Protestant Churches Polarized Over Giving LGBTQ Members Equal Marriage Rights

Protestantism is a religion that was basically founded on the concept of reform. It should come as no surprise therefore, this Christian faith has been polarized by a new reform movement that gives equality of marriage rights among LGBTQ members.

Protestant denominations are divided, as the two largest Protestant denominations have expressed strong oppostion to same-sex marriages.

Protestant Denominations in Support of LGBTQ Marriages

Leading the movement of giving equal marriage rights to LGBTQ memmber is the United Church of Christ. Since 2005, this denomination was the first major Protestant sect to allow same-sex marriages.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America took a similar stance in 2009. Evangelical leaders left it to the local ministers to make the final decision on such matters.

The Presbyterian Church USA took a different route by holding a general assembly in 2015, to vote on the matter of amending the definition of marriage in the Presbyterian Book of Orders. Seventy-one percent of the sect’s church leaders voted in favor of defining marriage as “union between two people,” which paved the way for gay marriages.

The Episcopal denomination found favor with the Presbyterian approach and therefore followed suit in 2018. Likewise, the result gave LGBTQ Episcopal congregants the right to get married in any Episcopal church.

Protestant Churches Opposed to Same-Sex Marriages

The largest of all Protestant denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has the most hardcore position in keeping marriages traditional. As it is, the SBC has not shown any signs or intentions of giving in to the calls for allowing same sex marriage in any of their congregation.

The SBC maintains that gender identity is determined biologically and not on an individual’s self-perception, as a means of justifying the alternative lifestyle being adopted by LGBTQ members.

In trying to solve the unending debate over allowing same-sex marriage among LGBTQ members, the United Methodist Church has put forward a proposal that would see this second-largest Protestant sect divided.

Notwithstanding that Methodist churches have been experiencing a continuing decline in membership numbers, since 1964. The unsettled question about LGBTQ marriages only heightened the unending decline in church attendance,

The Methodist proposal is to create a new denomination that would distinguish a Methodist church with an anti-LGBTQ marriage stance as “Traditionalist Methodists.” The proposal however, does not provide the equitable solution sought by Methodist LGBTQ members.

Electing to officially make a Methodist congregation a “Traditional Methodist” denomination depends on the result of a local voting process. Obviously, the LGBTQ members in each congregation will have a difficult time mustering the number of votes needed to sway their congregation from traditional concepts.

It is interesting to note that Pope Francis, the current head of the Vatican State, keeps an open mind toward members of the LGBTQ community. The pope previously remarked

“Who am I to judge gay people?”

Latest Polls by Pew Research Center Show Rapid Decline of Christianity in the U.S.

Christianity is on a rapid decline among American adults. This was the findings revealed by 2018 and 2019 telephone surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center. The latest polls were geared toward updating Pew’s research study about the changing religious landscape in America, which the research company conducted a decade ago.

When compared to the previous data gathered in determining religious affiliation, only 65 percent of American adult-respondents described themselves as Christians. The number indicated a 12 percent decline in Christian religious affiliation.

Correspondingly, the “nones” or those who identify with other religious group or having no religious affiliation at all, grew in numbers. When compared to the Pew Research surveys conducted in 2009, the unaffiliated respondents rose from a previous 17 percent to 26 percent.

Overview of the Declining Numbers if Christians and the Ascending Numbers of Nones

As a whole, believers in the Christian gospel in the U.S. are represented by people who adhere to Catholicism and Protestantism as religious practices. The decline in affiliation is present in both sectors.

Where previous poll data showed that 51 percent of adult Americans described themselves as Protestants, the new survey shows that only 43 percent of the respondents identified themselves as such. Indicating an 8 percent decline as far as Protestantism is concerned.

The change is also evident among Catholics. When matched against the 23 percent who identified with Catholicism in 2009, the recent polls saw only 20 percent of American adults who said they are Catholics.

The religiously unaffiliated or the “nones” that represent a subset population had naturally shown a swelling in number. About 17 percent of the respondents chose the “nothing in particular” in stating their religious affiliation; revealing a 5 percent when compared to the 12 percent who responded as such in the 2009 polls.

At present, the number of Atheists polled rose to 4 percent from a previous 2 percent.

The number of respondents who claimed they are agnostics represent 5 percent of the American adults surveyed; up by 2 percent when matched against the 3 percent revealed by the 2009 Pew polls.

 

Young Mormons Rewarned about LDS Church’s Prohibition vs. Coffee, Vaping, Marijuana and Any Habit-Forming Substances

In light of Starbucks’ impending plan of opening its first outlet near Brigham Young University of the Mormon church, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS, particularly the youth, are rewarned about the faith’s prohibition against coffee and any drinks containing caffeine.

As reassertion and renewal of the LDS church’s warnings, a comprehensive set of new guidelines were published in the August edition of the Mormon youth magazine New Era; furnishing clear statements pertaining to the prohibitions mentioned in the church’s “Word of Wisdom.”

The reiteration stated that there are no gray areas when it comes to the prohibitions prescribed as Mormon health codes. The “Word of Wisdom’s” forbiddance encompasses all habit-forming substances including tea, vapes, cigarettes, marijuana, or any drink that includes caffeine, mocha, espresso, latte or -ccino in its product name.

The need to reiterate the LDS church’s prohibition is also in light of the concerns raised by a 2016 survey, which revealed that four (4) out of every ten (10) active Mormons below 51 years old, who responded to the survey, admitted to having drank coffee during the past six months from the date the survey was taken.

Some Key Points about the New LDS Guidelines Clarifying the Prohibited Substances

The new guidelines though made clarification that prohibition against marijuana is only if the substance is used for recreational purposes. The guidelines made mention that marijuana if medically prescribed and administered, is not forbidden. In addition, it specifically states that recommendation of marijuana as prescribed treatment must come from competent medical practitioners.

Moreover, the guidelines no longer include the hardline prohibition against entering coffee-shops like Starbucks, which for many years were regarded as taboo. Instead, young Mormons are given advise that when ordering a drink from an outlet, particularly if the shop specializes in coffee beverages, to always ask first if the concoction includes coffee, caffeine or tea as an ingredient.

Vapes, even if advertised as an alternative to conventional cigarettes, still contain nicotine and have been ascertained as addictive substitutes as well. The prohibition therefore includes vapes that come in fruity or other alluring flavors.

About the LDS Church’s “Word of Wisdom”

The “Word of Wisdom” refers to the book containing 1833 section of the Doctrine and Covenants considered by Mormon faith as compilation of revelations from God that LDS founder Joseph Smith received in 1833.

Strict compliance with the health codes set in the “Word of Wisdom” is a prerequisite for Mormon baptism, for rendering full-time missionary work, in attending Mormon church schools, and in entering LDS places of worship. Violation of the code though is not considered as ground for excommunication or any form of disciplinary action.