People always deserve respect because they are people; but ideas don't, they need to be challenged. Regarding "Homosexuality isn't a sin," (Public Forum, April 28) one has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.
The question about ordination of practicing gays, not just "homosexuality" in general, was not raised "by the people in the pews" as stated, but introduced by the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It was not introduced by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod leadership, hence no debate there. Members of the ELCA never asked for this divisive ordination debate, or for the Historic Episcopacy, or a hymnal emended of masculine pronouns, or the renaming of God, or a surrender of their Lutheran liturgical heritage, or a departure from the authority of Scripture in matters of faith and life. Let's be clear about what "the pews" raised.
Second, anyone who says "in my opinion" must be willing to live with the consequences of their opinion. You can say, "In my opinion the holocaust never happened, or slavery is Biblical, or women should keep silent in church." But are you ready to accept the consequences? In the Dred Scott decision the Supreme Court rendered its "opinion" that black people are not fully human, and therefore not eligible for constitutional rights.
You have a right to your opinion, as long as the rest of us don't have to suffer under the consequences of your opinion. If the church (not society, we're talking ELCA here) decides to approve practicing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people for ordination, as proposed, what would be the unintended consequences on world mission fields, on ecumenical relationships with Rome, on evangelism, etc.?
Can you/we live with it?
The universal "sin" to talk about is lust: heterosexual, homosexual, pornographic, polygamous, and immoral lust. When lust goes unchecked, people get hurt, babies get killed in the womb, and there's disease. The Scriptures establish the norms and boundaries for the proper use of sexuality, within the bonds of a lifelong union between one man and one woman. Fidelity and chaste living are what God intends for our happiness and well-being. But... people have "opinions."
Rev. Norman P. Olsen, Starbuck