Letters to the Editor

Scouts perpetuate myth

In keeping with 1985 General Synod's encouragement that local churches be Open and Affirming Churches and with the recent UCC plan to help fund the training of gay and lesbian seminarians, now is the time for Open and Affirming UCC churches to join together in forbidding Boy Scout troops from holding meetings in their churches, unless the Boy Scouts of America changes its policy and becomes open to leadership by gay Scout masters.
      The Boy Scouts of America has perpetuated the prejudice and the myth that gay men are predators. Gay men are no more apt to have sex with teenage boys than heterosexual men are apt to have sex with teenage girls.
      I was an Eagle Scout and believe that the Boy Scouts has provided a valuable service for young boys, but their prejudice betrays even their own Scout's Oath.

The Rev. James M. Murphy
New York, N.Y.

Respect 'truth'

A letter writer last month reminded us of the conservative presence in the UCC. Both the literal and the historical/critical readings of the Bible have long-standing and sincere usage among faithful Christians. These readings lead to different conclusions on critical issues such as the role of women, abortion, and homosexuality.
      Christians can work together more productively in areas of agreement about God's Word when they acknowledge and respect disagreements that are sincerely held and arise from prayerful seeking. Generally, it would be prudent to respect each others' understanding of truth (small t) until the next life when we may have access to The Truth.
      God's Word will unite and empower us only if we respect diversity in our understanding of it. Neither conservative nor liberal can afford to denigrate the other's understanding if we want the success that will come from all Christians joining in the work set before us.

Michael Roulier
Trinity UCC
Cincinnati, Ohio

No separation needed

The article about ministers not signing marriage licenses suggests several things.
      First, by not signing any marriage license, UCC ministers would be better able to "bless" all unions, including same sex unions. That's not a union condoned anywhere in the Bible that I read, the NIV Bible.
      Second, spiritual sanctification of love between individuals should be solely a church matter and legal authorization a civil matter. That sounds like separation of church and state. As Christians we all know that kind of thinking in making moral judgments is bringing this great country to its knees.
      We must put our Christian beliefs to practice in every part of our lives, social and political!

Chuck Hoover
St. Paul's Wolfs UCC
York, Pa.

State, chill!

I have always felt quite uncomfortable acting as an agent of the state when I perform marriage ceremonies. I perform marriages for heterosexual and homosexual couples with equal pleasure. I frankly despise filling out forms for the state for some of these marriages and not others.
      What the state does with its policies it its and their citizens' business.
      What we do in a marriage service in church in the presence of God and assembled witnesses should be none of the state's business.

The Rev. Jack Shepard
Community Congregational UCC
Los Alamitos, Calif.

'Bad decision—bad process'

Plaudits to Penn Central Conference Minister Lyle Weible for his response to the action creating scholarships for gays and lesbians. Two statements from his letter to Penn Central Conference churches bear repeating for the benefit of the whole church: "I do not believe sexual orientation is a proper basis for judging worth and morality" and "Nor do I believe sexual orientation is a basis for evaluating ministry, including a call to ordained ministry."
      I support completely this position. Dr. Weible continues in his letter to label the (former) United Church Board for Homeland Ministries' decision "a bad decision and a bad process." "How tragic," he writes, "if this bad decision and bad process is compounded by equally bad reactions from our faithful folk."

The Rev. John C. Binkley, Pastor
Trinity UCC
Palmyra, Pa.

Appalled at the strings

As a recent seminary graduate who is aware of the lack of support for any seminarian, I commend the designation of any funds used to support anyone willing to answer God's call and attend seminary.
      I am appalled, however, at any strings attached so that a specific interest group is singled out above any other, for special treatment, especially if it is rationalized and justified as remedial. It is actions such as these, taken at our national level, that ensure those persons with agendas within the UCC continue to be both a source of controversy and a dividing force to our covenant and unity.

The Rev. John A. Toms
Heidelberg UCC
Marion, Pa.

God must be weeping

I read this on a Christian news site: "The United Church of Christ announced this week it will create a $500,000 fund for 'self-affirmed gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender' students. The 1.4 million-member denomination also advised wider acceptance of homosexuals by other denominations..."
      God must be weeping in grief, if this is true.

Robert Hicks
Linden, Va.

Consider the implications

This use of monies makes me sad.
      I would definitely NOT allow my children to consider your church and I wonder if you have considered all the implications of this action.

Warren Guth
Anaheim, Calif.

Commendation for courage

A recent article in our local newspaper shared the news that the UCC is providing scholarships for gay/lesbian seminarians.
      I wish to commend the UCC for their courage in taking this action.

Betty Mae Shear
First Congregational UCC
Jefferson, Ohio