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6 years ago  ::  Jun 09, 2008 - 8:33PM #1
grampawombat
Posts: 269
As I suspect all of you know, this biennial event starts a week from Saturday. There is the hope among those of us who support GLBT rights that the homophobic statements created by earlier GAs will be rescinded.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 11:45AM #2
CalKnox
Posts: 330
What particular statement of a prior GA do you consider homophobic?
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 1:32PM #3
AppleMan
Posts: 348
I would be surprised if the issue came up at all. I think the GA is tired of dealing with this issue. They came up with a solution that everybody (well, a majority) could get behind with the PUP report, and I think they are looking to deal with other issues that impact the Kingdom.

But then, I could be wrong.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 2:28PM #4
grampawombat
Posts: 269
Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, people can only be ordained if they are either celibate or in a heterosexual marriage. Some may disagree with my use of the word, but I consider that position homophobic.

There also is a statement to the effect that homosexual practices are not allowed (I'm not sure of the exact terminology used). Again, some may disagree with my use of the word, but I consider that statement homophobic as well.

Please bear in mind that I have been dealing with this issue and the denomination for over thirty years, so all of the arguments in favor of such statements are very familiar to me.

And as regards denominational fatigue, it is no excuse for allowing statements like the ones referred to above to remain "on the books."
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 3:01PM #5
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=grampawombat;554817]And as regards denominational fatigue, it is no excuse for allowing statements like the ones referred to above to remain "on the books."[/QUOTE]

Especially when Scripture has no authority and may be regarded as only an excuse neither from God nor of any value.

But, for the sake of discussion, might be good to actually have the exact language of the offending constitutional statements before us.

I usually refuse to discuss Scripture based upon someone’s partial memory or imprecise quote from memory.  I suggest going to the actual text, and to the original if possible.  I suggest the same for an accusation of “homophobia.”

Here I am defending the PC(USA)!

Homophobia is not the problem; Theophobia is.

Because that, when they knew God,
they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful;
but became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise,
they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God
into an image made like to corruptible man,
          and to birds,
                    and fourfooted beasts,
                              and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness
through the lusts of their own hearts,
to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,
who is blessed for ever. Amen.


[Romans 1:21-25]
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 4:45PM #6
AppleMan
Posts: 348
[QUOTE=grampawombat;554817]Correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it, people can only be ordained if they are either celibate or in a heterosexual marriage. Some may disagree with my use of the word, but I consider that position homophobic.

There also is a statement to the effect that homosexual practices are not allowed (I'm not sure of the exact terminology used). Again, some may disagree with my use of the word, but I consider that statement homophobic as well.

Please bear in mind that I have been dealing with this issue and the denomination for over thirty years, so all of the arguments in favor of such statements are very familiar to me.

And as regards denominational fatigue, it is no excuse for allowing statements like the ones referred to above to remain "on the books."[/QUOTE]

Yes, you are partially right and partially wrong. It is up to the individual Presbytery.  So you are correct that a  LGBT person cannot be ordained in many parts of the country. But in other parts of the country, say San Francisco, it would be laughable to suggest that only married heterosexuals could be trusted to minister to the Gay population there. Most places are somewhere in between.

While I admire the Episcopal Church's leadership on this issue, in the PCUSA, we are governed by a General Assembly. The Pup report was the result of a long process of discernment and represents where the majority of the PCUSA is right now. It was the result of ten years of acrimonious debate by people on both sides.

It is also an issue of ordained clergy vs. us pew-sitters. If it were up to the ordained clergy, who have half the votes, we would already be there. But the clergy have a responsibility to bring along their flocks, and this takes time. I give Rev. Shuck credit for his prophetic ministry in this regard, and he is certainly not the only one.

I believe that this is a temporal problem, which means it will be solved by time.
When I was a kid, we learned the moral reasons for homophobia in church, but we really learned to hate them in the Boy Scouts. None of us in the Boy Scouts had much of an idea what a homosexual was, we just knew we did not want to become the object of such hatred. It causes me great pain to this day to know how the church was complicit. And how I was complicit. It causes me pain to realize that some of the kids who were mercilessly teased for being "effeminate" are today happily married with beautiful children. And it causes me pain to realize that several members of my high school class who were never teased ended up dying in their late twenties and early thirties of aids, but none of us knew until it was too late.

But time moves on. When my oldest daughter graduated high school, several of her friends "came out" as they entered college, where they figured they would find an accepting environment.

By the time my youngest daughter entered high school, some of her classmates "came out". And you know what? She and her classmates dealt with it just fine. It is difficult to hate someone you have known since kindergarten - church or no church. Why? Well for one thing, a person is so much more than their sexuality.

And this is why I say it is a temporal problem. In twenty years, everybody will have LGBT friends from school and from work. If the church is still homophobic in 20 years, my bet is that the people will stay loyal to their friends rather than to an ancient homophobia, and the church will become less relevant in their lives. But I have more confidence in the church than that.

And in the meantime, at least in my church, LGBT are welcome as members, and several are Deacons and Elders. They are not Deacons and Elders because they are Gay, they are Deacons and Elders because they are effective leaders in helping our church in its ministries.

And in the meantime, LGBT persons who feel called to the ordained ministry can do so in those Presbyteries that have such a need. Is this fair? Probably not. But is it really realistic for an LGBT person to insist the following: "Although yesterday, I could not be ordained at all, today, I insist on being ordained in my hometown of Stone Mountain, GA, and I insist on being pastor to a congregation of aging heterosexuals who grew up in WWII, while being openly Gay in a committed relationship."

For the present time, I am not interested in having the denomination split in two over this issue. I'll support you on this issue, but I will not take my toys and go home.

Because whether we are relevant in 20 years depends on more than this...
It also depends on whether we advance the kingdom of God with the poor, the sick, the immigrant, the lost, those in exile, those in bondage, the elderly, the jobless, those who are in pain, and the least of these.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 6:21PM #7
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=AppleMan;555061]Yes, you are partially right and partially wrong. It is up to the individual Presbytery.  So you are correct that a  LGBT person cannot be ordained in many parts of the country. But in other parts of the country, say San Francisco, it would be laughable to suggest that only married heterosexuals could be trusted to minister to the Gay population there. Most places are somewhere in between.[/QUOTE]

You misunderstand and misstate the present constitutional position of your denomination as understood and interpreted by your General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission:

LOUISVILLE — The General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission (GAPJC) has ruled that candidates for ordination must comply with the sexual behavior standards of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), even if they disagree in conscience with them.

The GAPJC, in a landmark ruling dated Feb. 11 on a case from Pittsburgh presbytery, declared that the authoritative interpretation that the General Assembly approved in 2006 does not permit exceptions to the requirement in the PC(USA)’s ordination standards, which say that candidates must practice fidelity if they are married or chastity if they are single.

It described the “fidelity and chastity” provision as “a mandatory standard that cannot be waived.” And it upheld language from a prior Synod of the Trinity PJC ruling that made a distinction between allowing departures from the church’s standards related to belief — but not departures related to behavior.

The GAPJC — the highest court in the PC(USA) — supported language from the synod PJC’s ruling.  It states that the authoritative interpretation the General Assembly approved “allows candidates to express disagreement with the wording or meaning of provisions of the constitution, but does not permit disobedience to those behavioral standards.”

The GAPJC went on to say, “the fidelity and chastity standard may only be changed by a constitutional amendment. Until that occurs, individual candidates, officers, examining and governing bodies must adhere to it.”


http://www.pcusa.org/pcnews/2008/08117.htm

http://www.pcusa.org/gapjc/decisions/pjc21810.pdf
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 6:30PM #8
AppleMan
Posts: 348
I stand by my post.

But I am heartened by your continuing interest in the PCUSA. Maybe you are returning from the dark side?
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 6:55PM #9
CalKnox
Posts: 330
[QUOTE=AppleMan;555061]And in the meantime, at least in my church, LGBT are welcome as members, and several are Deacons and Elders. [/QUOTE]

So, you and/or your session are out of compliance with the requirement of BoO G-6.0106b if you ordained or installed elders and deacons knowing they were unrepentant and self acknowledging in their non-conformity to this requirement:

Those who are called to office in the church are to lead
a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic
confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is
the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of
marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in
singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged
practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained
and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and
Sacrament.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2008 - 7:09PM #10
AppleMan
Posts: 348
Yes, I can see you are ready to come back. Should we kill the fatted calf?
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