CEP: Concluding Round 2

This post is a summary/breakdown of the results from Round 1 and Round 2 of the church email project, in which I asked 118 Christian churches for a statement on asexuality, celibacy, and nonsexual marriages.

I don’t expect to get any more replies after this, but if I do, they’ll be put up and this post will be updated accordingly.  Note that, in categorizing responses, I refer to some of them as “anti-LGBT” despite, in most cases, the absence of any reference to the T.  This is because I assume (perhaps wrongly) that Christians who are morally opposed to homosexuality would also be morally opposed to transitioning.

Links to each response are provided so that you may make your own judgements.

Altogether, broken down by denomination, we got:

1 UCC response

  • positive, acceptance of asexuality as an orientation; LGBT-friendly

6 Methodist responses

  • positive, welcoming of asexual and celibate people; gay-friendly
  • positive, welcoming of asexual people and equally accepting of celibate singlehood and nonsexual marriages; LGBT-friendly (female pastor)
  • mixed, welcoming of asexual and celibate people but “As far as marriage is concerned I would assume that the church would affirm some kind of civil union rather than marriage.”
  • positive, welcoming of asexual people, but recognizes that “we would most certainly have a learning curve”; LGBT-friendly
  • positive/indeterminate, welcoming of celibate people; LGBT-friendly (female pastor)
  • positive, welcoming of asexual people, LGBT-friendly (female pastor)

3 Episcopalian responses

  • positive, welcoming of asexual and celibate people; gay-friendly
  • positive, welcoming of asexual people and celibate single people, tenuous acceptance of nonsexual marriages (female pastor)
  • indeterminate, couldn’t make heads or tails of this one

4 Lutheran responses (WELS, LCMS, and two ELCA, respectively)

  • negative, expresses tentative acceptance of asexuals who “devote themselves to full time service of God” but otherwise shows strong bias against celibate loners (viewing them as selfish), stresses the importance of reproduction, cites the “male and female He created them” verse, literally argues that Adam and Eve and other important Biblical figures were not asexual; vibes that were anti-LGBT and probably racist
  • negative, confused by asexuality, accepting of permanent celibacy but calls nonsexual marriages “oxymoronic”; overt anti-LGBT sentiments
  • positive, welcoming of asexual and celibate people; implied to be LGB-friendly as well (female pastor)
  • indeterminate/positive, tacitly implied acceptance of asexual and celibate people (references an official ELCA statement, however, that uses phrases like “God creates human beings as sexual creatures”)

2 Church of the Nazarene responses

  • positive, welcoming of asexual people and mixed-gender nonsexual marriages; unclear stance on LGBT identities because he says “I will love you no matter your orientation” but then begins a sentence with “If a man and a woman choose to marry” (other possibilities are not addressed)
  • negative, he says asexuality has “no clear moral implications” but quotes a passage (from a denominational manual, not the Bible) that describes sexuality as important in marriage and reads like a skeevy Christian version of sex-positivity; overt anti-LGBT sentiments

2 Baptist responses

  • negative, cites the “male and female He created them” verse, believes it’s important that people “fully experience sex according to God’s design”, implies he would pity an asexual person and send them to therapy; hugely anti-LGBT
  • positive, welcoming of celibate people; also very anti-LGBT

1 Presbyterian response

  • positive, welcoming of asexual and celibate people

2 Catholic responses

  • indeterminate, “our stance is that of the Catholic Church”
  • indeterminate, “We function in unity with the Church and its Magisterium”

1 non-denominational response

  • mixed/negative, acceptance of asexuality, celibacy, and nonsexual marriages, but places significance on a distinction between being asexual “by nature” and being asexual because of trauma, the latter of which he believes people should try to change

Plus, indeterminate non-responses from 1 Baptist, 1 Catholic, 1 Bible Church, 1 non-denominational, and 3 Presbyterian people who all wanted to know who I am and/or to meet me in person.

I should note, as I have before, that this is neither an empirical study nor necessarily a representative sample; all of the churches contacted are located within the same small geographic area.  I don’t have the means or the resources to do better.

But from what I can tell, as far as this grants, there seems to be a correlation between LGBT-friendliness and ace-friendliness.  There have been no negative responses from LGBT-friendly pastors.  The pastors whose opinions on gayness are negative or unstated were also more likely to misunderstand what asexuality is, show less enthusiastic support for (or outright deny the validity of) nonsexual marriages, and generally uphold sexual norms.

One thing that surprised me, though, was that questions about celibacy and a lack of sexual attraction would yield so much focus on gender — although apparently non-het orientations are viewed as “gender confusion”, so I guess it figures.  Two different responding pastors felt like asserting the gender binary was somehow relevant to the conversation, citing the verse about humans being created as male & female, which suggests that for heteronormative Christians, sexual expression is an important part of gender conformance.

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