Monday, July 26, 2010

Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!

There are only a few times a decade that I can be proud of my church. Today is one time:
With a laying on of hands, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Sunday welcomed into its fold seven openly gay pastors who had until recently been barred from the church’s ministry.

A couple of notes to make here. First, the Lutheran Evangelical Church is essentially the Roman Catholic Church without the Pope and all the trappings therein. As the first Protestant sect, it remains the one most closely tied to the RCC and has even made attempts to reincorporate into the fold. As such, it can be and has been at points a bellwether for the papal congregations. One hopes that is the case here, as well.

Second, about that second word in its name..."Evangelical". While the Lutheran church in America is not the first evangelical church to recognize gay ministers and/or pastors, it is the most conservative church to do so. Indeed, parts of its doctrine makes churches like the Southern Baptists look practically liberal. This development will put enormous pressure on other evangelical sects to follow, and also opens up the question of gay marriage in places like California, where Proposition 8 passed largely on the basis of votes from evangelicals, white and black.

I have long believed that marriage ought to be available to any two consenting adults. It seems silly to try to keep two people from forming a more perfect union, when our own nation is so divided to begin with.