LC/NA calls upon clergy, others to sign anti-bullying statement

In a groundbreaking alliance of high level, mainline Christian leaders and faith groups–even some that do not yet fully include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people–released a statement calling on “the Church Universal to join us in working to end the violence and hatred against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters.”

See the full statement and list of signers.

See the full text of the news release

Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) prays that you will join us in being the faces of a faith that preaches and demonstrates God’s universal acceptance and offers to one and all safe space to live, to learn, and to love and be loved.

We call upon all people of faith to sign the statement. Clergy members are especially encouraged to sign. Please go here to sign.

Bishop Michael Rinehart, bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod (ELCA), has commented recently on the problem of anti-gay bullying. He writes:

Personally, I find it astounding that the secular world is more concerned and compassionate about these folks than the church. It’s getting harder and harder for me to understand. Many seem unable to appreciate how their carte blanche condemnations of homosexuals are compounding the problem. We are, right now, earning the reputation that we have in the world. Sometimes you have to choose: self-righteous moralism or compassion and justice? Reading Jesus in the gospels, the answer seems clear to me.

See Bp. Rinehart’s full comments.

Bishop David Brauer-Rieke, bishop of the Oregon Synod (ELCA), sent a letter on the topic to all congregations in the synod. He writes:

Let us tend to our children. Let us speak out clearly on their behalf. Let us shape our homes, our schools and our congregations as safe havens for those whom the world will not value. There is no more holy a calling for us to answer.

Also in his letter, Bp. Brauer-Rieke emphasized a section of the recent ELCA social statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust:

The ELCA recognizes that congregations and other ministry sites must continue in their efforts to be safe places for children and youth . . . This church calls for the adoption of preventive measures including educational programs, appropriate policies, and screening of individuals who care for, supervise, or work with children within this church . . . It opposes all forms of verbal or physical harassment and assault based on sexual orientation. It supports legislation and policies to protect civil rights and to prohibit discrimination . . .

LC/NA thanks Bishops Rinehart and Brauer-Rieke for speaking out on this important topic and for reminding the church of its commitment to being a safe place for all.

Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of LC/NA, said, “While we are disappointed that, to date, Bishop Hanson has chosen not to add his name to the list of heads of denominations, including several full-communion partners, be assured that LC/NA has been and continues to be in conversation with the ELCA churchwide organization and Bishop Hanson regarding a timely response to this critical pastoral issue.”