April 27, 2009

Presbyterians Move Closer to Ordaining Gays

GLBT people have not won the war yet, but they are winnng more battles for equality in the Presbyterian Church. From the Associated Press via MSNBC:

Efforts to allow gays and lesbians to serve as clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have been defeated again, sealed by votes Saturday.

But the margin of defeat — the final tally has yet to be determined — is already guaranteed to be much closer than in previous years. That is encouraging for gay clergy supporters and concerning to opponents, with both sides expecting the issue to be revisited in the future.

Before Saturday, the total was 68 presbyteries for and 86 opposed, or one shy of the margin needed for defeat, according to Presbyterian News Service, the denomination's official press arm.
Previous efforts to delete the "fidelity and chastity" provision failed at the presbytery level by votes of 57-115 in 1997-1998 and 46-127 in 2001-2002.

Twenty-eight of the 127 presbyteries that voted no in 2001-2002 have voted in favor of this year's amendment. Many of them, supporters of the change pointed out, were in traditionally conservative states such as Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

One surprising exception was the San Francisco presbytery, which voted no.

"The tide is turning before our very eyes in understanding that GLBT men and women are loved by God and called to ministry," said the Rev. Janet Edwards, co-moderator of More Light Presbyterians, which supports changing the ordination standards. "The church is catching up with the love Jesus has for all God's children."

Isn't it sad that the Church has to catch up to Jesus' love instead of leading the way. This continues to be symptomatic of most organized religion, but at least the Presbyterian Church is moving in the right direction. It seems a short matter of time before GLBT people will have the same right to serve God within that denomination as everyone else.

Organized religion has a way of putting restraints on people, but Jesus truly wants everyone to be set free and have the opportunity to fully use the gifts He blessed them with to serve Hiim.

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