An Open Letter to the LCA from “Marginalised Lutheran”
A post by Neil hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.
I have just finished my second mailout to the Church workers of the Lutheran Church of Australia. It is a letter from Marginalised Lutheran, who regularly comments on this blog.
Thanks Marginalised for allowing me to post it here as well. (Sorry about the different fonts. I just cant seem to change them on wordpress.)
An open letter to the pastors, church workers and church councils of the Lutheran Church of Australia,
I am a Lutheran. I am a communicant member of a Lutheran congregation. I am an employee of a Lutheran school. I am one of you. But in so many ways, on so many days I do not feel like a Lutheran. I do not feel like a welcome member of my congregation. I don’t feel like a wanted employee of the school I work in. I do not feel like one of you.
I am homosexual. I am a homosexual Lutheran. I am a homosexual communicant member of a Lutheran congregation. I am a homosexual employee of a Lutheran school. I am one of you AND I am homosexual.
Despite official church teachings I do not believe that my sexuality is the result of a fallen world. I do not believe that my sexuality is something that I can be cured of. I do not believe that I will change.
I do believe that God created me. I do believe that God created me as I am, not as the church wants me to be. I do believe that I am loved and forgiven by God for my sin
I do not believe that my sexuality is sinful.
I feel. I love. I yearn. I weep.
I feel joy and happiness in the community in which I serve. I feel anger and desolation about what I expect the reaction would be if I came out to my community.I love my God, my Saviour, my family and my friends. I have loved another, but lost him because I was ashamed at the thought of what my community would think.
I yearn for a time when the love I share with that person will be accepted and celebrated by my community, not despised, whispered about and hidden from the world.
I yearn for a time when I might be able to love someone again.
I weep because of the salvation I have in Christ. I weep because of the burden I carry. I weep because every day I hide who I really am from my family, my friends, my colleagues and my community.I weep because every day I am blessed by a God who does know me. My God who knows my secret. Your God who loves me, not despite my sexuality, but because I am his, even with my sexuality.
I weep because I live in fear. I live in fear of complete rejection; by my family, by my friends, by my colleagues, by my congregation and by my community. I do not fear being rejected by my God, but it is very hard to feel close to Him when the Church I belong to goes to whatever lengths possible to make me feel apart from Him. Fear that I will never progress in my career if I come out. Fear that I will not be asked to be involved in worship and the life of the congregation if I come out. Fear that my committed, loving and life-long relationship with my future partner will not be accepted, celebrated or blessed by my community. Fear that bigotry will stop me from ever knowing the joy of parenthood.
I weep because submissions are made to the government apparently representing the Lutheran Church. I weep because bogus research and false assumptions are used to justify a position of hate and the abuse of basic human rights. I weep when a Church leader thinks it is permissible to try and force the opinion of some onto the legislature in the name of the entire Church body.
I weep because every day I feel like dogma is more important than me.Me, the person here in front of you now. The person here, wanting to be a part of God’s faithful community. The person here, wanting to be loved. The person here, wanting to be valued by the church community. The person here, wanting to be in a committed, loving and lasting relationship. The person here, wanting to hold a child in his arms.
But I am not there in front of you. I am in my community, surrounded by friends and family, but so very, very alone. I am alone when I wake in the morning and come home at night. I am alone when I go to worship in my congregation. I am alone when I go to work functions, surrounded by happy couples. I am alone when I watch my friends get married. I am alone when I celebrate the birth of their children. I am alone when my family, friends and colleagues ask why I’m not married or have no children. I am alone.
I am alone when I wonder why God made me this way. I am alone when I cry out in anguish to God to help me understand. I am alone when my thoughts turn to self hate and darkness. I am alone when my self hate gets so oppressive that I think it would be better sometimes to just be dead.
I am a part of the Lutheran Church of Australia. I am marginalised every day because of harmful and hurtful opinions and assumptions about me.Irrespective of theology I will not put up with a church leader or a church representative who uses an official Church submission to represent a personal opinion. I am angered by the wording used in official Lutheran Church of Australia submissions to government.I am angered by the use of unsubstantiated and bogus research to prove a hateful and hurtful position. I am angered by the use of personal hunches in submissions which represent the Lutheran Church of Australia.
Marriage equality according to Michael Semmler will cause ‘damage to the social fabric of our nation.’
Marriage equality according to Michael Semmler will be the undoing of the ‘stability and prosperity of our country.’
Marriage equality according to Michael Semmler will ‘devalue’ heterosexual marriage.
Marriage equality according to Michael Semmler will create ‘reverse discrimination against those who are currently married as husband and wife.’
Marriage equality according to Rob Pollnitz will lead to ‘group marriage and polygamy, and incest between consenting adults, and even in extreme cases marriage to ‘consenting’ animals.’
Marriage equality according to Rob Pollnitz will ‘undermine traditional marriage entirely.’
Marriage equality according to Rob Pollnitz is so abominable that it is permissible to use bogus research and misrepresent the research of others.
In a submission to the government on behalf of the Lutheran Church of Australia Rob Pollnitz linked a justification against marriage equality to supposed evidence (or is it just personal opinion) that in fractured families there are ‘large increases in health problems, emotional imbalances, learning disorders, defiant behaviours, drug use, sexual promiscuity, and criminality.’ (I wonder whether the single parent families of the Lutheran Church of Australia are aware that this personal opinion of one man is being provided to the government on their behalf.)
Regardless of any agreement on the theology supporting or not supporting homosexuality, the statements made by these two church leaders are shameful and hurtful. These statements do not want me to be a part of the Lutheran Church of Australia. These statements cause me to continue to live in fear despite Michael Semmler’s heartfelt, yet strangely unconvincing, ‘hope that they [the gays] are always helped to feel valued members who are welcome in our parish communities.’
I weep for the fact that these two men are representatives of the body of believers of the Lutheran Church of Australia.I weep for the fact that there has not been widespread outcry from the members of the Lutheran Church of Australia over these statements. (Perhaps it is because they simply do not know these submissions have been made on their behalf.)
Regardless of opinion on homosexuality, these statements should not have been made as part of submissions representing the Lutheran Church of Australia. There is no excuse or any amount of repentance that can undo the hurt that has been caused by these statements.
Believe what you will about homosexuality, but do not let these two men continue to bully those of us who are marginalised within the church. Do not let these two men continue to represent the Lutheran Church of Australia. Make a stand for what is right. Make a stand for human rights. The Universal Declaration for Human Rights clearly states:
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
No matter what your religious opinion is, I am equally entitled to the institution of marriage. Here in Australia my human rights are being denied. I do not put my right to marry above that of the need for food, protection, health care and freedom from persecution that others are denied in other places. But this is personal and real for me. Me, a member of the Lutheran Church of Australia. Me, a member sitting on your pews, in your congregations.
Do not let the personal opinions and unchecked statements of these two men attempt to deny me my human rights in the name of the Lutheran Church of Australia. Take the time to read the numerous submissions made over the past years regarding marriage equality and church doctrinal statements on homosexuality and decide for yourself. Is this what you want representing you?
If you really want your church to be the place ‘Where Love Comes to Life’, then make a stand. Stand up for accountability in our church leadership. Stand up against bullying of marginalised groups within the church by those in positions of influence. Despite your opinion of homosexuality at least stand up for these atrocities.
Feel with me. Love with me. Yearn with me. Weep with me.
Jesus loves me, this I know.
Yours in Christ,