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Thursday, April 26, 2012


Bishop Peter Rogness, St. Paul, MN has boldly stepped forward to oppose the Marriage Amendment to Minnesota's constitution being voted on this November. Furthermore, he is urging all Lutherans to join him in voting against it.

NEWS FLASH! Bishop--A large number of Lutheran do not agree with you--Lutherans in the ELCA,  LC-MS, AFLC, TAALC, NALC, LCMC for examle, just to name a few. Oh yes, the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions do not agree with you either!

  • We embrace and affirm marriage as being between a man and a woman. Our recent (2009) social statement makes that clear: "The historic Christian tradition and the Lutheran Confessions have recognized marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman...."
  • Homosexuality has most often been an unspoken reality, almost never mentioned in the Bible—and where it is mentioned, many scholars will point out, it is likely not the behavior arising from different sexual orientation that is being addressed, but behavior that is aberrant and abusive. But now we find ourselves living in a time and place where, for the first time in our memory, people are open regarding their being drawn towards persons of the same gender for this deep and lifelong love and intimacy. We understand sexual orientation as a given, not a choice.
  • So we face a new question: what is the response of the church—of the Christian body of teachings and values—to those who would seek the same life-long, sacrificial, committed, intimate relationship in their lives with partners of the same gender, because that's where their yearning for love takes them?
  • We Lutherans, in the ELCA social statement of 2009, recognized that many theologians and congregations come to a position of support and affirmation of such persons and of the health of such relationships. We are becoming increasingly aware of the quality, longevity, and sincerity of these relationships between persons of strong faith and deep commitment to following the God we claim to know in Jesus Christ. They are drawn to thank God for the love they have found in each other and yearn for the support of their faith community. And an increasing number of congregations are coming to believe that giving such support is a part of healthy and faithful ministry. Our 2009 social statement affirmed the faithfulness of congregations that offer such support.
  • Yet this same statement, adopted in 2009, isn't so quick to close the door on the traditional understanding of the church in not supporting such relationships. The statement acknowledged that healthy and faithful congregations are coming to different conclusions. What do we make of this paradox? For now, we live in a grey area, trusting God's good time to make things more clear.

The Proposed Marriage Amendment

So this brings us to this amendment on the November ballot in Minnesota this year, and the question of whether we put in our constitution a prohibition against same-gender marriage. My position, informed by the theological and contextual factors noted above, leads me to three observations, a conclusion, and two continuing concerns.

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