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In a letter to the JNF earlier this month, the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN) called on the organization to reverse their decision to honor Stanley, whom they called an "anti-gay Baptist preacher." "Dr.Stanley has a sordid history of virulent homophobic statements and actions," the letter reads.
After founding In Touch nearly 40 years ago, his sermons are broadcast world-wide, he has authored more than 60 books and reaches many through his ministry's website.
But according to SOJOURN, his life's calling amounts to nothing due to his Biblical stance on homosexuality, and the JNF choosing him as the recipient of their Tree of Life Award was a blunder.
"Please do the right thing and acknowledge the mistake that was made, make amends with the LGBT/progressive Jewish community that is so invested in JNF's success, and use this as an opening for meaningful dialogue," the letter ends. Stanley remains dedicated to the Biblical principles that have guided his ministry for many years, his son treads lightly while gaining cultural acceptance through his "Your Move" television show - which airs 20 minutes after Saturday Night Live in Atlanta - and his new book "The New Rules For Love, Sex and Dating." "One of the reasons I wrote this book was to challenge singles to at least consider, 'Maybe I need to prepare,'" Stanley said.
in Atlanta - an event he was slated to attend tomorrow.
Criticism swelled over the selection of Stanley due to his Biblical views on homosexuality - pulled from his sermons and many written works -which had become a "concern" for members of the local Jewish and LGBT communities.
According to JNF spokesman Adam Brill, Stanley informed the organization that due to "..deep love for Israel, and his reluctance to be a point of controversy and conflict within the Jewish community, he has declined to be recognized at the Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast in Atlanta." On Friday, the younger Stanley - pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia - spoke at the Catalyst West event at Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif., where he stated that the local church should be the "safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction." Catalyst - described on its website as "a community of change makers" - was founded by Andy Stanley and a small group of church leaders, with a focus on reaching pastors under the age of 40.
The Atlanta-based organization holds annual events locally, as well as in Orange County, Calif. At the Catalyst event last week, Stanley, 56, stated that he knew there were a variety of views on homosexuality and gay marriage among those in the audience.
"There is not consensus in this room when it comes to same-sex attraction.
There is not consensus in this room when it comes to gay marriage," he said.
But his father, Charles, has preached for decades that consensus isn't relevant - it's the Word of God that is true and unchanging.
His dedication to accurately preaching God's word is what caused his recognition to come into question, and ultimately, caused his forfeiture of the JNF award.