Sunday, March 28, 2010

Churches split on gay marriage; some pastors risk defrocking if they perform same-sex unions

Daniel Burke has a revealing article in the Washington Post “On Faith” column Saturday March 27, link, “Clergy torn over church, civil loyalties over same-sex marriage”.

United Methodist pastor Rev. Mary Kay Totty has said she is willing to take the risk of being defrocked over performing same-sex unions. And Rev. Amy Butler, of Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Washington, says she will marry same-sex couples, and is reassessing the church’s ties with the ultra-conservative Southern Baptist Convention.

I remember the First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas when I lived there in the 1980s, and a few anti-gay sermons from Rev. Criswell.

To my knowledge, the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, at 16th an O (the Baptist church closest to the White House and serving many presidents, including Truman and Carter) has not taken a position on the issue. I grew up in this church. Recently it installed a new pastor.

Many denominations have “conservative” and “liberal” branches, and in Washington DC and nearby suburbs (especially Arlington) it is common to find representatives of both branches in close proximity. Within most protestant denominations, there is wide disagreement on gay marriage. There is generally a developing belief that “don’t ask don’t tell” should be repealed, however, even among some conservatives – because military service ought to be an obligation of all.

Saying that “marriage should be established only between a man and a woman” doesn’t itself mean a lot. It’s how the unmarried are treated (and especially the childless) that means everything.

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