The Indian Courts recently struck down legislation which prohibited homosexuality, laws which were a relic of the colonial period. With the issue of criminal sanctions a hot topic at present in Uganda, and now also neighbouring Rwanda, it is worth keeping an eye on the churches response here. While I was investigating and checking sources for a post about the extraordinary reaction of the Catholic Church in India, Icame across this statement from the National Council of Churches in India. This is well worth reading and broadcasting, if only for the total contrast with the Vatican and too many other “Christian” churches. India is not primarily a Christian country, but reading this I’m I am reminded of something Mahatma Gandhi is alleged to have replied, when asked for his opinion on Christianity:
” It would be a good idea.”
Here’s the central, key part of the NCCI statement, dated Dec 6th 2009, which I offer (for now) without comment:
We affirm that sexuality is a divine gift, and hence God intends us to celebrate this divine gift in committed, consensual, and monogamous relationships. It is in such celebrations of our sexuality that we grow into the fullness of our humanity, and experience God in a special way.
We believe that our negative attitudes towards sexuality and our body-denying spirituality stem from our distorted understanding of God’s purpose for us. The embodied God who embraced flesh in Jesus Christ is the ground for us to love our bodies and to celebrate life and sexuality without abuse and misuse. So God invites us to experience sexual fulfillment in our committed relationships of justice-love with the commitment to be vulnerable, compassionate, and responsible.
We recognize that there are people with different sexual orientations. The very faith affirmation that the whole human community is created in the image of God irrespective of our sexual orientations makes it imperative on us to reject systemic and personal attitudes of homophobia and discrimination against sexual minorities. We consider the Delhi High Court verdict to “decriminalize consensual sexual acts of adults in private” upholding the fundamental constitutional and human rights to privacy and the life of dignity and non-discrimination of all citizens as a positive step.
We believe that the Church as ‘Just and Inclusive Community’ is called to become a community without walls to reach out to people who are stigmatized and demonized, and be a listening community to understand their pains, desires, and hopes.
We envision Church as a sanctuary to the ostracized who thirst for understanding, friendship, love, compassion and solidarity, and to join in their struggles to live out their God given lives. So we appeal to the Christian communities to sojourn with sexual minorities and their families without prejudice and discrimination, to provide them ministries of love, compassionate care, and justice.
Read it in full at NCCI (Hat tip to Lezgetreal for pointing the way.)