Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Martyr Lutheran

So, it's away for 12 days, only to find that the Lutherans acted up and acted out in the absence. At the end of their annual assembly last week, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ECLA) turned eyes skyward and hummed a happy tune. They passed conflicting and conflicted resolutions concerning same-sex marriages and unions in the process.

Note: This group is not the same as the reactionary and fundamentalist Missouri Synod Lutherans. The latter proclaim all homosexuals sinners and shun them (see Marriage: III). The ECLA allegedly welcomes homosexual members, encourages its pastors to minister to them, and may eventually ordain gay clergy...but not this week.

The ECLA assembly last week took place in Orlando, Florida, home of Disney's fantasy theme park. As befitting that location, the group seems to want it all ways. By 670 to 323, it passed a resolution welcoming "gay and lesbian persons into its life" and directing congregations and pastors 'to discern ways to provide faithful pastoral care to all to whom they minister." It followed that with a vote to continue to prohibit blessing of same-sex marriages and unions. However, it will not discipline congregations or pastors who do so. Then, it voted 503 to 490 to maintain a ban on gay clergy.

That third resolution led to a silent protest by 100 members of Goodsoil, who are devoted to eliminating discrimination in the ECLA. They walked to the front, wearing rainbow sashes.

According to a Goodsoil spokesman, Phil Soucy, "The church is not ready to make sweeping changes. That's one way of looking at it. We were sacrificed on the altar of denominational unity."

On the other hand, as is so often been the case with same-sex marriage, the anti folk are not pleased. WordAlone President Jaynan Clark Egland saw the road to hell here. "(T)his assembly has propped open the door firmly" to same-sex unions, she claimed.

Besides those sites, the best coverage was by Mark Pinsky and Matthew Hay Brown from the Orlando Sentinel. Background is here, assembly forecast here, and the recimination here.

Amusingly enough, the ECLA condemns all sex - gay or straight - outside of marriage. It claims nearly 5 million baptized and over 2.3 million active members. For all of them, fornication is still a no-no.

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