The Nov. 23 news story "Gay Presbyterians Win Battle" suggested that an army of gay Presbyterians is waging war with straight Presbyterians over the soul of the church. In reality, Presbyterians are not that much different from religious communities of every denomination on the issue of ordination of homosexual believers. Presbyterians do not read and interpret biblical and theological writings with any consistency on this issue, and thus there exist everything from massive to minuscule differences on how to understand and address this issue before the church.
So, what is new? The reporter was wrong to suggest that a schism is inevitable. I am a member of the Covenant Network, a group of pastors and congregations in the Presbyterian Church USA committed to overturning the so-called Fidelity and Chastity Amendment to our constitution. I believe the church will be better served without this amendment. Our efforts to reach consensus or a civil disagreement are damaged by inflammatory headlines and superficial coverage.
GARY W. CHARLES
The writer is pastor of the Old Presbyterian Meeting House.
"Gay Presbyterians Win Battle" took a preliminary decision by a church body as a final action. These decisions are certain to be appealed to a higher church court. Further, The Post does not report that the same court recently rendered decisions in two other cases that opposed the ordination of those engaged in homosexual behavior.
The Presbyterian Church has been neither "quiet" nor in "detente" over normalizing homosexual practice, as The Post's reporter says. This issue has dominated the theological, spiritual and legislative landscape in our church for years. It also was not a "well-organized conservative wing" of the church that "passed an amendment to church law." The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and its regional governing bodies, the presbyteries--elected bodies of mainstream Presbyterians--passed the amendment and twice since then rejected efforts to remove the amendment which requires "fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness." This is not a "conservative-liberal" battle. It is a question of upholding the historical orthodoxy of the church.