ELCA Task Force on Sexuality Recommendations

From the Executive Summary of the Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies:

The recommendation consists of four interconnected resolutions. Each takes a step in the decision-making process. The decisions are to be taken one by one: if the first is approved, then the second, third, and fourth are considered, but only if the preceding ones have been approved.

Step One
Step one asks the assembly whether, in principle, it is committed to finding ways to allow congregations and synods that choose to do so to recognize, support, and hold publicly accountable lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.

Step Two
Step two asks the assembly whether, in principle, this church is committed to finding a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church.

Step Three
Step three asks this church whether, in the future implementation of these commitments, it will make decisions so that all in this church bear the burdens of the other, and respect the bound consciences of all. This means that any solution that serves only the conscience-bound positions of one or another part of this church will not be acceptable.

Step Four
Step four proposes how this church can move toward change in a way that respects the bound consciences of all. It recognizes that such respect will lead to diversity of practice. However, the majority of the task force believes that the conscience-bound lack of consensus will be respected most faithfully by providing some structured flexibility in decision-making so that congregations and synods may choose whether or not to approve or call people in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve on ELCA rosters.

From the FAQ:

How would “structured” flexibility (#4) affect those Lutherans who are convinced that there should not be any changes to ELCA’s present policy regarding people in lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships?
If this approach to structured flexibility were adopted, it would still protect any congregation, candidacy committee, synod, or bishop by not requiring them to violate bound conscience by approving, calling, commissioning, consecrating, or ordaining anyone in a publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationship.

This will absolutely never work.  It will be impossible to prevent the agenda from also consuming such “protected” congregations, etc.  And what could possibly be the argument for allowing such conscientious objectors to resist this new move of the spirit?

Will the laity leave?  Will pastors leave?


Hard to Find the Best Construction

Sue them to shut them up.  That will probably work.

Listen here:

Rebellious Pastor’s Wife here.

Sign the petition.  (Didn’t they learn from the last time not to make Issues fans mad?)

UPDATE: The opposition to Harry Madsen acquiring the trademark for “Issues, Etc.” has been withdrawn “with prejudice” (whatever that means–can anyone explain?) [Thanks to Dan at NR for the link, via the Brothers]


Yeah, About That…

You know that whole command of God thing?  That’s really not working for me.

Abstinence (“chastity” would be a better word) is only unrealistic for those who don’t practice it.

The teen said she wanted to tell her story so that other young people might think twice about having sex.

“I’d love to [be] an advocate to prevent teen pregnancy because it’s not, like, a situation that you would want to strive for, I guess,” Bristol said.

You don’t want to be too hard on a teenager, but isn’t, like, “like,” out of fashion yet?  How does she plan to be an advocate to prevent teen pregnancy if she doesn’t think abstinence is realistic?  Because, really, who wants to, like, wear a condom?



…for those Christians who believe that God used natural selection/evolution to do His work of creation: how do you envision the new heavens and the new earth?  Will the new creation also be subject to an evolutionary process?  What exactly is Jesus the first-fruits of?


Progressive Pro-Lifers?

So there are those who call themselves “progressive pro-lifers.”  That is, according to this article from Sojourners (where else?), they are those who are “self-described liberal[s] on nearly all issues except one: Abortion.”

Jennifer Roth is one.

When in doubt [about whom to vote for], she tends toward the Democratic Party, believing its social agenda is more likely to decrease the social and economic pressure that leads to abortion.

“I don’t think it’s an accident that the abortion rate went up under Reagan and Bush but went down under Clinton,” she says. “We have to integrate parenthood and school or parenthood and work to relieve some of the social and economic pressures that make abortion feel like the only choice.”

That’s usually how the lib–er, progressives–go about things.  They see a problem (abortion), but it’s not really the problem.  Poverty, or homelessness, or the lack of government funding for daycare is the real problem.  What is the social pressure that leads to abortion?  The only social pressure with which I’m familiar has the initials Pee-Pee.

And the economic pressure?  That poor people will get more abortions?  Not sure if that’s true, but we’ll grant it for the sake of the argument.  Why don’t we (borrowing from James Kushiner of Touchstone) restrict abortion only to poor people?  Fewer abortions and fewer poor people would pretty much solve all the problems that progressive pro-lifers have.

OVER AT THE DIOCESE of Davenport, Iowa, Dan Ebener heads up a similar social action office—and the pro-life office as well. The doubled job is not the result of budget cutbacks but rather an intentional effort by the diocese to link the pro-life issue with broader social ones.

“Catholic social teaching values the life and dignity of the human person. And you can’t separate the life and the dignity; they go together,” Ebener says. That means considering not only abortion but also poverty, health care, and joblessness.

“To me it’s important to defend life where it’s most vulnerable, and certainly life in the womb is vulnerable,” he says. “But protecting human life from abortion is only one way of protecting life in the womb.” To Ebener, issues such as prenatal health care, job training for unemployed mothers, and day care for working mothers are as essential to a pro-life agenda as is fighting abortion.

As if those who are commonly called “pro-life” are not concerned about poverty, health care, and joblessness.  We just happen to think that if we cannot protect the helpless in the womb, all other concerns ring hollow.  Think how this argument would go in any other arena: Yes, I’m opposed to spousal abuse, but we really should focuse more on the conditions in the home that lead to spousal abuse.  If we can’t do that, we shouldn’t automatically make it a criminal offense.  Or: Yes, I’m opposed to rape, but we have to address the conditions that make rape possible.  Until we’ve done that, we’re not really pro-woman.  Or: Yes, I’m opposed to child abuse, but until people can truly achieve the American dream, they’re going to continue beating the hell out of their children.  Until we’ve eradicated poverty, we’re not truly pro-child.  (Wow, I surprise myself with how much I sound like a lib–er, progressive.)

The stupidity of the argument astounds.  Of course some women feel pressure to get abortions.  Of course we should help assuage those pressures as much as possible (although, how do you get rid of the concern that this thing I’m carrying in my womb is going to make life a whole lot more inconvenient?).  That is one grand exercise in missing the point.  The point is this: is abortion murder?  Then it should be criminalized, just like every other form of murder.  If it’s not, then you can go about your lib–er, progressive–business and pretend you’re better than those of us who think that murdering children is a far greater crime than losing your job.

Until we can change people’s hearts and their bad circumstances (we should), the murder of children should be illegal.