Integrity USA blasts 'Gift of Sexuality' statement

March 24, 2003

Members of the board of Integrity, the Episcopal Church's affinity group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members and their friends and family, strongly criticized a theological statement from the House of Bishops theology committee entitled 'The Gift of Sexuality: A Theological Perspective' following a March 22 meeting in Portland, Oregon.

In a statement, board members declared themselves 'struck by the scant amount of theology' contained in the report and 'deeply distressed' by what they termed a 'condescending, dismissive, clinical tone,' including the decision to refer to gays and lesbians as 'homosexual persons.' 'It is abundantly clear to us that this is a political statement, designed, we suspect, to build on the fragile foundation of collegiality which has been carefully constructed in the House of Bishops over the past few years,' they said. 'That it did not result in a 'Mind of the House Resolution' is, perhaps, its sharpest criticism and, in our view, the most significant failure of this document.'

The statement went on to announce a gathering May 7-10 of members of the steering committee of the coalition known as 'Claiming the Blessing,' in which Integrity is a partner, and members of the American Anglican Council and other conservative groups at St. James in Wilshire, California, in the Diocese of Los Angeles for a 'national reconciliation conversation' on sexuality.

'We are very clear that we are not meeting to negotiate a settlement,' the statement said. 'In the end, however, this is not about theology or politics. Neither is it about legislative action. It is about relationships. It is about behavior. It is about being known as followers of Jesus by the love and respect we show each other.'

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