Approved unanimously on June 4, 2019 by the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches.
In response to recent ecclesial decisions that directly affect people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, nonbinary, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQ+)[i], and by extension each of us in the human family, and in response to increasing discrimination and heightened hostility toward members of the LGBTQ+ community and by extension each of us in the human family, the Governing Board of the North Carolina Council of Churches reaffirms their advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ+ people with this position statement.
- We are a Christian body composed of people with various sexual orientations and gender identities. We affirm from our 1992 Policy Statement that:
- “The North Carolina Council of Churches rejects the fear, prejudice and hatred that foster societal and religious attitudes which either encourage, condone, or ignore violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+. The council stands with people who are LGBTQ+ in their struggle to achieve equal human and civil rights under the laws of North Carolina and of the United States. The Council recognizes that this struggle is not only for the freedom and equality of people who are LGBTQ+, but is also for the emancipation of the whole society from the destructive, emotionally crippling effects of fear and hatred.”
- “Silence and passivity by the churches allow hostility and are unfaithful responses to the Christian gospel.”
- We believe in a society that doesn’t discriminate based on sexuality or gender identification. We base this on our faith claim that every single person is created in the image of God and is beloved by God. Thus, laws that treat certain people in our community as less than equal are sinful laws. Rules that exclude certain people in our community are sinful rules. Practices that devalue the God-given diversity of certain people in our community are sinful practices.
- We rely on our Scriptures to show us how to embody God’s love for the world and affirm that the Bible guides us on how to live together in ways that acknowledge gifts of diversity, and to recognize that each person is a revelation of God’s image: “Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26a). We affirm the wonders of God’s creativity, including the diverse expressions of gender and sexuality among us. As we read in the book of Genesis, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31a). Our responsibility is not to judge God’s creation, but to respond with love, as Jesus taught us: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
- The North Carolina Council of Churches will continue our work to create a church and society that welcomes all of us. To this end, we reaffirm our goals from 1992:
- “Calls upon its membership and all religious communities in North Carolina, recognizing the wall of alienation existing in many churches, to critically study their teachings and practices which many contribute to the persecution and the exclusion from membership of people who are LGBTQ+;
- Commits to initiating forums and programs for dialogue and study of issues that concern gay men and lesbians [sic] in their struggle for freedom and equality; and
- Confess the complicity of our churches in the suffering of people who are LGBTQ+.”
- Furthermore, we:
- Encourage all appropriate means of dialogue with faith communities that are openly welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ+ members of our communities.
- We deplore in the church and in society the exclusion of, discrimination against, and hatred toward LGBTQ+ persons, or any other persons, for all are created in the image of God and out of the love of God.
[i] When quoting our previous statements, we have updated the language from “gay men and lesbians” to “LGBTQ+”.