Equal Voices is a movement of Australian Christians, focusing specifically on the relationship between Christians and “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) realities and experience,” calling itself “a non-judgmental, non-denominational, ecumenical body…who seek to work for reconciliation and to equip LGBTIQ+ people and their friends and advocates to bring into being a truly inclusive and welcoming Australian church.”
This is the apology it has issued on its website and invited members to sign. It is a Level #1 apology*, but but more than that, a sensitive and thoughtful starting point for reconsideration of the ethical issues involved. Here it is…
An apology to my LGBTIQ+ friends, and to all who have been adversely affected by the teachings and behaviour of Christians and their churches
Considering the ways in which you have been hurt by me, and by other Christians and churches, I ask for your forgiveness:
- For being too slow to acknowledge that we need to say sorry to you;
- For not speaking up against the damaging, isolating, and often violent mistreatment you have been subjected to;
- For speaking about you, without first listening to you;
- For not creating safe environments within our churches where people can speak openly and honestly about their struggles and understandings;
- For perpetuating stereotypes, and for not taking full account of your actual lived experiences;
- For talking to you or about you in such a way as to suggest that sexual and gender differences are not part of your true identity as humans made in the image of God;
- For perpetuating the mistaken belief that sexual orientation and gender identity should be treated, healed or changed;
- For rejecting and harming people with intersex variations because we fail to understand or accept your non-binary biological sex characteristics;
- For not acknowledging that Christians who are seeking to be faithful to their Lord and to the Scriptures are coming to different conclusions on matters of gender, sexual orientation, non-binary biological sex, and marriage.
I commit myself to:
1. Honour and support you in every way I can;
2. Be open to your correction and gentle guidance;
3. Act in love to hold others to account for words, behaviour or practices which hurt, harm or exclude;
4. Promote respectful, inclusive and informed discussion about issues of Biblical interpretation and application;
5. Work with you to bring about transformative change within our churches.
* 1. An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.