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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Nashville Statement slams LGBTQI community and sexual freedom

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This article was updated on 9/3/17 at 12:41 p.m.

A coalition of conservative, evangelical leaders met in Nashville this week to draft and publish a statement they called the Nashville Statement. The document includes 14 “articles” covering topics from prohibition of premarital sex to the connection between biological sex and gender identity to the sin of same-sex relationships. More than 150 conservative evangelicals from across the country signed the initial statement.

“We affirm that God has designed marriage to be a covenantal, sexual, procreative, lifelong union of one man and one woman, as husband and wife, and is meant to signify the covenant love between Christ and his bride the church,” reads Article 1 of the statement.

“We affirm that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness,” the statement continues in Article 10.

The statement was drafted by the Louisville, KY-based group, The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, which was formed in 1987. The group convened at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center as part of the annual conference for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

Vanderbilt University hasn’t released a response to the statement, and The Hustler is waiting for comments from the Chancellor’s office.

Melissa Thomas-Hunt, the new Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, said in an email to the Hustler that Vanderbilt’s clear prohibition of all discrimination, including explicitly that of sexual orientation and gender identity, serves as a “clear position on the content of the so-called Nashville Statement.”

Additionally, Vanderbilt actively recruits LGBTQI students and works to make them feel like they belong at Vanderbilt, Thomas-Hunt added. While she encourages students to discuss and debate the content of the Nashville Statement, she reminds students that Vanderbilt will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.

“While the so-called Nashville Statement was drafted and issued by individuals attending a conference in Nashville, it is clearly not of Nashville,” Thomas-Hunt said. “The University stands with those who reject the discriminatory language of the Nashville Statement and assert the inclusive character of our local community.”

Emilie Townes, the Dean of the Divinity School, released a response to the statement.

Nashville mayor Megan Berry declared her opposition to the statement, saying that it is “poorly named and does not represent the inclusive values of the city & people of Nashville.”

Three friends and Nashville residents — Corey Pigg, Melissa Greene and Matthew Paul Turne––drafted a response to the Nashville Statement known as the Accurate Nashville Statement, which focuses on the inclusion and support in Nashville of all sexual and gender identities by both religious and non-religious residents and groups.

“We love you just the way you are – no matter where you land on the spectrum of the LGTBQIA+ continuum,” the counter-statement reads. “There is great diversity expressed in humanity through our wide array of unique sexualities and gender identities.”

According to the Tennessean, the Accurate Nashville Statement garnered between 500 and 750 signatures within a couple of hours.

Additionally, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee ran a full-page ad in the Tennessean on Aug. 27 including over 2,300 signatures on a document known as the Nashville Unites Resolution, supported by mayor Megan Berry.  

“We resolve that if fate leads someone to Nashville, we will embrace them as our own,” the resolution reads.

This story will be updated as the Hustler receives more information regarding the University’s response.

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About the Contributor
Sarah Friedman, Former Editor in Chief

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6 years ago

It is the evangelical right. Why is this a surprise and worth writing about as if the evangelical right in Nashville is supposed to apparently be above other evangelicals elsewhere?