Last week, in a surprise vote, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) elected its first female presiding bishop, Elizabeth Eaton. [more inside]
Last summer, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved a measure affirming the right of transgendered members to be eligible for both lay and ordained ministry. Before the vote, pioneering Episcopal LGBT group Integrity USA distributed copies of "Voices of Witness: Out of the Box" to Convention delegates. The short video profiles several transgender Episcopalians, including clergy, as well as cisgender supporters. In other Episcopal LGBT news, the Dean of the National Cathedral in Washington DC announced last week that the Cathedral would begin celebrating same-sex weddings effective immediately.
From Bible-Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader. Jerry DeWitt is a former Pentecostal pastor in the evangelical parish of DeRidder, Louisiana who slowly lost his religious faith. Last Fall, he went public with his atheism, committing what he calls "identity suicide," and instantly becoming "the most disliked person in town." Since then, Mr. DeWitt's lost his job, his wife, his community and may be losing his house, but is still persevering and working to help others who find themselves in similar circumstances. [more inside]
Tollemache, Ralph William Lyonel Tollemache- (1826–1895), Church of England clergyman and bestower of eccentric names.
A year and a half ago we discussed Daniel Dennett's study of clergy who had lost their faith. In the meantime, he and Richard Dawkins have teamed up to start "The Clergy Project," an online community for clergy who are considering leaving the ministry because of their loss of faith, and former clergy who have already made the transition out. [more inside]
[pdf] Clergymen in the closet -- not because they are gay; because they don't believe in God. Here's a followup.
Do you know what the Lutherans are doing this week? The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is talking about sex at their bi-annual assembly and they decided that blessings on gay marriage and the rosterering of leaders in same-gender relationships are A OK. [more inside]
The Clergy Letter Project has completed acquiring 10,000 signatures from clergy around the country. Their stated goal: For too long, the misperception that science and religion are inevitably in conflict has created unnecessary division and confusion, especially concerning the teaching of evolution. I wanted to let the public know that numerous clergy from most denominations have tremendous respect for evolutionary theory and have embraced it as a core component of human knowledge, fully harmonious with religious faith. They've declared February 12, 2006 as Evolution Sunday, a day when "hundreds of Christian churches from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science."
Unionized Clergy?! Some members of the clergy with the United Church of Canada are looking to unionize over four thousand pastors across the country. Their compliant, bad working conditions and sweatshop wages. Bad working conditions? Give me a break. via
Roy Ten Commandments Moore (discussed here) received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in January of 2003 from the Methodist Episcopal Church, USA (temporarily deactivated, someone, call billing!) & the National Clergy Council. The National Clergy Council has placed "Ten Commandment" plaques on the walls of politicians such as George Bush, Trent Lott, Joe Leiberman, & Rick Santorum among others. The web site of the National Clergy Council reads "There remain thousands of additional government officials yet to receive the Ten Commandments Plaques." and asks for help. Chief Justice Moore had to travel all the way to Washington DC to receive his honorary Doctorate of Divinity. It would have been far cheaper to pay $7.95 online. In case you were wondering a Doctorate in Divinity means an "understanding of the relationship between Man, His Creator, and the rest of the Cosmos." It's good nice to know that such a moral man
is was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Finally, action from the Vatican. After struggling with what to do with errant priests, several are excommunicated.... ...Whoops. Never mind. These aren't the priests one might expect...or maybe they are.
Boston's Catholic Archdiocese questions link of celibacy to pedophilia. The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper, questions if celibacy causes sexual abuse by priests. Also questions if the priesthood attracts a disproportionate number of homosexual men. (Also on cnn.com and elsewhere.) What do you think? On a side note, the editorial also says that "We know that our sexual orientation is neither morally good nor evil." Since when was that a Catholic belief?