Minneapolis, Minn., Aug 21, 2009 / 07:41 pm (CNA).- The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) on Wednesday approved a new policy that no longer declares marriage as “the appropriate place” for sexual relations, but rather calls for “social trust” in associations that are “loving” and “committed.” One critic characterized the move as an embrace of moral relativism.
The ELCA claims about 4.6 million members. Its numbers have declined by 1 million over the past forty years.
The ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly, meeting from August 17 to 23 at the Minneapolis Convention Center, formerly said that marriage is “the appropriate place for sexual intercourse.” Such language is absent from the new policy, which says that heterosexual relationships are “best served through binding commitment, legal protections, and the public accountability of marriage.”
“Some cohabitation arrangements can be constructed in ways that are neither casual nor intrinsically unstable,” the policy adds.
The policy calls for “social trust” in relationships that are “loving,” “life-giving,” “fulfilling,” “nurturing,” and “committed.”
On the issue of homosexuality, the ELCA claimed that “consensus” does not exist and recognized four “conscience-bound beliefs” ranging from disapproval of all homosexual relations to honoring them as equally valid marriages.Read more