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The Rev. Jane Adams Spahr Prepares To Be Prosecuted By Presbyterian Church For Marrying Human Beings

We’ve already bestowed the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, a retired lesbian Presbyterian minister in San Francisco, with this website’s highest honor: the title of The Awesome. For she is facing “church court” prosecution for performing same-sex marriages back in 2008. You know, when they were legal. But now her trial is upon us, just three weeks after the law barring same-sex marriages was struck down because it is The Stupid.

The two million-member Presbyterian Church on Thursday will try Spahr on crimes of … oh hell, I have idea, since the church’s constitution “does not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage,” notes the LAT, but “defines marriage as ‘a civil contract between a woman and a man.’” And back when she was tried the first time (yes), in 2006, she was charged not with officiating same-sex unions, but with officiating them too officially.

Spahr was tried in 2006 for officiating at the weddings of two lesbian couples in California. The Presbyterian church allows its ministers to bless same-sex unions, as long as the ceremonies do not mirror traditional marriages and are not represented as weddings. But Spahr says, “as a matter of my conscience,” that she “cannot be a part of … people being seen as second class or less than. I have seen the violence it has done.” So when she officiates, she says, the ceremony is a wedding and the result is a marriage. The 2006 case went to the Presbyterian church’s highest ecclesiastical court. Spahr, who retired in 2007, was acquitted on a technicality in April 2008.

So what happens if she’s found guilty of “illegally” marrying any of these 16 gay couples? She could be censured (wrist slap) or defrocked (serious sentence). And while I get that she must still love her church (ordained in 1974, Saphr is going to defend herself), who wants to be a part of an organization that will prosecute you for ensuring happy stable homes for decades to come?

By:           Sarah Nigel
On:           Aug 24, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 6 Comments
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      Who wants to be part of an organization that prosecutes…?

      People who are trying to make change from within. If the good reverend “ceased and desisted” we wouldn’t know about her and this article wouldn’t be here. However, since it is, then I presume some sort of dialogue is happening at their church.

      Aug 24, 2010 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Smiling Woman
      Smiling Woman

      Please understand that although it is the Presbyterian Church USA who is trying Janie, not all of the 2 million members agree with those in the PCUSA who have brought charges against her. Many PCUSA members agree with and stand in support of Janie. Yes, dialog is happening in our denomination. Each person – and there are many – who takes a stand for inclusiveness in our Church makes a difference.

      Aug 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leigh Anne
      Leigh Anne

      I’m one of those stupid people who remains a member of the 2+ million strong Presbyterian Church (USA), and no, we’re not all prosecuting Janie for officiating at the weddings of same-sex couples. Not even most of us.

      In fact, we have many LGBT clergy, and many, many LGBT members. Surprise!

      Aug 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaroslaw
      Jaroslaw

      #3 Leigh Anne- I will of course let you clarify if I’m mistaken, but if your statement is simply a personal opinion (however lovely and egalitarian) then it doesn’t carry much legal weight in the Church. The Presbytarian Church is, then prosecuting her and hopefully at the outcome she won’t lose her livelihood and ability to minister.

      Aug 25, 2010 at 12:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • onduso-
      onduso-

      Grace ,mercy and peace from God the father and Christ Jesus our lord be with you

      I am by the grace of God His servant and worker from Kenya , me and my wife who is really assisting me and supporting me in all ways while outing mission for Jesus are working for the Lord and looking after the flock that the Lord has given to us.

      I ought always to thank God for you brethrens for the wonderful work you are doing for the Lord. I am highly encouraged and blessed for I have got the privilege to know, see, learn, and read the precious work you are doing for the Lord, I hereby request you to affiliate with us as we work together,

      Remain blessed as i wait to hear from you as you are able

      Yours in the Lord,

      Pastor onduso

      Jan 4, 2011 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      @Leigh Ann:
      Would you be so kind as to tell us when your religion says that being gay is NOT a sin? Until them, I consider myself unwelcome.
      Thanks.
      (p.s. i’m in my mid 20s, so you need to hurry because at the rate your religion is
      “speeding” ahead with progress, I doubt I’ll live to see the day when your co-religionists accept me as I was created.]

      Peace to you.

      Jan 4, 2011 at 8:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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