Friday, November 18, 2005

An obsession which has no future

The October issue of the AFA Journal carries an article, featuring a photo of ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, entitled, "Homosexual issue plagues denominations." The caption under the photo of Hanson describes the bishop as "entertaining questions at a news conference after the Assembly's decision regarding recommendations on homosexuality." The article recounts what has been happening among several mailing Protestant denominations in recent months, illustrating how the issue of homosexuality has been continuing to exert pressure in those communities. Excerpts:

  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
    Delegates to ELCA's 2005 national convention in August angered homosexual activists in the 4.9-million-member denomination when they rejected a proposal to allow the church, under certain circumstances, to ordain gays or lesbians in long-term, committed relationships.

    The convention upset conservatives, however, by refusing to vote for a resolution that would remove the ambiguity from the denomination's regulations regarding whether or not a minister could bless same-sex unions.

  • Episcopal Church in USA (ECUSA)
    The fallout from ECUSA's 2003 consecration of openly-gay Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire continues to roil the denomination, home to 2.5 million of the worldwide Anglican Communion's 77 million members.

    Six Episcopal congregations in Florida have asked Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and figurehead leader for worldwide Anglicans, to allow them to report to a new bishop.

    The row was caused, the congregations said, because their current bishop, John Howard, approved of Robinson's consecration....

  • United Methodist Church (UMC)
    Rev. Edward Johnson, pastor of South Hill United Methodist Church in Virginia, was placed on a year-long leave of absence by his UMC district superintendent. His ecclesiastical crime? He refused to allow a nonrepentant homosexual into church membership.

    Johnson's district superintendent, the Rev. William Layman, had twice ordered Johnson to accept the homosexual man into membership....

    When the pastor refused, he was removed from his position without salary. Johnson, who has been in the pastorate for 24 years, had pastored at South Hill for six years.

    Meanwhile, the Rev. Irene Stroud, who had lost her credentials last December following an ecclesiastical trial over her admission that she was in a committed lesbian relationship, will have a new day in court. In April, a UMC appellate court reinstated her ministry credentials after overturning her conviction on an 8-1 vote....

  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
    A special PCUSA panel recommended that next year's General Assembly not change a 1997 church law that limits clergy and lay officeholders to sex within marriage.

    The battle over the issue has grown heated in the PCUSA. Homosexual activists continue to submit bills to repeal the rules. Meanwhile, conservatives have been frustrated that congregations continue to defy current church law and that the denomination allows ceremonies to bless same-sex couples.

    An example of such open defiance occurred in the Pittsburgh Presbytery, where a female minister, Dr. Janet Edwards, performed a "marriage" ceremony for two lesbians. The ceremony integrated the couple's Buddhist and Christian traditions.
Why is this an obsession which has no future? Because whatever its duration or intensity, as both history and logic demonstrate, it is barren, unproductive, and cannot sustain itself or a civilization. There is no future in it. For a quirky dystopian amen to that, read Anthony Burgess's The Wanting Seed.

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