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4 Things the Lutheran Gay Vote Doesn’t Mean. And 5 Things It Does

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ross-murray

Following August’s vote by ECLA to permit noncelibate Lutherans to become clergy, Queerty has brought you straight pastor Erik Samuelson’s perspective, and queer pastor Lura Green’s as well. Today we hear from Ross Murray, interim associate director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, a group that actively lobbied for inclusion of LGBTs in the Lutheran Church. Here, he shares what the vote did, and didn’t, mean.

I was raised as a life-long Lutheran. To be perfectly honest, I think that being Lutheran is just as much of my identity as being gay is. I grew up in Northern Minnesota, on the Canadian Border, and my small hometown was not known for its gay-friendliness. I didn’t dare come out until I was ready to move to Minneapolis. However my pastor was a major part of my coming out process. I came out to him long before coming out to others, He put up with a lot of angsty shit. He also pointed me in the direction of ministry, even knowing that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America policy would not allow it.

When I was in high school, my pastor was a voting member to a previous Churchwide Assembly. There was a brief debate about sexuality and changing the discriminatory policy of the ELCA. As he told me about the debate, he mentioned, “I think that the Church has come a long way, but I don’t think that policy change is going to happen in your lifetime.”

A note from Mr. Murray: Thanks to the editors for actively reaching out to get as many perspectives as possible on the recent actions of the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. I’m going to attempt to put these events into perspective. You have seen other reports and commentary on here, but I may be able to describe the week in terms of the strategic intentions of the people who were working toward full inclusion.

I became active in Lutherans Concerned/North America because of a small discriminatory experience I had with a Christian ministry not associated with the ELCA. I was on a traveling music ministry team and was kicked out after coming out to my teammates. I went home discouraged and found a lot of comfort in the Twin Cities chapter of LC/NA. My involvement in the Twin Cities chapter led to attending an assembly for all of LC/NA. I found the people to be warm and hospitable, like a large family. Since then, I’ve served on the Board of Directors, and eventually the staff of LC/NA.

So what is this LC/NA? It’s an organization committed to education and advocacy for the full inclusion of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in the life of the Lutheran Church, its ecumenical and global partners. (Our membership includes people from the ELCA, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Evangelical Synod, and a host of other Lutheran and pseudo-Lutheran organizations.) LC/NA has been around since 1974, starting as a sanctuaried worship movement. LGBT people (mostly G at that time) would have worships in secret locations because they were too afraid to worship in a congregation. Sanctuary is still important to our organization, as there are still places and denominations that are not as safe for LGBT people.

LC/NA works toward making the whole Lutheran Church a more welcome place to LGBT people. This is where our work with the ELCA comes in. Formerly, the ELCA had a policy that called for its ministers to be either married or celibate. There was a particular line that read, “Ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to abstain from homosexual sexual relationships.” So a minister would be gay and single and technically still be allowed to serve, but if that minister was known to be partnered (or dating…or even suspected of wanting to date), then that minister could be removed from the roster of clergy serving. It was a system that removed a lot of good pastors, either through trial or through intimidation.

 
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ross-murray Ross Murray is the Interim Associate Director of Lutherans Concerned/North America. He lives in Minneapolis with his partner Richard. If he’s not obsessing himself with Church politics, he likes to travel and attend the theater. He is NOT happy about the current trend to make musicals based on movies.
 

On:           Sep 9, 2009
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  • 58 Comments
    • Frank Amsterdam
      Frank Amsterdam

      Ever heard of the option in WordPress?

      Sep 9, 2009 at 2:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank Amsterdam
      Frank Amsterdam

      @Myself: read more option. Sorry.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frank Amsterdam
      Frank Amsterdam

      @Myself: they have. There’s even 4 pages of this thing.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 2:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dsdrane
      dsdrane

      Thank you for your efforts and your contribution here, Ross. And thank you, Queerty, for continuing the conversation.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 3:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      I just want to add my thanks to both Queerty and the various Lutherans pastors and Episcopalian ministers who are moving this conversation along.
      It’s the first time I’ve ever read a dialogue between the LGBT population and the ministers of churches that covers so much theology and philosophy and social policy.
      And bearing in mind it’s taken place on the message boards of Queerty, it’s been remarkably informative and polite.
      I don’t live in the US, and in my country religion doesn’t have the stranglehold over public policy that it seems to have in America, but I find it heartening and fascinating that religious groups are debating and enacting policies of equality that are more far-reaching and inclusive than the federal laws of the nation.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      I just wish there were any such churches of just about any denomination around here.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 4:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dizzyspins
      dizzyspins

      While Im eager to hear different views on this subject, brevity is indeed the soul of wit. My eyes glazed over somwehere around page 2.

      Also, Murray says being a Lutheran is as much a part of his identity as being gay. Butt if you look at the first sentence of his piece, he says he was “raised Lutheran.” No one is RAISED gay–and there’s no amount of parental influence that would make it go away.

      People who say that homosexuality is a choice (not that Murray is) always seem to forget that, if anything, religion is a choice.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Clark
      Clark

      I think you guys need to edit a little bit.

      First of all, there’s been an exhaustive coverage of the Lutheran Church lately. We get it.

      And Ross needs to edit himself a little bit (by about 500 words). More pull quotes and display type would at least help those of us who don’t want to read the whole thing have a little taste of what you’re saying.

      Sep 9, 2009 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      Four pages of Lutheran dribble? Really?

      So, LGBT people can work there. Wow. This took “decades?” Yet, nothing about “beliefs.” Pastor Erik was correct when he called the actions at the convention “window dressing.”

      Ross: you really don’t need to take all this time anguished about your Church – gay teens are committing suicide because religion makes them WRONG, Lutherans included. Inclusiveness isn’t saving their lives. It’s not changing the continued hatred of LGBT people. At least have the balls to admit the Lutherans did NOTHING to correct the centuries of damage done to our community by making homosexuals “wrong.” Trying to make it sound significant only adds insult to the injury.

      Then you finish with this advertisement: “On behalf of ELCA Lutherans and Lutherans Concerned/North America, I invite you to see if a Lutheran congregation is the right place for you.”

      I will be the right place for LGBT people who care about Equality when Lutherans have the courage to simply Declare:

      Homosexuality is Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant.

      Honest, compassionate people put equality before religion. Lutherans don’t. Religions used to actually have standards – Lutherans have several – as Pastor Lura confirmed.

      While your personal efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated, Lutherans have done way too little, way too late. LGBT shouldn’t support that, in any way. That would be sanctioning and organization that tolerates and sanctions hate, bigotry an discrimination.

      I imagine you must feel ashamed at times. If not for your LGBT bothers and sisters 2000 years of Christian-inflicted pain and suffering, but maybe for the thousands of gay teens that have been made “wrong” enough for them to take their own lives. Don’t give me any of the “imperfect” crap, either. You know what MUST be done. You know it will end hatred, discrimination and death. You know in your heart we’re not wrong. And, yet ….

      Sep 10, 2009 at 12:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      @Brian: Although I appreciate the sense and rightness of your argument, there is an element of expecting the Lutherans or anyone else to completely change overnight. Realistically, that’s just going to happen. What the Lutherans did was a victory of sorts for LGBT equality and at a time when the US Government is actively opposing any kind of equality any victory should be celebrated.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 6:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      I stopped reading after this:

      • Clergy in a same-gender relationship are not necessarily going to find a call wherever they want. Because the decision lies with the congregation (no one can “force” a pastor on a congregation), the congregation can continue to discriminate by not offering a call to an openly queer clergy member. Women have been ordained since 1970, and there are still places that will not issue a call to a woman. The same can be said for a person of color, a divorced person, or someone with a disability.

      • A queer couple looking to have a wedding/blessing ceremony will not necessarily be able to have it in any ELCA congregation. Again, this is a decision that pastors and congregations are going to have to make for themselves. There may still be places that won’t ritualize any of the milestones of queer life.

      This is such a kooky religion, when even the most forward-thinking of the most denominations stop at WAY short of what they claim to believe: that the person/god they worship was such a commoner that he hung out with the dregs of society and then the best they can say is that even the most forward thinking they will be is to not beat down our self-esteem. Wow…they let gays be clergy. Does the Lutheran church advocate us having full CIVIL rights? Christianity is discriminatory. Face it…Christians, even the most well-meaning of them, see us as less than them.

      To quote their holy book…Christians are known for their works, and that is constitutional amendments and political pushes for votes on our rights.

      What is the Lutheran stance on the status of gay folk in everyday life?

      Sep 10, 2009 at 10:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Darrien: If the Lutherans don’t make the Declaration – LGBT people should boycott them. Supporting the Lutheran Church is sanctioning the hate and discrimination of LGBT people – including gay teen suicide.

      Lutherans have done NOTHING to end the “wrong” of being a homosexual – they just made it okay for LGBT to work there. One has to ask the question – why would LGBT work there?

      Sep 10, 2009 at 10:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      On again, off again Lutherans – an organization they can’t even agree what their BELIEFS are?

      I hope gays and lesbians recognize this very clear “marketing scam” Lutherans are using. They intentionally sound very “welcoming,” and “inclusive,” but do NOTHING to changes the religious beliefs that harm homosexuals. They appear to “love” our “money,” not us. They need to end the “wrong of being a homosexual” if they want our money or attention.

      Courage: Action in the presence of fear.

      Nobody knows exactly what it means to be a Lutheran, but bring cash and you’re welcome here.

      Pastor Lura Groen lied. So, in addition to homophobia, bigotry and hatred – Lutherans allow lying, too. How “Christian.” This is a religion? Really?

      Sep 10, 2009 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh

      @Darrien: “What the Lutherans did was a victory of sorts for LGBT equality and at a time when the US Government is actively opposing any kind of equality any victory should be celebrated.”

      Are you crazy or delusional? Lutherans did nothing for LGBT people. It’s all bull-shit. So far, 4 Lutheran Pastors have said a whole bunch of “nothing.” Only Pastor Lura Groen made a direct statement “homosexuals are not wrong, sinful or deviant,” and now she’s sending out here Resume.

      Christians (Lutherans are Christians, right?) just keep getting goofier and goofier. Wake up people! Especially LGBT people! Lutherans don’t care about our centuries of hate and discrimination at the hands of religion. They just don’t care.

      What crazy Fundamentalists shout, Lutherans post on Queerty.com, but they make it sound nice. It’s not nice. Lutherans still make us wrong – second class citizens. That’s not forgivable.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      @Brian: Reducing a religious vocation to a mere matter of employment, as if they could just as well be an accountant or something, shows such a fundamental understanding of everything related that I couldn’t begin to try untangling it. I’m starting to wonder if that’s deliberate.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 1:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @hyhybt:

      Reducing a religious vocation to a mere matter of employment, as if they could just as well be an accountant or something

      Well, as a matter of fact…it is just a matter of employment. They are not working for free, after all.

      And if they had chosen to be an accountant or something instead, think of the enormous benefit they could have been to society at large instead of the horrendous psychological, physical and financial drain on mankind that religion has been and continues to be.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @hyhybt: Pastor, Preacher, Minister and Reverend are just jobs.

      Episcopalian Vicki Gene Robinson made Bishop and got a $50,000 pay increase. I think “Bishop” is either Senior Management or the Board of Directors.

      Presbyterian Pastor “Rebecca” acknowledged that she should say “homosexuals are not wrong, sinful or deviant,” but couldn’t because she would “lose her job.”

      Lutheran Pastor Lura Groen said LGBT Clergy need a place to work.

      I don’t know how much the Pope makes, but he lives well.

      Of course they are just JOBS. I think mostly “sales and marketing,” although I’m not sure if any of them get paid commissions. Maybe.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      Of course they are jobs; the problem comes when you stick “just” or “only” in front of “jobs.”

      Sep 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Brian:

      The “Commission” is most likely not an earthly one.

      They collect that after they die…by going to heaven. LOL

      Sep 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @hyhybt: A few years ago I rushed to the hospital because a friend was in a bad car wreck. He was stable but needed significant surgery. In the room were 3 doctors and a nurse. He was about to leave for surgery. Then, a priest walked in and asked if we “needed anything?” Everyone but my friend rolled our eyes and I said “no, he needs surgery.”

      A “doctor” is “just” a job, too. But, I would suggest much more important than a member of clergy. Story-telling may seem important to you, but my friend need real, skill, experience and talent. He needed someone to “save” him, and they did.

      Members of the clergy have some importance – I guess to those that believe them, but in the spectrum of jobs, I’d suggest it’s not very important.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 6:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      Really, it’s the difference between everything involving money in some way, and everything being *about* the money. Is a museum’s purpose to preserve and display artifacts, with it raising money because that’s expensive to do, or does it exist to raise money, and only put out displays because that’s what brings in the donations? The second, but not the first, would be “just” a business as you say pastor, etc is “just” a job.

      The primary purpose of most churches is not to raise money, and most people who are pastors, priests, whatever that branch calls them aren’t in it for the money (certainly not the ones who are any good) because if they were they could get more pay and/or less trouble elsewhere. But life is expensive, and the ones I know could only do a fraction of what they do if they had to make a living doing something else.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @hyhybt:

      The primary purpose of most churches is not to raise money

      Ah. That explains the pomp, splendor and the riches of the Vatican. Life is expensive and it costs money to live.

      How could I overlooked that simple fact?

      That also explains why the RC Church is the richest church in the world and controls more real estate than any other church on the planet.

      and most people who are pastors, priests, whatever that branch calls them aren’t in it for the money

      Not much different from the corporate world, is it? The peons do all of the grunt-work, and the CEO’s get the $10.5 million annual salaries and the huge bonuses. In the case of the RC Church, it’s the Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope who are the CEOs.

      The church imitating life.

      Sep 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @hyhybt: “most people who are pastors, priests, whatever that branch calls them aren’t in it for the money (certainly not the ones who are any good) because if they were they could get more pay and/or less trouble elsewhere.”

      Where will they get jobs telling stories and wearing dresses?

      Sep 10, 2009 at 10:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      Instead of asserting what you find wrong with someone else’s life and action, how about saying what you find *right* about your own life and action to stop homophobia?

      I am a Lutheran and an openly gay man who has asserted both of those elements of myself openly in all areas of my life: friends, family, work, and the church, to gays and straights and metrosexuals and all the rest. Harvey Milk was right–if everyone came out, it would pull the rug out from under homophobia.

      So ante up. Let’s hear what you’re doing besides calling christians money-grubbing cooky homophobes in dresses.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 2:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darrien
      Darrien

      @Brian: @Josh: The Lutherans have done more for equality than the federal government has done and you are criticising them. You’re demanding an immediate volte face on a couple of centuries’ worth of preaching and that’s just not going to happen in the real world. I agree that there’s a hell of a lot further religions could go in addressing the moral wrong of their teachings on homosexuality, but when any religious grouping starts taking steps along that road it should be encouraged. Just dumping on them because they haven’t done exactly what you want and done it immediately strikes me as juvenile.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 9:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Darrien: “I agree that there’s a hell of a lot further religions could go in addressing the moral wrong of their teachings on homosexuality, but when any religious grouping starts taking steps along that road it should be encouraged.”

      What steps? Gays and Lesbians can work in the Lutheran organization. Wow. News Flash: Gays and Lesbians can work EVERYWHERE, including the White House. One might ask ‘what took Lutherans’ so long? There is nothing to celebrate or “encourage” in what Lutherans did. These little steps do nothing to end the “wrong” of being LGBT. Nothing.

      “Just dumping on them because they haven’t done exactly what you want and done it immediately strikes me as juvenile.”

      It is not what I want, but what the LGBT Community NEEDS. As long as we are “wrong,” we cannot be equal. +70% of Americans believe we are wrong, sinful or deviant – until that changes we’re screwed. Religion did that. Your failure to understand that is perhaps (your word) “juvenile,” or you simply put “Religion” before our Equality.

      Decide what’s more important: LGBT Equality or your Faith – because your “faith,” and that of others, has caused ALL the pain and suffering of homosexuals. This year about 1,500 gay teens will kill themselves – religion did that. How long do YOU want to wait to change that crime? I don’t want to wait another minute and no, I can’t understand anyone not wanting to end that IMMEDIATELY.

      Homosexuals lose their life because of religion. Are you really “encouraged” by tiny Lutheran steps? Really?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 11:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Darrien: ” The Lutherans have done more for equality than the federal government has done and you are criticising them.”

      The Federal Government is made up of “believers,” Christian believers. Nothing will change until we change those “beliefs” you embrace and sanction those beliefs by supporting Lutherans. Try to make that connection – it could save some lives. Saving lives is a big Christian thing. Save some homosexual lives – starting today.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 11:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chris:

      I am delighted to be informed that you are such a fine, upstanding role-model for the rest of us lazy-assed queers who are all shivering with fright in the closet and doing absolutely nothing but complaining about the abuse we get from religious institutions like the Mormon Church, The RC Church, et al.

      Instead of asserting what you find wrong with someone else’s life and action, how about saying what you find *right* about your own life and action to stop homophobia?

      Way to go, Dude! Put the blame on the gays for all of the homophobia the religious institutions have been laying on us for centuries. It’s our fault that we are not meeting up with their expectations of us. Shame. Shame.

      Like we need to prove ourselves to them or something like that?

      Apologist!

      Sep 11, 2009 at 11:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Darrien:

      Co-sign, Brian’s comments.

      You do enjoy being treated as a second-class citizen, no doubt and are in no rush to change that, correct?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @schlukitz: Email me at ReligionHurts@gmail.com You need to see something.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @Andrew: How did I lie?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @Josh: Far from sending out my resume, I’m happily working at a congregation that supports me and celebrates my work, and am supported by many colleagues. My position might not be quite mainstream yet, but there are lots of us doing very well!

      (by which, in light of the rest of this discussion, I do not mean “rolling in the dough.” I could be making more money even in non-profit work. But I have a job, yes, a job, that I love to go to every morning, that is deeply connected to my beliefs and values, in which I can help individuals in my community, and talk about larger justice issues. Sure, it pays my bills. And I get to wear dresses and pretty embroidery! Since when does the gay community criticize that? ;)

      Sep 11, 2009 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Lura: None of that is an explanation for your sudden policy shift.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Lura:

      How did I lie?

      • There is no universal Lutheran statement that “gay is OK” or any equivalent. The Social Statement lays out four categories of opinion about homosexuality. They range from abhorrence to celebration. Nowhere in the Social Statement does it state that Lutherans now whole-heartedly endorse the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Lutheran Church. It basically just describes the debate we’ve been having for the last couple of decades.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lura
      Lura

      @schlukitz: Yep, I totally agree with that. My congregation, however, is a different story. It has been an activist congregation, wholly pro-gay, for years, decades almost. Hence my response to Brian’s request that my congregation make the same declaration that I made: saying that homosexuality is not sinful, wrong, or deviant would be a step back for my congregation.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Lura: It’s never a step backwards to make a clear declaration of the right thing to do. Make that statement – it will pressure the congregations around you to act with moral integrity and do the right thing as well.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Lura:

      But I have a job, yes, a job, that I love to go to every morning, that is deeply connected to my beliefs and values, in which I can help individuals in my community, and talk about larger justice issues.

      Dear Pastor Lura,

      And talking about “larger justice issues” from within an organization that cannot even come to a simple agreement about such issues, is akin to Wall Street fat cats talking about improving the financial lot of people who just lost half of their life/retirement savings in the stock market.

      We in the gay community do not doubt your personal good intentions. it is your affiliation that we doubt. But for we gays to believe, or worse yet, depend on an organization who clearly does not support LGBT people in the areas where it really matters, is a little like living in the hope that the Pope will send me a years supply of condoms to make sure I do not get AIDS.

      It ain’t gonna happen. Not in this lifetime, anyway.

      Let me put it to you yet another way and in terms that you can more easily grasp. Walking a mile in….etc., etc.

      Suppose I worked for an organization that did not approve of the church, those who are in it’s employ, and even the membership who gather and pray in your houses of worship? Does that sound vaguely familiar to you, or are you not old enough to remember the WWII years? We saw religion brought to it’s knees in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia.

      Anyway, this mythical organization to which I belong and am a sworn member of and who has vowed to uphold the standards, rules and regulations of it’s anti-religious rhetoric, is dedicated to the destruction of your belief system and your church. And just like the church you are employed by, it will not rest until the CEO’s of your organization are brought to their knees in humble submission and a complete denial of your beliefs…like what the Mormons and the RC Church wants us gays to do, you know…deny our homo-sexuality and be celibate.

      Now, I happen to meet you by chance, in a religions chatroom. What I am doing there in the first place, I really do not know. Nevertheless, we strike up a pleasant dialogue and I take a liking to you on a personal note. And so, as not to offend you, I tell you all sorts of nice, warm, fuzzy things about your church and it’s congregants and how I personally believe it is wrong for my organization to be condemning you and you church.

      My question is? Would you be willing to believe that I, a man who is working for and receiving weekly compensation from an organization that has been dedicated for hundred of years to destruction of your belief system and the shuttering of your church, really has the best interests of you and your church at heart, not to mention putting you in the lines of the unemployed?

      If I really feel this sympathetic toward you and the work the church is doing, would I not be working with an organization that will do everything in it’s power to assist you and your church, as opposed to working for an organization whose only interest is demoralizing it and tearing it down?

      Food for thought, Pastor Lura.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Lura:

      Then why is it so hard, for your congregation, at least, to just come right out and say it, instead of acting like y’all are being backed into a corner to come right out reiterate what you truly believe, instead of taking the position that doing so would be “a step back”?

      Sorry, Pastor Lura, but that sounds like plain, old-fashioned pussy-footing to me.

      That’s very much like me saying that I have been an activist gay,, wholly pro-gay, for years, decades almost, a life-time in fact, and then you ask me to my face, “just for the record, are you gay?” and instead of saying loudly and proudly “Yes, I am gay”, I respond with…

      “saying that I am gay would be a step back for me”.

      Huh?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 5:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      Co-signnnnnnnn

      Bing Crosby sang the lyrics to the following song back when I was a kid. He’s right on the money.

      AC-CENT-TCHU-ATE THE POSITIVE (Mister In-Between)

      (Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen)

      You’ve got to accentuate the positive
      Eliminate the negative
      Latch on to the affirmative
      Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

      You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
      Bring gloom down to the minimum
      Have faith or pandemonium
      Liable to walk upon the scene

      (To illustrate his last remark
      Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
      What did they do
      Just when everything looked so dark)

      Man, they said we better
      Accentuate the positive
      Eliminate the negative
      Latch on to the affirmative
      Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
      No, do not mess with Mister In-Between
      Do you hear me, hmm?

      (Oh, listen to me children and-a you will hear
      About the elininatin’ of the negative
      And the accent on the positive)
      And gather ’round me children if you’re willin’
      And sit tight while I start reviewin’
      The attitude of doin’ right

      (You’ve gotta accentuate the positive
      Eliminate the negative
      Latch on to the affirmative
      Don’t mess with Mister In-Between)

      You’ve got to spread joy (up to the maximum)
      Bring gloom (down) down to the minimum
      Otherwise (otherwise) pandemonium
      Liable to walk upon the scene

      To illustrate (well illustrate) my last remark (you got the floor)
      Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
      What did they say (what did they say)
      Say when everything looked so dark

      Man, they said we better
      Accentuate the positive
      Eliminate the negative
      Latch on to the affirmative
      Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
      No! Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

      Sep 11, 2009 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @Lura: “My congregation, however, is a different story. It has been an activist congregation, wholly pro-gay, for years, decades almost. Hence my response to Brian’s request that my congregation make the same declaration that I made: saying that homosexuality is not sinful, wrong, or deviant would be a step back for my congregation.”

      This means YOU will sign the Declaration and post it in the Church lobby or something? That’s real easy. Nobody will be surprised or complain and we will ALL be very clear. That seems like a great step forward. I’d like to see that. It would give me a renewed sense of hope about so-called Christians. What a great example it would set for other Christians.

      I think signing the Declaration would be a very positive step f o r w a r d. Please sign it.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      OMG…it just hit me like a ton of fucking rocks. Why didn’t I realize this all along? It was so obvious!

      Faith!

      Yep. Faith!

      That’s what religion is all about you peeps. Faith.

      Just as we must have faith that there is a sky-daddy, sky-pixies, miraculous conceptions, parting of seas, dead people rising from the grave, the concept of heaven and hell and other violations of the laws of physics, one has to have “faith” that the Church(s) have finally, after some two-thousand years, come around to a humanistic approach to the “problem” of homosexuality.

      I don’t mean to imply that WE have a problem with homosexuality. THEY have a problem with homosexuality. And, a BIG one, at that.

      Here’s the thing.

      We don’t ask for God to reveal himself.

      We don’t ask to examine the wings of Angels.

      We don’t pluck their heavenly harp-strings to see if they actually play music.

      We don’t ask Mary to produce a notarized birth certificate for baby Jebus.

      We don’t ask for photographic proof of the parted seas.

      We don’t ask for a YouTube video showing Christ rising into heaven.

      And we don’t ask for a Google Map showing us the coordinates for Heaven or Hell.

      We just accept all of the above on blind “Faith”, which is all we need,folks. God will take care of the rest. You know, like making sure that the Jamaicans continue to have a stream of wealthy gays that they can bash when their money runs out.

      So. Why should we be asking for proof of the Churchs’ acceptance of homosexuality?

      We got Faith, baby.

      What more do you need?

      Sep 11, 2009 at 6:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @schlukitz: Well said. But we won’t take Pastor Lura’s representation on faith, because it’s just too easy to sign the Declaration and post it in the lobby of the Church or put it on their Grace Lutheran website. It’s not difficult.

      … checking the website …

      Sep 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Grace Lutheran (Houston) website “welcomes everyone” including LGBT persons. So, like EVERYONE else, we are welcome. Of course we are. The site connects to the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, a part of the ELCA. On the website it clearly states:

      “The Lutheran witness is undergoing transformation as we enter into a new time in the history of the Christian movement. The post-post modern world where we are called to bear witness is calling us to clarify our vision, mission, values, and strategies in new ways to reach a pluralistic world. The opportunity for us collectively and for congregations individually to examine why they exist and to claim their mission for the future is exciting and urgent.”

      Part of that “exciting and urgent” mission is to right the wrong done to LGBT persons by signing the Declaration.

      I will check regularly to see when Pastor Lura posts the Declaration.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 7:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Josh:

      Thanks, Josh.

      Obviously, I was being facetious. There is absolutely no reason why we should accept the double-speak we are apparently getting from ECLA on faith alone.

      They should state their position and state it clearly so there is no ambiguity instead of performing The Jarabe Tapatío (Mexican Hat Dance) for our amusement as well as our confusion.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hyhybt
      hyhybt

      “They should state their position and state it clearly so there is no ambiguity”

      Remember that a church is its members; if they don’t nearly all agree, you’re going to have a tough time getting a clear, unambiguous statement.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @hyhybt:

      Point well made.

      Needless to say, I am not holding my breath! ;o)

      Sep 11, 2009 at 9:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @hyhybt: I have to disagree with Schlukitz on this particular one. Point not well made. A lack of full consensus has never ever stopped the church from making declarations of morality. I’m not sure why they’re starting now.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 10:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chance
      Chance

      @Chance: Yes you are. It’s a convenient excuse when courage is in short supply.

      Sep 11, 2009 at 10:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Chance:

      Score one for you too.

      Lordy, I am beginning to feel like a ping-pong ball. lol

      Seriously, however, what you say is true. While we always get to hear about the Christians who are “not like that” from so many posters on Queerty, they are, unfortunately, not the ones we are hearing from, are they? :-(

      Sep 11, 2009 at 10:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tinkerbell
      tinkerbell

      @Josh: I agree. That statement was so non-committal that it could be interpreted to be anywhere from: “send the gays to the gas chambers,” to “we will preside at their weddings and fight for secular equality.”

      I don’t want to be “welcome.” I want to be equal. Their religion is on the wane (as it should be) and they are revising their doctrine to try and erase discrimination. That is good. What I want to know is how the Lutherans are going to rewrite Christian history to prove that they don’t/haven’t hated gay folk. After all, Christians claim they follow a mythical person who “loved all” even people like us. Let them prove it.

      Sep 12, 2009 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #3 using similar name]

      @tinkerbell: “What I want to know is how the Lutherans are going to rewrite Christian history to prove that they don’t/haven’t hated gay folk. After all, Christians claim they follow a mythical person who “loved all” even people like us. Let them prove it.”

      I think they need to make the statement:

      Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful or deviant.

      That would be clear and convincing. Pastor Lura Groen (Houston) did, then backed off. I think she’s working on it. It would be a big step for her congregation and Lutherans. It would also be “grace.”

      Sep 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      When it comes to religion doing anything nice for queer people, I am reminded of the old adage…

      Beware of Greeks bearing gifts

      If the past history of the church tells us anything, one should remain properly suspicious of specious declarations made by the organs of the church.

      Sep 12, 2009 at 1:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      @Lura: “How did I lie?”

      You said “if I asked my Congregation to sign the Declaration [Homosexuals are Not Wrong, Sinful or Deviant] they’d be confused.”

      No – we’d be surprised. Our Congregation’s individual thoughts are not as clear as that simple statement. I think only half of us would sign it. We’re tolerated and accepted here. That’s a lot different than not being “wrong” anymore.

      Personally, I don’t think you would be allowed make that very clear statement AND keep your job.

      Let’s find out.

      Sep 13, 2009 at 7:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Josh
      Josh [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @Andrew: She did lie. She won’t sign the statement. Lutherans lie… badly.

      Sep 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      @Josh: Yeah. Her website: http://www.gracelutheran-houston.org/

      only mentions “sexual orientation” – nothing gay, lesbian or transgendered. Well, except for this advertisement:

      Check out the world’s leading publisher of annual telephone information guides directed at the professional gay and lesbian community:

      Advertising in the Gay and Lesbian Yellow Pages (GLYP) is not a reflection of the sexual orientation of an advertiser, but there is an implied promise that gay and lesbian people who patronize advertisers will be treated with respect and dignity.

      What a business.

      Sep 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Andrew:
      @Josh:

      Yes, Lutherans, like other religions, DO lie…often and badly!
      We receive daily reminders of that basic truth.

      Lura is a victim of her own choosing, however. Unlike LGBT people who had no choice in their sexuality, she and other practitioners and purveyors of religious fables DID have a choice.

      Lura was not born with her religious belief system already in place and had no knowledge of it upon arriving on this planet.
      It had to be drummed into her little head, by rote.

      Unfortunately, as she matured and developed the ability to think things out logically for herself, she CHOSE to embrace and live the lies and thus fell from God’s grace.

      And like the fable, where all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again, none of us can put Pastor Lura back together again either. :(

      Sep 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • schlukitz
      schlukitz

      @Andrew:

      What a business.

      Yep. Like my father used to say “monkey business”. LOL

      Sep 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer

      Typical of people. An institution makes steps to become more inclusive and you would rather believe that they hate you and are just double-speaking instead of embracing the step, acknowledging more needs to be done and then actively working alongside people trying to make the change. You would rather keep your victim’s mentality than make positive change, as all change is made. Slowly. I for one support the ELCA’s efforts and look forward to Pastor Lura’s and other’s making strides within this institution.

      Apr 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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