The following statement was posted on the Community of Christ Web site today (October 22, 2010):
First Presidency and Council of Twelve Statement
The First Presidency and the Council of Twelve Apostles want to be clear that while there may be disagreements over some issues related to sexual orientation, Community of Christ members and leaders should act firmly against any forms of violence, harassment, bullying, blaming, slurs, or jokes that dehumanize or degrade any human beings. The 1992 World Conference passed a resolution on Human Diversity (WCR 1226) that states: “…we accept responsibility to resist fear and hate in all forms and to strive continuously to eliminate expressions of prejudice and discrimination.”
The growing fear, intolerance, and violence throughout the world alarm the Presidency and the Council of Twelve. Recently, young people of homosexual orientation have been harassed to the point of suicide. In some areas of the world homosexuals are beaten, jailed, or killed. Also, some churches recently have increased the volume and frequency of their condemnations of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people.
The church has not always provided clear assurance that our faith community and congregations should be safe places and sanctuaries of peace, where people need not fear embarrassment, harassment, or blame because of their sexual orientation. Our mission is to Proclaim Jesus Christ and Promote Communities of Joy, Hope, Love, and Peace. Therefore, it is vital that we engage in words and actions that “uphold the worth and giftedness of all people and that protect the most vulnerable” (Doctrine and Covenants 164:6a). We must work to ensure safe and peaceful congregations and communities for all of God’s children, including our GLBT members and friends and their families.
We may not agree on all questions related to human sexuality and sexual orientation. However, we are earnestly seeking more insight and understanding. We invite all members and friends of Community of Christ to join us on this journey.
The statement is welcome, but it is sad that such a statement even HAS to be issued. Are our institutional mechanisms for decision-making and programmatic concerns up to the level connotated by the statement “growing fear, intolerance, and violence throughout the world alarm the Presidency and the Council of Twelve”?
[…] only formal output of the retreat to date is a statement condemning violence and harassment of gays. This statement, while welcome, is hardly controversial within the Community of Christ. It contains, […]
I applaud this stand against discrimination, violence of any kind, bullying and harassment. I have watched many gay friends being shunned and stand tall with courage in Christ.
However it is my personal belief that the issue of bullying in all areas of the church needs to continue to be addressed in the church as it is beginning to be addressed in schools.
A Testimony from a straight elder: A few years back I watched as several members (including myself and my wife Renee) of our congregation were bullied, slandered and coerced by bullies into leaving our congregation and even our cluster of churches. 8 member left the congregation but not the church.
Safety? Intolerance? No! and this was in a small mid west congregation in the US. I have asked myself as a psychologist, teacher, writer and minister, how this could be? The psychological and sociological literature tells me that any organization will blame the victim in these cases. But this is the true Church of Jesus. Our leaders are called by and guided by God. They are placed in their positions of leadership by the had of Christ so that explanation also does not make sense. Thus my dilemma.
We have prayed and waited patiently for the truth to come out and our names to be cleared but alas, of the research also says that with bullying, when any organization first begins to address this issue the first approach is to silence the victims (ie. the Roman church with the issue of pedophilia). This is what happened to us.
So we continue to pray and trust that Christ’s plan is greater than our sadness. We had hoped that truth would be greater than fear in our church. So we continue to wait and hope with faith in Christ, Dr. Doug.
You truly had an experience with violence, Dr. Bentley.
Violence, as defined by the polticially correct, includes a silent attitude of disagreement with the tenets of political correctness. So, by simply thinking, you are doing violence to them.
That is the reason that political corectness demands psychological and other subtle forms of violence against those perceived as conservatives, or as dissenters from political correctness.
The grand poohbahs of political correctness demand that everyone be mentally reprogrammed, by force or coercion, if necessary, to get them into mental compliance with political correctness.
For example, homosexual activists don’t mind protesting outside conventions or meeting of Exodus, the society that helps homosexuals get over their difficulties in sexual adjustment. But anybody who protests outside a “Gay Rights” rally is called a hateful bigot.
So, we can depend upon the secular law, not any Christlike nature of the progay lobby, to protect us from physical violence. But the secular law really does not, and cannot protect us from emotional violence, as Dr. King publicly observed.
Liberals trumpet a lot about human rights and tolerance. On the other hand, it appears that the only right they recognize is the right of everyone else to agree with them, and the only tolerance they show is toward those who are too cowed to say anything at all — the “silence that is a lie” as quoted from the Soviet dissident in the article on this same blog regarding nuclear weapons. If you don’t believe that, look at what happened to anyone who disagreed with Section 156 who refused to keep silent about that disagreement.
As for “blaming the victim,” the so-called victims here have redefining the entire science of human psychology to declare their opponents mentally ill “homophobes.” But believe me, you will see that, despite the lofty language of the First Presidency’s pronouncement, the victims of so-called homophobia are definitely blamed for their theoretical disease, and told to “get over it” in the same way that homosexuals reject the message to “get over” their sin. If homosexuals are furious at having been told to clean up their act, why should their opponents not be hostile at being told the exact same way in the exact same dismissive manner?
“The law cannot make a man like me. It can only prevent him from lynching me. And that is enough.” Dr. Martin Luther King