Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I've long admired Rev. Jane Spahr [Pictured], and I'm delighted she was vindicated for performing what is considered by the Presbyterian Church as a blessing of same-sex unions but which, in reality, is a marriage before God and all who understand the desire of two people who love each other to the point where they are willing to make a lifetime commitment to each other.

"Presbyterian ministers are allowed to bless same-sex unions as long as the ceremonies don’t too closely mimic traditional weddings." [If that isn't a pathetic stance, I don't know what is!]

"Church prosecutors said she broke church law, contained in the Presbyterian Church constitution, which defines marriage as 'a civil contract between a woman and a man.'"

[For the full article, see here.]

Rev. Spahr has long shown the courage of her convictions by confronting the powers that be within the denomination to which she has long belonged, and deserves abundant gratitude for her commitment to Gospel principles that seem to have escaped all too many within the institutional Church.

Notice that the "prosecutors" in her Church trial sought to have her punished because the Presbyterian Church is against same-sex marriage, saying Rev. Spahr went against the Church's constitution by performing a "marriage" which, as the prosecutors state, is "a civil contract between a man and a woman."

Here we have a gross example of how a denomination invokes discriminatory civil law to, at least in part, justify its denial of the sacramental right of marriage to Gay people, and does so within its very constitution; the prosecutors have no compunction about invoking the existence of marriage being defined as "a civil contract" to justify prosecuting a clergy person who dares to stand up to a discriminatory rule of that denomination's constitution that mimics civil law within all states except Massachusetts, and that clearly inveighs against the dignity and well-deserved rights of same-sex couples.

I have absolutely no doubt that one day each church and denomination will affirm and conduct as a sacrament same-sex marriages, just as they now do with heterosexual marriages, as well as they now do regarding marriages between people of different races, something that many, if not most, churches would not have done prior to the 1960's.

The tragic fact is that virtually all churches and denominations within the institutional Church take their cues from the outcome of the civil rights struggles that most prominently occur within secular society. One only has to look at the African-American civil rights struggle to see that fact.

When, finally, the goal of full and equal civil rights is won for Gay people within secular society, then, and only then, will most all of the churches within the institutional Church jump on the bandwagon, just as most churches have historically done by playing the caboose on the train of virtually all civil rights struggles.

And it's courageous people like Rev. Spahr who will justifiably be seen as one of the heroes in this fight for the acquisition of full dignity and civil and sacramental rights for God's LGBT children.
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