News24

Gay OK 'if good for Gospel'

2005-10-30 22:47

Johannesburg - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa has come out in support of polygamy and homosexuality - provided they promote the cause of the Gospel.

The church's bishop, Louis Sibiya, said on Sunday that there was not a simple "yes" or "no" answer as to whether a self-confessing gay person could be married and even ordained in the church, or whether a polygamist could be ordained into the ministry.

"Rather, we should ask how the acceptance and/or non-acceptance of these promote the course of the Gospel," he said, speaking at 30th anniversary celebrations of the church in southern Africa at Kempton Park, according to a statement.

"If we think that to elect as bishop he who has 14 wives will advance better the course of the Gospel, let it be so.

"If a gay presiding bishop would - in our opinion - advance even better the course of the Gospel, let it be so."

Sibiya added that the same support and conditions should apply were condoms to be kept in churches, diocesan offices and in parsonages, and pastors carried them on home visits.

He also questioned the custom of providing expensive funerals, saying that research had shown that the average cost of a funeral is R30 000.

"We need to be looking at traditions and customs that perpetuate poverty and suffering - and such funerals are one of them."

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa has a membership of 700 000 with 460 active pastors, 26 evangelists and 24 deaconesses, according to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America web site.