Schuller disparages ban on gays in church’s choir

March 17, 2011

Crystal Cathedral founder Robert H. Schuller says he never would have
approved a recent covenant that the church's choir members were asked
to sign urging them to be Christian and heterosexual.

"I have a reputation worldwide of being tolerant of all people and their views," Schuller told the Orange County Register. "I'm too well educated to criticize a certain religion or group of people for what they believe in. It's called freedom."

The
covenant describes choir members as people who confess Jesus as their
savior, consider the Bible "authoritative and infallible" and understand
the cathedral's position that marriage is "between one man and one
woman."

Schuller told the newspaper he agrees with the covenant's
stance on homosexuality, but "that doesn't mean that we are going to
start a crusade against homosexuals."

In a March 15 statement on
its website, the Southern California church, now led by his daughter and
senior pastor Sheila Schuller Coleman, described the covenant as an
attempt to explain expectations of ministry leaders. It apologized to
those that might be hurt by the covenant's language.

Another
daughter told the newspaper that the elder Schuller is bound to differ
with church leaders at times. "But the organization and his voice are no
longer seamless," said Carol Schuller Milner. "It can never go back to
being that way."

The dispute is the latest controversy for the
Garden Grove, California, church, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in October and saw the 2008 resignation of Schuller's son,
Robert A. Schuller, as senior pastor.  —RNS