A number of statements and
resolutions have been made by the various main Mennonite churches in North America:
|Many Mennonites had conflicting views as to the mandate of the Committee. Some felt that
discussion about homosexuality should be terminated.|
|There was a "widespread, apprehensive concern on the subject of homosexuality
in the church."|
|Many church members feel a theological conflict between:
|"Unconditional Christian care and love for persons, but particularly for
socially marginalized ones and |
|Confrontation with moral judgment on these persons for acts they consider sinful."|
|They observed massive confusion about the precise meaning of sexual terms.|
|There is no consensus on the origin/cause of sexual orientation.|
|There is little evidence that therapy programs can change sexual orientation.|
|There are more closeted gays in Mennonite congregations than there are openly gay people. Together, they total almost 10,000 members.|
|Sincere, intelligent students of the Bible reach mutually exclusive beliefs about sexually behavior and the Bible's teachings on homosexuality.|
The MC's Council of Faith, Life and Strategy confirmed that the
1987 "A Call to Affirmation, Confession and Covenant Regarding Human Sexuality"
document "is the position of the Mennonite Church." The position of the
church has been resolved and is fixed. The term "remaining in loving dialogue"
refers to supporting homosexuals and their families, admonishing them to remain celibate,
and sponsoring ministries which attempt to change gays and lesbians into heterosexuals.
The Mennonite Central Committee U.S. signed a letter, along
with many Protestant church agencies and denominational offices. It was
sent to members of the federal House, and urged the rejection of an amendment
initiated by Joel Hefley (R-CO) to HR 4104 - The Treasury Postal
Appropriations Bill. It would have legalized discrimination against
federal employees based on sexual orientation. This was the first time
that the MCC U.S. went on record in support of gays and lesbians. 2
It said, in part:
"We recognize that there are theological differences of
belief on the issue of homosexuality among people of faith. Such
differences exist between and even within our many denominations. Yet we
must also recognize the God-given worth and dignity of every individual.
Like the majority of Americans, most people of faith still believe that,
notwithstanding differences in our theological views, discrimination in
the workplace based on sexual orientation is wrong.
We are clearly of one voice in opposing discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation in federal civilian employment. The Hefley
amendment, plain and simple, attempts to make that discrimination legal.
It is our belief that employees should be judged on their job
performance, not their sexual orientation.
We believe in fairness. Indeed, our faith calls us to fairness.
All of us are diminished when individuals are prevented from
contributing the full measure of their talent and ability to society. We
urge you to vote NO on the Hefley amendment as a matter of basic
1998 (Month unknown):
The CMC issued a "Resolution on the issue of homosexuality." They said, in
"The CMC recognizes an issue that is causing division among
us. Some congregations understand that God has called them to invite and include
gay and lesbian believers into church membership, whereas other congregations
understand that God has called them to resist the acceptance of homosexuality
within its churches and in society. ... As we discern God’s will for the
community of faith, we say “yes” to procedures that promote redemption,
restoration and peace, and we say “no” to procedures that demonstrate
condemnation and rejection. "
They accept the GC's 1986 "Resolution on Human Sexuality" that condemns all
homosexual activity -- even within a loving, committed relationship -- as
sinful. They are opposed to the exclusion of persons with a homosexual
orientation as members, but expect them to remain celibate. 3
Recently, the three Mennonite groups (MC, GC, CMC) have been involved in merger talks
aimed at creating a single Mennonite denomination across the U.S. and Canada.
Differences in belief and policy concerning homosexuality have "threatened to
derail the" merger discussions. 4
The first joint
gathering of general boards of the three denominations was held at Winnipeg, starting
1998-NOV-19. They concentrated heavily on the "homosexual issue." "At
least five MC area conferences have intimated or stated outright that they will not go
along with integration [of the three denominations] if denominational membership
guidelines allow for including congregations that accept non-celibate homosexuals as
members." Ruth Martin of the CMC General board commented: "The
membership issue is critically important. It feels like integration will come apart if we
don't deal with this issue."
- Texts of Mennonite Church
Conferences, Boards and Committees on Homosexuality at: http://www.ambs.edu/
- Letter to members of the House, 1998-JUL-15, at: http://www.ambs.edu/ljohns/Hefley.htm
- "Resolution on the issue of homosexuality," CMC, 1998, at:
- "General boards approve consultation to address membership, homosexuality
before St. Louis 99" The Mennonite, 1998-DEC-8, Lead news story.
Copyright © 1997 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2010-JAN-23
Author: B.A. Robinson