News From Terre Haute, Indiana


January 4, 2014

READERS' FORUM: Jan. 5, 2014


Religious leaders make statement opposing HJR-6

As leaders of Christian faith communities in Indiana we share a common concern surrounding the proposed amendment to the state constitution of Indiana, HJR-6. The members and ministers of our congregations and our particular denominations have differing interpretations of marriage and yet we affirm the right and responsibility of each faith tradition to maintain its teaching and to bless and sanctify the union of persons in ways that are consistent with their belief.

The proposed amendment to our state constitution does not strengthen that practice which will endure irrespective of and without the reinforcement of a state-defined concept of marriage.

The proposed amendment can be read, most particularly in its second clause, as a statement that expresses an unwelcoming attitude toward a particular population within our society. Our common tradition expressly advocates that we must show hospitality and welcome to all, and most specifically to those who are unlike us.

As pastoral leaders we fear that this proposed amendment and the process of its consideration by our state legislators and, potentially, by the population as a whole, will be both costly and divisive. With a statute already clearly in place that governs who is eligible to be licensed to marry within Indiana we believe an amendment to the constitution is unnecessary, and so we urge our legislature to set aside this measure in order that other matters that strengthen the lives and opportunity for all Hoosier citizens might be addressed.

— Richard L. Spleth

Regional Minister Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

— Michael J. Coyner, Bishop

Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church

— John Vertigan

Conference Minister Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ

— William O. Gafkjen, Bishop

Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

— Catherine M. Waynick

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

— Taylor Alan Thames,

Executive Presbyter Presbytery of Whitewater Valley of the

Presbyterian Church (USA)

— Carol M. McDonald,

Executive, Synod of Lincoln Trails of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

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