Tom Strode writes for Baptist Press:
A government that criminalizes homosexual behavior “has overstepped its bounds drastically and unjustly,” say two leading Southern Baptist ethicists.
Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), and Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the same entity, wrote in a March 3 essay they remain aligned with the Bible’s view of sexuality while also contending homosexuals should not be targeted by the law.
They believe, Moore and Walker said, what the church has affirmed traditionally and universally — “that sexuality is to be expressed only within the one-flesh union of the marriage of a man to a woman. Anything else is a sin against God. The church has believed this, and will always believe this, because the Bible teaches it.
“At the same time, we believe laws criminalizing homosexual activity to be unjust and an affront to the image of God embedded in all persons,” they wrote in the commentary, which was posted at the ERLC’s “Canon & Culture” blog channel.
The comments from Moore and Walker came in the wake of additional countries criminalizing homosexual activity.
Uganda enacted a law Feb. 24 that includes life sentences for people convicted of repeated homosexual activity and imprisonment for “aiding and abetting” homosexuality, according to a March 7 article by The Christian Science Monitor. In January, Nigeria approved a similar measure that authorizes 10-year prison sentences for same-sex couples observed kissing publicly and people visiting a gay club, the newspaper reported.
The United Nations (U.N.) reports 78 countries either have laws that criminalize homosexual behavior or have prosecuted lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people under other laws. Seven regimes — mostly Islamic states in Africa and the Middle East — have authorized capital punishment for homosexual conduct, according to the U.N.
Their principal reason for opposing such laws is the Gospel of Jesus, said Moore and Walker, who wrote, “Not everything that is sinful should be a crime.”
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