National Council of Churches Pres.: Jesus Never said Anything About Homosexuality or Abortion

By Gudrun Schultz

  WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2006 ( – Forget about traditional morality—Christianity should focus on eradicating poverty,  protecting the environment and ending the war in Iraq, according to the general secretary of the National Council of Churches, Dr. Bob Edgar.

“Jesus never said one word about homosexuality, never said one word about civil marriage or abortion,” said Dr. Edgar to CBS News at a recent gathering of liberal Christian leaders in Washington.

  The gathering was the latest effort by the “religious left” to gain back some of the political power the group enjoyed during the 60’s and early 70’s. 30 years ago liberal religious leaders used their political influence to lead demonstrations against social injustices such as civil rights abuses and the Vietnam War. Once those issues left the spotlight, liberal Christianity lost focus and faded to the background.

  Now, liberal Christian leaders are attempting to stage a return to power, targeting young voters and concentrating on increasing childcare funding and raising the minimum wage. The group wants to build a strong voter base to counter what it calls the “ground game” of the Christian right—the powerful voting block of traditional Christians that has significant influence on the country’s politics.

  Finding a unifying message that will allow the group to achieve political clout has been a struggle, observers have said. The New York Times reported in May on an earlier meeting by liberal Christian activists in Washington, a brainstorming session concentrating on identifying the group’s goals.

  During a session on ethical sexual behavior, the meeting bypassed discussion of concrete issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.  Instead, Rev. Ama Zenya of First Congregational Church in Oakland,  California, directed the gathering to discuss their spiritual values and “to practice fully our authentic being,” reported the Times.

  The results of the gathering were disappointing, said liberal Baptist minister Rev. Tony Campolo, who once acted as spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton, and attended the conference.

“We didn’t get on the same page with everyone, and it is about getting on the same page. The thing about the left is that they want everybody to feel good.”

  Dr. Edgar, who has been general secretary of the NCC since 2000, was applauded by homosexual activist organizations shortly after his election for withdrawing his signature from an ecumenical statement in defence of traditional marriage, “A Christian Declaration on Marriage.”

  Dr. Edgar also apologized to members of the homosexual community for originally endorsing the document, which was co-signed by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

  Read CBS coverage:

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