The Hate Behind the Nashville Statement

A group of Evangelical leaders released the “Nashville Statement” on gender and sexuality last month, sparking a host of outrage (and the formation of response statements like Christians United). What may be less immediately obvious, however, are the groups behind Nashville’s drafting.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood drew signatories for their release from organizations such as The Gospel Coalition, the Southern Baptist Convention with its seminary and college (Boyce), Together For The Gospel, and a variety of schools, churches, and public figures. The CBMW itself appears to be cross-pollinated by mutual publicity and financial ties to many of these. Notably present within the list of signatories are the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council, both deemed hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

I sincerely doubt all of the Nashville signatories would agree to the kind of work engaged by the ADF, which has included the criminalization of non-heterosexuality, and the FRC, which defames gays and lesbians. I say I doubt this, because signatory pastors like Francis Chan claim an increasingly compassionate, thoughtful, and loving approach toward those with whom they disagree (whether that’s actually true or not).

However, it could be that the CBMW and its more controversial signatories are not-so-strange bedfellows. The CBMW’s Director of International Outreach, Gavin Peacock, called openly for Christians to “deal violently” with “sexual immorality.”

And failed to answer requests for clarification.

Or my request for clarification, as of this posting.

Pastors and teachers lending their names to this statement can try to speak of love, compassion, humility and integrating these ideals with “#Gnashville” all they want, which many of us will rightly reject anyway, but sharing a stage with hate groups makes such an attempt all the more trite.

Note: I can already hear the keys clicking, claiming the ADF and FRC shouldn’t be labeled as hate groups. So at the outset, let me recommend taking a look at their work beyond “defending freedom” and “defending the family” into misinformation and the laws they support governing gay and trans people’s lives. Also, while you’re at it, take a look at the fabulous Christians United Statement. Cheers.

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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