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CCI Pastoral Statement on LGBT

Responding to the controversy that arose and developed within the churches and in
the community concerning the existence of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender), the Executive Committee Meeting of the Communion of Churches in
Indonesia (CCI) would like to express some considerations as noted below. We have
realized that the attitude and the churches teachings on this matter are very
diverse, and these considerations are not intended to homogenize them. These
considerations are actually an invitation to the member churches to explore this
issue further. The Ex-Comm would be very grateful if the result of the deepening of
the churches reflection could provide basic thoughts as a feedback to the Ex-Comm
in order to enhance CCIs position and views on this matter.
1. Humanity is the perfect image and likeness of God. As the image of God is
perfect, humanitys dignity must be respected and upheld.
2. God created human beings and all the creation, which are diverse and different
from each other. We live in a diversity of races, ethnicities, genders, sexual
orientations, and religions. This diversity is a reality that God has given us, and we
should accept it with a positive and realistic attitude.
3. Being positive and realistic in our views of this diversity means that we have to
accept, love, and respect each other. Being positive and realistic about the Godgiven diversity means that we have to seek to understand and accept all differences
with love. Being positive and realistic about diversity means that we are against all
forms of hatred, injustice, discrimination, exploitation, and oppression of our fellow
human beings, all beings, and all of Gods creation. Instead, we seek to articulate all
differences without prejudice. Being positive and realistic means that we are to
maintain and preserve the diverse human community that would bring goodness for
humanity, for all living beings, and the earth.
Point of departure
4. Talking about LGBT people is talking about human beings who are created by
God, a God who loves us very much.
5. Human existence and their LGBT orientation is an oddity that have existed for
ages. LGBT people are neither the product of modern culture nor the product of
Western cultures. LGBT exists in our society and anthropologically LGBT people
have always been accommodated in some of the tribal cultures in our society.
6. When we are faced with a moral issue, one of the biggest problems arising is
from the way we interpret Bible texts. The interpretation of Scriptural texts that
ignore the intent and purpose of the writers could potentially produce an entirely
different interpretation of the purpose of the writing of that text. With regard to
LGBT, the Bible indeed speaks about this situation, but the Bible does not give us a
moral-ethical assessment of their existence. The Bible does not criticize sexual
orientation. What the Bible criticizes is sexual misconduct and exploitation
committed by anyone, including heterosexual people, or those who are considered

normal. The main message in the creational story of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:
26-28; 2:18, 21-24), for example, is about the forerunner to the institution of the
family and that human was given the responsibility to fill the earth and to take care
of it. This story is not at all intended to deny the existence of LGBT people.
7. There are several other texts in the Bible that are interpreted incorrectly so that
those passages are concluded to be judgmental towards LGBT people. Yet through a
more accurate interpretation, the criticism of those biblical verses are actually
directed at other issues. For example: The Bible very strongly criticizes fertility
worship (the worship of Baal and Asherah, Judges 3: 7; 2 Kings 23: 4) by the
neighboring nations of Israel at the time, who practiced sodomy devotion, a sexual
behavior which was part of religious worship of Baal (Deuteronomy 23: 17-18); as
well as the Roman paganism in the New Testament (Romans 1: 23-32). The Bible
also criticizes xenophobic attitudes towards foreigners by the people of Sodom by
practicing sexual exploitation of their same sex. The aim is to embarrass them
(Genesis 19: 5-11 and Judges 19: 1-30). Therefore, these parts of the Bible were not
intended to attack, reject or discriminate against LGBT people. Other Bible texts,
which are often used to judge LGBT people include Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; 1 Cor. 6:
9-10; 1 Tim. 1:10. What was rejected in these biblical texts is all kinds of sexual
misconduct and exploitation, carried out by anyone, on any basis, including on
religious grounds, and was directed against anyone, that is, against women, men
and children.
8. CCI reminds us all to consider the results of cutting-edge research in the field of
medicine and psychiatry that no longer include LGBT sexual orientation as a
disease, as mental disorders or as any form of crime. Statements of the World
Health Organization, Human Rights International, which is based on the research
progress of medical science can help us understand the existence of LGBT people
and fight for their rights as human beings. The Association of Indonesian
Psychiatrists (PDSKJI) referring to the Guidelines for Classification and Diagnosis of
Mental Disorders in Indonesia edition II 1983 (PPDGJ II) and PPDGJ III (1993) states
that to be LGBT is not a mental illness. Neither is it a spiritual illness. In many cases,
the tendency to being LGBT is experienced as something natural that has been
received since a person is born; even though there could be cases of LGBT
tendencies that occur as a result of social influences. It is difficult to distinguish
what is natural and what is nurture, that is, caused by social influences. Even so, for
many people, LGBT tendency is not an option, but something given. Therefore,
being LGBT, especially for those who were born into it, is not a sin, and we should
not force them to repent. We also should not force them to change, but on the
contrary, we must help them so that they can accept themselves as a gift of God.
9. The Church, as an inclusive fellowship and as the family of God, must learn to
accept LGBT people as an integral part of our community as the Body of Christ.
We must provide opportunities for them to grow as a whole human being physically,
mentally, socially, and spiritually.
10. CCI urges its member churches to prepare themselves and carry out their
pastoral guidance to their families in order to enable them to accept, embrace, and

love their family members who happen to be LGBT. Familys rejection of their
members who are LGBT could potentially create psychiatric disorders, creating a
self-denial (self-rejection), which results in the increasing potential for suicide
among LGBT.
11. So far, many LGBT people have suffered physically, psychologically, socially,
and spiritually because of religious stigmatizations and violent behaviors committed
by some people. They have become humiliated, ostracized, and discriminated even
by the State. Churches must take a different stance. Churches must not only accept
them, but instead they have to fight so that LGBT people can be accepted and their
rights recognized by both the society and the State, especially the right to not be
discriminated against or be excluded, the right to protection against violence, the
right to obtain a job, and so on. The stakeholders of this country must ensure that
the rights and dignity of LGBT people are respected! LGBT people should be given
the opportunity to live in justice and peace.
12. CCI is calling its member churches, communities and the nation to accept and
even fight for the rights and dignity of LGBT people. Our greatness as a civilized
nation can be seen from our ability to accept and help those who actually are
experiencing discrimination and injustice. However, CCI is aware that member
churches and the people of Indonesia are not ready to accept same-sex marriage.
CCI along with its member churches and all members of the society still requires
dialogue and in-depth theological conversation regarding this matter.
13. LGBT people themselves are not the problem. LGBT people become a problem
because we create this problem. We are the ones who gave them a negative
stigma. Therefore, it takes maturity, humility, a rational attitude as well as the
ability to be fair in dealing with this issue. We should keep away from the tendency
to judge or mislead anyone. Instead, we must learn to establish a national unity and
a fellowship of humankind based on equality and justice.
14. We would like to first of all convey this pastoral letter to the churches in
Indonesia, and also to the entire Indonesian society. As churches we would continue
to direct ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to deepen our understanding
and strengthen our faith and commitment on accepting LGBT people.
Jakarta, May 28, 2016
The Executive Committee of the
Communion of Churches in Indonesia