Friday, July 09, 2010

Sexually Deviant Pastors OK in Presbyterian Church

The PCUSA convention voted to accept clergy actively involved in homosexual activity, but the votes were split about defining marriage as "two people."

UPDATE 5/10/11: Presbyterians Vote Yea on Gay 'Clergy'

-- From "Presbyterians continue to be divided over gays" by Patrick Condon, Associated Press 7/9/10

Delegates to the Presbyterian church's convention in Minneapolis voted Thursday for a more liberal policy on gay clergy but decided not to redefine marriage in their church constitution to include same-sex couples. Approval of both measures could have made the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) one of the most gay-friendly major Christian churches in the U.S.

Even the more liberal stance on gay clergy faces more debate before it can become church policy. A majority of the church's 173 U.S. presbyteries must approve it. Two years ago — after years of efforts by supporters — a similar measure was sent out to presbyteries but died when 94 of them voted against it.

Both of Thursday's votes were close. Fifty-one percent of delegates voted to shelve the proposal to redefine marriage as being between "two people" instead of between "a man and a woman," just hours after 53 percent of them voted to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy.

On Friday, delegates voted down a motion to reconsider the marriage vote. It needed a two-thirds majority to come back to the floor and got just 40 percent. Gay rights supporters must wait two years until the next general assembly for another shot.

Several major Christian denominations have voted in recent years to allow non-celibate gays to serve as clergy if they are in committed relationships. Among them are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the U.S. Episcopal Church and the United Church of Christ.

Fewer major U.S. denominations have taken the step of fully endorsing gay marriage. Only two, the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, have explicitly allowed it.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Presbyterian leaders OK gay, lesbian clergy, shelve same-sex marriage proposal" by Jean Hopfensperger and Mary Lynn Smith, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 7/9/10

The late-night decision to table the proposal [to redefine marriage] and subject it to two more years of study caught many delegates at the denomination's gathering at the Minneapolis Convention Center by surprise, and there was a stunned silence as delegates absorbed the action.

Had the marriage measure passed, it, too would have had to be approved by the presbyteries.

Hours before the surprise shelving of the marriage measure, the assembly approved changing the denomination's ordination policy to make noncelibate gays and lesbians eligible to become clergy. The vote was 373-323.

It was the fourth time the assembly had approved such a change. The previous times, it was rejected by district leaders. Church leaders believe it has a better chance of meeting district approval this time.

Presbyterian ministers currently are permitted to perform ceremonial blessings of same-sex couples, but nothing more.

A group called Presbyterians for Renewal . . . opposed changes. Its website states: "Blurring or obscuring the clear teaching of God's Word in order to keep in step with secular laws and changing personal morals only confuses our witness and causes innumerable problems for the future."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.