Skip to comments.(Lutheran) Church Won't Ease Rules on Gays
Posted on 08/14/2005 12:16:58 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
Church won't ease rules on gays - Lutherans nix clergy change
ORLANDO, Fla. - A national meeting of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America rejected a proposal Friday that would have allowed gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy under certain conditions.
The measure would have affirmed the church ban on ordaining sexually active gays and lesbians, but would have allowed bishops and church districts called synods to seek an exception for a particular candidate - if that person was in a long-term relationship and met other restrictions.
Delegates voted against the measure 503 to 490. Even if it had won a simple majority of votes, that wouldn't have been enough; the proposal needed a two-thirds majority to pass.
Earlier in the day, delegates voted 851 to 127 to keep the church unified despite serious differences over homosexuality. They also rebuffed what many saw as an attempt to push the denomination toward approval of blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.
All the proposals - the product of three years' work by a special church task force - were meant as a compromise that would satisfy both those who support gay clergy and those who regard gay sex as sinful. However, the measures drew immediate opposition from Lutherans on opposing sides of the debate.
Conservatives said the ordination proposal would have effectively overturned prohibitions against non-celibate gays in the Lutheran ministry and advocates for gays weren't satisfied, either. They said the measure would have created a second-class roster for homosexual clergy in the church.
In a news conference immediately after the vote, Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson said he hoped gays and lesbians did not take the vote as a sign they were not welcome in the 4.9 million-member church. "They are. We have said that publicly and clearly," he said.
New Jersey Synod Bishop Roy Riley, president of the ELCA's Council of Bishops, said the vote was a good indicator of how the entire church was thinking. "This church is not ready to make major changes in its ordination practices," Riley said. "That was the crux, really."
Lutheran gay advocates were angered. A coalition called Goodsoil accused the church of "sacrificing (gays) on the altar of a false and ephemeral sense of unity."
As debate on gay ordination began Friday afternoon, about 100 gay advocates wearing rainbow sashes walked silently to the front of the hall, stood before the stage where Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson was overseeing the meeting and turned to face the delegates.
They stood quietly and did not move, even though Hanson politely asked them to disperse several times. After some discussion, the delegates decided to proceed, and the protesters stayed in place as the debate continued. They remained standing even after the voting ended.
During the debate, several delegates who believe the Bible condemns gay sex compared homosexuality to alcoholism or drug addiction - something that they should help fellow Christians overcome.
Louis Hesse of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod said those arguing for gay ordination had not made a convincing theological or scientific argument on why they were right.
"The case has not been made. I've heard a lot of talk about the Gospel here today and I'm beginning to wonder if I'm in the right church," Hesse said. "A Gospel of full acceptance, accepting everyone the way they are, what does that say about sinfulness?"
But the Rev. G. Scott Cady of the New England Synod said rejecting gays who feel a call to ministry was tantamount to questioning the will of God.
"We have vacant pulpits and altars in congregations all over this country, We have people crying out for pastoral care," Cady said. "The Holy Spirit has said, 'All right, here they are. Here they are.' Are we going to now say, 'Thanks, Holy Spirit, but we prefer something else.' "
His voice cracking with emotion, Timothy Mumm of the South-Central Wisconsin Synod said he became suicidal after years in therapy trying to rid himself of his attraction to men. He said a "faithful, caring pastor" helped him accept his homosexuality.
Disagreement over what the Bible says about homosexuality has torn at Protestant denominations for years. The Episcopal Church consecrated its first openly gay bishop two years ago, and Anglicans worldwide are now struggling to remain unified - something conservative Lutherans noted in handouts to voters Friday.
Good job protecting the church from those who would render it weak in order to advance their political ideology!
Good job in following the will of G-d rather than the perversion of man.
And, THIS is an EVANGELICAL Lutheran body??????.......HHMMMMM.
I am still troubled by the number of votes in favor of the measure.
The ELCA has also been talking about how the wall in Israel is a form of "violence" against the "innocent".
We are not out of the danger zone, as Lutherans, yet.
One step at a time...
These people are laughable...they claim to believe the bible is the inerant word of God and that Jesus Christ is God
Yet they fail to acknowledge that the eternal Christ spoke quite plainly at Sodom and Gomorrah
Practicing homosexuals..and homosexual advocates have no place in the Evangelical Christian church... their practices are an anathema to God and His church
Yet they insist on telling God how it's gonna be
Anyone who follows them...and any leader trying to put the flock under that kind of bondage is evil...plain and simple
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said.
Interesting choice of words...
This is a hopeful development.
this is why I am a Missouri Synod Lutheran
That aside, the anti-semitism which is becoming more institutionalized within the national body of the ELCA has not been as reported on as it should be. The hospital and aid organizations in Israel and the West Bank/Gaza supported directly by the ELCA have been the source of some uncomfortable (my euphemism) anti-Israeli rhetoric, some of which is - or at least was until recenly - in the form of letters/bulletins from staffers in the Middle East. last year, I was forwarded newsletters from one of the ELCA sites in Mpls, and some of the content sounded more like Hamas talking points than something coming from people who profess to be part of the grafted branch.
Yes, we conservative ELCA Lutheran stopped the worst of the "gay" resolutions. But we did not win. That is because the assembly authorized a new feminazi liturgy book and hymnal that downgrades the use of the holy Triune name of Father Son and Holy Spirit, removes "masculine" and "military" language from hymns, and makes other heterodox changes. Moreover, the gaysbian activists in the ELCA will find loopholes to perform "blessings" or "gay unions", and will ignore the ban on "gay" ordinations as they have already done.
We have two Freepers (lightman and aberaussie) who were there in Orlando, and at least one other (myself) who is an active member of an orthodox resistance group and has been getting communications from Orlando from several sources. So we know.
Thanks, H.S., but a correction is in order:
It may have seemed as though I was in Orlando from the volume of posts and replies I offered, but no, I was on the home front the entire week; checking the latest posts on the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau www.alpb.org on-line forum and the almost real-time reporting offered by ELCA Department of Communications staff via Lutherlink.
The sexuality votes were a major skirmish but the greater battle was the hymnal. The revisionists, I fear, have lost the battle but won the war.
Thanks for the correction, lightman. I, too, could have sounded as if I were in Orlando, but chose deliberately to say I was not. I don't bother with LutherLink, but I was monitoring ALBP and several blogs, and was receiving e-mails from Solid Rock and from more private sources, including orthodox Christians on the scene in Orlando.
aberaussie said that there was at least one other Freeper there, so I assumed that it was you. I respect the right of the other Freeper to remain anonymous, since I do the same in order to separate my FR posting from my off-screen life. However, I am just as pro-Serbian, etc. in my real life as on FR, so what you see is what you get.
ELCA Freepers should know what the CWA actually authorized with respect to the hymnal. It is a process, not a particuar text. The Office of the Presiding Bishop is to conduct a "liturgical review" of the hymnal, prior to its publication in the fall of 2006. Therefore, ELCA Freepers and others should address their comments to Bishop Hanson. This especially works if you've had any experience using the RW resources, so know what you are talking about. They may be afraid enough of defections from the ELCA and low hymnal sales to listen to us. Even if they do not, this is part of the resistance to the hymnal that is starting in September.
I just sent my comments to his office and to the RW committee. They were based on on my experience with the RW resources and of worshiping as part of an Orthodox community. As I do with many communications to ELCA national and synodical offices, I did not use the word "Serbian" in my letter--why stir up even more controversy? However, in local Lutheran circles, I am well-known for my Serbian Orthodox connections, and am very proud of them.
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