Lawsuits, gay marriages precede Presbyterian meeting

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) doesn't start for another two days, but the fireworks have already begun. Attending commissioners will be debating the ordination of nonchaste homosexuals, late-term abortion, and compliance with the church's constitution. Activists on both sides are acting quickly to be the talk of the convention.

Stephen Van Kuiken, pastor of Cincinnati's Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church, performed another same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday. It's hardly a surprise; he's been promising to do it for a while. Nevertheless, it is his first time to perform such a ceremony since his presbytery's judicial commission slapped him on the wrist last month with a "rebuke" for an earlier gay marriage and told him not to do it again.

"I was kind of amused by the decision because I told them ahead of time [I wouldn't stop]," Van Kuiken tells The Cincinnati Enquirer. "It's like they wanted to warn me one more time. So I told them [Tuesday] that we did it again. I'm not hiding it."

But charges against Van Kuiken for this latest wedding can't be brought until all the appeals over the earlier disciplinary decision have been exhausted.

Another PCUSA "celebrity"—this one on the right—has moved from church charges to civil cases. Paul Rolf Jensen, has filed more than 20 ecclesiastical cases against pastors who violate the church's requirement that church officers "live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness." He was also behind the effort earlier this year to charge PCUSA Moderator Fahed Abu-Akel with violating church law for not calling a special assembly over ordinations of unchaste homosexuals. ...

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