Presbyterian Assembly Drops Gay-Clergy Ban

LOUISVILLE, KY -- The Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), bitterly divided over sexuality and the Bible, set up another confrontation Friday over its ban on ordaining non-celibate gays and lesbians, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

The denomination's General Assembly, meeting in San Jose, Calif., voted 54 percent to 46 percent Friday to drop the requirement that would-be ministers, deacons and elders live in ”fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.“

The proposed change to the church constitution requires approval from a majority of the nation's 173 presbyteries, or regional church bodies — a yearlong process that has been a barrier to similar efforts in the past, reports the Herald-Leader.

Of equal importance to advocates on both sides of the debate, the assembly also voted to allow gay and lesbian candidates for ordination to conscientiously object to the existing standard. Local presbyteries and church councils that approve ordinations would consider such requests on a case-by-case basis, the newspaper reports.

That vote was an ”authoritative interpretation“ of the church constitution rather than a change to it, so it goes into effect immediately. The interpretation supersedes a ruling from the church's high court, issued in February, that said there were no exceptions to the so-called ”fidelity and chastity“ requirement.

Both votes could put further strain on the 2.2 million-member church, which like other mainline Protestant denominations, has seen some conservative churches leave after losing battles over the place of gays and lesbians in the church and what the Bible says about gay relationships, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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  • by cindy Location: kentucky on Jul 1, 2008 at 09:50 AM
    this is to michelle, I don't know where you attend church, but I think your pastor needs to teach what God says about gays and lesbians, it tells me that it is an abomination. you may think your all going to be fine but in the end God is going to judge us all and when he does there are going to be a lot a rude awakenings when he says depart from me you workers of iniquity, this means you, I never knew you. Because until you come to the knowledge of what you are doing is not right in the eyes of God, you are fooling yourself and whoever else believes the way you do.
  • by To Michelle Location: KY on Jul 1, 2008 at 05:14 AM
    Michelle does make a good point - it is not my, nor your, place to judge her. She will be judged, by God. My interpretation of the bible is that her lifestyle is wrong. Alot of people share that same interpretation; but in the end, it will be God who will decide whether her life has been worthy of everlasting life with him in heaven.
  • by Dean Location: Floyd Cointy on Jun 30, 2008 at 10:53 AM
    If you would take a few moments to read the Bible you could clearly see that sex outside of marriage is condemned. Sex outside of marriage is called fornication while sex with another who is not your spouse is adultery. If the clergy or whatever they call themselves would spend as much time reading and studying as they do trying to accept everyone they would know the difference. Personally I think that this attitude of acceptance of every perversion under the sun is their way of filling pews and their coffers. The Love of Money is the root of all evil. It does not matter what men think about God nor how they vote about homosexuality and their congregation because they will not change God's mind. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.
  • by Diane Location: Mt.Sterling on Jun 30, 2008 at 09:14 AM
    No Evidence?? Have you no mind?? The bible has been verified by secular science, Archeology, history, historians, and physical science for centuries. People who claim there is no evidence to verify the bible ignore centuries of scrutiny that people have heaped on the bible. Liberal speculation about the sexuality of Jesus or his followers is only meant to validate homosexual sin as acceptable. As for God being an "improbable notion", That is an argument leveled by people who are not academically honest when viewing the unexplainable. It's like looking at a 747 and explaining it's existence by saying it came from an explosion in a junkyard. You ignore so much intelligence in the design of things. And no matter how much good one does or how smart they may be, a sin will always be a sin. That is not my judgment but God's.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 30, 2008 at 05:15 AM
    Diane, satire is a strong tool to used to ridicule and emphasize a point. There is no evidence to suggest jesus had any sexuality at all. in fact there little evidence to support much of what is in the bible. However, speculation abounds that Paul's infamous thorn in the flesh was actually a battle with homosexuality. And yes, I am sure that god is a highly improbable notion designed to answer the unknown when scientific knowledge was undeveloped.
  • by Michelle Location: KY. on Jun 30, 2008 at 04:08 AM
    I am a productive member of society who works everyday. I donate my time and money to help those less fortunate and I also help people in and out of my community that needs it. I donate to local school sports programs so any child that wants to play sports can and is not held back because they can not afford it. I firmly believe in God and I attend church. I am also a lesbian. God is the only judge and you should not judge me. I pay my taxes and take care of me and my family and rely on no one else to do so. You have no say on how I live my life and who I live it with. God is our only definitive judge and jury. I do not judge you and how you live your life please give me the same respect and do the same for me. The bible also says do not judge others ,but everyone seems to do that very well, so take that into consideration before you judge others. No one is perfect let's also remember that. We should not teach hatered because someone is different.
  • by Diane Location: Mt.Sterling on Jun 29, 2008 at 02:53 PM
    If Anonymous is so sure there is no God why didn't he post his blasphemous comment with his or her name on it. So much for toleration when the gay community is concerned, they will mock ridicule and blaspheme then demand hate crime legislation and special privileges from government employers and churches. Jesus did define marriage as between a man and women in the New Testament. He was quoting from the book of Genesis. People didn't "date" in biblical times marriages were arranged. Jesus' parents understood that he had a mission here on earth. If you ever want any Christian to even listen to your point please don't blaspheme his life!!!
  • by Anonymous on Jun 29, 2008 at 08:02 AM
    Too bad god doesn't exist or this would actually be a worthwhile news item. As far as the bible being clear about Homosexuality, the new testment says very little. Jesus never married. There is no evidence of him dating females. Perhaps Jesus had a lisp, loved musicals and men; Perhaps jesus was gay.
  • by james Location: Salyersville on Jun 28, 2008 at 03:15 PM
    If one won't follow the demands of God Almighty, why should one really care what mere man has to say on this matter. I would not join nor be part of a congregation such as this! "Knock the dust from your feet and walk away"....this I would do!
  • by me Location: ky on Jun 28, 2008 at 02:41 PM
    what is the presbyterian belief? was just curious..thanks
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