Christians: Affirm that same-sex relationships are not inherently immoral

Anyone remember the Manhattan Declaration, that “call of Christian conscience” released in late 2009 by a coalition of leading conservative Christians? It asked Christians everywhere to “take a principled stand on the three critical moral issues of our time: the sanctity of human life, the dignity of traditional marriage, and religious liberty” by signing the declaration online.

A November 20, 2009 article in The New York Times about the Manhattan Declaration in part read:

The manifesto, to be released on Friday at the National Press Club in Washington, is an effort to rejuvenate the political alliance of conservative Catholics and evangelicals that dominated the religious debate during the administration of President George W. Bush … .

They want to signal to the Obama administration and to Congress that they are still a formidable force that will not compromise on abortion, stem-cell research or gay marriage.

Within a month of its launch hundreds of thousands of Christians had signed the Manhattan Declaration. As of today 526,167 Christians have signed it. The declaration’s Facebook page boasts 106,000 members.

The Manhattan Declaration matters. It surely mattered when it first came out and immediately exploded. Conservative Christian leaders and their associated political advocacy groups were afraid they’d be neutered in an Obama administration. The success of the Manhattan Declaration was their protective cup. It kept their power intact. For Christians who want abortion and gay marriage to be or remain illegal, the Manhattan Declaration was, and is, the greatest thing since hair spray.

We on the Christian left are good at a lot of things. When it comes to making a movement to consider a resolution to contemplate forming a committee with the purpose of exploring the possibility of moving ahead with a tentative plan to commit to the idea of ever actually saying anything whatsoever, we rock. We also host very pleasant wine-tasting parties.

What we tend not to do so well, however (unlike the right), is to speak with one voice.

Yesterday I launched a Change.org petition, Christians: Affirm that same-sex relationships are not inherently immoral. As of this writing that petition has been signed by 726 Christians.

This is an election year. If a petition calling upon Christians to affirm LGBTQ people is signed by not hundreds, but rather hundreds of thousands of Christians, then the entire conversation around the gay issue changes. Not maybe. Not a little. Not someday. It radically changes the moment that happens.

No one can ignore those kinds of numbers. It would preclude any pastor or ministry leader from (as they are wont to do) dismissing as an irrelevant minority those Christians who fully accept and support LGBTQ people. It would open all kinds of (church and seminary) doors.

The Manhattan Declaration matters. And this little petition does, or certainly can, equally matter.

The Manhattan Declaration was announced at the National Press Club in Washington by a team of conservative, fabulously wealthy, media-savvy Christian power-brokers. Those guys knew what they were doing; they did it well; and they got the results they wanted.

I’m just one guy with a blog. I can barely broker the power between my coffee-maker and the plug on the wall. If I shave it’s a big day for me. I work on a laptop so old the letters on four of its keys have worn away. Sometimes holding down my “shift” key will result in a capital letter. Sometimes it won’t.

I’m just a guy in a corner doing my thing. And per that thing, I could put up another blog post today. And another tomorrow. And in two or three days my couple of posts about my petition will be forgotten.

And what a wasted opportunity that would be!

Let’s not waste this opportunity. Let’s not let this petition disappear. Let us, once and for all, change this one particular [bleeper-bleeping] game.

And the only way that will happen is if you—you, reading this right now—help make it happen: if you Tweet, blog, Facebook your face off about it. Do that, and we can make a difference here. Don’t, and we won’t. Them’s the new rules.

And of course quickly fading into nothing is exactly what might happen to this petition. Maybe there aren’t as many gay-affirming Christians out there as I tend to believe there are. Maybe I do belong to an irrelevant minority.

I don’t think so, though. I think we Christians who fully support LGBT people just need to come together and speak as one.

I think that, by of this simple little petition, we should loudly and proudly proclaim to our more conservative brothers and sisters in Christ that we’re here, we’re pro-queer, and they might as well get used to it.

Christians: Affirm that same-sex relationships are not inherently immoral.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Reed

    Done and done. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reed-Boyer/1019995702 Reed Boyer via Facebook

    Shared. You might also wish to share it on the pages that you mention specifically within the article, but I’m sure that you’re doing so even as I type these words.

  • Ann

    Done and spreading the word.

  • http://www.facebook.com/grace.gill1 Grace Gill via Facebook

    Signed and shared.

  • Barbara Rice

    Done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/diane.bourg Diane Bourg via Facebook

    Got ‘er done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    Hey, Reed. You know, though, posting like that won’t help too much. It’s good if the people who RUN the page post it on their page, of course. But nobody pays much attention when you put something that YOU wrote on their page. Most of the people I mentioned are already of the petition anyway, I’m sure. So. We’ll see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    “already AWARE of the petition,” I mean.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrewchow01 Andrew Chow via Facebook

    Are you going to do a Facebook page as well?

  • Gordon

    OK, I shared my brains out and reached my sharing limit for today. I sent to some people I know are not Christian, but they are progressive and will totally get the importance why action like this matters. Here’s the message I attached to my shares:

    Even if you’re not yourself a Christian, and I’m not presuming anything here, getting some movement among progressive Christians would be a wonderful thing to counter the braying of the Evangelical Right and their lies about a “war on religion”. Hope you’ll sign this and pass it along. xoxo – G

    Good luck with this, John. Remember this: “Although he be but little, he is fierce!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/JohnShoreFans John Shore via Facebook

    I don’t have any plans to. And certainly wouldn’t until there are a lot more signatures on the petition. Even then. Web-wise, I’m about all filled-up.

  • Valerie Epstein via Facebook

    Done and shared!!

  • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

    Thought this was a great idea. Then I relized that you could sign this and the Manhattan Declaration. Most people would agree with the statement, but still hold that gay sex is immorral. This is the formal position of every group from ex-gay ministries to the Catholic church.

    If this petition does explode, the opposition will simply say, “So what? We’ve been saying that for a long time. It doesn’t change anything.”

    Maybe you might want to reword the petition?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I was actually just thinking the same thing. It now reads:

      It’s time to end the Christian condemnation of LGBTQ people, which is in direct contradiction to everything for which Jesus Christ stands. People being in a same-sex relationship is not, in and of itself, offensive to God.

      Good call.

      • http://Www.unnameablecuriosity.wordpress.com Christine

        Much better. :)

  • Kristi

    I hope this works. Good luck, all.

  • http://skippingtothepiccolo.com David W. Shelton
    • textjunkie

      Ditto!! And you’re over 1,000 at this point…

  • Kelven

    Hey John – I just recently discovered your site via Truth Wins Out. I really like your writing as well as what you are doing to help mitigate the enormous damage the haters have done to the gay community in the name of Jesus. There are four websites in particular that I would recommend you contact. Any one of them running this will mean a lot of coverage. They are – Towleroad.com, PamsHouseBlend.com, GoodAsYou.com and JoeMyGod.com – I think you have a great idea here, it just needs a wee bit more exposure to go viral. Good luck! It is such a pleasure to see more and more Christians stepping up to the plate on this issue.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Hi, Kelven. I do believe you are new here! Awesome; thanks for stopping by. As it happens, I do know each of those sites, and they me. But it’s good you’ve reminded me to make that clear; I forget that people don’t just know that. But … duh. Of course they don’t. Thanks for input!!

  • Karen Miller

    The Ellen DeGeneres Show lets you submit topics for her show. I sent her the link to your blog and to the petition. If she talks about it on her show you would get some major exposure. Maybe she’ll even want to have you for a guest. That would be awesome. Wait for her call, lol.

    • Diana A.

      Think big! Sometimes having the audacity to make the attempt is enough to achieve the goal.

    • Jill

      Karen I just got goosebumps thinking about that possibility. Holy cow.

  • Allie

    I went to sign it yesterday and my browser won’t seem to let me. I suspect one of my script and tracker blockers – although I enabled them for that page, there seems to be some remote stuff going on – will try again later and see if I can sort it out. Probably bigots don’t have this problem as they aren’t smart enough to use script blockers. ;)

    • Allie

      Yep, that’s what was doing it. Signed.

  • Jennifer

    For what it’s worth, I like that you write on the lgbt/Christian issue. You are articulate and educated and have a cutting sense of humor. I imagine you may feel some fatigue from writing so much on it, but your voice is so strong on the matter, knowing it is out there to speak for people like me makes me feel like I have a guardian for the first time… Maybe ever. Not that I can’t speak for myself, but it feels so good to have such a vocal ally in the media. I hope this isn’t the last time you write on the issue.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      That’s very kind of Jennifer; thank you. I will continue to write on the issue whenever it seems warranted.

  • DR

    So great!

  • Michael Watt

    Signed and forwarded to the Executive Director of Gay Christian Network and a few prominent ex-ex-gay individuals and other well-known straight allies.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Rogers/1172366036 Bob Rogers via Facebook

    Maybe just a majority too damn busy trying to survive in these tought times to sign petitions.

  • Rob B

    Done signed, John… you may feel like a minority, and you may certainly be, but never for one minute think that you are irrelevant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Purr.Neigh Beth Glover via Facebook

    done, shared and tweeted.

  • Tony John via Facebook

    Done. You’re the REAL irrelevant minority if you’ve never been married AND don’t have children.

  • http://www.sparrowmilk.blogspot.com Shadsie

    Lacking a Facebook and having a blog that’s barely paid-attention-to, I shared on the one place I think people may actually read me, my Deviant Art account:

    http://shadsie.deviantart.com/journal/Random-Epiphanies-and-Changes-in-Life-298748024 Anyone can click on the Gallery button or my name to see artwork if you want.

    I had to frame it, so I rambled off a narrative of my life…

    “Life is a river. Sooner or later, you’re going to catch yourself doing something your younger self would never have expected. ”

    Still wonder if we’re all doomed, though.

  • Naiomi Gonzalez via Facebook

    yet enough time to go on facebook and comment…

  • http://icarusalways.blogspot.com/ daemon

    Signed and shared!

    Thanks, John, for all your words on my community’s behalf. I know having an ally like yourself has certainly encouraged me at times when life gets incredibly rough. I appreciate you. Peace on ya,

    daemon

  • Soulmentor

    I signed and put it on my Facebook. I’m not the type that has hundreds of “friends” so it won’t reach a lot of people. But hopefully, those who see it will sign it.

    • http://www.hoodoofoundry.com Miss Michaele

      So did I. I don’t have hundreds of FB friends either, but some of my FB friends do.

  • charles m

    wow- we are now in the realm of the third rail. I guess that might be telling us one of two things- we are either VERY WRONG about this whole social justice manner of Christianity we embrace, or we are VERY RIGHT in the fact that we are the ones declaring the emperor has no clothes. I tend to think the second thing- because Jesus came to divide- he said that followig him would put us in a state of war with our families, friends and communities- in signing that petition- and standing for these principals ennunciated, we do indeed join the resistance- viva la’ revolucion’ (Cinco De Mayo is rapidly approaching too!)

    love you John!

    • charles m

      its supposed to be “principles”…. silly me….

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Jesus did say, “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

    • DR

      It’s ironic, isn’t it? I’ve been spending time with those Scriptures lately where Jesus calls the Pharisees “vipers” and talks about empty tombs. It’s so odd to see the blindness that comes with righteousness and how He used anger as a wake up call. Part of me sometimes wonders how many of the Pharisees repented as a result of His anger. Quite a wake up call.

      • Jill

        For me living in ‘righteousness’ was akin to numbness. ‘Keeping the sin out’ kept me insulated from a world around me that demanded my involvement. I could turn a blind eye to real suffering and real need if I was ‘doing the right things’ as prescribed to me by my church. Making myself righteous by default made others willfully sinful if they weren’t of my ilk, and therefore I could effectively ignore them.

        The wall of indifference in my faith of origin was my wake up call. I get it why Christ was so angry. Sometimes those are my favorite passages. If I had to choose, I’d rather be angry and engaged than righteous and blind.

  • Leslie Marbach

    This is my intro when I share the petition:

    If you don’t think the Christian “right” should be condemning LGBTQ people, please sign this. Help us reclaim Christianity from the haters. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, no religious beliefs, whatever! The fundamentalists got over half a million signatures on their famous Manhattan Declaration. I think we can do that here too.

    • Matthew Tweedell

      Strictly speaking (and I don’t really like speaking strictly but… it is what it is) that isn’t entirely honest, since to sign the petition is to declare, “I am a Christian who affirms that there is nothing inherently immoral about same-sex relationships.”

  • WTH_Christian

    First, I signed the petition. Thanks! Second, I was wondering:

    One thing the “right” seem to do well (whether it’s political, religious, etc.) is to have a singular voice, or be able to “control the message”. The “left” don’t seem to do this as well; consequently the numbers may be there, but the perception is one of disorganization/disunity, etc.

    Curious if there are other groups/organizations doing the same thing and “splitting up” the vote?

  • mike

    I signed the petition. My “why” was

    Because “ewwww, gross!” is neither a valid theological analysis nor a prayerful discernment of the Will of the Holy Spirit.

  • SquirrelyGirl

    Has anyone seen this? http://www.joemygod.blogspot.com/2012/05/north-carolina-baptist-preacher-calls.html

    Warning …it is pretty disgusting, but the Amen’s in the background are loud and clear.

    • charles m

      for Christians embracing the ideas John is so eloquently presenting, we are truly crossing the Rubicon.

      this is the new Civil Rights movement- and we have no rational reason to believe we wont see our own “Mississippi Burning”

      • SquirrelyGirl

        And the fear is the same. “If I don’t understand it or I have never been exposed to this person or that person, it must be bad.”

        • charles m

          looking at the original Civil Rights movement we all have cause for concern.

    • Diana A.

      Wow. That was revolting.

  • Paul

    I’m wholly disappointed in the response this petition has garnered. Surely, John, you have more than 2700 readers who agree with your position on this. Surely, groups like The Christian Left, which have subscribers in the tens of thousands, and have published this petition, could rally more than the measly handful who have signed. Surely we can show the nation and the world that being Christian does not equate to being homophobic and opposed to gay rights.

    I’m embarrassed by this. Is this the best that we can do? No wonder the religious right has had full sway in defining the “Christian” stance on this issue. None of you who believe otherwise are willing to stand up and state it publicly.

    Shame on you if you’re Christian, LGBT-affirming, and you haven’t signed this petition.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      I don’t think The Christian Left has posted this petition. I think they’ve had other people post it on their wall, but I believe that they themselves have not broadcast it out to their followers by posting it on their own wall, if that makes sense.


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