August 28, 2017

ELCA Speaks Against Hate, Discrimination

In light of recent public events and conversation, the ELCA has issued statements reminding us of its long-standing positions against hateful acts and discrimination by race, religious creed, or sexual identity.

 


Confronting Racism and anti-Semitism

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), stands against all forms of hatred and discrimination. The church believes that cultural, ethnic and racial differences should be seen and celebrated as what God intends them to be—blessings rather than means of oppression and discrimination.

The ELCA’s social statement “Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture” states: “Racism—a mix of power, privilege, and prejudice—is sin, a violation of God’s intention for humanity. The resulting racial, ethnic, or cultural barriers deny the truth that all people are God’s creatures and, therefore, persons of dignity. Racism fractures and fragments both church and society.” …

“We recognize that the kind of violence we witnessed in Charlottesville (in August) is very real and affects all of us,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton. “We need to stand up firmly against racism and anti-Semitism, show up for and advocate with others. Jesus, who makes visible those who are invisible, is already there. We need to show up, and we need to listen in each of our communities.”

 


Gender Identity Discrimination

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) rejects all forms of hatred or discrimination. This includes employment discrimination against the transgender community, as stated in “Gender Identity Discrimination, a policy resolution that was adopted by the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly.

“As church together, it’s now more important than ever for us not only to pray, but also stand beside all who are facing many forms of prejudice,” stated Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton. “Transgender individuals should not be denied the opportunity to participate in our armed forces. We should honor the courage and sacrifice of all members of our military regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation and join those who serve in upholding the respect and dignity of each person.”

The ELCA has repeatedly spoken against discrimination in law or policy related to sexual orientation or gender identity. The policy resolution, adopted by the Churchwide Assembly in 2013 – the highest legislative body of the church – instructed the presiding bishop to communicate public support for actions that prohibit “employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity” and encouraged all ELCA synods, congregations and members to do the same. Additionally, as a church, we have committed our support to those whose vocation is in the military (“For Peace in God’s World,” 1995).