Top Five Stories (Fri afternoon-Wed. morning):
1. Presbyterian court: "Conscience takes precedence over propriety"
Presbyterian Church (USA) minister Janet Edwards says her performing the marriage of a lesbian couple is an example of walking in the footsteps of her famous sixth-great grandfather, Jonathan Edwards. After all, she told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he ministered to Native Americans, calling them virtuous when they were considered by the culture to be savages. ""I would say his acceptance of the Mohicans of the time is similar to my inclusion of gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered people now," she said.
There are a few differences, however. For example, Edwards's church didn't actually define Mohicans as savages. Today's Presbyterian Church (USA) doesn't define "gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered people" as savages, either, but the Book of Order does define marriage as "a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship."
That's "a definition, not a directive," the court of the Presbytery of the Redwoods ruled last Thursday in the church trial of Jane Adams Spahr. Neither, the court said, is the church's 1991 General Assembly instruction that "it would not be proper" for a minister to conduct same-sex unions. Since the church didn't use stronger language, the court ruled, "the issue remains unsettled." Ministers are to act on their conscience, and since "conscience takes precedence over propriety," ministers who believe that they should conduct same-sex marriages may do so. Hath the church truly said that ministers may not conduct same-sex marriages?
2. Pastor quits over terrorism grief A Church of England minister has shown a different approach when ...1
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