Commentary: Utah clergy respond to Nashville statement

We each celebrate that all people are created in the image of God and that the diversity seen in the broad spectrum of sexualities reflects a diversity inherent in God’s creation.

On August 29, a group of notable evangelical Christians put out a statement in Nashville, laying out what they see as the Christian attitude toward people who are gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual.

We, the undersigned, are clergy of many faiths, including Christian, who disagree in the strongest of terms. We want to state emphatically that we renounce the bigotry and homophobia that is at the heart of the “Nashville Statement” and want to make clear that they do not speak for all people of faith, nor Christianity.

We each celebrate that all people are created in the image of God and that the diversity seen in the broad spectrum of sexualities reflects a diversity inherent in God’s creation. We rejoice in unions that honor God’s greatest gift of love, regardless of the orientation of the parties involved, and we see absolutely no inconsistencies with either tradition or scripture in accepting LGBTQ people as God made them.

We see the Nashville statement as an attack on LGBTQ people of faith and also on people of faith who have the moral courage and integrity necessary to stand with them. We want it understood that this is not a fight between people who are LGBTQ and people of faith but that we are compelled by our faith to fight for inclusion. One need not make a choice between who they know themselves to be and their faith.

We confess that our communities of faith have at times been the source of harm and we admit that we serve congregations and faith communities that are still striving to be fully inclusive and welcoming. We here now renounce the sinful practices of exclusion, abuse and condemnation of the LGBTQ community in the hope of leading those who agree with the Nashville Statement to also repent and turn toward inclusion.

We pledge ourselves to stand with you as you fight for inclusion and equality. We pledge to work tirelessly to continue to create safe space within our houses of worship and within the larger society. We pledge to confront homophobia and bigotry until it is a thing of the past.

Our determination to remain faithful to these brothers and sisters is simply a part of what we believe it means to aspire to the highest faith born values of love, equity, acceptance and inclusion.

Rev. Jerrod Lowry, pastor, Community of Grace Presbyterian Church. Rev. Curtis L. Price, pastor, First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City. Rev. Scott Dalgarno, pastor, Wasatch Presbyterian Church. Rev. Steven A. Klemz, pastor, Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. Rev. Monica Dobbins, assistant minister, First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City. Rev. David Nichols, pastor, Mount Tabor Lutheran Church, ELCA. Rev. Russell Butler, senior pastor, Christ United Methodist Church, Salt Lake City. Rev. Elizabeth McVicker, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church and Centenary United Methodist Church. Rev. Tom Goldsmith, senior pastor, First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City. Rev. Mary Janda, vicar, St. Steven’s Episcopal Church. Rev. Patty Willis, pastor, South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society. Rev. Vinnetta Golphin-Wilkerson, pastor, Granger Community Christian Church. Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman, Congregation Kol Ami. High Priest Blair White, pastor, Salt Lake City Community of Christ. Rev. Gage Church, pastor, Ogden Congregational United Church of Christ. Rev. Cindy Solomon-Klebba, pastor, Wasatch Metropolitan Community Church. Rev. Anna Zumwalt Soto, Zen Buddhist priest. Rev. Dr. David Henry, retired Presbyterian pastor. Rev. Monica Hall, pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ogden. Father Robert Trujillo, pastor, Glory to God Old Catholic Church. Fred Smullin, lay pastor, Morgan Valley Christian Church. Carla Long, bishop, Community of Christ. Rev. Trace Browning, rector, All Saints Episcopal Church. Rev. Kim James, Ogden First United Methodist Church. Rev. Genny Rowley, Alliance of Baptists.