Bil Browning

Lutheran gay pastors can have a relationship now

Filed By Bil Browning | August 13, 2007 12:01 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Christian beliefs, Lutherans, protestant, relationships, religion

One of my biggest problems with organized religion is that they insist on too many rules and regulations that each church has decided is important. It always reminds me of Jesus's teachings on the Pharisees and Sadducees - two political sects of Judiasm that had helped to create and enforce strict laws for the religion. (Hence the doctrine that Christ did away with the old laws. See Calvin's sermon on Galations 2:15-16) Nowadays, the Pharisees have come back with a vengeance - and no denomination is exempt.

The Lutherans, for example, had a rule that said they would allow gay clergy, but that the good revs had to be celibate. On Saturday, the church passed a resolution that would allow Lutheran ministers to be in committed relationships. The resolution passed by a vote of 538-431. It always gives me the warm fuzzies to see churches going back to Christ's teachings. Maybe soon the evangelicals will discover "Love thy neighbor..." as biblically relevant. Nah.

“The Church ... has just said, ‘Do not do punishments,’” said Phil Soucy, spokesman for Lutherans Concerned, a gay-lesbian rights group within the church. “That is huge.”
Since the ELCA was founded in 1988, the group has ordered three pastors in gay relationships to be removed from their ministries. The most recent case was decided in July when the ELCA’s committee on appeals voted to remove an openly gay pastor from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta.

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Let's be careful here.

The ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is the largest, and most liberal, of the Lutheran denominations. There are also the Wisconsin Synod and the Missouri Synod, both of which are far more traditionally "conservative" (read "Neaderthal") and I doubt that I will live to see a similar decision made in those synods.

(I was raised Missouri Synod Lutheran, and I have heard more enlightened remarks about homosexuality come out of the Vatican than I have seen coming out of the Missouri Synod. That's how bad the situation is there.)

So everyone, please note that this decison does not cover every denomination that calls itself "Lutheran".