Sex and the Lutheran Youth Group

Frank Pastore

8/19/2007 12:01:00 AM - Frank Pastore

How do they do it?

I mean, how can the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) tell their kids with a straight face not to be sexually active outside of marriage when they’ve just voted last Saturday to no longer enforce the celibacy requirement for their unmarried staff—both straight and gay?

The ELCA and other pro-gay denominations have been ordaining gays for decades. That’s nothing new. What’s new is that now staff can openly have lovers while on the job and there will be no disciplinary action for violating the celibacy requirement.

The message to the kids is loud and clear: We can have sex with our boyfriends and girlfriends, but you can’t.

What hypocrisy.

This is what happens when sin and the Bible collide: either the Bible will change the sin or the sin will change the Bible.

In this case, it’s homosexual passion that’s changing the Bible.

Not only have they decided, essentially, to rewrite the Bible and declare homosexuality no longer a sin, but now they’ve gone beyond that to include fornication too. Adultery can’t be far behind.

Look for other liberal denominations to follow suit.

So, this means an unmarried youth pastor can openly discuss the sex life he has with his boyfriend without fear of losing his job, while at the same time supposedly providing spiritual leadership to teenagers and counseling them to “wait until marriage?”

Maybe Lutheran parents should be a little more concerned when their kids come home and say they want to be just like the youth pastor. Perhaps they should be a little more suspicious when their kids display a sudden new zeal to attend Lutheran youth camp.

Or, maybe they’re not concerned at all about their kids being sexually active with the church’s tacit permission.

Maybe they—like the entire denomination—have just given up on the whole “try-not-to-sin” thing.

Our kids are going to do it anyway … we can’t stop them … all we can do is be “responsible” and try to prevent them from getting AIDS or getting pregnant … what we really need to do is provide them condoms—just like we do with our adults.

Who needs moral purity when you can have such tolerance and understanding?

It used to be that girls were sometimes deterred from being sexually promiscuous in high school out of fear of getting a bad “reputation.”

Now an entire denomination has a well-deserved bad reputation.

I looked around on the official ELCA Web site for what they teach their children about sexuality. Here’s what I found on a page entitled, “Sexuality: Some Common Convictions.”

• Under “Responsible procreation and parenting” I found the following:

Youth need the support and guidance of the church to resist cultural and peer pressures that encourage sexual intercourse prior to marriage. Open and honest discussion of sexual questions is to be encouraged, in ways that communicate God's guidance, forgiveness, and ongoing care. As a church, we affirm the importance of education about sexuality that emphasizes respect, mutuality, responsibility, and abstinence outside of marriage.

But, why should you try to “resist the cultural and peer pressures that encourage sexual intercourse prior to marriage” and value “abstinence outside of marriage” when your leadership doesn’t? Furthermore, does this statement imply anything short of intercourse is acceptable?

• Under “Promiscuity” I found:

Having casual sexual relations is sinful because this does not proceed from or contribute to respect, intimacy, and care of the other. Promiscuity is inconsistent with our identity as Christians (1 Cor. 6:12-20). Being sexually active in order to be popular or only to gratify sexual desire is morally wrong.

And, for what purpose do you think ELCA staff members are sexually active if not to “gratify sexual desire?” I’m sure ELCA editors are already working on new copy for the Web page that will bring what’s posted on the Web in line with what they actually believe—i.e., that it’s not “morally wrong.”

• And, under “Practices that spread sexually-transmitted diseases” there’s this:

Irresponsible, unprotected sexual contact can expose sexual partners to incurable and fatal sexually-transmitted diseases. Sexual practices that result in physical harm to another are sinful and must be countered. Education about sexuality should emphasize monogamy, abstinence, and responsible sexual behavior, as well as practices intended to prevent the transmission of disease during sexual intercourse. This church supports efforts to prevent, cure, and care for those afflicted with such diseases.

Let me translate. “For all our teens and adults, whether single or married, straight or gay, or laity or leadership, when you are sexually active we want you to always wear a condom.”

Apparently, that’s the new ELCA standard for moral purity. Enough of those archaic notions of monogamy, fidelity and abstinence. It’s simply been reduced to “be responsible—wear a condom.”

Thank God that at the Missouri Synod there are still Lutherans who are also faithfully Christian.