Continued from Feb. 23
“A year earlier a Gallup poll showed that a majority of Americans support gay marriage. It was the third such survey this spring, and if you add in the number of Americans who support civil unions, public support for same-sex relationships has become the dominant position.”
The arrival of gay marriage as a present day, legally accepted norm in our society has ignited the debate across the church of its validity. It has also got us re-examining our understanding of sexuality from a biblical perspective with specific regard to homosexuality as an orientation and as a sexual practise. In wanting to hold faithfully to the bible, the church is considering its own historical understanding and more importantly its own behaviour toward the LGBTQ community. As has happened before, is the Holy Spirit prompting the church to change?
It is hard to think of a community of people in history that the church has not more actively alienated and ostracised than the gay community. The present day perception from outside the church is staggering. In his book UnChristian, the result of a three-year study of what young Americans think about Christianity, David Kinnaman discovered that, 91% of young Americans chose anti-homosexual from a list of 21 positive and negative descriptors as the best word to describe present day Christianity. And this is the target group that most evangelical churches are hoping to reach, but the obvious question is - in what way?
And this perception has not come about by chance. Though we may individually distance ourselves from this description, we must acknowledge that there has got to be a collective shift of thinking and a behavioural change in the body of Christ. The default perception of all people, gay or straight, should be that the church is a welcoming, loving family that respects and values them deeply and that seeks for them to be fully integrated and play their part. This should be all the more compelling for us when we see justice, reconciliation and inclusion sitting at the very heart of the message of JesusAn overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBT, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures.
At the same time, however, a new nationally representative survey of 1,197 LGBT adults offers testimony to the many ways they feel they have been stigmatized by society. About four-in-ten (39%) say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 30% say they have been physically attacked or threatened; 29% say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship.
The SA clarifies their positional statement; USA