Friday, June 20, 2014
Another one bites the dust. . .
The decision opens a path toward gay marriage across the denomination’s 10,000 churches.
A majority of the church’s 173 regional bodies, called Presbyteries, must now approve the decision before it’s official, a process that can take up to a year. But after years of failed efforts to get the church to approve gay marriages, LGBT activists and pastors said they were optimistic.
“This is a glorious day for the church and for LGBT people who have been seeking full inclusion here for decades,” Pittsburgh-based Rev. Randy Bush, the co-moderator of the board for pro-LGBT church group Covenant Network, said in a statement.
In a separate vote, 371 to 238, the church assembly also approved a measure to allow pastors in the
19 states where same-sex marriage is legal to officiate those weddings. That move is final and doesn’t need further approval.
Many smaller, more conservative Presbyterian denominations, including the Presbyterian Church in America and Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, don’t ordain gay people or official same-sex marriages. But the decisions for the USA group, which came after hours of tense debate, follow years of discussions on the meaning of marriage in the church and a rapidly changing tide of support for religious and civil same-sex marriage. The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted in May 2011 to allow the ordination of openly gay men and women in same-sex relationships, and other Christian denominations have also increasingly ordained openly gay clergy.
There you have it. Another one bites the dust. Those on the winning side will no doubt triumph the prophetic nature of the vote and action done. But how prophetic is it when you are merely following the beat of culture? No, it seems to me that if you desire to be prophetic, the stance to take is not a mirror of what is going on all around you.
But nobody is listening to me... they are, however, listening. The Presbyterians have had 4 splits in the last hundred years and they are bleeding off members and dollars like Julia Child hacking away at a chicken only to hit her own artery! What comfort there is in taking a stance that had been rejected time and time again before until either the opposition grew tired or left is mystifying to me. In a few years we will be singing about the PCUSA, ELCA, and other mainline liberal Protestants who have disappeared or simply exchanged their once robust and confident identity for a whisp of smoke blown in the wind. Like Abraham, Martin, and John, a host of church bodies are gone, their memories remain but the churches that use those names now bear little resemblance to their predecessors... and that, my friends, is a loss that will not be regained.