[De Nederlandstalige versie van dit persbericht kunt u hier vinden.]
The Ugandan Parliament passed the so-called Anti-Homosexual Bill on the 20th of December, 2013. The Nigerian president signed a similar bill on the 13th of January, 2014. These bills promote the hatred and discrimination of LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, & Intersex) individuals, and misleadingly associate being LBGTI with paedophilia and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Netherlands Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church distances itself from these bills. We, as a church, stand for accepting love and following the character of Jesus Christ. We strongly believe that all people are called to love one another. This includes loving LGBTIs – not excluding them or judging their relationships.
Christians don’t all agree regarding LGBTIs, but we are one in the faith that mankind was created in the image of God, and each person is valuable in his eyes. People should, therefore, create each other with decency – respectfully, peacefully and lovingly. Violence or discrimination in any form is unacceptable.
The delegates of all the Adventist churches in the Netherlands took a strong stand with regards to LGBTIs in 2012. With a large majority, they decided the following:
Following the example of the ‘Safe Church’ initiative, the delegates, gathered together in committee, charge the Executive Board in the coming administrative period to consider the problems of and concerning people with a non-heterosexual nature, so that they can feel safe in the church.
The Netherlands Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church also signed the International Day Against Homophobia declaration in 2011. The Executive Committee took a unanimous stand against violence towards and discrimination of LGBTIs.
We do not all have the same views on homosexuality, but we are one in the belief that all human beings are created in God’s image and precious in His eyes. Therefore people should treat each other with dignity – respectfully, peacefully and affectionately – and violence against homosexuals, in any form, is completely unacceptable.
To each violation of human rights we say: that is wrong. Today we emphasize this in particular concerning the violation of the human rights of homosexuals. This includes all forms of physical, psychological and verbal violence against homosexuals, as well as inciting these expressions of violence. He who uses violence against fellow human beings, made in the image of God, ignores Christ’s appeal to love God and thy neighbour. Also in our own communities of faith the human dignity of homosexuals has sometimes been damaged by uncharitable and unsympathetic behaviour.
We dedicate ourselves to defend in every way the dignity of all people. We call on worshippers in our congregations to refrain from promoting any form of violence against homosexuals. Churches desire, after the example of Christ, to be places of encounter. They desire to be a safe haven for all, including homosexuals.
We call on everyone, whatever their place in society, to offer an environment in which homosexuals feel safe and in that way contribute to a safer social climate in our society.
We will endeavour, in our international ecclesiastical contacts and in our contacts with representatives of other faiths, to oppose homophobia, hatred and violence against homosexuals.