I appreciate the pushback from Gary Oyer and Alvin Mast (Letters, Oct. 14) to one of my statements quoted in “Mosaic Conference evaluating relationships with MC USA” (Sept. 23). To Oyer’s point, Martin Luther and the [Anabaptist] Swiss Brethren didn’t leave; they were reformers until they were kicked out or martyred. There is no analogy between them and people who choose to leave Mennonite Church USA because MC USA, as a matter of polity and policy, no longer discriminates against LGBTQIA+ people, proactively gives them a voice in church leadership decisions that directly impact them and calls the church to affirm the worth of LGBTQIA+ people in future theological documents.
At the same time, when LGBTQIA+ people tell MC USA that something we did as a church hurt them, we don’t get to tell them it didn’t. The delegate body, on behalf of the church, voted to put the Membership Guidelines in place. It is appropriate for that same body to repent on behalf of the church for the harm that decision caused.
I also agree with Mast that “it was utterly predictable that some portions of MC USA would reconsider their relationship to the denomination.” That is my point. Often people say LGBTQIA+ inclusion is “bending to the culture.” To me, separating as a predictable response to difference is bending to our polarized and polarizing culture.
Michael Danner, Elkhart, Ind.