following notes have been received in response to recent media coverage
of Dan Bryant's efforts to work toward civil rights for all citizens:
Dear Reverend Bryant,
I am in receipt of your letter, and as
a fellow pastor I would be remiss in not responding with a brief note to
express my deep concern for what you have written. I have been bothered
about it all weekend wondering how the Body of Christ could actually be
divided over such an enormously important moral issue with far reaching
impacts to this generation and our children's children. It's obvious we
don't share the same view point regarding what Scripture has to say
about the sacredness of marriage, and the sin of homosexuality. While I
would not choose to debate with you or anyone else whether you think
"Concerned Oregonians" or "The Defense of Marriage and Families
Again" as organizations have properly represented themselves (I
feel they have to us), the reason and motivations behind the very causes
should be much more of a concern I should think to those who are tasked
by God to shepherd others in the full counsel of His Word. These are the
battles we would perhaps expect to fight from those outside of the
church, not within.
As a minister of the Gospel, I can only fear for you being held to a
stricter judgment as a teacher and shepherd to disseminate such a
divisive message as you have just sent, and implementing at best cryptic
scare tactics for those churches who are willing to stand up to help
reverse an immoral law. You said, "as pastors we should all be wary
of those who blatantly violate the law and disregard the rules of our
democratic government." While I don't disagree we should not
violate civil authority for that would be sin, I don't believe that is
even close to an accurate representation of these groups. But way more
importantly I would be wary of those who blatantly violate Scripture,
and disregard His laws. My prayer is that you will repent for your
actions, and no longer buy the lies of the evil one. We will, each of
us, be judged at the Bema seat for every single thing we have said,
thought or done (I Cor. 3:13-15). I, for one, would not want to sit in
review of the position you have taken, as a pastor no less, which
clearly opposes the truths of His Word.
In His grace, by His power, for His
glory I serve,
A Pastor in Salem
A response to pastors who think
homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle:
God is very clear in His word. A person
has the freedom to accept His word
or not. What does God's word say about homosexuality? Here are the most
often cited passages from both Old and New Testaments:
'Do not lie with a man as one lies with
a woman; that is detestable.'
'If a man lies with a man as one lies
with a woman, both of them have
done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will
be on their own heads.' (Leviticus 20:13)
'Because of this, God gave them over to
shameful lusts. Even their
women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way
the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed
with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men,
and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.'
'Do you not know that the wicked will
not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor
adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves
nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit
the kingdom of God.' (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
' . . . knowing this: that the law is
not made for a righteous person, but
the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for
the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of
mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for
kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing
that is contrary to sound doctrine, '
(1 Timothy 1:9-10)
I have gay friends. It pains me to
think they are headed for judgment.
What is the most loving thing I can do? Accommodate their sin as they
stumble into hell, or try to dissuade them from following a destructive
The answer is obvious.
If my brother's house is on fire, do I
stand on the sidewalk and wish him
well, or do I rush in to save him?
It is not an act of love to standby and
pat people on the back while they
And it is not discrimination to
courageously speak the truth in love.
As to political considerations divorced
from theological considerations, we
have always held to the idea of community standards of morality as
by the majority.
All the current petitions seek to do is
put the matter before the people.
What the Oregon legislature and the
governor did was railroad their minority
view in opposition to the majority's will as expressed in passing
I'm constantly astounded at so-called
pastors who ignore God's word,
accommodate sin which is killing people, and bow to tyrants.
Lord help us.
As always, the Lord of Love shows the
When the religious hypocrites threw the
adulterous woman at Jesus' feet,
challenging him to give the order to stone her to death, the Master
for a teachable moment, challenged the sinners to cast the first stone,
loved the woman, and told her to "sin no more." He restored
her, not by
accommodating her sin, not by looking the other way, but by protecting
and leading her into the light, by His grace.
We must "go and do likewise."
We should neither condemn sinners, nor codify
sin into law.
I fear pastors who prefer accommodation
to salvation lean to their own
understanding, lead people to destruction, and dishonor the Lord, all in
'There is a way that seems right to a
man, but in the end it leads to death.'
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge
him, and he will make your paths straight.'
(Proverbs 3: 5,6)
After reading this morning's front-page
news story, I just have one thing to say: More power to you!
On a similar, yet unrelated topic: I
was attending the Eugene Celebration this past weekend, looking at
booths down in the park block when I heard two young women talking as
they passed a booth selling very liberal bumper stickers. One of the
young women was heard quoting a bumper sticker which read: "Jesus
is a Liberal," and then exclaiming with disgust, "They must be
kidding." The other young woman simply encouraged her friend to
keep moving, "Don't stop she said, just keep going."
I was sooooooo tempted to turn and say,
"Jesus was absolutely a liberal: He not only cared deeply for the
poor, he provided free medical care -- even if they didn't have health
Have a great day Dan!
I received your letter this week regarding the petition drives and I
wanted to thank you for spending the time and money to send it.
in the Big Love--
Dear Rev. Bryant,
Thank you for your letter stating that
the information that religious opponents to the two gay rights laws are
promising donors is incorrect/false. We appreciate that you have taken
this action, but we are not surprised, given all the important and
generous work you do for people in this community and around the world.
Dear Pastor Dan,
I volunteer at our church front desk,
and today, to pass some time, I was reading the Register-Guard. I was
horrified at the backlash occasioned by your letter to other pastors
about the misinformation concerning the availability of tax deductions
for those who signed petitions to gather signatures to repeal anti-gay
legislation signed by Governor Kulongoski.
I am a married heterosexual Christian,
and I have never been able to understand the anti-gay hysteria and
hatred. I have worked against every anti-gay measure since Measure 8,
the backlash created by Governor Neil Goldschmidt's legislation
protecting the rights of homosexuals.
I agree with you that, in the 21st
century, the most crucial civil rights issue is that of gay rights.
Having said that, I fear that all of our civil rights are in deep peril.
As Benjamin Franklin said, "We must indeed all hang together, or,
most assuredly, we shall all hang separately."
All this by way of wanting to help. I
plan to renew my connection with BRO. Can you give me some guidance on
other ways that I can help? I will give of my treasure and of my voice.
I hope you will be gentle in your assessment of the outpourings of my
Yours in Christ,
I applaud your effort at timely intervention to protect the gay rights
legislation pending Jan 08 implementation from right-wing Christian
forces that give Christians in general an unsavory name. No
commentaries on homosexuality were attributed to Jesus, or even on
marriage as far as I know, but He did reportedly talk a lot about love
without specificity regarding its recipients.
(And after all, He did travel about
with a group of guys and wasn't
himself married, so who knows?)
To me, gay "rights" is a
Constitutional slam-dunk, clearly required by
the 14th Amendment prohibiting any law "which shall abridge the
privileges...of citizens of the United States...nor deny to any
person...the equal protection of the laws." We live under the
Constitution, not the Book of Leviticus.
I was reminded of a title to a Agatha
Christie novel, and then there were none while reading the article that
dealt with your letter and its after affects. glad you wrote it. all of
us need someone at some time to add their voice to our defense. if not,
then it's only the voices of the rabble heard and what type of change
does that usually bring? I don't think I will ever understand how or why
civil liberty, equality or common decency seems to taunt so many.
your actions give Christianity a good
name. at least by the definition in my understanding of the bible.
Saw the article in the R-G. As they say
in CALC, we've got your back!
I am a member of docdisc - an online
listserve made up of Disciples clergy and laity. Today someone posted a
recent article from the yesterday's Register-Guardian regarding your
letter to Oregon clergy and the response by David Crowe. The original
posting was something to the effect that we should write to David Crowe
to correct his understanding of the polity of the Disciples of Christ.
Personally, I don't have much of a problem if our denomination is viewed
to be progressive on gay and lesbian policies.
So, my response is to instead write to
you and thank you for taking such an active part in this legislation in
Oregon. I do not live in your state and will not benefit directly from
your actions, but I think it is essential for clergy to be involved in
issues that involve the full humanity of all people. Particularly when
those issues seem to revolve around "religious" statements.
Thank you for your work. Please know
that you have at least one strong supported in Michigan!
Sat Nam Dan,
I was "heartened" by the
article in the RG of your courageous letter to Oregon pastors. I am
honored, as one of many I'm sure, to know a leader of faith who
possesses great compassion and integrity. Thank you for all you do to
enlighten and forward justice in the Name of God.
Eugene interfaith leader
During football season I frequently buy
a Guard to catch up on Duck football. When I saw Thursdays paper I
noticed the headline about the Eugene pastor and I had a hunch that it
was you. After reading the article, I was pleased that I was correct. I
applaud your position and your courage to make it known. I believe you
are correct when you state that gay rights are the defining social issue
of our times. It may take some time but I am confident that justice and
fairness will prevail. I think that future generations will be surprised
to learn that gays did not have equal rights just as today's students
are surprised to learn that women were not given the right to vote by
our founding fathers. Best wishes,
I am part of a distribution list of
"young Disciples" where they have been "discussing"
the article that appeared about your letter to pastors there in Oregon
related to the push for signatures regarding the issues of gay rights
and the phony tax credit. Their discussion has basically been focused on
our church's position (or non-position) on the issue of the ordination
of homosexuals and the various regional decisions in relation to this
I wanted to write to let you know that,
in reading the article in the Oregon newspaper, I was very proud of the
work you have done on this topic, and agree with your assessment that
the issue of "gay rights" is the major challenge not only to
our churches today, but also in society.
I hope your ministry continues to go
well there in Eugene. With best wishes,
Thank you for what you always do for
mankind and being a true Christian. Brought up as an orthodox Jew, my
religion has long ago left me.
But I sincerely admire what you do
constantly in your life. not
always popular, but always correct.
For two years I was a member of
Ebenezer Baptist Church. I was a great admirer of MLK. I always remember
what he siad "the opposite of love is apathy."
Thank you for your letter concerning
those groups who want to overturn our anti-discrimination laws. Well
state. I don't recall receiving a letter from them, but I could have
just tossed it in the recycling bin.
Your concern is shared here at our
church. Many thanks for your time and expense.
Lutheran pastor, Portland.
On most Tuesdays after my 4 hour
volunteer shirt at Hopewell Hospice House I drop by the Interchurch
Center on my way home to attend to different matters primarily with
either the Disciples or EMO. Today while in the Regional Office I saw a
copy of the Register-Guard Sep 16th editorial that you had emailed to
Doug & Cathy.
Dan, I simply desire to tell you how
much I appreciate your efforts to support gay rights. I suspect you were
a strong voice in that regard on the Governor's Task Force, and
obviously remain so. If the so-called "religious right"
manages to get enough signatures to hold a statewide referendum vote on
the legislature's passed Domestic Partnership Act (House Bill 2007) and
the Anti-Discrimination Act (Senate Bill 2), both signed into law by the
governor, it will indeed be a sad day for the State of Oregon. For I'm
not inclined to trust the general public on issues of basic human rights
that should not be subject to a vote in the first place as far as I'm
concerned. I've been an advocate of Constitutional Liberalism my entire
adult life, in which minorities are protected from tyranny by the
majority. I'm still embarrassed to this day that not many years ago
Oregonians joined in the homophobic milieu in much of our nation to
build into the Oregon State Constitution an explicit provision that
defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. Eventually, I'm
convinced such State constitutional provisions will be ruled by the U.S.
Supreme Court to be unconstitutional (but certainly not by the current
court), just as many years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that State
provisions against inter-racial marriage to be unconstitutional. If that
happens in my lifetime, is problematic, but in my view, it is not a
question of "if", but of "when". In the meantime,
many of us within the church must endure the immense irony that most of
the energy comes from quarters within the wider church to fight what in
the long term are pathetic 'rear guard' efforts to prevent or at least
slow down the evolving dynamic process & progress of Creative
Advances with Stubborn Facts of a still strong remnant of "old time
religion" that largely is fed by exclusive notions that orthodox
people are more favored by God than unorthodox that exhibit an un-Godly
"differentness" in some manner from the Godly orthodox.
Dan, thanks again for all your effort
in working for a more expansive humane Oregon community. Keep up your
A Disciple minister
I wanted to say thank you for on the
gay rights issue and congratulate you on your courage and forthrightness
in taking an open and publicly pro-active roll in this controversy. It
is nice to have a Christian pastor who shows the world that Christianity
and religious commitment/practice do not and should not represent rigid
fundamentalism, exclusion, prejudice or moral self-righteousness.
Thank you for your courageous act in
standing up for justice. Your letter, sent to 3000 other pastors in
Oregon, was truth in action and deeply appreciated by so many.