United Church of Christ
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The United Church of Christ is an extremely liberal American Protestant Christian denomination that emphasizes worldwide faith and communion. While the UCC has a national organizational structure, each individual church is doctrinally independent. The precursors to the UCC were the Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The two bodies merged on June 25, 1957 to form the UCC.
The UCC has a generally liberal stance, and maintains the following positions:
- Homosexuality: Homosexuality (and in some statements, transgenderism) are natural states of humanity and should therefore be treated without any discrimination on the part of the church or individuals. The UCC welcomes gay pastors, and allows same-sex marriages. In 2005 the Synod officially proclaimed that same-sex marriage should be legal.
- Abortion: The UCC has long supported a woman's free right to choose, especially in the first trimester. Like most churches, they place an emphasis on helping the woman, but in the case of the UCC do not push the idea that "help" means counseling a woman against abortion. Alongside the Unitarian Universalist Association, the UCC has developed its own sex education program, OWL (standing for "Our Whole Lives") encouraging parents and schools to be open and upfront about sexuality in order to avoid both the emotional problems of becoming sexually active at too early an age, as well as unplanned pregnancy. Abstinence is only advocated in the context of "a great choice," rather than the only choice.
- Female ministers: Women have been encouraged to take equal roles in the UCC since its foundation.
- Evolution: The UCC's official position is that God used evolution as part of His plan (i.e. theistic evolution); there is no theological conflict between evolution and Christianity; and evolution should and must be taught in schools as the best explanation for the diversity of life on Earth.