The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, a group of Evangelical leaders, recently released its “Nashville Statement,” fourteen articles elaborating its rejection of homosexuality, “transgenderism,” and basically any expressions of gender and sexuality outside of cisgendered, heterosexual marriage.
The statement is, theologically, a non-event: a re-affirmation of all the same beliefs in the Council’s first statement thirty years ago, as they rejected the “scourge” of feminism. But, of course, things have changed: the enemy is no longer feminism (that battle, at least in the hearts of many, they lost), but LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality.
Good words have already come in response to this statement from both evangelicals and mainline voices. Some have noted with incredulity the timing of the statement: given rising flood waters and horrifying expressions of white supremacy, reasserting rehearsed rhetoric on sexuality seems particularly out of touch.
To our eyes, though, as pastors, and to Bromleigh as a writer on Christian sexual ethics, the timing is part and parcel of how fundamentalist Christianity has always functioned in this country – tied to nation building and reactive to social change. This statement is witness to the death throes (however prolonged) of the fundamentalist social vision, with its non-Biblical nationalism.
Unfortunately, there is collateral damage. The Council is content to function as theological terrorist, casting rhetorical grenades into already vulnerable lives of queer people. But terrorism can be fought: with clear thinking, with empathy. The task for the majority of Christians in this country is to change the conversation, to take action – theological, political, and relational – to limit the power and undercut any legitimacy the Council claims.
– Mike Solberg and Bromleigh McCleneghan,
pastors of the Union Church of Hinsdale, U.C.C.