PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH REJECTS INCLUSIVENESS (1997)
86 Presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA) have voted in favor of
Amendment B, also called the Fidelity and Chastity Amendment
which restricts eligibility for ordination to those who pass a very
strict sexual code. This achieves a simple majority.
Rev. Laurene Lafontaine, co-moderator of the Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay
Concerns issued the following statement on 1997-MAR-19, titled Presbyterians
Denounce the Passage of Amendment B".
"It is truly a sad and tragic moment in our church's history," responded Rev.
Laurene Lafontaine, co moderator for Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay
Concerns after learning of the passage of Amendment B to the Presbyterian
Church (USA)'s governance. "The leadership of PLGC, More Light Churches
Network and "That All May Freely Serve" strongly denounce the passage of
Amendment B. We are deeply disappointed and outraged that our denomination
has chosen to make gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Presbyterians
second class members. Amendment B not only affects gays and lesbians, it
affects everyone in the local church including single and divorced persons,
who desire to serve God by the imposing of a purity code, unheard of since
the Middle Ages."
Amendment B, commonly known as the Fidelity and Chastity Amendment, received
the required simple majority of 86 of the denomination's 171 Presbyteries
yesterday. It puts into place a purity and ethical code which lifts up the
repentance of so called sexual sins, among others, as a benchmark for one's
service within the Presbyterian Church (USA). Amendment B, deemed to be
unconstitutional and theologically problematic by many scholars and leaders
within the denomination, is headed for certain judicial challenge.
"This denomination is split on how to respond to its own gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender members, deacons, elders and clergy. The mere fact
that the recorded popular vote is nearly 50 50 tells us that this Church is
surely not of one mind. For this very reason, we are hopeful. We know that
this is a justice movement, not unlike the movement for women's ordination or
the movement to reverse attitudes about slavery within the last hundred and
fifty years in our denomination's history. We trust that God's call to each
person, particularly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, will
eventually be honored and celebrated. This travesty of discrimination will
not thwart the Spirit of God. Those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or
transgender will continue to serve God faithfully, and yes, this church.
We encourage those Presbyteries who have not yet voted on Amendment B to be
a strong prophetic witness for justice by voting 'no.' We affirm the
Reformed tradition of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and God's Spirit moving among us.
To that end, we trust that Amendment B will be rejected by the courts of the
denomination." concluded Rev. Lafontaine.
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