We would like to make you aware of an issue currently being discussed in the AG national office’s hometown of Springfield, Mo., which could impact you.
The Springfield City Council recently appointed a 15-member citizen task force to research a proposal that would add protections for gay and transgender residents to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
On April 22, fellow AG Pastor John Lindell, of James River Assembly, was invited to address this group, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Task Force, to offer “a theologically conservative viewpoint on the issue of the sexual orientation and gender identity ordinance.”
Pastor Lindell’s words were Biblical but loving, recognizing homosexuality as a sin no greater than any other with which we all struggle. A transcript of Pastor Lindell’s speech can be seen in full on his website at johnlindell.net.
In response, 23 local pastors from a variety of denominations drafted a letter, which was published in the Springfield News-Leader, claiming Pastor Lindell’s comments were hateful and outside of Scriptural context. The full letter is available here, sgfnow.co/ZYoudq.
While the issue of sin is never easy to address, Pastor Lindell involved himself because of its effect on the First Amendment right of Christians, including AG members and leaders, to operate their businesses without fear of legal action for refusing to hire or provide services based on sexual orientation. This includes examples such as a catering company declining to serve a homosexual wedding or celebration because of religious convictions.
The AG national office commends Pastor Lindell for his bold, Biblical stance and AG General Superintendent Dr. George O. Wood has released a letter in his support. This was sent yesterday to the Springfield News-Leader for publication, but we were informed it was too long for their opinion section. Not wanting to minimize its importance by cutting it down, Dr. Wood provided the letter for Pastor Lindell to publish on his blog, johnlindell.net/?p=246.
While this is a local issue, we know that due to the political climate, contention over the issue and the Internet, it could soon escalate into a national conversation. If this happens, you could receive questions from your local congregation, friends and media representatives. Therefore, we wanted to make you aware, provide you with the facts and offer suggested responses.