Presbyterians Take a Big Step Forward
This week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) became the latest Christian denomination to lower barriers against LGBT people in their midst. A new rule—passed in May and taking effect July 10—allows “presbyteries,” regional bodies of the church, and local congregations to decide whether to allow the ordination of openly LGBT persons. Presbyterian equality activists—there are many, including Covenant Network of Presbyterians and More Light Presbyterians—are ecstatic. Theirs has been a long struggle.
The battle has been waging since at least 1974, when a delegate to that year’s denominational General Assembly held up a sign, “Is anyone else out there gay?” That brave act by David Bailey Sindt (pictured right) triggered response, positive and negative, and the contest for the soul of the church has been engaged ever since. This is a reminder that some times it only takes one of us to speak up, or stand up, to create what ultimately is a large wave of change.
It also is a reminder that sometimes victories are not pure and total. This action creates what in essence is “local option,” meaning that there well could be places where openly LGBT people will not be ordained, or even accepted. So, Presbyterians have not ended discrimination outright.