But, all kidding aside, I just found a new reason to love Georgia Tech. Lately, I’ve been thinking about leaving the United Methodist Church for a more conservative denomination. The kind folks at Georgia Tech are helping me decide with a new taxpayer-supported "Safe Space Training Manual" that has this to say about my church:
"In 1972 the (United Methodist) church stated that homosexuality was incompatible with Christian teaching, but it supported the civil rights of gays. In general this characterized the Methodist position in succeeding years and was formally reaffirmed in 1992. Church policy states that gay ministers could be banned; they do not perform same-sex union ceremonies. Within the Methodist Church there are a growing number of ‘Reconciling Congregations’ that disagree with the official stand and are trying to change the discipline. These congregations perform same-sex ceremonies, although theoretically they can get in trouble for doing so, and they are welcoming communities for people of all sexual orientations."
It really doesn’t make me angry to learn that Georgia Tech is evaluating different religions with taxpayer money. I’m not a Georgia resident so I’ll gladly use the guide in finding a new church. Clearly, the United Methodists are headed in the wrong direction so it’s back to the manual. Here’s what the Georgia Tech publication has to say about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons):
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) has the most anti-gay policies of any religion widely practiced in the United States…”
Well, that’s impressive. If I didn’t have to give up cigars, those guys would be in the running! Let’s see what they have to say about the Episcopal Church:
“Historically the Episcopal Church has been more receptive to gay worshipers than many other Christian denominations. They welcome gay and lesbian members, ordain non-practicing homosexuals, and participate in anti-hate programs…”
Thank you, drive through. And that’s a damned shame, too. They have a really nice Spanish-style church a few miles from my house. By the way, here’s what I read about the Evangelical Lutherans:
“The Lutheran Church believes that the sexual behavior of consenting adults is not an acceptable subject for legislation or police action. They believe that persons who engage in homosexual behavior are sinners only as are all other persons alienated from God and neighbor. They allow gay members and ordain non-practicing homosexuals…”
Well, I guess it could be worse but it could be a lot better, too. So how about the Metropolitan Community Church? Here’s what the Georgia Tech manual has to say:
“Founded by the Rev. Troy Perry in 1968, the Metropolitan Community Church is an ecumenical religious denomination that predominately serves the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community, although they welcome all worshipers. The church ordains openly gay and lesbian clergy, performs same-sex union ceremonies, and believes that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality.”
Wow! Those people must be on acid. Next up is the Presbyterian Church – USA:
“In 1991 delegates issued a letter stating that homosexuality is not God's wish for humanity, rejected the sanctioning of same-sex unions, and forbade the ordination of openly gay clergy. The following year, a church court revoked the appointment of the Rev. Jane Spahr, a lesbian co-pastor in Rochester, N.Y. In 1993, the church reaffirmed that practicing homosexuals could not be ordained.”
Pretty impressive! Let’s see how they compare with the Roman Catholics:
“The Roman Catholic Church has consistently condemned all homosexual ‘activity’ as being sinful. It does, however, distinguish between homosexual orientation, which it considers morally neutral, and homosexual behavior, which it considers to be sinful.
In September of 1997, U.S. Catholic bishops released a pastoral letter urging parents to accept, love, respect, and support their gay children. The message, described as an ‘outstretched hand’ to parents who learn that their children are gay, was developed by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' committee on marriage and family.
The letter states, ‘A shocking number of homosexual youth end up on the streets because of rejection by their families. This, and other external pressures, can place young people at greater risk of self-destructive behaviors, like substance abuse, and suicide.’ It went on to say, ‘[g]enerally, homosexual orientation is experienced as a given, not as something freely chosen. By itself, therefore, a homosexual orientation cannot be considered sinful, for morality presumes the freedom to choose.’
While the letter said fundamental rights of homosexual men and women were to be respected and defended, it insisted sexual intimacy be limited to man and wife in a marriage.”
Not bad. Not bad at all. Next up, the United Church of Christ:
“In 1972 the United Church of Christ became the first Christian denomination to ordain an openly gay person to the ministry. In 1983, UCC delegates voted in favor of a statement that said sexual orientation should not be grounds for barring a person from being ordained. The United Church of Christ performs same-sex union ceremonies and takes an active interest in securing and protecting the rights of homosexuals.”
Thank you, drive through. Next up, the Southern Baptists:
“In 1987 the Southern Baptist Convention condemned homosexuality as a manifestation of a depraved nature and a perversion of divine standards. They also linked homosexuality to a general problem with moral decline in modern society.”
Well, it looks like that ends my search. This Sunday, I’ll be back in the pews at the nearest Southern Baptist Church. In the meantime, I’m going to write to Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough and thank him for helping me choose a new religion with the information on their publicly funded website.
And, while I’m at it, I may ask Clough the following question: Are you sure this is legal?