(Some) Lutherans allow gay pastors

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A very influential church in Wisconsin:

The national assembly of the 4.7 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, meeting in Minneapolis, gave local congregations the authority to choose pastors or lay leaders who are in “lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships.”

This will likely be included in history books written on the gay rights movement. It is yet another signal sent by moderates throughout the Midwest that gay-bashing is a thing of the past, or rather, a thing of the South.

Wisconsin Republicans are unreasonable, and they have been for more than a generation, however, they cannot help but acknowledge that homophobia is beginning to drive voters to their opponents. In next year’s gubernatorial primary, I would be surprised if their is more than a token reference to “the defense of marriage” or whatever other euphemisms the Republican Party has used to say “God hates fags” in the past.

While southern Baptists and Pentecostals will continue to demagogue on sexuality, mainstream Protestant churches are moving away from the issue, correctly identifying it as an issue that is driving young people away from churches.

Lutherans across the nation are commenting on the decision, some optimistically, and some less so.

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2 Responses to “(Some) Lutherans allow gay pastors”

  1. Ordinary Jill Says:

    Several years ago, I heard a bit on Prairie Home Companion where Garrison Keillor talked about the two kinds of Lutherans. He called them the “Happy Lutherans” (whose members are cheerful and optimistic about salvation) and the “Dark Lutherans” (who are obsessed with sin, fire and brimstone). He never named any synods, but (having grown up Lutheran myself), I knew that by “Happy Lutherans” he meant the ELCA, and by “Dark Lutherans” he meant the Missouri Synod (and, in Wisconsin, the WELS). I was not at all surprised to hear that the ELCA (which is the most tolerant and ecumenical Lutheran group in the U.S.) has made this progressive move.

    The “Dark Lutheran” synods will undoubtedly pick up some new members, as the older folks who focus on the Levitican prohibitions against homosexuality (while ignoring the prohibitions against pork and shellfish) turn away from the ELCA. The Episcopal Church has been in the news for years over the internal strife that has occurred after the church began not only ordaining gay clergy, but a gay bishop as well.

  2. Todd Stevens Says:

    The trend of conservative Lutherans moving toward the Missouri and Wisconsin synods has been going on for a while though, and I bet that most of the members who would have been unhappy with the decision have already left. I’m sure the “Dark Lutherans” will see a brief spike in new followers because of this, but I doubt this will lead to nearly as big a divide in the ELCA as we saw with the Episcopal Church.

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