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Liberal Church Leaders Letter to the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand by Lnyt5Byt


									A Response to the Pastoral Letter of the Catholic Bishops of New Zealand to young
New Zealanders.

Dear Gentlemen,

We write in response to your recent pastoral letter addressing the Marriage Amendment
Bill coming before Parliament. We too are members of the Christian community yet
hold a different view. We think it’s time the Church recognizes and encourages those in
same gender relationships who wish to pledge their love and fidelity to each other in the
rite of marriage.

We know that your Church has generously and compassionately offered pastoral love to
many thousands and yet has often, like other churches, remained silent on issues of
justice and the full inclusion of gay and lesbian men and women in our community. You
have from time to time also made statements continuing to regard LGBT people as
abnormal. You now seem to be fearful of their wish to celebrate their love in committed

Marriage has been expressed in many different forms over the centuries. In the Bible
marriage was often polygamous, often did not presume sexual fidelity from the male,
usually assumed male dominance, and usually was about property, inheritance and
kinship. It seems the Biblical pattern for God-ordained marriages is that different kinds
of unions were accepted in different places and times, evolving in tandem with broader
cultural shifts. To suggest, as you do, that marriage based on Biblical precepts is frozen
in stone and cannot develop or change, is to ignore reality. Even within your own
historical tradition, fresh Biblical insights and understandings, often led by Papal
encyclicals, have brought changes in attitude and direction.

The Adam and Eve text you refer to is a mythic story which has woman being fashioned
from man’s rib. Historically it has not been interpreted as presuming the man will have
only one wife. The text was used by Jesus to prohibit divorce, a position most churches
have repudiated, but was not to promote a nuclear family of dad, one mum, and kids.

Your affirmation of ‘the family’ does not acknowledge this changing nature of marriage
over the centuries. The equality, mutuality, and love that the Church now expects in a
couple’s relationship and sees as the essence of marriage is quite recent in human and
Christian history. Your statement that marriage is about ‘hoping to have and to raise
children’ seems to ignore the fact that many couples today choose not to have children,
or are of an age or state of health where it is not possible, or that many children are
raised in families where one or both of the biological parents are not present. You also
seem to ignore the many thousands of NZ children who are currently being parented by
same gender couples, to whom you should also extend your pastoral care rather than
your implied condemnation of their families.
Your approach to what is ‘natural’ does not seem to take account of the peer-reviewed
research from the scientific community over the last 20+ years. You seem to be
overlooking that homosexuality is present in many species, and not just when there is
overpopulation. You seem to be overlooking that sexual orientation for the vast majority
of people is not a choice. You seem to be overlooking that a failure to re-examine the
Bible and Church teachings in the light of modern day science is to be culpable of
continuing to perpetuate prejudice.

While we concur that ‘not all persons can or should be married’, it is markedly unjust
that any heterosexual couple can decide to be married, while a same sex couple who
may have shared and displayed a committed love for decades are denied. Your
inability to acknowledge this injustice damages your credibility.

As fellow Christians we call on you to re-consider your position in the light and hope of
the Spirit of Jesus, and ask you to respect the dignity, freedom, and committed love of
same gender couples to enter into the rite of marriage.

Revd Dr Susan Adams (Anglican)

Peter Bargh (Anglican)

Dr Margaret Bedggood (Anglican)

Revd Jenny Blood (Anglican)

Revd Clare Brockett (Presbyterian)

Revd Richard Bonifant (Anglican)

Robyn Brown (Anglican)

Revd Glynn Cardy (Anglican)

Revd Dr David Clark (Presbyterian)

Revd Geraldine Coats (Methodist)

Revd Ray Coats (Methodist)

Emily Colgan (Anglican)

Revd Anthony Dancer (Anglican)

Revd Brian Dawson (Anglican)
Revd Dr Jenny Dawson (Anglican)

Revd Martin Dickson (Presbyterian)

Revd Christopher Douglas-Huriwai (Anglican)

Revd Don Elder (Anglican)

Revd Erice Fairbrother (Anglican)

Revd Tony Franklin-Ross (Methodist)

Revd Dr Lynne Frith (Methodist)

Revd Diane Gilliam-Weeks (Presbyterian)

Revd Dr Mark Hendrickson (Anglican)

Revd Wilf Holt (Anglican)

Revd Dr Geoff King (Presbyterian)

Revd Dr Matthew Jack (Presbyterian)

James R Langton (Anglican)

Revd Dr Warren Limbrick (Anglican)

Revd Heather Lindauer QSM (Anglican)

Revd Dr Margaret Mayman (Presbyterian)

Revd Ann Mellor (Anglican)

Revd Peter Minson (Anglican)

Revd Anne Moody (Anglican)

Revd Linda Murphy (Anglican)

Rosemary Neave (Anglican)

Revd Clay Nelson (Anglican)

Dr Elizabeth Niven (Anglican)

Revd Canon Paul Oestreicher (Anglican)

Revd Fraser Paterson (Presbyterian)
Revd Dr Howard Pilgrim (Anglican)

Revd Edward Prebble (Anglican)

Revd Anne Priestley (Anglican)

Revd Sande Ramage (Anglican)

Revd Diana Rattray (Anglican)

Revd Ian Render (Anglican)

Revd Sandy Robertson (Anglican)

Revd Dr John Salmon (Methodist)

Revd Bob Scott (Anglican)

Revd Fr Ngira Simmonds (Anglican)

Revd Chris Swannell (Anglican)

Revd Peter Sykes (Anglican)

Revd Vicki Sykes (Anglican)

Revd Michael Tamihere (Anglican)

Tom Watts (Quaker)

Revd Norman Wilkins (Presbyterian)

Revd Jeremy Younger (Anglican)

Petra Zaleski (Anglican)

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