21 May 2009

Mennonites in pink

Pink Menno Campaign is organizing people to support broader (and officially-sanctioned) inclusion of LGBTQ people in the Mennonite Church by wearing pink at the upcoming biennial convention of Mennonite Church USA.

Mennonites are in a slightly unusual position w/r/t sexual orientation -- the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective accepts only heterosexual marriage -- but the CoF is more a descriptive than a prescriptive document, and because MCUSA lacks some sort of centralized doctrinal enforcement, a few individual congregations do welcome LGBTQ folks and even perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Sometimes such congregations and/or their pastors are "disciplined" in various ways by the local-level church authorities that can do such things, and the results are never happy.

I thought it was a big deal when, as a delegate at the last MCUSA conference, I was involved in preparing a statement on behalf of young Mennos that included a very brief nod to broader inclusion; much more recently, a group of Mennonite pastors signed an open letter to the church calling for an end to the exclusion of LGBTQ folks. (An article in Mennonite Weekly Review covers both the letter and its context.) Progress? Hard to say. A Delegate Assembly full of pink t-shirts is a mighty appealing image, though.

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