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Presbyterians Continue To Be Divided Over Gays

posted by aroan

Associated Press – July 9, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS – A split decision from Presbyterian leaders on two gay-friendly measures guarantees even more debate among the U.S. church’s members on an issue they’ve been divided over for years.
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.
Shelving the marriage matter means church committees will spend the next two years reviewing the issue.
“We Presbyterians love to study, which is not a bad thing,” said Cindy Bolbach, an elder at National Capital Presbytery in Washington and the assembly’s elected moderator. “We’re talking about some major new steps.”
But supporters say Presbyterians have spent enough time mulling it over.
“I think we’re seeing acts of desperation by those who feel their way of life is slipping away,” the Rev. Ray Bagnuolo, the openly gay pastor of Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in New York City, said after the marriage vote. “Progress takes time. But to gay and lesbian people, it says their relationships, who they are, does not matter to this church. I don’t call that Christian or loving.”
Even some conservative Presbyterians were surprised by the fate of the marriage measure.
“I didn’t see this turn of events coming,” said Jerry Andrews, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in San Diego.
He said redefining marriage may have been one step too far for delegates who just hours earlier voted for the more liberal clergy policy.
“I think as the day went on, the mood became more conservative,” Andrews said.
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is ranked the 10th-largest church in the U.S. with 2.8 million members, according to the National Council of Churches’ 2010 “Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.” The church’s media materials tout 2.1 million members.
Under current church policy, Presbyterians are eligible to become clergy, deacons or elders only if they are married or celibate. The new policy would strike references to sexuality altogether in favor of candidates committed to “joyful submission to worship of Christ.”
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.
Delegates at the Presbyterian assembly also shelved a separate measure that would have removed the threat of punishment for clergy who perform same-sex marriages in states where it’s legal.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



  • cknuck

    We are losing so many people over this non-sense as the women and homosexuals try to turn the church into something that is so far away from biblical teachings. The church as a social gathering cannot stand for ages like the church has, so if something like this happpens it will no longer be the church.

  • pagansister

    Glad to see the UCC and UUA have led the way in these areas. I thought they had. Hopefully in 2 more years they will vote for marriages between same gender couples instead of postponing the idea yet again. It’s a shame they didn’t vote yes this time.

  • Richard

    I used to be a Presbyterian Church USA member in my younger days but I left because I thougth it was too conservative. (I am now a Quaker.) I am glad they are making strides towards equality. Hopefully they will join their UCC and Unitarian brothers & sisters in approving gay marriage.
    As for you cknuck I would not call the strive for equality “nonsense.” I think it is justice. And if Jesus were here today I am sure he would approve. :-)

  • cknuck`

    Richard I’d love to see folk like you show biblical bases for your wild claims about Jesus.

  • JohnQ

    cknuck-
    Great, please provide chapter and verse where Our Lord states that two men and/or two women should not marry. And, while you are at it…..chapter and verse where Our Lord states that females should not lead churches.
    Peace!

  • jestrfyl

    ck
    Pay attention in church this week. Most of us are reading Jesus’ parable, The Good Samaritan. Pay special attention to the lawyer’s questions and the response he gives. Jesus blesses him twice for right answers. I am not so sure you would get the same blessing. I’m not giving much away (in case you don’t know the story) when I tell you one of his answers to Jesus is “Love God with all your heart mind and strength (the short version) – AND LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. Samaritans were not loved, liked or even respected by the Jerusalem Jews. This story has to sting to be understood. For you I suggest that when the reader says “Samaritan” you think “Homosexual”. The lawyer asks a key question and Jesus’ parable is the answer. Once he is done, pay attention to the dialog between Jesus and the lawyer. Now, could you answer as did the lawyer with that important substitution. If not .. well, I guess you need to do some real soul searching. Or are you either a “priest” or a “Levite” (doubtful) – with a handy explanation but no genuine excuse?

  • cknuck

    fortunately for me jest you are not Jesus and no matter how much you twist scripture the bible does not say think homosexual. I know my neighbor jest and I serve all but that serving is not agreeing that sin is right, its just the opposite. Jesus never agreed with sin, get it right if your are going to lead people don’t lead them astray.

  • cknuck

    JohnQ first you show me where He does and stop trying to be a lawyer leveraging sin. Jesus explained marriage right out of the Old Testament and you know it. Plus God came to save the world as a man, not a woman His choice was as clear as His design. JohnQ when you hope to muddle the waters enough to confuse people into thinking what is right is wrong then you sin a great sin of deception, you know what Jesus said about the person that leads others astray JohnQ? Better pick out your millstone.

  • nnmns

    cknuck don’t you get it yet? Marriage is to protect wealth and control how it’s passed on.
    People can have and raise children without being married and lots of people get married without any intention or ability to have children. And people stay married long after their children are raised. If marriage was only about having children they should divorce when the kids leave home.
    Homosexuals have many of the same kinds of wealth issues heterosexuals have and deserve to have the same legal opportunities to manage it.
    People who love each other can (in most places, now) live together. But when one gets sick or dies the other may lack a lot of rights if they aren’t married and thus lose money or control that should by rights be theirs.
    And this is caused by people like you with their hate-filled agendas.

  • Richard

    Cknuck, I was basing my comments on the fact that Jesus always stood up for the underdog. He hung around the despised people of society & he was always preaching love and compassion. THAT is where I get the idea that Jesus would have stood up for gay rights.
    You wanted me to give you a chapter and verse where Jesus approved of the gay rights. Well I can’t. But you can’t show me a passage where he condemned gays either.
    The US is not a theocracy–thank God. We have a secular government and being anti-gay is a religious notion. (Remember the idea of seperation of church and State?) Therefore we should provide rights for all people—not just to people who believe as you believe.(Shocking I know.) In closing don’t try to pass off your bigotry as piety. It doesn’t work.

  • cknuck

    nnmns that’s just about right these days marriage is about “protecting wealth and and controlling it.”
    Richard you dip in and out of Christianity in a self-serving way that is popular these days. You want to use Jesus to promote homosexuality and then when you can find no truth to that route then you go to separation of church and state in an attempt to hobble the church’s history and role as this country’s moral compass. You can’t have it both ways this article is about church (duh). It is a great strategy if you can paint the truth about homosexuality as bigotry then it could be more palatable. The truth is homosexuality is not holy, it is a sin and sends a dangerous message to our young people. Doctors have documented the dangers of anal sex yet it is on the rise as an activity among our youth. It is unnatural and unproductive. Most young men I have interviewed have been approached by a homosexual and many have been molested. I have a lot of data concerning the activity to back up my concerns.

  • cknuck

    By the way Richard Jesus stood up for the truth not sin get it right. Remember “go and sin no more”?

  • Wannabe Theo

    Once again, cknuck, you equate homosexuality with anal sex. They are not synonymous; not all homosexuals engage in anal sex, and many heterosexuals do. If you have legitimate information on the dangers of anal sex, then please share it with the world. But that has nothing to do with the comitted, loving relationships that are being discussed by the Presbyterians in Minneapolis, or the Lutherans, Episcopalians and UCC before them.
    “Most young men I have interviewed have been approached by a homosexual and many have been molested.” Undoubtedly true also for young women being approached by heterosexual men. No one’s trying to justify molestation or pedophilia here.

  • cknuck

    WT anal sex is one of the peculiarities that define homosexuality of course folk would want to navigate away from that topic and pretend the sodomy pointed out in the bible as a sin is not a factor but unfortunately it is the only way many homosexuals can address their physical passion. I know it is only homosexuals that practice it but that does not change the dangers of the practice. Our youth are participating in it more and more and are finding out it is not harmless. When sex is preformed as is supposed to be and the male ejaculates into the female as the sperm leaves the urethra tube the force creates a vacuum that pulls in the female fluids that naturally lubricates the vagina. Not so with the anus which has no natural lubrication so when the vacuum is created by the ejaculation fecal material is pulled into the urethra with all of its poisonous properties. Meanwhile since the anus is not designed for sex and there is no natural lubrication protection many tears are created from anal sex which absorbs poisons from the waste factory the anus. What more information? because there is more like mutated STDs that thrive off of the bacteria in the anus. God did not create man with the intention that he be entered.

  • Wannabe Theo

    cknuck wrote: “WT anal sex is one of the peculiarities that define homosexuality”
    “defines” homosexuality? I know that’s what YOU think, that is my point. It is a patently ridiculous statement. Plenty of homosexual men do not engage in anal sex, nor do lesbians.
    “…unfortunately it is the only way many homosexuals can address their physical passion” Baloney. A homosexual is still a homosexual with or without anal sex. And there are other options.
    Thanks for the info on the dangers of unprotected anal sex. Keep spreading the word, its good work. But it has no bearing on the rightness or wrongness of mutually committed relationships.

  • cknuck

    WT I am happy that you believe what you believe, that’s what this country is about. But the truth is still the truth and the fact that HPV is on the rise because our young people are so orally sexually active shouldn’t concern you if you desire to explain away the sexual perversion of abnormal sex like homosexuality and lesbianism. HPV is being transmitted from vagina to mouth. There are new strains of infections plaguing homosexuals in many homosexual hot-spots like San Francisco and Atlanta. Oh yeah you say there are homosexual men who do not engage in anal sex. Give me a count and you are allowed to use both hand all of your fingers, okay and your toes.

  • Barb

    God’s Word doesn’t get any more clear on how we should live our lives than in the Book of Romans. It defines it precisely. Man just doesn’t get it. You either live by His Word or you don’t. We do not put our own spin on any of it. Those who live in sin will not see the Kingdom of Heaven….we can not rewrite scripture…disobedience brings with it spiritual death.

  • JohnQ

    Barb-
    Well, actual Biblical scholars do not think the Bible is particularly clear on much of anything. As I am sure you must know, it was not written in English…but rather a variety of ancient languages. And, has been translated and reworded even prior to the early Church cobbling together a bunch of separate writings.
    If you read any complete book of the Bible and see only one possible meaning….then, you are approaching that book with a perceived notion of what it says rather than actually taking in the words.
    BTW, up to this point in the discussion, the discussion has been about what Our Lord said….not what Paul (or, another writer pretending to be Paul) or, any other Biblical writer said/wrote.
    Peace!

  • JohnQ

    cknuck-
    Your ability to take what the Bible actually says (even though it is very different today than in was 1,000 or say 1,800 years ago) and then interpreting it to mean what you want it to mean, does not mean the rest of us must accept your version.
    There are far more heterosexuals that engage in anal sex that there are homosexuals that engage in anal sex. Anal sex is the most widespread method of birth control used in Latin America. And, as with most other sexual activities, anal sex can be done safely or, it can be done dangerously. Condom and lube do exist. Further, as has already been pointed out, not all gay men engage in anal sex.
    As far a verses that demonstrate Christ’s acceptance of homosexuals, I suggest you re-read Matt 8 and Luke 7 where the story of the Centurion.
    As far as general Biblical verses concerning gay men…..re-read Jonathan and David. David’s love for Jonathan is greater than his love for any woman. The writer/writers do not condemn this love nor, David for expressing his love of Jonathan.
    Peace!

  • Wannabe Theo

    cknuck: Keep spreading the info on unsafe sex practices. As I said, it’s good work. Neither I nor the Presbyterians in this article are encouraging risky or selfish behavior.
    If you think heterosexual relationships and marriage are just about releasing sexual tension, then I can understand your point of view. If you believe there is more to a relationship than sex, then maybe you can start to understand my point.
    And there is more to physical intimacy than sex.

  • nnmns

    cknuck I understand oral sex is popular among kids who’ve pledged abstinence because they think oral sex isn’t sex, or something such. It’s certainly a lot more dangerous than mutual masturbation.

  • cknuck

    JohnQ the bible is no different that my friend is a lie although I know you would just love to change it’s content on homosexuality.

  • nnmns

    I’d like to change its content on a lot of things. It’s old, outdated, harmful and way overused. When it was written, rewritten, edited and picked over people knew far less about the world and in fact the world was very different – way less populated, ruled by tyrants, and seemingly kept running by deities of one sort and another.
    Now it’s over populated, too much of it is ruled by tyrants but at least we know that’s not necessary, and physics and science have eliminated the conceptual need for any deities.
    It’s time for a new Bible for the modern age. The old one is not up to snuff.

  • jestrfyl

    ck
    I look forward to the moment when, once your life has passed and you move along to the Next Big Thing, you find yourself next to all of the people you would have kept out of The Big Room, but God chose to keep in. Why waste time and energy being angry, resentful, and exclusive when you have NOTHING to lose by being joyous, benevolent, and welcoming.
    Until then, you are in my prayers.

  • cknuck

    jest I truly thank you for your prayers I cannot get too much prayer while I am still human. But what makes you think I am angry resentful and other stuff you think. Is it because I don’t accept homosexuality as holy? I’d be willing to bet that I do a lot more welcoming than you think. My team is working in many countries placing purification stations in suppling more meals than you could imagine. So while you look forward to my life passing many more than you are celebrating the fact that I am alive. I look forward to you not being so in love with you and finding Jesus.

  • cknuck

    nnmns sounds like you are just as tired of the world as you are the bible. I can easily see how one such as yourself would not believe that God could create the bible because of the forces of humans. Believe God can do anything even without you as a witness.

  • nnmns

    Which god would that be, cknuck? There are millions of them. All comfortably living in someone’s head. And of course I can’t see yours acting any more than anyone else’s.
    And I’m hardly tired of the world. But it would be nice to see a few improvements.

  • cknuck

    nnmns if my world was built around what you can see then I would be in trouble along with millions of others.

  • nnmns

    And happily, cknuck, the world isn’t anything like what your fevered mind comes up with.
    But we don’t help anyone by insulting each other so I’m out of here.

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