Monday, April 27, 2009

The More Things Change...

The more they stay the same. Sad to say, but true, no matter what the Obama PR machine says about the whole Hope-y, Change-y Unicorn Magical Mystery Tour, change seems to take a mighty long time. Oh, sure, things started out well while reading the Sunday paper. I was reading the latest critical information on Hugh Jackman in Parade Magazine, and came across this interesting piece:
Despite his obviously close relationship with his wife, whispers have persisted since he played Peter Allen that Jackman himself might be gay. “I’d be happy to go and deny it, because I’m not,” he says. “But by denying it, I’m saying there is something shameful about it, and there isn’t anything shameful. The questions about sexuality I find more here in America than anywhere else, because it’s a big hang-up and defines what people think about themselves and others. It’s not a big issue in Australia.” (Emphasis mine.)

Yeah. No freakin' kidding. Ahem. But then I continued to read the paper, and came across a piece about the Presbyterian Church (USA), Fidelity-Chastity Ordination Standard remains in place in PC(USA). That is to say, they won't ordain gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. That's the bottom line. And I hope you catch WHY that is: Fidelity-Chastity Ordination Standard is the reason why. Because you know, we homosexual types can't possibly be faithful in relationships, and generally speaking, we cannot get married in the United States (only a few states permit it). And then there's that whole chastity thing if single, meaning, not legally married. So, just a bit of a burden on the entire GLBT community. Still, the article goes on to say the issue of ordination for GLBT people is not over, especially since the vote was closer than ever. But it is not to be yet.

That is the sad fact reinforced for Lisa Larges, a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, who has been trying to get ordained for 23 years now. That is not a typo - twenty-three years. Just a month ago came the verdict detailed in this article, Synod court rescinds San Francisco Presbytery vote on open lesbian’s readiness for examination for ordination,Examination, not certification of readiness, is proper time for ‘scrupling’:
The Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Synod of the Pacific has rescinded a January 2008 decision by San Francisco Presbytery that long-time candidate and open lesbian Lisa Larges is “ready for examination [for ordination] with a departure.”

The court ruled on March 25 that the presbytery erred by prematurely considering Larges’ declaration of a “scruple” (conscientious objection) to G-6.0106b ― which requires of church officers “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.”

“The examination for ordination is the proper time for (the) Presbytery to determine whether or not a candidate's departure constitutes a failure to adhere to the essentials of Reformed faith and polity,” the court said.

If only the Presbyterian Church was as faithful to Ms. Larges as she has been to them. Can you imagine trying for so long for something you felt called to do by a higher power, something for which you were qualified in every way, except one - who you loved? Oh, and despite your qualifications, you are denied the opportunity to serve because of whom you love by an institution that is built on the very foundation of love, at least according to its founder. Wow. (There is more to the article above. Just click on the link if you want to read it.)

But you know, at least I haven't heard of any Presbyterian ministers being brought to trial for being ordained and homosexual at the same time like the Methodists have. Coincidentally (yeah, right), the two who have been were both women. Oh, don't think this was back in the dark ages or anything. Heck no, it was in 2004. And it wasn't in some rural backwater somewhere. It was in Philadelphia, the city of Fraternal Love (that is the more accurate translation) How ironic is THAT? Anyway, the Rev. Irene Elizabeth Stroud was defrocked for being in a monogamous lesbian relationship. Her congregation did not want this, I might add, and still employs her as a lay person.

And let's not forget the Lutherans. They want to defrock the Rev. Bradley Schmeling, a man they knew was gay because he has now found a life partner. The assumption being that he is having sex while still single (that whole pesky marriage thing again, you know). That's right. He has been brought up on charges because he found someone with whom to share his life:
The Rev. Bradley Schmeling was chosen in 2000 to lead St. John’s, though some worried his sexuality could threaten its standing with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. But last year, the 350-member congregation threw a party for him and his partner, when Schmeling announced he had found a lifelong companion.

Bishop Ronald Warren of the ELCA’s Southeastern Synod, however, asked the 44-year-old pastor to resign. When Schmeling refused, Warren started disciplinary proceedings against him for violating church rules barring sex outside of marriage.

Holy Smokes.

I could go on, but you get the point. Hugh Jackman was putting it mildly when he said we have a "hang up" about homosexuality in this country, and our churches are right in the midst of it all. Not just the right-wing, evangelical, fundamentalist churches either, but mainstream denominations.

While I appreciate the optimism of some in PC(USA), I wish I could share it, but I can't. When you have two major states passing anti-gay measures (Prop 8 in CA, an act strongly supported by Obama's choice to lead his Faith Tour, Doug Kmiec, and Amendment 2 in Florida), and a President who campaigns with Donnie "Jesus Cured Me Of My Homosexuality" McClurkin; who counts as one of his closest friends and confidantes a man who is not just homophobic, but ACTIVELY anti-gay in the person of IL State Senator, James Meeks; and who chooses - HAND PICKS - a man who is actively anti-gay to chair the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine, I just cannot muster the same level of hope for change in these mainstream denominations. Heck, I don't have a lot of hope for our entire nation, not just for the churches (or synagogues, or mosques, etc.). Not in this time, and not with this president. I would love to be proven wrong, though, but I gotta say, I'm not holding my breath.


SFIndie said...

This is a bit o/t Rev, but it was posted on Facebook by a "friend" (I obviously spend too much time on FB!):

Live Vote: Give President Obama a grade - White House- msnbc.comI thought her comment was interesting:

We have to overtake the hate mongers and give our president the thumbs up. Take the time to do this. Thanks.A couple of the comments supported her, mine and one other did not! In fact, I went to the site and gave the Pretender an F.

Here's the site in case you'd like to cast a vote:

Right now, he's tied at 38% A and 38% F, with the rest fairly even between B, C, and D. I'd sure like to see more of a percentage of F! I wonder if MSNBC will report it....

Mary Ellen said...

The poll must be closed because it just shows the results. If you compare the F and D to the A and B...looks like more people don't think he's doing a good job.

If I recall, yesterday one of the talking heads (I think on CNN) said that Obama's popularity is rated high in the polls but not his policies. So that tells me that the asshat Obots care more about the "light glistening off his finely chiseled pectorals" than they do about his taking away Miranda rights and allowing the government to spy on us.

But, he does have the "light glistening off his finely chiseled pectorals" as the Washington Post had noted.

We're doomed.....

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Sorry, SF - I meant to answer last night, but I was SO tired (our animals have been so glad to have us back, they don't let us sleep through the night, thus prolonging the whole jetlag thing).

And I had the same problem Mary Ellen did - that the pol seemed closed. But honestly, for a poll done at MSNBC to have THAT many people give Obama a failing grade is pretty telling. AOL had one, too, and he had more F votes than A votes by a LOT.

LOL abt Facebook - I had resisted, but as you know, "resistance is futile." A friend invited me to see her photos there, and that was the end of my resistance! :-)

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

ME, that is RIDICULOUS! These are the SAME people who used to scream and yell abt Bush's followers doing exactly the same thing! WTH already?!?! Just pathetic...