homosexual and bisexual sexual orientation to be chosen, and with some effort, changeable. They view all same-sex sexual behavior to be intrinsically morally abhorrent, regardless of the nature of the relationship. These are mainly settled teachings; little or no dialog is underway either within the group or between Christian groups or between Christian and other groups.
 
bullet Liberal and progressive Christian groups and secularists generally teach that minority sexual orientations are normal, natural, unchosen, and fixed. Further, they consider both same-sex and opposite-sex sexual behavior to be immoral if it is manipulative, coercive, unsafe, or perhaps outside of a loving, committed relationship or marriage. Again, this is largely a settled belief, and little dialogue is being conducted

bullet Mainline denominations are suffering through major internal dissention. Active debate and some dialogue are being pursued.

One very interesting exception to this pattern are the Mennonite communities. They have traditionally been conservative theologically. However, they also have a long tradition of concern over human rights and pacifism. Even as they expel LGBT members who are in loving, committed same-sex relationships, some remain in active dialogue with their more liberal minorities. If they are able to eventually resolve their differences they may be able to give some guidance to other groups  -- in conservative and mainline denominations -- for whom equal treatment of sexual minorities has become the principal issue dividing believers.

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Topics covered in this section:

bullet About the Mennonite Church. Statements on the lesbian & gay issue: 1980 to 1987

bullet More statements: 1988 to 1998

bullet More statements: 1999 to now

bullet Censuring of congregations. GLBT resources, books, etc.

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Copyright 1997 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest update: 2010-JAN-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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