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Lutherans Vote to Lift Restrictions on Gay and Lesbian Clergy


At its biennial meeting in Minneapolis, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to lift restrictions on gays and lesbians in committed relationships, allowing them to serve as clergy, Reuters reports:

Lutheran "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also encouraged its congregations to find ways to support or recognize members in 'accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.' But it did not give official sanction to gay marriage or approve any rites for such ceremonies...Previously gays and lesbians had been barred from service unless they stayed celibate. The resolution, approved by a vote of 559 to 441, said the church was committed to finding ways to allow people in 'accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church.' The measure applies to clergy as well as professional lay leaders."

Earlier this week, a conservative Minnesota pastor blamed destruction caused to the convention center and the city's main Lutheran church by a tornado on the faith's movement toward acceptance of gays and lesbians.

Watch a report from North Dakota on the decision, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Here we go again with the loonies claiming that God is sending tornadoes to destroy pro-gay churches.
    When God sent Katrina, he wiped out all the straight neighborhoods and left New Orleans' gay district intact. And he regularly sends hurricanes to the very homophobic Caribbean islands.
    And how do they explain the prosperity and happiness God gives to pro-gay countries like Holland, France and Denmark, while he sends nothing but misery and strife to anti-gay countries like Iraq, Sudan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe?

    Posted by: hephaestion | Aug 22, 2009 7:50:05 PM

  2. I'm so proud of the Lutherans, finally catching up to their Scandinavian predecessors and to the Episcopalians. I wonder how well this will be received on the local level though, since the ELCA doesn't have quite the "fabulous" history with the gays that the Episcopal and UCC churches have. Ah well, it's great news, and great news for GLBT folks esp. in the northern Midwest and Great Lakes area.

    Posted by: clint | Aug 22, 2009 8:55:50 PM

  3. "Just talked to XXXX and told him I need beer and lots of it. Before I could explain why, he said "Did the Fruits and Nuts Act pass?""

    This from a Lutheran minister commenting on the page of a minister I went to undergrad with. This was the 44% that voted against the resolution. If it were just people who disagreed due to direct reading of the scripture, I could understand, but the fact that it's closed-minded people angers me.

    Posted by: AED | Aug 23, 2009 2:09:14 AM

  4. As much as I would like it if the mere presence of gay friendly legislation brings peace and prosperity, that's not necessarily the case...

    South Africa is officially pro-gay, even though it is an impoverished cesspool of crime and despair.

    Israel is officially pro-gay, even though it is full of religious nuts fighting over who gets to rule 100 yards of worthless sand and a couple of rocks.

    Many Eastern European countries have enacted pro-gay laws as part of their bids to "integrate" with the EU, but they're hardly prosperous. Most of these places are still economically depressed and are dependent on aide from the West (with GDP per capita barely above Iran and Mexico). To say nothing of the lingering ethnic and religious problems.

    Similarly, although the new "socialist" governments in Latin America have tried to legislate equality as part of their drive to distance themselves from the old Soviet Union and authoritarian states like North Korea, it doesn't mean they've suddenly become rich or politically stable.

    Posted by: John | Aug 23, 2009 3:23:28 AM

  5. This is quite a dangerous decision. Allowing homosexuals to serve as clergy will confuse a lot of people.

    Posted by: Technology | Aug 23, 2009 5:38:32 AM

  6. The rank hypocrisy of these so-called Christians is repellent. They cite scripture as reason to exclude gays, but ignore the very clear, thrice repeated teaching of Jesus that remarriage after divorce is adultery. They think they can justify that based on a reading of Paul in I Corinthians, but that is just bullshit. I'm sorry but Paul doesn't trump Jesus. So, if the gospel of their Lord doesn't swing their way, hey, it's cool, we'll fudge some passages in one of the Acts of the Apostles and make it go away. But when it comes to homos--who Jesus never once mentioned--they looooove to cite their "saint" Paul. Fuck them all. Any gay person who wants to actively practice Christianity would be better off going it alone and just trying to imitate Christ's non-judgment and forgiveness in their life rather than singing hymns with these hypocritical assholes once a week.

    Posted by: Christopher | Aug 23, 2009 11:33:19 AM

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