Lutheran Church to Consider Lifting Gay Clergy Restrictions

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's (ELCA) biennial General Assembly is happening later this month in Minneapolis. On the table is the question of whether or not gay and lesbian clergy (who can currently be ordained) "can have committed relationships and still be called to ELCA pulpits."

USA Today reports: Lutheran "After much discussion, in 2001 the church formed
a task force to study the matter in depth; several years later the same
task force was asked to make policy recommendations that would be put
to a churchwide vote. This month, those proposals will come before the
voting members in Minneapolis for their consideration. Among the
proposals are a 30-page social statement that defines the church's
position on sexuality and a four-step plan to lift the ban on partnered
gay ministers. If adopted by the assembly, the four-step plan
would remove the blanket ban on non-celibate gay and lesbian clergy and
empower local congregations and governing bodies to make their own
decisions on whether to allow them. The social statement can pass with a two-thirds majority vote, while the four-step plan requires a simple majority. But the latter undertaking may be easier said
than done, since even the task force could not reach consensus within
its own ranks, finishing with three dissenting opinions."

Comments

  1. Brian says

    The ugly truth about these religions is that they still make homosexuality wrong. That’s what has caused ALL our pain and suffering.

    It doesn’t matter if they ordain gays and lesbians – we’re still damaged by the religious lie that we are wrong, sinful and deviant.

    When will the Lutherans be changing that? In the meantime, (literal mean time) why do we support these institutions? They are the enemy.

  2. DR says

    Wow. Ignorance is appalling. One bit of research, two minutes of your time, and you would see that the generalizations you’re making are wrong.

    There are many branches of the Lutheran Church; the most dominant in the US, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, has been ignoring the celibacy requirement for about two years now; this year brings a more formal approach. That’s the one cited above. With 4.2 million members, it’s the largest branch in the nation.

    No, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod are not our friends. But combined, they have about half as many members as the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

    Some of you need to be a little less ignorant, because you’re driving away intelligent and energetic gay people of faith with these constant ignorant comments. We are getting tired of it.

  3. Mike in the Tundra says

    The Missouri Synod or the Wisconsin Synod might show Kent Hovind videos, but they would not go over well in the ELCA church. The ELCA is the liberal branch of the U.S. Lutherans. Of course, that doesn’t mean there are not some crazies in the ELCA. Congregations vary quite a bit and often do what they want in regard to the LGBT community. The Twin Cities’ ELCA tends to be quite liberal in a liberal church. Many congregations have already called up partnered clergy. Many congregations choose to ignore the fact that their single gay clergy dates. My husband and I were married in a Minneapolis ELCA church.

    Brian and Derek, I’m sorry that you have been Bible burned, but not all of us have been. Or we were burned and have found a church where we can be healed. I respect your feelings about religion. Can’t you do the same with my feelings about religion?

  4. clint says

    The Lutheran state churches in Scandinavia are already fully inclusive of LGBT people on both sides of the omnipresent Lutheran altar rail. Since the ELCA is primary a descendant of Scandinavian immigrant churches, it is about time for them to play catch up. Likewise, the recent actions of the Episcopal Church will likely push the Luthies to move forward on LGBT issues, since, of all their partnerships of full communion, the agreement with the Episcopalians is the one the ELCA holds most dear, and worked for the hardest.

    The ELCA is a big player in American religion, esp. in the northern Midwest, in places like Iowa and Minnesota and North Dakota, and in most parts of Wisconsin and Illinois as well. For this to be official policy in those sentimentally rural, farmer congregations like those my Norwegian grandfather’s family founded and attended would be a welcome development indeed. And anyway, more homos at the altar means less “Lutheran hair” (shudder), which cannot help but bolster their public image!

  5. Stephen says

    Thanks Mike.

    I remember being in taught about the canapy in the sky and dinosaurs walking with man. Of course, this was the Missouri Syn in Wisconsin…

  6. Brian says

    Hey DEREK WASHINGTON:

    If you support religion – the institution that made homosexual wrong and created ALL our pain and suffering, then YES I AM TRYING TO DRIVE YOU AWAY.

    YOU are on the WRONG TEAM.

    We must put Equality BEFORE Religion.

    I hope the Lutherans self-destruct. Nothing should make gays and lesbians happier.

    If you belong to a Church that still makes homosexuality wrong, sinful and deviant you are sanctioning the hate and discrimination of gay people.

  7. Brian says

    Epoiscopalians and Lutherans have not changed their official doctrine. Homosexuals are still an “abomination.” Dressing up a few gays in Bishop dresses and maybe hanging a rainbow flag in the corner ISN’T PROGRESS.

    Tell me again why you think they are “gay friendly?”

  8. Andrew W says

    Bishop John-David Schofield Said: “It is about freedom to remain who we are in Christ. It is freedom to honor the authority of Scripture,” he said. “It is freedom to worship with the Prayer Book we know and freedom from innovations and services that are contrary to the Word of God.”

    Religion, ALL Religion makes homosexuality wrong. We need to end that LIE. Now that the Christian in-fighting has begun it mat be good timing.

    Reject ANY religion that makes us wrong – we’re NOT WRONG, religion is.

  9. DR says

    @Brian:

    The Lutherans are working on changing it. Since 2007, they’ve been ignoring it and allowing gay clergy to date and have relationships. It’s a bit passive/aggressive, but it works for gay Lutherans. Or did. Now they’re trying to make a formal change. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is quite liberal.

    The Episcopals have been battling this for years. Gene Robinson, the nation’s first openly gay, non-celibate and partnered Bishop, was elected in the Episcopal Church in 2003. And by that time, he’d been “out” for twenty years! 3 more LGBT bishops were just elected earlier this year, and the Episcopals If that’s not progress, I don’t know what you expect? But, just to show you that they’ve done more than “dress things up”:

    On July 14, 2009, the Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops voted that “any ordained ministry” is open to gay men and lesbians. Huh. So you can be gay, have sex, and be an Episcopal minister!

    In 1994, the GC determined that church membership would not be determined on “marital status, sex, or sexual orientation”. The GC also discourages the use of conversion therapy to “change” homosexuals into heterosexuals. Oh, hey, look, a formal statement declaring that the LGBT community is welcome AND shouldn’t be converted (a position they’ve had since the mid 1970-s).

    Then of course there is the MCC, the United Church of Christ (which has been open and affirming for some time, now), and of course, the Unitarians. And there are pockets in the Presbyterian ministries working. There are even Mennonite Churches in my area which are open and affirming.

    You might want to do your homework next time, Brian.

  10. Brian says

    Sorry DR – you are misleading people.

    “Welcoming” and “open and affirming” are just “marketing” programs.

    I asked very directly where the official document was that reversed the “doctrine.” There isn’t one. Homosexuality is still wrong, sinful and deviant for Episcopalians, Lutherans, United Church of Christ and MCC.

    The reason there is a big split now for Episcoplaians and Lutherans is the “integrity of scripture,” and not because any group has changed their doctrine. It will only make a difference if the Faiths you mention actually CHANGE the anti-homosexual doctrine. So far, NONE have.

    I suspect, from your comment, that you probably are on the payroll of one of these Churches. If so, the request for some real progress should be easy for you. Get them to sign a “Declaration that Homosexuality is Not Wrong.”

    Let us know how you do. The whole “welcome” and “affirming” stuff is just a con-job. We want them to end the LIE that homosexuality is wrong. Let’s have them put it in writing – that would be Christ-like.

  11. Brian says

    MIKE IN THE TUNDRA:

    If you believe that is what the MCC officially believes that homosexuality is not wrong – please post the Statement. As Christians they believe the Christian Doctrine – if they are changing part of it that would be exciting news.

    Please post the document. (*and see comment to DR above)

  12. DR says

    I call foul, Brian.

    Despite your protestations, these churches are rewriting doctrine, you’re just too stubborn to accept it. Clearly allowing gay clergy means that homosexuality is not viewed as a sin, and allowing gay clergy to be in a relationship clearly shows that gay relationships are not viewed as sinful.

    It’s sad that you’ve been brainwashed by the larger gay community where it’s so trendy to be anti-religion. The reason it’s a shame is because you cannot accept that gay people are making headway in some Churches. You’d rather throw us out than listen.

    The UCC MARRIES gay couples, Brian. It’s been open and affirming for 30 years. The MCC has published numerous documents detailing the misinterpretation of the Bible’s supposed condemnations of homosexuality. The fact that you (and others) are actually typing that the MCC, an international GAY church, or the UCC, a forerunner in LGBT ministries, are actually saying that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful is laughable.

    As a member of a very affirming UCC Church, I can tell you with 100% certainty that you’re wrong.

  13. Chance says

    Stop apologizing for religious groups, DR. It’s embarrassing, and it does nothing to get us closer to equality. You’re forgiving the only people who have made us wrong. If you consider your church a spiritual home, and a beacon of morality, you should really expect – demand, even – a great deal more from them.

    Before you lecture other people about doing their homework, do your own. Consider this one – in 2006, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (Conservative Judaism) voted to allow gay rabbis and to bless same sex unions. But in the same vote, they reinforced the belief, doctrine, and scripture that homosexual behavior is a sin. They have it both ways.

    There’s only difference between them and your beloved UCC, Lutherans, and Episcopals. The Jews were honest enough to say it.

  14. Brian says

    DR: You can’t keep LYING about UCC and the “open and Affirming” Marketing Plan. These so-called “gay-friendly” churches represent less than 1% of the Churches in the US – AFTER 2,000 YEARS. In 98,000 years half the churches will be gay-friendly – wow.

    Please provide the formal document from UCC that says “Homosexuality is NOT WRONG.” It does not exist. Silly little pamphlets about “interpreting the bible” are a lot different than taking a stand. Plus, just only 15% of the UCC churches are “open and affirming.” Officially UCC still condemns homosexuals, while 15% hang a rainbow flag and don’t talk about it.

    UCC uses these marketing ploys just like the Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I am asking. Please tell. Find the documentation that UCC has removed the harmful scriptures about homosexuals from their “official” doctrine. Email UCC – I already have. They affirmed they believe in a “strict adherence to scripture.”

    Allowing a few gays in the pulpit DOES NOT CHANGE DOCTRINE.

    Hundreds of young teens commit suicide each year because of RELIGION. UCC is part of religion. If UCC wants to make sure they do not have that young blood on their hands – they must formally reject biblical references to homosexuals. They should hurry – we lose 4-5 kids a day.

    You’ve been “tricked” DR. You worship with a group of people who still CONDEMN HOMOSEXUALITY. That’s the TRUTH.

  15. Andrew says

    ATTENTION DR: Only 10% of UCC Churches are “open and affirming.” Look it up. ALL UCC Churches still make homosexuality wrong, sinful and deviant. That should be unacceptable to you and other people of Faith.

    We’re not Wrong, Religion is.

  16. DR says

    Well, Brian (and others), it is abundantly clear that nothing any religious group does short of rewriting the Bible will satisfy you. Just come out and say it, because it’s obvious that’s what you mean, since marrying gay couples, running LGBT youth groups, ordaining gay minsters in monogamous relationships, and other LGBT ministries performed by churches across the country is apparently not enough to show you that they do not have an anti-gay agenda.

    You just want the chance the bandy around cute phrases about how wrong religion is. Once again the pseudointellectualism of the gay community rears its ignorant head. Of course, it’s wrong as usual.

    I feel terribly sorry for you, not because you don’t share my faith, but because you’re so hellbent on denying the good many of these organizations do. Shame. It’s really sad to see so many people with such closed minds demanding acceptance when they can’t do it themselves…

    Religion isn’t wrong. Continue participating in the gay culture of victimization. It’s one of the favorite positions around here.

  17. Brian says

    ATTENTION DR:

    Once again – you did not provide the formal statement from ANY Church.

    You have been conned by UCC. If they did actually “end the wrong of homosexuality” it would be noteworthy.

    It has become obvious YOU MUST BE ON THE RELIGION PAYROLL.

    I understand your continued lying in order to preserve your paycheck.

    There is nothing elitist about the very simple request to have some “official” statement. Your doubletalk does not suffice.

  18. Jason (former member of UCC) says

    Christiantity has always been “love the sinner, but hate the sin.” Homosexuality is still one of the worst sins at UCC, MCC, Episcoplainas, Lutherans, Catholics and ALL religions.

    The gay-friendly churches try to mislead people by acting like it “okay to be gay,” when they still believe that homos are wicked.

    You are pissing into the winds of “reason” DR – and we’re not buying any of it.

  19. Chance says

    DR – Good people can and will do good things, whether God tells them to or not. And when a religious organization is so shamefully responsible for the hatred directed at LGBT, then no amount of ‘selfless’ (read: hell-fearing) good deeds can be justified.

    ‘Welcoming’ and ‘inclusion’ aren’t enough, and none of us should accept that. Religion made us wrong, and that includes the Lutherans and UCC. If they’ve changed their minds, they need to tell us. If it’s what they think, then why wouldn’t they have the courage to make a formal statement? Especially when it would mean so much to a frightened, confused gay youth whose religious family and friends are telling him that he’s a perversion and a sinner? Hardly seems Christian to keep quiet about that radical new belief of equality.

    And for the record, my favorite position is not victimization. It’s missionary. So I’m going to keep spreading the good, honest word: If religion behaves this way, then no. We don’t need it. We deserve so much more.

  20. Religion = Weasels says

    DR is one confused homosexual. Christian means “homosexuals bad.” I think asking for “proof” of a change in doctrine by UCC would be easy to find – IF IT WAS TRUE!

  21. Chris says

    There are three main branches of Lutheranism in the US. WELS, LCMS, and ELCA. Check previous answers for more information on all three. The first two, WELS and LCMS both have official positions based on scripture affirming that the gay lifestyle is in conflict with a God-pleasing lifestyle (sin). The third group, ELCA has made some headlines and is going into their “church-wide” conference with homosexuality as a main topic. It is believed that if they accept gay clergy and gay marriage, it will result in a split with more Biblically-minded people leaving, much like what happened in the Episcopalian Church a few years ago.

    ELCA has not taken a position that rejects homosexuality, but rather one of inclusiveness. You are welcome, but scripture still defines you. ELCA is committed to helping homosexuals live a life that honors scripture without the burden of not being able to participate.

    As with anything else in Christian life we must ALL seek to live life according to scripture. We must reject the sin of homosexuality, but still welcome these people to our house of worship. If we don’t we cannot help them deal with their sinful behavior. Jesus call us to save the sinners, not reject them.

    Some Lutherans care.

  22. Chance says

    And now Chris has made my point. You’re a dick for calling me a sinner, Chris, just because some book tells you so. But thanks for showing the other people in this thread what we’re dealing with.

    ELCA has not, and will not say that we are not sinners or wrong. Rather, the ELCA wants to fix us.

    Thanks.

  23. Kirk says

    Until the particular religious institution in question rewrites their main book of study (such as the bible) so that no passages exist condemning homosexuality, then yes, religion is the enemy.

    I realize the bible is an historical document. However, to subscribe to a religion that is based around a book with such blatant anti-homosexual passages contained within it is really a showing of implicit support for such passages.

    Fine, if you can’t rewrite the bible (even though there are soooo many variations of it and so many revisions of it that, what the hell, what’s one more revision?) at least give a sermon every once in awhile about why homosexuality is not sinful and how gay relationships are EQUAL in the eyes of god when compared to any heterosexual relationships. I mean, we always hear all these clear, unequivocal sermons from the “conservative” churches about why homosexuality is bad. Why can’t we hear some clear, unequivocal sermons from the “liberal” churches about why homosexuality is good and benefits society and is not in fact a sin but celebrated by God?

  24. Brian says

    Thank-you Kirk.

    Episcopalians condemned (and even apologized) for slavery – which is quite popular in the Bible. Religions can reject “lies” in the Bible.

    They MUST reject the lies about homosexuals. We will never be equal as long as we tolerate this “branding” at the hands of religion. They need to change their doctrine or they are the enemies of ALL LGBT people.

    We MUST put Equality BEFORE Religion. We’re NOT WRONG.

  25. says

    One of the reasons the Lutheran decision will be important is precisely because it will open up a real debate on the supposed Scriptural basis. For too long, the fundies have argued that Scripture is “clearly” against same sex relationships. The reformers point out that this is a gross misconception, as modern scholars have shown. Of over 30000 verses in the bible, only half a dozen even appear to have any relevance, and even this is highly questionable. On the other hand, there are many verses and stories which are suppotive.

    Gay clergy, gay bishops and popes, gay unions, and even gay saints are not new in the Chrisian church – all were commonplace for the first twelve centuries. In the early church, opposition to homosexuality was always a minority opinion, and did not become widely accpeted until the late middle ages. Church hostility followed popular prejudice, not the other way around.

    Discussion and LGBT participation in the churches is to be welcomed. Open debate will show clearly that the long-standing opposition is based on misplaced ignorance.

    In the secular world, the best defence against prejudice has been the increasing visibility of gay men and women leading ordinary lives. Out gay men and lesbians can likewise make a difference to churches- just
    as they are already doing in more and more denominations and congregations around the world.

    Staying away just leaves the homophobes in control.

  26. says

    I was a voting member at the 2007 Churchwide Assembly from which the linked article about ordaining gays is from. If you are Christian… or not… please keep the ELCA in your prayers that the power of love surpasses the power of hate.

  27. Doug says

    Philatanus : Demon who assists Belial in sodomy and pedophile behaviors……do you really think the Church is the real reason for your pain and suffering, think again and repent of your sins or you may get a visit by Philatanus….just don’t call him Phil, I warned you!

  28. Robert says

    It’s not the church that makes it taboo..It’s the scriptures! So when the churches start allowing it, they’re basically saying it’s OK to not follow the scriptures…The “God made me this way” argument doesn’t fly with me..NO ONE is born gay….Next, “cleptos” will say “God made me this way” and want everyone to ignore the commandment “Thou shall not steal!” because it’s not fair. We and heads of religious orders can’t just change or omit scriptures, they are not ours (or theirs) to change or omit! God says a man laying with another man as he would a woman is sin…not the churches!

  29. Robert says

    I have to say…Denying what the scriptures say and ordaining a person who practices against those scriptures, IS like saying it’s OK to ignore the scriptures, and promote sin…This to me seems more like acting towards the wishes of the anti-christ, than the wishes of the Lord. My housemate and boss is an ordained minister who is not only gay, but I think almost borderline pedophile as he is into 18-20 year old guys…It sickens me because #1. I am not gay and don’t think of other men in a sexual way..2.The church doesn’t even know because he acts normal…3. He uses his clergy title to get at these young men (boys to my eyes)

Leave A Reply