Earlier this week, a document called the “Nashville Statement” was released by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), and signed by a garbage load of over 150 huckster zealots.
Many evangelical “leaders” on the list attached fishy-sounding credentials like “Co-founder, Pure Freedom” (an organization that could easily be a lubricant manufacturer), “President, FIRE School of Ministry” and “Executive Director, TruthXchange.” The evil brains behind this closed-minded statement is CBMW president Denny Burk, whose crusade is to “promote gospel-driven gender roles.” To put this in proper Bible Belt perspective, this gang convened at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center during the annual conference for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission to concoct the senseless edict.
The manifesto is a denouncement against same-sex marriage and any affiliation (even of live-and-let-live acceptance, outlined in Article 10 of their fucked-up guidelines) to the LGBTQ community. The preamble laments that “Western culture has become increasingly post-Christian,” which echoes of Steve Bannon propaganda. The hateful gesture comes on the high heels of Trumped-Up’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. The statement’s definition of transgender involves words like physical disorder of sex development and uses a quote supposedly attributed to Jesus to describe some folks as “eunuchs.”
Mayor Megan Barry of Nashville condemned the statement in a tweet saying it “does not represent the inclusive values of the city (and) people of Nashville.” Furthermore, she cites the Nashville Unites Resolution drafted by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee as the best representation of an inclusive and compassionate Nashville.
In the Sarcastic Lutheran Denver publication, Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber delivered “The Denver Statement,” “a response to the ‘Nashville Statement’ by some of the queer, trans, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, gender-queer, asexual, straight, single, married image-bearing Christians at House for All Sinners & Saints (Denver, Co).”
More heart-warming solidarity has been offered by several other Christian groups, denouncing the shameful “Nashville Statement.” “Christians United,” a declaration signed by over 300 leaders, educators and activists, reads:
“WE AFFIRM that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and that the great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide spectrum of unique sexualities and gender identities is a perfect reflection of the magnitude of God’s creative work.”
A faith-based artists’ collective called The Liturgists concurred with this statement on their podcast: “We stand in solidarity with LGBTQ folks, and commit to standing alongside them in the work of resisting those who persecute them.” As of August 30, over 3,500 people had signed on in support of this proclamation.
Many spiritual leaders are sick of conservative evangelicals bogarting the Church in the name of bigotry. “Christians United” author Brandan Robertson, a pastor and LGBTQ activist, expresses it perfectly.
“Conservative evangelicals often get the most air time, polluting the image of Christianity as one that is exclusive, condemning, and archaic. The reality is that there is a rapidly growing wave of Christians around the world that embrace an inclusive, unifying, healing message, and that’s what I had hoped to portray in [‘Christians united].”
Even long established churches—the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA)—are enlightened enough to open their doors to the LGBTQ community and have sanctioned same-sex marriage.
This doesn’t gloss over the fact that the coded words of hate in the “Nashville Statement” have impact. To some, this “instruction” justifies discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people, which is alarming to the truly ethical religious leaders.
“Yesterday’s ‘Nashville Statement’ weaponizes Christianity to attack the rights and lives of LGBTQ people,” said Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, senior vice president of Auburn Seminary, in his statement urging faith leaders to join the solidarity. “We ask that all leaders of faith and moral courage embrace and build an inclusive loving worldview, united in one belief: We are all God’s children, each deserving dignity and love.”