Archive for the ‘Presbyterians’ Category

>Headed toward marriage equality

July 9, 2010

>Yesterday was a banner day for equality, and two stories in The Birmingham News reflect this.

On the front page is the story about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voting to allow non-celibate gays to serve as clergy.

Actually what they voted for was to evaluate candidates on the basis of “calling, gifts, preparation and suitability.”

There is no mention of sexual orientation or sexual ethics in the proposed language.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is the nations 10th largest Christian church in the United States, with 2.8 million members.

A majority of the church’s 173 U. S. presbyteries still must approve the policy change. Two years ago, 94 presbyteries voted against the change.

Here is the news as reported on the church web site.

The church did, however, vote to retain their discriminatory definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

But progress is slow, especially in churches, so let’s celebrate this small (huge) victory.

In an unrelated action (but related to yesterday’s post), the Presbyterian assembly voted to “refrain from holding national meetings in states where travel by immigrant Presbyterians or Presbyterians of color might subject them to harassment due to legislation.”

Good for them!

In other marriage related news, and probably the biggest story, is that a federal court has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The ruling only applies to Massachusetts, which challenged DOMA on the basis that it forced discrimination on the state’s same sex married couples. But it gives encouragement to other states that permit same-sex marriage, and gives heart to the LGBT community at large.

It is unclear as to whether the ruling will be appealed. The U. S. Justice Department would file the appeal, but President Obama has stated that the law is discriminatory and wants it overturned. So let’s just see how that plays out.

Here is the DOMA decision. You can click on “full screen” to read the entire thing.

DOMA Decision http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=34110077&access_key=key-20k996gvfbzrlqztjk2q&page=1&viewMode=list

Here are reactions from pro-equality organizations.

Equality opponents are blaming SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan (who filed a brief in the case for upholding DOMA when she was solicitor general) for deliberately sabotaging the case.

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>Tweet-Presbyterians-Tweet-Marriage-Tweet

February 20, 2009

>Follow me.

No, I’m really not getting sucked in. But did you know that the founders of Twitter (Evan Williams and Biz Stone) rejected a $500 million takeover from Facebook. $500 million!!!

They brag that Twitter had the first pictures of the Miracle on the Hudson landing. Well OK, but someone could also post a picture of an alien spaceship landing in Trussville on Twitter, and who would know if it is real news or not. For those who wait another 5 minutes to see news break on CNN or even Fox, isn’t it worth it to know that the news is real. Most of the time.

Enough about that.

Alabama mainline Presbyterians (Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley) have voted 77-75 to drop language that requires clergy to “abide by fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness.”

Story

173 regional groups like that will vote this year on the issue. Passage by a majority would allow local presbyteries more leeway in ordaining clergy.

This might allow gay clergy who are in committed relationships to be ordained. After all, the clause being debated was added to target gays (in 1997).

So far the national vote is 39-24 against changing the language.

Marriage

Interesting concepts from today’s Dear Abby column.

From Abby: some churches feel so strongly about separating the legal aspect of marriage from the religious that they have voted to only “bless unions,” and their clergy no longer sign marriage licenses.

From Rev. M. N. R. in New York: Several couples I know have married without the paperwork because they regard the alternative the same as sitting at a segregated lunch counter, and they are unwilling to support segregation.

From Rebecca in Sunnydale, Calif: When the Bible was written, did they have marriage licenses then?

From God is our Witness in Colorado: Nowhere in the bible does a servant of God ask permission from the government to marry…And while there are references to “what God has joined together,” there is no similar praise for what Caesar has blessed.

This 9 minute video explains a lot. And I knew there was a reason I like David Cook.