Our Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Cindi Love wrote a piece for The Huffington Post titled "The Lutheran Church Embraces the LGBTQ Community!"
George Bernard Shaw once said, "Certainly all great truths begin as blasphemies." On April 11, 2010, those who identify as people of faith and as "non-heterosexual" were given particular cause to celebrate Shaw’s wisdom: a most unlikely church has given a most unlikely people a gift of love and truth, and I cannot stop smiling.
After twenty-five years of deliberation, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Church Council has abolished its anti-gay policies, effective immediately. Following from discussions at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly last summer, the ELCA will now allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as rostered leaders. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) human beings are no longer considered abominations but blessed church members with full standing. Same-sex partners and families can now fully participate in the ELCA Pension Plan.
Best of all, the ELCA is reinstating people who were removed from ministry positions because they were truthful and came out of the closet, as well as those who conducted holy unions for non-heterosexual couples. The ELCA has practiced restorative justice.
Allows those gay and lesbian people in relationships to serve as church leaders!
Today the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) passed a resolution stating that it will commit itself to find a way to allow congregations that choose to do so to recognize, support and hold publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships. Additionally, the voting members passed another resolution stating that the ELCA is committed to find a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of the church.
“We are thrilled with these historic decisions,” said Jeff Lutes,Soulforce Executive Director, “God is smiling and the ELCA will benefit greatly from the spiritual gifts of those who can now love, worship, and serve with integrity. I hope every Lutheran congregation will see the rightness of today’s decisions and open their hearts accordingly.”
Soulforce has a long history of working for change within the ELCA. In 2001, fifty Soulforce volunteers were arrested outside the Indianapolis Convention Center during civil disobedience after the ELCA voted to continue requiring gay and lesbian clergy to vow celibacy to be eligible for ordained ministry. In 2003, Soulforce maintained a visible presence at the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee by leafleting and vigiling to educate ELCA voting members. In 2005, Soulforce partnered with Goodsoil in Orlando where approximately 100 people walked silently to the front of the hall and stood between Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and the 1,018 members after they rejected a proposal to allow gay men and lesbians in committed relationships to be ordained as members of the clergy. The action created tension within the hall and forced ELCA voting members to face the injustice of their vote.
After nearly a decade of waiting, Soulforce rejoices over today’s decisions and commends Lutherans Concerned, Goodsoil, and so many others who have also worked tirelessly for many years to bring about this change. Now more than ever, Soulforce is committed to the practice of relentless, nonviolent, resistance until all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are free from both political and religious oppression.