Skip to comments.Alabama Presbyterians vote to drop fidelity, chastity rules designed to ban gay clergy
Posted on 02/20/2009 11:55:25 AM PST by SonnyBubba
Alabama mainline Presbyterians meeting Thursday voted 77-75 in favor of dropping long-controversial language requiring clergy to abide by fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness. The Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley, a regional body of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in north-central Alabama, met at First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. The presbytery is one of 173 regional bodies in the 2.3 million-member denomination that will be voting on the issue this year. If passed by a majority, new language would allow more leeway to local presbyteries on ordaining clergy, who still must "declare their fidelity to the standards of the church."
The fidelity and chastity clause was passed in 1997 in an effort to bar active homosexuals from the clergy. It has been debated and challenged almost nonstop since then. At the general assembly in Birmingham in 2006, the denomination passed an authoritative interpretation of the constitution that allowed more leeway for presbyteries in ordaining practicing homosexuals. A church court ruled against that interpretation, and the national general assembly in 2008 again proposed changing the constitution to amend the "fidelity and chastity" standard. It's the denomination's fourth referendum on the "fidelity and chastity" requirement in the Book of Order. So far, the national vote is 39-24 against changing the language, according to a running count of presbytery votes kept by the conservative publication The Presbyterian Layman at www.layman.org. The Rev. Shannon Webster, pastor of Birmingham's First Presbyterian, spoke in favor of the proposed change. "It gets rid of awful language," Webster said. "There's no mention of homosexuality, although a lot of people came thinking they were going to be arguing about ordaining homosexuals. Nobody got hostile or hot. It was good Presbyterian decorum." The Rev. Ed Hurley, pastor of South Highland Presbyterian Church, voted against the change. "Obviously it's a very divided church," he said. "I regret that. It undermines what we've been trying to do to hold the church together." Hurley said many would interpret the change in the constitution, if it passes, as allowing active homosexuals in the clergy. "I don't think it automatically does, but it does open possibilities up," Hurley said. "It removes the clear constitutional language. We tried to send a message, `Please, don't do this.'"
That has been happening for decades if not longer. Maybe it just wasn’t in instant news like it is now. Something happens today and we know about it as soon as it happens. This once great country is going downhill so fast it isn’t funny. People today do not care about morals or anything else except do what feels good and don’t worry about tomorrow.
Hmmm. Seems like that whole reformation thing is working well.
They do not need the Bible anymore either.
Just make it up as you go.