Friday, March 14, 2008

Press Reaction to ELCA Sexuality Draft

Shrimp here. Thanks to Google News, seeing how a good part of the mainstream media covers church news isn't too difficult. The good news for those pastors worried about this being a big deal just before Holy Week is that it doesn't seem to be a big story.

Here's what's Shrimp found so far:

The Chicago Tribune:

Proposed Lutheran sex statement stresses trust

Gay clergy issue not addressed in draft document to be voted on in 2009

By Manya A. Brachear | Tribune reporter
10:59 PM CDT, March 13, 2008

The nation's largest Lutheran denomination on Thursday released the first draft of an unprecedented social statement on human sexuality that emphasizes the importance of trust at the center of people's relationships with friends, family, sexual partners and God.

It does not discuss whether the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should allow gay and lesbian clergy to serve. That issue, currently vexing many Protestant denominations, will be addressed in a second document, leaders said.

The long-awaited sexuality statement upholds the traditional definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, but it also acknowledges the contributions to church life of committed same-gender relationships, single parishioners and other unconventional family structures.

"This church continues to oppose transient sexual affairs and promiscuity," the statement said. "It does so while undertaking to help all who are sexually active, married and unmarried alike, to demonstrate responsibility and appreciate the dangers of trivialization, betrayal, exploitation, injustice, and abuse."

The document also holds same-sex partners to the same standards as married couples, requiring relationships to be "chaste, mutual, monogamous, and lifelong."

Authors of the statement said they wanted to steer the conversation on sexuality back to such important issues as the responsibilities of the family and church to teach values to young people.

"It's shifting the focus from the form [of family] to what's at stake and what's the purpose," said Rev. Roger Willer, one of the authors of the statement. "Rather than list the do's and don'ts, the focus should be on helping people understand why."
Read it all here.

CBN News currently has this story:

Christian Group Reports on Sexual Morality

The nation's largest Lutheran group is urging the church to continue defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But the group did not offer a consensus on same-sex relationships.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America released a report Thursday, that broadly studied Christian views on sexual morality, premarital sex and other family issues. The report is called a "Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality."

In it, the group did not condemn same-sex relationships, but expressed regret that Lutheran teachings have been used to hurt rather than help homosexuals. They said the Bible "can be abused and misunderstood through selective use as a moral guide," noting that verses were once used to justify slavery.

Still, the report stood firm on the definition of marriage, and the importance of love and reserving sexual intimacy for marriage.

"The church recognizes the historic origin of the term `marriage' as a lifelong and committed relationship between a woman and a man, and does not wish to alter this understanding," it said.
Read it all here (note: the headline and story have already changed at least once).

More in next post....

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