As contests for six Colorado Springs City Council seats heat up, Colorado Springs Pride is calling attention to the religious beliefs of Al Loma, who's running for the central District 5 seat. The mail-ballot election is April 2.
Loma was endorsed in January by the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, which carries considerable weight in a town where developers have plenty of influence. But the Pride group wants the HBA to rethink that and sent the following letter on Feb. 22. (Also seeking the District 5 seat are Jill Gaebler, current Council member Bernie Herpin and Roger McCarville.)
Colorado Springs Pride respectfully requests you rescind your endorsement of Albert Loma, candidate for City Council district 5.
Al Loma is currently a pastor at Victory Outreach church. The belief statement regarding the LGBT community is based on debunked pseudo-science, is homophobic and hateful to say the least, and has no place in the political sphere of Colorado Springs.
Based on the previous 20 years of fighting the stigma of hate and being the birth place of Amendment 2, we feel our city cannot afford to elect candidates that perpetuate myth and fear of the LGBT community and thereby continues the intolerant and hateful image of our town. We also will not stand idly by as an endorsement is given to any candidate that cannot represent equally the LGBT citizens of Colorado Springs.
Again, we respectfully request that you rescind your endorsement.
On Monday, the HBA responded with this letter:
Thank you for writing us regarding our City Council endorsements. I have forwarded your comments to the members of our HBA PAC so they can be informed about your positions.
We appreciate you writing us and taking the time to express your opinion about our candidate selection.
Chief Executive Officer
So what's the beef? Irwin and Carolyn Cathey, who's also active in the gay community, point to Victory Outreach stance on same-sex relations. According to a document that spells out all the aspects of what Victory Outreach followers believe:
Victory Outreach does not endorse homosexuality or lesbianism; we consider both to be immoral and contrary to biblical teaching. We do not believe that homosexuals should be ordained as clergy in any church that professes to be historically orthodox with reference to Christianity. Regrettably, many people today portray anyone who criticizes or speaks out against the homosexual lifestyle as prejudiced, hate-mongers, or homophobic. While there are some individuals who are indeed homophobic, we encourage our church to reach out in love to the homosexual with the Gospel message of hope and forgiveness. We believe it is possible to love a person without approving of his/her lifestyle. We fully recognize that the gay person is a human being who is created in God’s image, and we condemn the activities of those who are violent towards gays.
Homosexuality is viewed as “unnatural,” contradicting God’s intended purpose and order for creation — men and women are to have heterosexual relationships (Rom. 1:26-27; Matt. 19:4-6 cf. Gen. 2:21-24). Homosexuality and lesbianism are considered sexual vices akin with fornication and adultery. The Bible warns that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rom. 1:24-32; 1 Tim. 1:9-10; cf. Jude 7).
The undeniable connection between HIV/AIDS and homosexuality has created a spiritual and practical dilemma for Christians. We have wrestled mightily with the very real problem of how to minister to the sinner without seeming to condone the sin. After all, homosexuals have become increasingly militant in demanding that Christians accept their unbiblical, immoral lifestyle. As always, when faced with moral dilemmas, we must turn to Scripture for guidance.
In biblical scriptures, immorality includes perversion, incest, rape, bestiality, adultery, prostitution, and homosexuality (1 Cor. 5; 6:9- 20; 10:8; Rom. 1:24-29; Jude 7; Deut. 23:13-29; Lev. 18:22; 20:10ff; Prov. 5; 6:24-35).
We asked Loma to respond to the Pride group's appeal for the HBA to rescind its endorsement, and here's what he said:
The beauty of our country is that every citizen has the right to share their beliefs without fear or recrimination. Though my journey is different than those who Charles Irwin represent, my life is my choice; Mr Irwin owns his lifestyle. The overarching issue is belief system.
President William Jefferson Clinton correctly stated, “Sometimes I think the environment in which we operate is entirely too secular. The fact that we have freedom of religion does not mean we need to try to have freedom from religion, doesn’t mean that those of us who have faith shouldn’t frankly admit that we are animated by that faith, that we try to live by it, and it does affect what we feel, what we think, and what we do.”
While I may share my beliefs, I can never force anyone to believe as I do. I applaud Charles Irwin for exerting his constitutional right. Every citizen chooses their respective expedition in life and should be protected in their quest towards what they consider the American dream. I only ask for and come to expect the same.