"I give thanks for those who disagree . . . yet know that we are one in Jesus Christ.”
October 10, 2011 11:26 AM   Subscribe

On Saturday, Scott Anderson became the first openly gay person to be ordained as a minister by the Presbyterian Church (USA), the nation's 10th-largest denomination. But the ceremony actually marked his second ordination, after he was forced to step down from the pulpit, under threat of blackmail, 20 years before. At the time, Anderson had donated his pastoral stole to the Shower of Stoles Project, including over 1000 items representing LGBT people of faith barred from the ministry. Saturday's ceremony also marked the first time that a donated object was returned to its owner.

Anderson's ordination, following a multi-year fight, brings the number of American denominations who accept openly gay pastors to five. The other four are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) (7th), the Episcopal Church (United States) (14th), United Churches of Christ (21st) and the Unitarian Universalists. Numbers here.

Anderson chose Rev. Mark Achtemeier of Dubuque to give the sermon. Rev. Achtemeier, an "evangelical conservative," had once led the charge against gay clergy before experiencing a turnaround two years ago.

Oh -- and some folks with big stupid signs showed up, too, but they reinforced their reputation for irony.
posted by Madamina (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
It always makes me laugh.

Love one another, Jesus has unconditional love...

that is if you don't have a disclaimer attached to you

(gay, unmarried, out of wedlock, etc)

Whatever! Good for the Presbyterian Church.
posted by stormpooper at 11:33 AM on October 10, 2011

Thank God.
posted by 4ster at 11:36 AM on October 10, 2011

I was paying attention to Althouse's coverage of the WBC idiots over the weekend. I know I shouldn't let it get to me, but no one instantly enrages me like they do.

I don't think I could name a more un-Christ like group of people.
posted by sbutler at 11:40 AM on October 10, 2011

The minister at the church where I work was one of those in charge of defending the Presbytery (i.e. making sure Scott got ordained). Even as an atheist, I am proud to say I work for a Presbyterian church these days.
posted by altopower at 11:58 AM on October 10, 2011

You either get drowned by the tide of history or you learn to swim. As obnoxious as they are, I hope the WBC stays afloat long enough to one day be ordaining their first gay minister.
posted by three blind mice at 11:59 AM on October 10, 2011

You either get drowned by the tide of history or you learn to swim. As obnoxious as they are, I hope the WBC stays afloat long enough to one day be ordaining their first gay minister.

WBC is like fifty people and they don't have any beliefs, services, or theology outside of God Hates Fags. Waving those signs and getting on TV is their entire reason for existence. There's no church there to be minister of.
posted by theodolite at 12:19 PM on October 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Technically, they do have slightly more theology. It goes along the lines of, "We're the only ones who get to go to heaven. Pretty much everybody else is unredeemable... which makes it okay that we alienate them to pay our bills." Hyper-hyper-hyper-hyper-Calvinism plus some good old fashioned greed.
posted by gracedissolved at 12:22 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

My college was loosely affiliated with PCUSA and I'm glad to see this is the outcome of all the sturm and drang. Go open-minded Presbyterians! You serve up that coffee and casserole!
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:33 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I grew up Presbyterian (USA) in a small Georgia town. My parents, who were both raised Southern Baptist, decided to join the church when the Baptist church changed pastors and the new guy was a hate-spewing, fire-and-brimstone-condemning type of fella. I am not sure how I would have turned out if I'd been raised in their former congregation. My (white) baby sitter's family had to leave town because she was in love with a black guy. Ditto the organist because her son dated a black girl. My grandfather was asked to quit teaching Sunday School because he told his class that no matter what the Bible said, his God wasn't going to let his Jewish best friend burn in Hell for all eternity just because he happened to be born into a certain church. In the PCUSA church, we were always taught to question our faith, to accept others, to live, love, and laugh. My church family got me through some tough teenage years and while I don't go to church anymore, I will be forever grateful to that denomination.

Good for you, PCUSA!
posted by robstercraw at 12:37 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Although no longer a member, I was raised a Presbyterian. Good on them for doing what's right.
posted by anansi at 12:41 PM on October 10, 2011

What's next? A black man fighting for years to become a member of the Klan?

I think 'Mother Night' already trumped that.
posted by FatherDagon at 1:30 PM on October 10, 2011

Gotta love the girl in the Glee shirt.
posted by resurrexit at 1:31 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh god, that Glee girl? WTF? Does she not pay any attention to the show?

I vote we send Kurt to kick her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:54 PM on October 10, 2011

The question of glbtq clergy among the Episcoplain's is quite complicated, and I know that the American Presbyterian's and the Korean Presbyterian's are in a spat about this. As glad as I am for Scott, I wonder if allowing gay and lesbian pastors is more of a function of less and less people wanting to become priests than anything else.
posted by PinkMoose at 3:21 PM on October 10, 2011

I don't think I could name a more un-Christ like group of people.

Let's be clear: Calling WBC "Christian" is like calling Al-Qaida "Muslim."

WBC is a bunch of meatspace trolls, roiling people up and suing people who violate their First Amendment right to troll. They are the price we pay for the First Amendment.
posted by dw at 4:39 PM on October 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

Look what happens when you put educated grown-ups in charge. When you've got a spiritual teacher shortage, you can't afford to overlook talent. Who knows, Xtianity may actually find its way back to its founding principles one day.
posted by Twang at 6:20 PM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) here; please note, we are not the Presbyterian Church in America, that's a totally separate and far more conservative bunch!

The debate in the PCUSA the last couple years hasn't been over whether or not to accept gays, bi or anybody else; it's been over church rules, which stated that anyone holding office in the church, whether deacon, elder or preacher, had to either A)be faithful to the person they're lawfully married to, or B)be celibate. No middle ground, married or celibate were the only options.

The problem with this, of course, is that there are people who were not allowed to be married to each other: the problem was not the gender of those people or who they love. The recent rule change reflects the unfairness of this situation; who knows, maybe once same-sex marriage is a universal right, the church might revert to the old married-or-celibate stance!
posted by easily confused at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2011

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