Saturday, July 01, 2006

Presbyterians Approve Gay Clergy

They did, but ironically they refused to repeal a provision of the church’s constitution requiring fidelity and chastity. From the web site of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.
The Assembly’s 405-92 vote with four abstentions affirmed a recommendation from the Assembly Committee on Church Orders to keep G-6.0106b in the denomination’s Book of Order. The provision requires “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”
Which sounds fine, but what else did they do?

It seems that something called the Theological Task Force on Peace, Unity and Purity of the Church (a very ironic name) issued an “authoritative interpretation” of the Constitution that “gives greater leeway in applying those standards to individual candidates for ordination.”

Translation: local congregations are allowed to blow off the church’s Constitution.

According to Agape Press:
Pastor Parker T. Williamson, executive director of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, explains that under the new policy, it is now possible for Presbyterians to become ministers even if they openly engage in homosexual or heterosexual adultery. “It is possible,” he explains, “because the General Assembly has allowed them to take a pass on that standard. So, in effect, the General Assembly has declared the seventh commandment optional. I think that’s tragic.”
This is the same Presbyterian assembly that felt the need to fiddle with the language used to refer to the Trinity, suggesting “non-patriarchal” alternatives to “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

The consequences of liberal dominance of the machinery of governance in the denomination are clear. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal:
The Louisville-based denomination, which has been losing members for four decades, projects a worst-case scenario of losing 150,000 of its 2.3 million members in the next two years. The denomination’s loss of 48,474 members last year was itself the largest decline since 1975.

“I don’t expect those to be the numbers,” the Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, stated clerk for the denomination, said of the projections. He said they are worst-case scenarios to enable the church to be more cautious in setting its budget, since part of it is based on per-member dues from churches.
Given the sort of people who dominate the bureaucratic machinery of the denomination, the lower the budget the better.

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