NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- On Tuesday a gathering of Evangelical Christian leaders issued a controversial manifesto on sex that they entitled “The Nashville Statement.”
Among other things, the statement condemns pre-marital sex, same sex unions, and gender assignments other than a person’s biological sex.
The statement has since been endorsed by nearly 200 prominent evangelical leaders, including Russell Moore, head of the Nashville based Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. In an interview with Baptist News Moore calls the manifesto “an urgently needed moment of gospel clarity.”
Boyce Christian College Professor Denny Burk, one of the statement's authors, is quoted by Baptist News saying “The aim of the Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness — to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female.”
The statement has drawn sharp opposition. Nashville mayor Megan Barry quickly released a statement panning the manifesto and asserting that it does not reflect Nashville values.
Chris Sanders speaks for The Tennessee Equality Project, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. He says the Nashville Statement has a new twist.
“It goes a little further than some past attacks by indicating that straight people who support LGBT people are implicated in sin as well,” Sanders noted.
Sanders says he’s encouraging community members discouraged by the Nashville statement by reminding them not everyone feels the same.
“A lot of even Evangelicals are changing their minds on this issue, and that in fact acceptance of our community is growing and that we’re here for them,” Sanders said.
Sanders also notes that a number of prominent Christian academics, entertainers, and ministers have come out against the conservative manifesto.
On the down side, Sanders cites data from the Tennessee Bureau of investigation saying that hate crimes against the LGBT community are on the rise. He fears the Nashville Statement could make that worse.
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