A coalition of conservative evangelical pastors on Wednesday issued a statement on human sexuality that pushes back on a growing cultural acceptance of gay rights and transgender identity.
The “Nashville Statement” signatures from 150 Christian leaders, including some prominent members of the Southern Baptist Convention and politically active organizations like Focus on the Family, according to a report by the Tennessean.
Issued by a group calling themselves the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the statement reaffirms support for marriage only between a man and a woman, individuals’ “true identity” as men and women, and the sinfulness of homosexuality.
“We deny that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship,” the statement reads.
“We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness,” it continues.
Several of the signers – including James Dobson, president of the Focus on the Family; Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and televangelist James Robison – also serve on President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board.
"This statement is an attempt to equip the Church to address this issue from a biblical, Christian perspective," Land said to the Christian Post.
“And if we truly love people, we are going to tell them the truth, and telling the truth to people is often hard,” he said. “Telling the truth to segregationists about race was not easy. But they were trapped in racism. It stultified their souls and they were accountable to God for it and it was our responsibility as Christians to tell them the truth: God is no respecter of persons.”
Others were critical of the statement on social media. Pastor Brandan Robertson tweeted “When your theology breeds death, your theology is not of God.”
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also criticized the statement that bears her city’s name, saying it “does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.”