Nashville Evangelicals Affirm That Religious Bigotry Is Still a Very Real Problem

Forgive me for bringing religion into two consecutive articles, but this is too important to ignore and, like my previous article, I mean no offense. On August 29th, over 150 Evangelical leaders signed what is called the “Nashville Statement,” which is a document that affirms their beliefs on human sexuality with a strong emphasis on homosexuality.

Last Tuesday, the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released a set of fourteen beliefs on human sexuality. As most people know, Christianity has a huge following in the United States and with the most recent election, Evangelicals have gained momentum. Releasing the Nashville Statement could potentially mean bad news for the LGBTQ community, depending on how many people truly believe what is written. So what is written in the statement? Below you will find all of the articles that I find issue with and my thoughts as to why I do.

Article 1

“WE AFFIRM that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong
 union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant
 love between Christ and his bride the church.
 WE DENY that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous
 relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made
 before God.”

My first issue with this article is that they are completely ignoring heterosexual couples in which one member may be infertile. Should they be allowed to marry even though they cannot fulfill the “procreative” part of their list of many stipulations?

My second issue is that they are completely wrong about marriage. Despite popular belief, marriage is not a religious institution. While weddings are often based on religious practices, marriage itself is a civil institution with roots in agriculture.

Article 2

WE AFFIRM that God’s revealed will for all people is chastity outside of marriage and fidelity
 within marriage.
 WE DENY that any affections, desires, or commitments ever justify sexual intercourse before or
 outside marriage; nor do they justify any form of sexual immorality.

Like it or not, people will have sex before marriage. It’s been that way since humans existed and it will continue that way forever. Additionally, some humans will always act on their desires and that, as you so kindly call it, “sexual immorality” (homosexuality) will always be around. There is not anything that anyone can do to change that fact.

Article 5

WE AFFIRM that the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral
 to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.
 WE DENY that physical anomalies or psychological conditions nullify the God-appointed link
 between biological sex and self-conception as male or female.

I thought it was established by now that sex ≠ gender and that gender dysphoria is a very real thing. This article ignores the studies done on transgender people. Personally, I know a few transgender people and none of them could help knowing that they were born into the wrong gender for them.

Article 7

WE AFFIRM that self-conception as male or female should be defined by God’s holy purposes
 in creation and redemption as revealed in Scripture.
 WE DENY that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s
 holy purposes in creation and redemption

In this article, they are saying that being transgender or homosexual are choices that one can adopt. They’re ignoring that homosexuality may be caused by a variance in genetic makeup. Speaking unscientifically, I know that being gay is not a choice simply because I did not wake up one day and think “I think I’m going to be attracted to men.” This article falls apart because it is objectively incorrect.

Article 9

WE AFFIRM that sin distorts sexual desires by directing them away from the marriage covenant
 and toward sexual immorality — a distortion that includes both heterosexual and homosexual
 immorality.
 WE DENY that an enduring pattern of desire for sexual immorality justifies sexually immoral
 behavior.

I know enough about Christianity to know that one of the main beliefs in the religion is that everyone is a sinner. By this logic, wouldn’t everyone also stray away from “the marriage covenant and towards sexual immorality?” This argument falls apart because of the cognitive dissonance being displayed. It is also important to examine the context in which the Bible was written. During the writing of the Bible, people lived in patriarchal societies in which men had control over women and that men and women were unequivocally not equal. Because of this, the Bible’s concept of marriage cannot apply to the concept of marriage that modern humans have.

Article 10

WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that
 such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.
 WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral
 indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

This article ignores the fact that there are LGBTQ Christians and displays a misrepresentation of what the Bible says about homosexuality. While the Bible does mention same-sex relationships, what is condemned in those passages are “violence, idolatry, and exploitation related to the behavior, not the same-sex nature of the behavior.” So, by using this information, one can determine that the second part of this article is incorrect as well.

Article 13

WE AFFIRM that the grace of God in Christ enables sinners to forsake transgender self-conceptions
 and by divine forbearance to accept the God-ordained link between one’s biological
 sex and one’s self-conception as male or female.
 WE DENY that the grace of God in Christ sanctions self-conceptions that are at odds with God’s
 revealed will.

Translation: “pray the gay away.” Praying the gay (or transgender identity) away and conversion therapy by and large do not work. The founder of TravelPride, Robert Coles, was subject to conversion therapy and, years later, he is still a gay man. And, like my previous point, this article ignores LGBTQ Christians.

There you have it, all of the articles that I take issue with. I am not alone in criticizing this manifesto however, as the mayor of Nashville, Megan Barry, rebuked it saying that it does not reflect the values of the citizens of the city. Many others took to Twitter to express their disgust for the Nashville Statement. Getting the word out is extremely important and I urge all of you to share this article to show people that you won’t stand for this overt display of bigotry disguised as religion.


Originally published at TravelPRIDE.