In an article posted today on the Christian Century Networks Blog the following was reported, referencing the maneuver to prevent discussion on the definition of marriage at the last General Assembly:
"Progressive Presbyterians were disappointed by the redefinition defeat. The resolution was essentially voted down July 8 in a parliamentary maneuver and never came to the floor for a full debate; an attempt to revive the resolution failed by a wide margin the next morning.
'The church was not yet ready to make a decision,' General Assembly moderator Cynthia Bolbach told reporters. "This kind of thing happens at every assembly.'"
"This kind of thing..." Really.
Earlier in the article, Pam Byers, Executive Director of Covenant Network offered this statement:
We're hoping very much to reengage and continue the momentum...As more Presbyterians recognize that they know good, faithful gay Presbyterians, it becomes harder to maintain this exclusion."
"It becomes harder to maintain this exclusion."
The juxtaposition of these comments by two powerful leaders in the PC(USA) frames some of the problem. For the church, it's just a time of not ready and expressing the lack of readiness as just another exercize of parliamentary procedure. So, for the gay and lesbian people of the church the status of exclusion continues, based on policy absent any other voice from leadership levels of the Office of General Assembly or elsewhere in Louisville.
Policy v. People. PC(USA)?
I admit it. I don't believe it has to be so. As a result, I continue to exhort every leader I can find, inlcuding supportive moderators of the PC(USA) to stand up and state to all that this church is wrong in its exclusionary policy. To state to those who believe that they are forgotten that it is not so. That they know this church is not welcoming and that it needs to change to become fully faithful.
Leadership from the PC(USA) needs to stand up and say that this instiutional marginalization is not "just a thing" dictated by policy. We need to exit the state of denial we seem to cower within, acknowledging that it is not "decent" to accept the dehumanization of others to maintain "order."
We who are excluded are not issues. We are baptized living, breathing, loving sisters and brothers. And this church's actions, or in this case inaction, reaches far beyond those who might call themselves Presbyterians. We are failing the human community of creation by excluding Lesbuan, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender folk from the full work and worship of this church with all the privileges of the church, including marriage. If there is to be any discussion of sin, it needs to start with this egregious error.
If the leadership of the church represents the whole church, when do they represent the LGBT commnity? Where in the official PC(USA) church is there an office, a person, or an outreach for the concerns of our sisters and brothers who are lesbian and gay? There is only public silence and sometime private support.
I also admit to wondering when will this church produce someone unconcerned with losing their status or position to the degree that they will stand up for the marginalized people they privately say they support and, at least, create a center in the church, not another study, to help change the institutional church. We do not need to be studied; we need to be welcomed, even at the risk of upsetting others. I believe there is biblical precedent for such a thing.
I agree with Pam Byers and others who say that the exclusion [of LGBT folk] is slowly being chipped away, as more and more people ..."recognize that they know good, faitful gay Presbyterians."
I would add to that. I would add that in addition to knowing good, faithful gay Presbyterians, more and more people are recognizing the unintentional complicity of this church in the hate crimes and homophobia that plague this and other societies and cultures around the world. More and more people have had enough with a church that promises to follow the teachings of Jesus, but lacks the courage to make the same sacrifices it demands of others. Sacrifices it demands without any sense of public policy statement, institutional support, or what would be welcome outrage at the harm and injustice caused by silence and refusal.
Just another thing...