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Presbyterian Pastor Preaches Tolerance, But Fights To Suppress His Own Gay Desires

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In the two years since Pastor Allan Edwards came to the Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church, the larger U.S. Presbyterian Church has come around to the idea of same sex marriage. Though Edwards preaches tolerance to his congregation, he firmly believes that same-sex attraction is a sin. Interestingly enough, Edwards, who is married to a woman, openly admits to grappling with his own homosexual urges.

"I think we all have part of our desires that we choose not to act on, right?" he explains in an interview with NPR. "So for me, it's not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am."

Edwards’s interview comes at a time when religious men who do not identify as gay, but are open about their attraction to men, are increasingly in the public spotlight. In Edwards and his wife’s opinion, his desires are no different than the personal struggles that all couples go through.

"Everybody has this experience of wanting something else or beyond what they have. Everyone struggles with discontentment. The difference, I think, and the blessing Leeanne and I have experienced is that we came into our marriage relationship already knowing and talking about it. And I think that's a really powerful basis for intimacy."

Read the full interview HERE.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Allan Edwards was a member of the larger Presbyterian church. His church, Kiski Valley Presbyterian is part of a socially conservative sect of the Presbyterian Church of America.


Presbyterian Schism Over Gay Marriage Continues

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.25.43 AMEarlier this year the Windwood Presbyterian Church of Houston, Texas made the decision to begin distancing itself from the Presbyterian Church as a whole due to differing view on homosexuality. In a 429-175 vote during its biennial General Assembly held in Detroit this past June, the Presbyterian Church of the USA moved to allow its pastors to officiate over same-sex weddings. The Church’s decision to recognize the legitimacy of gay unions is at odds with the Windwood congregation’s more traditional views.

The two religious bodies have been embroiled in a legal battle for the better part of the past eight years over the rights to ownership of the Texas-based church’s land. Because Windwood has publicly expressed its desire to be disassociated with the greater Church, Presbyterian leaders are calling for Windwood to pay for access to the land its churches are built upon.

Windwood’s leadership asserts that it has legal right to the land without needing to compensate the church. Windwood, believing that it owns the disputed land, has been involved in an ongoing legal dispute with the Presbyterian Church.

“We have been involved in a lawsuit over the ownership of the property since 2008 and that suit is still in process,” explained Reverend Kevin Rudolph of the Windwood church.

At the heart of the spat over ownership to the land is a trust clause commonly associated with the financial handling of church property. The clause relating to the land Windwood is built upon states that “all property held by or for a particular church is held in truth nevertheless or the use and benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)”

Windwood is but one church formerly associated with the Presbyterian Church that has brought its claims to court in hopes of settling its differences and retaining claim to its physical property. Earlier this year the Highland Park Presbyterian Church similarly made the decision to separate from the Presbyterian Church as a whole and sought to avoid paying for their church grounds as mandated by the trust clause. Highland Park ultimately ended up settling out of court with the Church to tune of $7.8 million dollars.

"We do not believe that Highland Park's case has any direct effect on Windwood's litigation," said Cindy Pirtle, Woodland’s director of adult discipleship "Each church comes with its own set of circumstances and history.”




Friday Speed Read: Family Leave, Uganda, David Cicilline, John Kerry, Presbyterian Church, Gaydar

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LaborOBAMA MOVES ON FAMILY LEAVE:

The Department of Labor will announce this morning that it will propose regulations on the Family and Medical Leave Act to clarify that an employee is eligible for FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse even if the employee lives in a state that does not recognize marriages of same-sex couples.

U.S. PENALIZES UGANDA:

MuseveniA spokesperson for the National Security Council announced Thursday that the U.S. is taking action in response to the Ugandan government’s enactment of its Anti-Homosexuality Act. The statement from press spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. would deny entry to the United States by “certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals.” It said the U.S. would also discontinue or “redirect” funding for the Ugandan police, health ministry, and public health institute. A separate White House blog statement identified $5.4 million in discontinued or redirected funding but said the Obama administration would not identify which individuals would be barred from the U.S.

CICILLINE INTROS BILL: Cicilline

Openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RIs) introduced a bill Thursday to bar from the U.S. any foreigner who has “committed or incited gross violations” of human rights of LGBT people. Four of the seven openly gay members of the House signed on as co-sponsors: Reps. Jared Polis, Sean Maloney, Mark Pocan, and Mark Takano.

NOT JUST ANOTHER SPEECH: Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty Thursday in delivering remarks to a Pride event of the in-house group Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFFA). Kerry spoke at length and answered some tough questions. He lavished praise on GLIFFA President Robyn McCutcheon, most recently a foreign service officer in Bucharest. In the Q&A, two GLIFFA members noted that they’ve seen resistance by many countries to issuing a visa to their same-sex spouse. “This is a serious obstacle that is hurting us in our careers and hurting our families,” said one member. Kerry said he has instructed U.S. embassies “to inform governments locally that this is our policy and that they need to honor our policy….And where they don’t…at some point in time, we may have to begin to make it clear to them that that can affect one program or another or the choices that we make. It’s not going to be a normal relationship.”

PRESBYTERIANS VOTE ‘YES’: Presbyterian

The governing body of the 1.8 million-member Presbyterian Church USA voted 371 to 238 Thursday to allow their clergy to conduct wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. The denomination’s General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, also voted 429 to 175 to amend its governing constitution to define marriage as a “unique commitment between two people.” The constitutional change requires ratification by regional presbyteries. The clergy-ceremony vote takes effect Saturday.

WHEN STRAIGHT PEOPLE TRY TO OPERATE GAYDAR: Eric_cantor

Here’s what former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, said to a National Journal reporter when asked for his reaction to Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recent primary loss: “…men in the South, they are a little effeminate….They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think, so I don't know. Again, I couldn't care less. I'm accepting." Schweitzer later apologized for his “stupid and insensitive remarks.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Presbyterian Church Votes to Allow Clergy to Perform Gay Marriages

The Presbyterian Church (USA) voted Thursday to allow clergy to perform same-sex weddings within the church, making it one of the largest Christian denominations to do so.

PresbyterianReligion News Service reports:

By a 76-24 percent vote, the General Assembly of the 1.8 million-member PCUSA voted to allow pastors to perform gay marriages in states where they are legal. Delegates, meeting in Detroit this week, also approved new language about marriage in the church’s Book of Order, or constitution, altering references to “a man and woman” to “two persons.”

This change will not become church law until a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries vote to ratify the new language. But given the lopsided 3-1 ratio of the vote, approval is expected.

Gay rights activists within the church rejoiced at their victory, which was remarkable for its margin of victory after multiple years of razor-thin defeats.

“This vote is an answer to many prayers for the church to recognize love between committed same-sex couples,” said Alex McNeill, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, a group that has led the fight for gay marriage within the church.

Conservative Presbyterians opposed to the change sent out a statement urging congregations to launch a financial boycott out of protest.

“God will not be mocked,” the statement continued, “and those who substitute their own felt desires for God’s unchangeable Truth will not be found guiltless before a holy God.”

A similar resolution allowing gay marriage failed 338-308 during the 2012 General Assembly. The Episcopal Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the United Church of Christ all allow same-sex marriage.   


Openly Gay Minister Ordained by Minneapolis Presbyterian Church: VIDEO

Vigilante

Daniel Vigilante became the first openly gay Presbyterian minister in Minnesota on Saturday, KARE11 reports:

Daniel Vigilante is now the minister of outreach at Trinity Community Church at 28th and Humboldt Avenue. He tried to get ordained 13 years ago, but he had to remove himself from the process because the church wouldn't accept his sexual orientation.

"This is just an enormous step for the Presbyterian Church and such a statement that the church is a place for everyone," he said. "It's inclusive. It's for young and old and gay and straight. Men and women can be a part of it and be in full leadership."

Vigilante is one of just about a dozen gay and lesbian members who have been ordained since 2011 when the Presbyterian Church lifted its ban on gay clergy.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Openly Gay Minister Ordained by Minneapolis Presbyterian Church: VIDEO" »


Presbyterian General Assembly Rejects Marriage Equality

ImageWord has come down from the highest, official-est conclave of Presbyterian Christianity: Gay marriages are verboten. (The "blessing" of gay "unions," however, remains groovy.)

In Pittsburgh late this week, the Presbyterian General Assembly voted 338-308 against altering their denomination's definition of marriage from a "civil contract between a woman and a man" to a "covenant between two people." (Both of which sound distressingly vague.)

The Washington Post's coverage of the vote notes that disagreements over the definition of marriage have lately caused considerable strife within the global Presbyterian presbytery. The Rev. Jane Spahr was censured by the church's governing body in 2007 for signing same-sex couples' marriage licenses during the brief legal interregnum when doing so was legal. And last week, the General Assembly's moderator resigned after causing controversy by signing a gay couple's marriage license.

From the Post:

Opponents of the new definition of marriage said it would violate the word of God, divide the Presbyterian Church and alienate the denomination from its many partner churches overseas. If the assembly had approved the redefinition, it would have required ratification from a majority of the church’s 173 presbyteries, or regional districts, a process that usually stretches for months.

“I must affirm definition of marriage as between one man and one woman,” said Jodi Craiglow, of the Miami Valley Presbytery in Ohio. She directly addressed gay Presbyterians. “As much as my heart breaks for your pain and frustration, I must simply hold to the standard of the God I love,” she said.

Despite such sentiments from Presbyterians allegedly in touch with the omnipotent creator of the universe, Presbyterians have for some time been shedding anti-marriage congregants. Pro-equality ones, too. From the Post:

Last year, the denomination dropped just below 2 million members, and several theologically conservative churches have left to affiliate with like-minded denominations. In an unusual move, one liberal California congregation, the West Hollywood Presbyterian Church, recently split off to join the United Church of Christ, saying Presbyterians have been too slow to support gays and lesbians.


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