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Joined: 2003/6/11
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Santa Cruz California

 INTERVIEW-Gays, US evangelicals urged to seek common ground

INTERVIEW-Gays, US evangelicals urged to seek common ground
06 Nov 2006 23:20:23 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Ed Stoddard
DALLAS, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Some good could come from the downfall of disgraced pastor Ted Haggard if it leads to a reconciliation between the evangelical and gay communities, a leading evangelical Christian said on Monday.

Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, which Haggard led until he resigned over allegations that he had sex with a male escort, also said gays and lesbians should not be demonized from the pulpit.

"There may be good that comes from this. I think there could be some reconciliation between the evangelical community and gay people," Cizik told Reuters by telephone from Virginia. "This doesn't mean we are going to alter our position on what the Bible teaches about homosexuality."

The NAE is a loose-knit umbrella organization claiming to represent 60 denominations and 30 million Americans.

Many evangelical Christians -- who view the Bible as the received word of God -- contend there are many Biblical passages explicitly forbidding homosexual relations.

"But this in turn doesn't mean we should demonize people who follow a gay or lesbian lifestyle," Cizik said.

Gay rights activists object to the term "lifestyle" because it suggests they choose their sexual orientation.

Cizik said gays and evangelicals already share some common ground, notably concern about the AIDS pandemic in America and Africa.

The issue of evangelicals and gays was reopened after Haggard, a vocal opponent of gay marriage and a poster boy for conservative causes, admitted on Sunday he was guilty of unspecified "sexual immorality" in a letter read on his behalf at his New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Haggard also resigned as senior pastor at New Life, a 14,000 member "mega-church" which he founded in 1985.

"This may lead to some effort to reach mutual understanding. Gay activists often say we are unwilling to admit that there are people among us in the closet who are tempted by a homosexual orientation and evangelicals will now have to admit this," Cizik said.

[b]"We should care about what others say. Just listening to what others say would be an act of reconciliation especially given America's fractious culture wars. Let's see what we have in common, such as concerns about AIDS, rather than stressing our differences."[/b][i](emphasis mine)[/i]

Cizik described himself as [b]a conservative Christian who has embraced other causes such as the fight against global warming which is more in line with "liberal" stances.[/b][i] (emphasis mine)[/i]

patrick heaviside

 2006/11/8 12:20Profile

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