March 2012: Ten years have passed since the writing of the orignal Phoenix Declaration. A new document, Phoenix Declaration 2012 - A New Declaration for a New Decade is now online and available for signing by both clergy and laity.
No Longer Silent Phoenix Declaration (en español)
As Christian clergy we believe it is time to share our perspective concerning Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgendered (GLBT) persons. We celebrate the end of the debate. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We affirm that GLBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.
We stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of GLBT persons in our churches and in our world. GLBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. Political and religious rhetoric has monopolized the public perception of the stance of Christian persons on this issue. This stance continues to cripple the spirit of innocent people. The Christian faith compels us to be part of the healing for the souls wounded by this tragic, violent, and destructive hatred. Therefore:
We stand with the countless Christian ministers, scholars, and laity who, from prayerful study of the scriptures and Christian tradition, find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. The essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives in relationship with God with compassion toward humanity.
We gratefully affirm our GLBT brothers and sisters, already a part of the church, who have been born, baptized, confirmed - many serving as leaders -- and apologize for their ill-treatment by many church leaders. We joyfully welcome GLBT persons, as we welcome all people, into our communities of faith.
We recognize GLBT persons have painfully suffered long enough from social inequality, from religious rhetoric and political leaders. We are tired of appalling, hurting, and violent actions toward GLBT persons. This violence must stop. Let us clear the air and move ahead to begin the healing process for the wounded souls who are victims of this tragic and violent abuse.
We celebrate the courage of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity. The determination of these people, especially GLBT persons, to meet hatred with love and to answer violence with compassion is an inspiration to us all, and prophetic witness of God's activity in our world.
And so we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation. All laws must protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons. We will continue to work for and promote the dignity of GLBT persons and their inclusion in our socio-political, cultural and economic life.
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