Church leaders respond

to same-sex marriage controversy



With the recent uproar in Alabama concerning same-sex marriage, The Blount Countian contacted 20 pastors from different areas and denominations throughout Blount County asking them to state their views on the issue. Of those, six responded. Here are their answers:

“I will simply state that the Catholic Church clearly defines marriage as between a man and a woman only. Also, the Catholic Church will never recognize marriage between same-sex people. The Catholic Church loves all people. However, just because you love someone does not mean that you should support something that is clearly not in God’s plan. There’s really nothing more to say.”

Father John Hartsfield; Corpus Christi Catholic Church

“Make no mistake about it, FBCO loves homosexuals. We love lesbians. God loves homosexuals. God loves lesbians. We love drunks, murderers, thieves, drug addicts, etc. and so does God. However, God does not approve of those lifestyles, so neither can we. We realize no one is perfect, but God loves us too much to leave us the way He found us. Every time homosexuality is addressed in the Bible it is condemned. But, if you are struggling in this area, hear me clearly…God deeply loves you and so do we. You are welcome to attend this church.”

Larry Gipson; First Baptist Church of Oneonta

“The Father’s exclusive marital design from the beginning of time was outlined by Jesus himself, and any deviation from His original blueprint is obviously an offense to God (Mt. 19:4-5). To avoid ‘fornication,’ every man is to have his own wife (and vice versa, I Cor. 7:2). Even though in verse 9 of that context Paul states,“it is better to marry than to burn”; he also wrote that ‘…God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another…’ (Rom. 1:26-28). From this, we learn that not all ‘burning’ is natural, and can/must be overcome through Christ who strengthens us (I Cor. 6:9-11; Phil 4:13).’

Jeff Belknap; Skyline Church of Christ

“In the United Methodist Church we affirm that sexuality is God’s good gift to all persons and that this gift of God is to be used responsibly. For us, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage. We also affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth, created in the image of God and in need of the ministry of the church to enable reconciling relationships with God, with others, and with self. The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm, though, that God’s grace is available to all. Ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions cannot be conducted by United Methodist ministers nor can they be conducted in United Methodist churches.”

Barry Hallman; Lester Memorial United Methodist Church

“Locust Fork Baptist Church believes that the Bible is the Word of God. It is our authority and truth. We believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman following biblical principles. We believe that God created man and woman for each other. We believe that God established families through the marriage relationship of a man and a woman. We believe that God hates sin, but loves the sinner. Locust Fork Baptist is a ‘people’s church.’ We are a church where people from all walks of life and a diversity of backgrounds can gather and be warmly accepted and loved. We strive to be the arms of Christ gathering the hurt, broken, discouraged and lost. Our mission at Locust Fork Baptist is to lead all people into a saving, loving and passionate relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Rufus Harris; Locust Fork Baptist Church

“I am not in support of the ruling to allow same-sex marriage. The Bible is very clear as to marriage being between one man and one woman. As Christians, the Bible instructs us that we are to be the ‘salt of the earth’and ‘light of the world.’ Understanding this command from Jesus means we have a call to preserve Bible teachings and guide in biblical principles. This means standing for, not “traditional” marriage but biblical marriage (one man one woman). This also means we MUST call sin…sin. This in no way means we as believers in Christ do not love the gay community. We must love them because Jesus loves them. We must share the good news that Jesus forgives. We are all sinners is what the Bible teaches.”

Dr. Michael Jones; CrossRoads Baptist