Friday, February 27, 2009


...the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) task force has recommended a policy that will be considered at their biannual convention in August. The proposed policy would allow local congregations to decide whether or not those in “lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships” would be allowed to lead as clergy. [For the full text, see here.]

It must be noted that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the "liberal" wing of the Lutheran denomination! Even here, we see that this "liberal" wing doesn't have the guts to do what is right and, as a denomination, blanketly allow openly Gay clergy into its ranks!

To merely allow local congregations to decide whether or not to allow openly Gay people to be pastors shows both bureaucratic and spiritual cowardice (called in bureaucracies "passing the buck"), as well as lack of commitment to social justice issues that is incumbent upon all decent people, especially Christians, to possess!

As I've often written, one can be a decent person, in favor of equality for all, and not be a Christian! However, it must be hammered home that every single Christian is a decent person who is in favor of equality for all; if a professing Christian, clergy or not, is not a decent person who is in favor of equality for all, then he or she is not a Christian, regardless of how many times he/she attends church or how many times he/she professes to be a Christian!

As Jesus says: "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matthew 7:16) To ask the question is to answer it!

All one has to do is merely read the words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament to see both the manifestations of a Christian and how the discerning between a Christian and a non-Christian is a no-brainer!

Christians are to be harmless; show unconditional love to others, even to one's enemies; trust God over and above seen circumstances; never judge or condemn any of God's children; be agents of God's grace in this world!

To do otherwise, is to disqualify oneself from being a Christian or even considered a Christian by others!

This is not to say that we don't all need to grow in these areas! However, we are to struggle to practice what Jesus teaches us about love and compassion; we are to never turn a blind eye to, or pass the buck regarding, discrimination or injustice visited upon any of God's children!

And when a "liberal" or any other Christian denomination seeks to waffle on any social justice matter, it shows the signs of a moribund bureaucracy that cares far more for its "reputation" and financial situation than it does for justice for others!

I'd much rather deal with reactionary haters because we know where they stand and they can be counted on to be consistent in their hateful and exclusionary stands! However, with "liberals," it seems that all too many are interested in "safety" at the expense of "justice"; have a disdain for any type of acrimony, even if that acrimony will eventually lead to equality for all of God's children.

No civil rights struggle is going to be successful without acrimony! Disdaining confrontation with the haters, and those professing Christians who disdain Jesus' values, avails us nothing in winning full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people!

In fact, trying to make nice with these haters (falsely assumed to be a manifestation of "Christian love") is to merely empower them and justify their oppression of others in the name of God! Moreover, this kind of perversion of "Christian love" is more than likely a mere cover for physical and/or moral cowardice!

There's no room for "I'm OK and you're OK" in any civil rights struggle, especially when God's name is constantly invoked by the haters, many of whom even have the temerity to oppress others in God's name!

But, then again, since when did the ELCA or most denominations within the institutional Church ever commit themselves to full equality for LGBT people?

Most all denominations have always played the caboose in civil rights struggles, taking their cues from such movements within secular society; by clergy, such as Martin Luther King, who operated apart from all denominations, especially those dominated by White people. And it was only when civil rights were won in secular society that most clergy and their followers within denominations "saw the light" and followed suit! And that speaks very poorly of, and is a profound tragedy for, the institutional Church and the reputation of Christianity!

To enable the denial of qualified known Gay clergy in any way, by direct fiat as we see in the Roman Catholic Church and in reactionary protestant denominations, or by ignoring the issue entirely, or passing the buck as we are now seemingly seeing in the ELCA, is both thwarting God's will for the ministry that God has called many of his Gay children to do, as well being a direct offense against God!
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genevieve said...

This is why I was happy to hear that young people are creating their own organizations because mainstream organizations were concerned with their reps and finances than they are with doing the right thing.

Jerry Maneker said...

You're absolutely right, Genevieve! What meaningful activism is going to have to be initiated at the grassroots level, and then the mainstream organizations will be forced to galvanize that momentum or fall by the wayside. And when it comes to people's careers and maintaining a bureaucracy, you can bet that the organizations will follow the initiatives of that grassroots activism.

Anyone who waits until the mainstream organizations and/or "liberal" politicians see to it that there are full and equal rights will be waiting until hell freezes over! Best wishes, Jerry.