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A group of evangelical leaders who released “the Nashville Statement” on Tuesday — reiterating historic Christian viewpoints toward same-sex marriage and transgender rights — have come under fire from critics on social media and Nashville’s mayor.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), consisting of a number of evangelical Christian leaders, published a manifesto aimed at addressing issues of sexuality. It was endorsed by scholars, pastors and leaders at a Nashville conference Friday.
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“The spirit of our age does not delight in God’s good design of male and female. Consequently, confusion reigns over some of the most basic questions of our humanity,” CBMW President Denny Burk said in the statement.
“The aim of the Nashville Statement is to shine a light into the darkness – to declare the goodness of God’s design in our sexuality and in creating us as male and female.”
Those signing the statement include at least two prominent evangelical figures who are among President Trump’s evangelical advisers: Southern Baptist pastor Jack Graham and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, the Washington Post reported.
Perkins reportedly recommended to Trump that he ban transgender people from military service, the New York Times reported.
The document includes 14 points on issues such as gay, lesbian and transgender rights, and marriage — rejecting what the signers describe as an attitude of “moral indifference” toward those issues.
The first point, for example, reiterates the mainstream Christian position that marriage is between a man and a woman:
“We affirm that God has designed marriage to be covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church,” reads the point, while adding that the group is against same-sex marriage.
“We deny that God has designed marriage to be a homosexual, polygamous, or polyamorous relationship. We also deny that marriage is a mere human contract rather than a covenant made before God.”
The manifesto also takes a swing at transgender issues, claiming in the fifth point that “the differences between male and female reproductive structures are integral to God’s design for self-conception as male or female.”
In perhaps the most criticized point, the coalition affirms that “homosexual immorality or transgenderism” is a “departure from Christian faithfulness” and it is not an issue that “otherwise faithful Christian should agree to disagree.”
The document attracted a number of critics. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry tweeted that the document is “poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.”
Other Twitter users denounced the statement for alleged bigoted views.
HBO’s Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani, tweeted to his 1.7 million followers: “F*** the #NashvilleStatement. F*** the evil s— that people justify using religion.”
“The God I know does not support the #NashvilleStatement,” wrote Black Lives Matter leader Deray Mckesson.
Moms Demand founder Shannon Watts attacked the group that drafted the document for voting for Trump and suggesting that “Jesus has been hijacked.”
Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro, however, pointed out that the statement’s points are merely mainstream Christian viewpoints.
“Did I miss the part of the #NashvilleStatement where any serious Christian doctrine changed in the slightest?” he tweeted, adding “File this one under the same category as ‘Pope Condemns Abortion.’”