ACCEPTED: Lutherans WILL Permit Gay Clergy Who Have the Sex


In a vote of 559-451, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America today adopted a resolution to allow sexually active gays to join the clergy.

The resolution the 4.8 million-member church just passed revokes an earlier ban that allowed gay clery to lead churches only if they remained celibate. Star Tribune:

Delegates heeded warnings not to react as the outcome was read, but onlookers in the gallery hugged one another in celebration.

The mood shifted today as the hours of public argument wore on, with opponents coming to the microphone to try one last time to sway the 1,045 voters.

“What we are doing today is wrong,” said one.

Earlier in the day, delegates voted 670-344 to defeat an amendment proposed by former Minnesota Gov. Al Quie that would have precluded the “rostering” of homosexuals as ELCA pastors.

This morning’s session was extended half an hour so more people could speak. By then the debate was starting to loop. People on both sides of the issue who had spoken earlier in the week stood up and made basically the same speech all over again. When one delegate came to the mike and identified himself as a “first-time caller,” a grateful cheer went up.

(Pictured: Delegates earlier today, bowing their heads in prayer)

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  • Mark

    Post your thanks to my mom, who is a delegate, at

  • Brian

    So what! It doesn’t matter. Lutherans still make homosexuals wrong, sinful and deviant. Read the fine print.

    When are the Lutherans going to formally declare that Homosexuality is NOT WRONG. No Christian, Muslim or Jewish organization has ever made that declaration. The rest of this “welcoming and affirming” is just marketing.

    Religion is the only reason homosexuals have been hated. They should be held accountable.

    Religion made us WRONG – we should return the favor.

  • dgz

    @Mark: holla atcha mama!

    alright Lutherans! one small step for Christians, one large step for Swedish meatballs ;)

  • drew brown

    @Brian: Um, Brian, this is what we call “progress” and a step in the right direction. So, the correct response to that would be gratitude, not petulance. K, thanks.

  • Josh

    Thank your mom for me….

    @Brian…unfortunately change happens slowly. I am excited for this small step.

  • dgz

    @Brian: you should visit a Lutheran nation (Lutheranism as the established state religion). e.g. sweden, norway, iceland. compare their record on gay rights with ANY other country.

    not saying it’s *because* of Lutheranism, but it’s interesting just the same. and when are Lutherans going to formally declare it’s “not wrong?” well, the majority just kinda did.

  • Mark

    @Brian: They are allowing openly gay clergy… i dont see any fine print.

  • rick

    @dgz: g’kar on babylon 5 said that one of the mysteries of the universe was that all planets seemed to have swedish meatballs.

  • rick

    i still aint converting to catholic lite. all religions are hooey.

  • dgz

    @rick: i wonder if the narn have lingonberries…

    Lawdy, but we’re some nerds! ;)

  • Brian

    @drew brown: No, it’s a con-job and too little, too late. Your Lutherans still view homosexuality as wrong, sinful and deviant – look it up. Your support of Lutherans means you sanction that belief. Until you end the religious belief that homosexuality is wrong we will not have equality. You can welcome gays and lesbians all you want – YOU STILL CONDEMN THEM.

  • Chance

    @dgz: You know why Sweden, Norway, and Iceland have good gay rights records?

    Here’s a hint: it’s not because of Lutheranism. To borrow a phrase… Jeeesus Christ.

    From the Gallup World Poll –
    Sweden: 83% irreligious
    Norway: 78% irreligious

    Iceland was not studied by Gallup, but studies have shown that only 11% of the population attends church.

    Now compare that to the United States: 33% irreligious.

    This is not a coincidence.

    There is absolutely fine print. The conservative Jews showed just how easy it is to allow gay rabbis, bless gay unions, and still have it officially on record that gays are wrong, deviant sinners. The Lutherans and the rest just don’t have the balls to tell us what they really think.

  • Popsnap

    Okay, guys! Lets just blast all religious/Christian people who accept (read: don’t support legislation or outright condemnation against gays) us and see where we are.

    I’ll tell you where we’d be: prison!
    *rolls eyes*

  • dgz

    @Chance: oh, honey. you don’t understand Lutherans at all.

    Sweden: 72.9% Church of Sweden members (Lutheran)
    Iceland: 85.6% Lutheran (Church of Iceland + other Lutheran)
    Norway: 82.5% Church of Norway (Lutheran)

    *almost no Lutherans consider themselves “religious.” they just go for the coffee and some singing. think of it like a sunday morning karaoke bar.

    and Lutherans are almost always socially liberal. that’s why minnesota is one of the only “blue” states in the midwest.

    now lighten up. listen to some Garrison Keillor for some insight on the topic. or maybe send a little letter to the world’s only gay head of state… guess where she lives!

  • strumpetwindsock


    Speaking of memorized talking points Chance, you’re starting to repeat yourself almost verbatim with that talking point about rabbis, whatever it’s supposed to mean.

    You and Brian are pissed off about churches voting to allow gay clergy? I suppose you must have been jumping for joy when proposition 8 passed because it gave you some nasty people to complain about.

    It may be great fodder for your little diatribe, but frankly I prefer things that produce positive results in the real world.

  • strumpetwindsock


    And your religious theory about religious rates doesn’t translate that well to Canada, which is about 16% irreligious, yet you can get married to your partner here… on base in your military uniforms.

    And all the major pro-gay reforms – ending sodomy laws, pay equity and marriage equality – were promoted by prime ministers (and in one case a justice minister and later PM) who were staunch Roman Catholic.

  • strumpetwindsock


    “pay equity”… ‘scuse me. I meant partner benefits.

  • epluribusunumjk

    Once again, someone didn’t hesitate to use the tired (albeit true) statement: “Religion is the only reason homosexuality is WRONG.” (I purposely put this in caps to mock those who use caps continually in their posts – talk about Type A!)

    Anyways, I must admit that at first, I liked this statement; but it’s becoming so overdone on this site that it’s lost its effect. Perhaps we could try to come up with something a little more original and creative instead of, to use a cliche myself, beating a dead horse.

    I mean, I guess if there was something proactive being done about this, then maybe we could move forward. But instead, a lot of people just bitch and moan on this site 24/7, bad-mouthing President Obama, Israel, and religion, and don’t really actively engage any issue at all.

    Sorry guys, I’ve been an atheist my whole life (thanks to progressive parents) but the first thing we got to do is learn to live and let live. Lutheranism accepted gays who have sex; that’s great. Religion’s not for me, and that’s okay, but some people like it – and that’s fine in my book.

    If you think religion is going away, you live in as much of a fantasy camp as the pope in Rome or some bible humper in the South. I mean, take Russia and Yugoslavia, both who attempted to ban and discourage religion respectively in their states, only to find wars and ethno-religious conflicts erupt once their secular, communist regimes fell.

  • M Shane

    No. 6 · dgz vel, lutafisk for sur! uff da

  • M Shane

    No. 6 · dgz Minnesota is just like visiting the Scandinavian countries; they both learned to speak english at about the same time. A friend of mine from San Francisco,moved hereand was shocked he said “they don’t know how to have sex.” believe me, I’ve tried . I said that I’d nearly given up.

  • Peter

    Wow!!! Wonderful!!! Most people who oppose Gays use religion as to why they vote that way; but not all people who follow a religion rely on a couple verses in their bibles to throw out all the numerous verses in the Bible that indicate that Jesus talked about “love thy neighbor” as a more important requirement of his followers.

    It will take a while for some preachers to get to that; because like some politicians, spewing lies and hate brings in more money.

  • Brian

    @Popsnap: So, you are afraid of religious people? They are responsible for ALL the pain and suffering we have experienced…. but, you are afraid of them? Chicken.

  • Chance

    @strumpetwindsock: If I cite a study, use it. It’s better than your fantasy numbers a unicorn whispered in your ear. 55% of Canadians are irreligious.

  • Brian

    @dgz: But, you are okay with all the Lutherans that believe homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant? It is true many Lutherans are not very religious, but they haven’t had the balls to denounce parts of their Bible. You know, those lies that have defined gays. Let me know when they have a backbone. Casual hatred is just as bad as aggressive hatred.

    You’ve made a compelling case for anti-gay hypocrisy. You must be proud. This year hundreds of gay teens will commit suicide because they believe they are “wrong.” Congratulations Lutherans for saving those lives.

  • Chance

    @strumpetwindsock: I repeat myself because brilliant minds like yours never address the point I’ve made. You prefer to change the subject. “Whatever it’s supposed to mean?” Can you not read, or are you just unable to process complex thoughts?

    Conservative Jews officially voted – officially set as policy – all on the same day, at the same time – that gays can be rabbis, that gays can have their unions blessed, but that gays are still sinners and still wrong.

    Lutherans, MCC, UCC, Episcopals, and conservative Judaism – all the same. Certain welcoming perks in the faith, without changing the inherent wrongness of homosexuality. Except, the Jews are the only ones who have had the courage to be honest about it.

    It’s great that they let us join the clergy. Woohoo. They still make us wrong. That’s what pisses me off.

    Now instead of making me repeat myself again, why don’t you just read this post a few more times.

  • Chance

    @epluribusunumjk: Oh, OK. I see your point. Who cares if all of the world’s dominant religions say we’re wrong. No big whoop. Thanks for the contribution.

  • Brian

    @Peter: In 2,000 years you have succeeded in getting 3,400 churches in the US to be gay-friendly… out of 350,000. Congratulations you have almost 1%! In 98,000 years you’ll reach 50%. Wow, amazing progress.

    You are probably on the religious payroll for proclaiming such “progress.” You’re more interested in your paycheck than equality. If equality meant something to you perhaps you’d “reject” those passages in the Bible about deviant homosexuals, instead of conveniently ignoring them.

    Of course, it would take real courage to reject a part of God’s word. Easier to just employ a holy “don’t ask, don’t tell” strategy.

    Religion is the only thing that makes homosexuals wrong. Supporting religion sanctions the hatred and pain it creates.

  • Popsnap


    Uh, they still have much power in America, so yes I am afraid of that power. We must continue to make ourselves the ones of love, understanding, and compassion because that is wining out against their hatefulness.

  • Brian

    @strumpetwindsock: I wish you could actually reference something real. You love religion. Good for you. That doesn’t change the fact that religion is the only thing that makes homosexuals wrong. But, you want to celebrate when a few gays are “allowed to participate.” That’s just incredibly stupid.

  • Chance

    @dgz: You know, all day I’ve been saying to myself, “Gee, I wish I could just get patronized a little bit.” So thanks for that. I feel better now.

    I understand Lutherans. I also understand that in those “Lutheran nations,” up until recently newborn babies were considered Lutheran. Automatically! Isn’t that convenient for a church trying to flesh out its ranks. So your percentages mean absolutely nothing. Nothing.

    I’m not concerned with people who are Lutheran in name only. And you’d realize that if you had the attention span or the integrity to read the entire thread. This is about religious people and their beliefs – namely that homosexuality is wrong. Of course “Lutherans,” without subscribing to the religious beliefs, wouldn’t give a damn about homosexuals. That’s what I already said.

    Next time you want to make a point for me, do it with enough clarity so I don’t have to come back and explain for you.

  • Brian

    @Popsnap: Oh, like it won in California? Gays and lesbians have NEVER won a popular vote. Why? Religious beliefs. The number of churches that are gay-friendly took 2,000 years and amount to less than 1% of all churches. That’s not winning, that is “pretending.” This idea of Christian-Lite must really piss off your God. Ignoring certain parts of his word. Tsk Tsk. Seems Hell is in order for that type of heresy.

  • ThinkRealHard

    Another Christian marketing move to mislead the gay sheep. Have they rejected Leviticus yet? Maybe St. Paul’s letters? Or is this just another clever way to “welcome” gays and lesbians on their way to Hell. Oh, and collect their money, too.

  • dgz

    @M Shane: haha! i guess both food and sex only come in various shades of beige to our people. skål!

    @Chance: keep being humorless and ignorant, and i’ll be happy to keep patronizing you.

  • strumpetwindsock


    My numbers are from the 2001 Canadian Census.

    And maybe I’ll do a bit of repeating myself. Our largest Protestant church – the United Church – does not consider homosexuality a sin, blesses gay marriages, and actively promoted the passage of marriage equality and gay rights in our country.
    Our second-largest protestant faith – the Anglicans – also perform gay marriages and have gay clergy.

    And as I said, most of the legal reforms in gay rights in this country would not have happened without the work of many devout protestants, catholics and jews. What they believe is of no concern to me, and none of my business. All that matter is that their morality compels them to support our rights.

    The clearest argument in the world won’t get through to you if you refuse to open your eyes.


    And you should check your math. Your country hasn’t even been around 250 years, and the U.S. is not the only place where religious reform is taking place. For that matter, Christianity didn’t exist as a religion 2000 years ago.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@dgz: But, you are okay with all the Lutherans that believe homosexuality is wrong, sinful and deviant?”

    Read for a very short explanation of Lutheran “Synods” (sects). The main things they have in common are the word Lutheran in their names and maybe some hymns or rituals.

    According to this site, “The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is considered to be the most liberal of the five. Members need not agree on all the aspects of their faith. They ordain women as ministers, believe that the bible contains errors and aver that homosexuality and premarital sex are acceptable if they occur in a loving relationship.” (The author is using the word “homosexuality” incorrectly to refer to sexual activity rather than a sexual orientation, so make allowances for that.)

    In contrast, “Prepare to embrace a very conservative doctrine if you are considering becoming a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). Some of the distinct hallmarks of this sect are their strict scriptural adherence to all matters including sexuality, creationism and the involvement of men only in any type of ministry. All tenets must be agreed with in order to be in fellowship with the WELS.”

    There are roughly 5 sects total, so check out the URL if you really want to know all the gory details.

    It would be a minor miracle if these sects would even talk to each other. :-) One’s personal opinion of Lutherans probably depends on which sect the ones you might know happen to be in.

  • galefan2004

    @Brian: You can repeat the phrase one million times and it still won’t be true. RELIGION IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES GAY WRONG. That is insane to think it is. What makes gay wrong is that every straight guy in America can’t understand it and most of them judge us because of it. If you removed religion entirely from the equation you would still have straight guys grossed out by gay guys. There are plenty of gay hating atheists. Why do you think lesbians don’t get such a bad wrap in the world as a whole? Its because they are every straight guys fantasy.

  • hey hey

    Lutherans end up being on the sane side of things, I think.
    It’s not so much a question of whether homosexuals are sinful.
    Of course they are.
    As are all people.
    Lutherans believe that all people fall short.
    Each oneself included.

    The difficult issue for Lutherans in these days is:

    How can Lutherans have integrity seeking justice in all corners of the world when Lutheran have been making claims that the one is MORE sinful than the other in their own rostered ranks?

    Gay. Straight. Rich. Poor. Connected. Marginalized. Selfless. Selfish.
    All sinful.
    All trying to seek God’s love and mercy.
    All equipped to serve.

  • Brian

    @B.: Andy you belong to this lunacy for what productive reason?

  • Chance

    @strumpetwindsock: Oh, OK. I understand. Your source is a survey that just generically asks if people have a religious affiliation (which, for some reason, it’s still culturally taboo not to) with no further depth or follow up, such as… oh… “is religion important to you?” “Do you actually go to church?” Or, “do you actually believe that shit?”

    Thanks, I’ll keep my numbers.

    And what a surprise – you throw around things like “The United Church does not consider homosexuality a sin,” with absolutely nothing to back it up. Don’t you get it? You don’t get to say that about a church just because it sounds nice. Not until they have a formal statement of policy, a declaration of belief that says the scripture calling homosexuality a sin doesn’t apply anymore. And that statement doesn’t exist. I don’t mind if you repeat yourself, but at least add some substance when you do.

    You can’t call it an argument when your “ideas” have no more intellectual integrity than an underperforming sea sponge.

  • Brian

    @hey hey: ALL people are “sinful” and therefore the sin of being a homosexual doesn’t matter? Silly. What other group has been targeted like homosexuals? Blind people? Deaf people? Left-handed folks?

    Religion made homosexuality wrong and THAT has defined us. If you refuse to reject that lie then you will continue to suffer the consequences – hatred, discrimination and shame.

    This Lutheran bs of “allowing gays to become clergy” does nothing to end the stigma of homosexuality – a stigma the very same Lutherans continue to support.

    When will they “reject” the lies about homosexuals? That’s the only important question.

    I agree with many of the comments here and continue to wonder why gay people are so afraid of religion. Religion is the enemy. Religion made us wrong. We should return the favor.

    To StrumpetWindsock: Stop apologizing for religion. They should be apologizing to us… and Women and Blacks and on and on and on

  • strumpetwindsock


    Actually I provided the UC declaration in the other thread I linked to, and which you claimed to have read (not THAT closely, evidently, though it took up a fair bit of the discussion). Or you can find it on their website.

    But as I have also said, it is a moot point. There are gay people, active reformers, and supporters in the Roman Catholic faith as well, and their belief is also not our business.

    It is also not something anyone can turn on or off like a switch. As a gay person you should understand that.

    All I care about is the fact that they support us, and that they have the guts to do difficult front-line work that many on this site only talk about.

    You are happy to enjoy the benefits of their reform work when it translates into public policy or changing voter patterns, but when it comes to actually challenging the bigots face to face you sit back and ridicule them while they do the work.

    As I said already, for all the big talk about hastening the demise of religion you people are completely impotent, and you will do nothing other than complain.

  • Mark

    @strumpetwindsock: You celebrate a few churches “welcoming gay members” as if it actually matters. In 2,000 years we now have 1% of the churches in the US “acting friendly.” You deny the simple FACT that RELIGION made homosexuals WRONG. You can make that disappear because a few churches “market to gays.”

    I used to belong to the UCC and they have not made it okay to be gay. Less than 10% of their churches are “open and affirming” but, they have done nothing about scriptures condemning homosexuals. Nothing.

    So, you can continue to make stuff up in your “I love religion” fantasy world – but, please try telling the truth. Religion still kills about 1,500 gay teens a year in the US and is wreaking havoc anywhere in the world it still has influence.

  • Chance

    @strumpetwindsock: I did read it. And there, just as here, you had no response to the fact that a church/synagogue/etc can be “gay friendly” and simultaneously consider homosexuality a sin. Your little declaration doesn’t say homosexuality isn’t a sin, it just plays into the liberal Christian excuse that Jeebus made everyone, and loves everyone, even though we’re imperfect and sinners. Homosexuality is imperfect and sin, it’s right there in the book.

    The conservatives don’t hesitate to say homosexuality is a sin, in the clearest of terms. You don’t see them playing this elaborate semantic games. Apparently there’s a reason those “on our side” won’t do the same.

    And yet, the United Church of Canada is the best we’ve got? Great.

  • strumpetwindsock


    Well, they were an active part of the coalition that achieved marriage equality in this country. That is good enough for me.

    You might want to take a second look at who your friends are down there. You might actually get together and accomplish something rather than just pointing fingers.


    You forget that the abolitionist movement – the British movement which predated, and influenced U.S. abolition – was a religious movement.

    And I don’t know about the U.S., but up here all our major reform movememts – labour reform, anti-poverty work, women’s suffrage, universal medicare and gay rights – had ministers, and church groups as active participants.

    The same cannot be said for our right-wing political parties.

  • edgyguy1426

    Gotta run with Brian,Mark and Chance here. If church and state really were separate then this discussion would be moot. But as long as religion keeps worming its way into legislation (and it always will) we have to keep pointing out ways that religion has harmed us all in a personal way. As long as religion is used as a tool to keep gays, women, or classes of people as second class citizens then we have to fight it.
    As a buddhist I think religion in and of itself is blameless but people have used it as a tool or an easy scapegoat to hide behind, like many very political people use their flag.
    The collective death and destruction brought about the very religious (and very ‘patriotic’) far outweigh any good as a whole. And I think the humanitarian works done by churches could be done on a secular level. Make the churches pay taxes, keep their noses out of government and things will be fine.
    Ok I had to laugh at that last sentence myself!

  • This Just In!

    @galefan2004: That’s stupid. Very stupid. Without religion there would be NO reason to think it’s bad. Straight guys get that idea from religion.

  • edgyguy1426

    @galefan2004: Ask the straight guy why he thinks it’s wrong and he’ll say “It’s in the bible, dude”

  • edgyguy1426

    Or maybe the straight guys think we’re trying to take over the world with our kind. Just sayin.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: Andy you belong to this lunacy for what productive reason?”

    Don’t know who “Andy” is, but if you meant “And you”, read
    my comment again. I simply fact checked some claims that
    others made and reported what I found. Fact checking is not

    One sect, it seems, has no problem with sex (gay or straight)
    as long as it is in a “loving relationship”. A different
    sect is for the bible thumpers with sexual hangups of every
    kind imaginable. The sects have little in common besides the word
    “Lutheran” in their names. They even govern themselves independently of each other.

  • M Shane

    No. 45 · edgyguy1426 That last sentence did seem awesome; The pertinant facts of this discussion seem to be just that:(1) “God is in the mix”: I actually think that that had to be sarchastic; the metaphor is to rich: ‘mix’ as in a cake mix; it’s so integral that it’s like pouring bleach into a cake mix. The cake is fucked up no matter what you do. I believe the problem goes back to the fact that the founding fathers who wrote the Constitution with all it’s protections, were almost all athiests and agnostics; only one person even attended church. They would have like a Busby Berkley group all flipped over in their graves in unison, if they ever dreamed that they had neglected to protect this country against Religion. They were educated humanists, and it never occured to them that they would have loonies in high offices, and changing the spirit of the laws which was secular.
    (2) All of the so called “Abrahamic” religions are based on a paternalistic power structure, which starting with adam and eve makes for a heterohegimonious setup through society.
    Ther was no two males together in the garden of eden. The first time we showed up was turning people to salt in Sodom and Gomorah, not a popular group in any religion.
    And when they make god a woman and rewrite the scriptures, we can look for something different.

  • M Shane

    But who cares, I have enough trouble following my nose around and understanding whats real with the existing paradigms without throwing a bunch of invented tales in the” mix”.

  • Brian

    @B.: The use the same “Word of God,” the Bible. Until they formally declare the homosexual stuff isn’t true – they haven’t changed anything. Fact check that.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, ‘@B.: The use the same “Word of God,” the Bible. Until they formally declare the homosexual stuff isn’t true – they haven’t changed anything. Fact check that.’

    Brian, you really have to learn to read. The web site I quoted stated that ELCA people “believe that the bible contains errors and aver that homosexuality and premarital sex are acceptable if they occur in a loving relationship.”

    It’s somewhat contentious among church members, apparently, but they got a 2/3 vote (barely) that, according to, “emphasizes two principles, trust and bound conscience – addresses a spectrum of topics relevant to human sexuality from a Lutheran perspective, including social structures, cohabitation, sexual exploitation, abuse, and homosexuality, the latter of which has drawn the most attention and controversy.”

    You might prefer a more direct wording. What they came up with was most likely designed to avoid ruffling feathers among their less enlightened members any more than necessary to get the thing passed. That might not please you, but there’s money involved (e.g., financial implications if churches leave the synod) and like everywhere else in America, the bottom line is what ultimately matters.

    It’s silly to dump on them when they are making progress in the right direction. Why don’t you cool it for a while and dump on them only if they start heading in the opposite direction?

  • Chance

    @B.: Of course. Who needs standards, right? Courage, bravery and integrity? Meaningless.

    After all, gay kids are only killing themselves over this. No big deal. Fewer gays makes it easier to get the bartender’s attention on a Friday night, right?

  • Brian

    @B.: Because it’s a con-job. It is not PROGRESS it is BUSINESS. It is about their survival, not their openness to gays and lesbians. It is simply about increasing money they get from gays and lesbians.

    If they really want to make progress – declare homosexuality is not wrong. Otherwise they are not any different than all other religions.

  • B.

    Chance wrote, “@B.: Of course. Who needs standards, right? Courage, bravery and integrity? Meaningless. After all, gay kids are only killing themselves over this.”

    Earth to ‘Chance’: gay kids are *not* killing themselves over a church that is now agreeing to ordain sexually active gays as
    ministers in that church nor are they killing themselves over churches that will recognize same-sex relationships.

    It is other Lutheran sects (and other Christian sects) with the real ‘gays go to hell’ theology. Don’t blame the ELCA sect for the
    behavior of the homophobic WELS sect – the WELS sect is not going to be influenced by anything the ElCA sect decides.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: Because it’s a con-job. It is not PROGRESS it is BUSINESS. It is about their survival, not their openness to gays and lesbians. It is simply about increasing money they get from gays and lesbians.”

    Not true, Brian – the vote they made may actually cost them money. They got a 2/3 vote in favor of a more enlightened policy (the minimum they needed for it to pass). Where they’ll lose money is if a significant fraction of the other 1/3 split off, and there is no way that they are going to make up for it by getting more money from gays and lesbians, who make up significantly less than 1/3 of the population. And don’t forget the legal/administrative costs if more homophobic churches decide to drop out of the ELCA as a result of the decision.

    They took a financial risk, possibly a significant one, in doing the right thing, even if it wasn’t all you might want. At one point you wrote that “religion is the enemy.” The catch is that it will continue to be the enemy if you rag on them even when they actually move a bit in the direction you’d like them to go.
    That’s a counterproductive tactic on your part.

  • Brian

    @B.: You don’t understand the VOTE was bull-shit. Homosexuals can have sex in a “committed loving relationship.” This applied to the clergy.

    If they really want to change the Christian belief (yeah, the one the causes teens to commit suicide) they can have THAT vote. Just a simple declaration that “Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful and deviant.” Nothing has changed until they do that.

    Perhaps the Lutherans will some day have the courage to end the biblical lies about homosexuals, but they haven’t yet.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: You don’t understand the VOTE was bull-shit. Homosexuals can have sex in a ‘committed loving relationship.’ This applied to the clergy.” Then he blamed them for suicides.

    First, regarding the alleged suicides, I’ve met people whose parents took them to Lutheran churches when they were children in the 1950s (not in the very conservative WELS sect) and who said that homosexuality was never mentioned at all! It’s kind of hard to blame them for suicides under those circumstances.
    Of course, these were the sort of churches where church activities are more social than anything and the pastor’s sermon was not supposed to offend anyone, much less wake up anyone who is starting to doze off – some of those rich businessmen are tired on a Sunday morning and are there only because their wives dragged them along, so waking them up with a fire and brimstone sermon would be rather rude.

    Second, Brian previously claimed the vote was a business decision to try to rake in some $$$ from gays and lesbians. Yet, according to they will lose a lot of money due to this vote:

    “After the vote, the conservative Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Reform), which had been officially recognized by the ELCA, severed ties with the 4.6 million-member denomination and declared itself an independent Lutheran organization.” And, “Lutheran CORE has invited like-minded Lutherans to direct funding away from the ELCA.”

    So, the ELCA took some financial risks in moving towards a more reasonable policy regarding gays and lesbians. The result of that is that the ‘conservative’ (e.g., homophobic) members are abandoning ship, which will make further liberalization of the ELCA’s policies much easier – it seems they needed a 2/3 vote which they barely got this time, and the people who are splitting were ones who voted ‘no’.

    Brian is also using the word “Lutheran” as if these separate “synods” were a single organization. It seems they aren’t. Each runs its own show. What he is doing is analogous to complaining about the practices of the “computer industry” in cases where Apple’s and Microsoft’s practices are completely different. One should rather be a little more “fine grained” in one’s criticism and target the real culprits in this case – particular Lutheran sects, not all of them.

  • Brian

    @B.: Again, not a single Lutheran sect or Church has made a formal declaration that “homosexuality is now wrong, not sinful and not deviant.” THAT is the only statement that matters. Tolerating the homos is not un-wronging them.

    The business decision is their intention to become more liberal, which is the direction of the marketplace. Everyone knows orthodox and conservative churches are full of (mostly) old people. The only hope for survival is to become more liberal, more progressive – otherwise they wouldn’t have any customers.

  • Chance

    @B.: If Microsoft and Apple both built their businesses around an instruction manual that called homosexuality a sin punishable by death, then yes, we would be bitching about the computer industry. Fortunately, Microsoft and Apple are both products of the 20th Century, and not the 5th BCE.

    Lutherans (ELCA or otherwise) use the very same instruction manual as Fred Phelps. That instruction manual gives us the lie about homosexuality being wrong.

    Until ELCA officially rejects that lie, they are complicit in its continuance.

  • Peter

    Brian/Chance :: All I was saying was that these Lutherans are moving in the correct direction; and I applaud that decision. It is much better than some who just continues on with their stated position with no thought of even discussing another possibility.

    For instance, you have a stated position, and you show no inclination to discuss it with anyone in a civil manner. Therefore you will never be in a position to effect a change from someone who may want to discuss it.

    Lutherans can not change their bible. But they can and do change how they view what it says and realize that some of the things printed in it may have been changed during the innumerable translations and many of the rules were for the early Jews in order for them to be different from the non-believers. For instance; do you pay or receive ‘interest’ on money; or do you have a foreign person as a slave?

    Sodom and Gomoraha (sp) were Not about homosexuality; it was about rape of travelers who had no safe place to stay at might. Acts by the rednecks of Sodom.

  • strumpetwindsock



    There is no christian church which applies every law in the bible literally.

    As a matter of fact, much of the the New Testament Gospels were devoted to pointing out that the law was not meant to be applied literally. The pharisees and others spent much of their time trying to trip Jesus up on interpretation of the law.

    Strangely enough, those here who argue for condemning all Christians based on a literalist reading see things just the same as the Westboro Baptists.

    I might ask you boys to bring your minds into the 21st century, but in fact if you were paying attention, the notion of a completely static religious law was debunked almost 2,000 years ago.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: Again, not a single Lutheran sect or Church has made a formal declaration that “homosexuality is now wrong, not sinful and not deviant.” THAT is the only statement that matters. Tolerating the homos is not un-wronging them.”

    Explain (some Lutheran ministry), which claims, “All too often, churches have used scripture to condemn people for many things including their God-given nature. Even Lutheran churches, which emphasize grace, have been quick to judge.Lutherans Concerned helps people reconcile their spirituality and sexuality in an uplifting way. We seek to minister to people who the institutional church often shuns. We also seek to lead the church to live the Gospel to the fullest, affirming sexual diversity, as we all grow in faith and understanding of God’s grace.”

    You don’t have to agree with the theology, and obviously not all people who call themselves Lutherans agree with their more liberal elements, but your claim that “not a single Lutheran sect or church” has made a formal declaration is simply not true, as the above quote clearly shows. Also, provides a list of specific churches, complete with street addresses and a description of each one.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “The business decision is their intention to become more liberal, which is the direction of the marketplace. Everyone knows orthodox and conservative churches are full of (mostly) old people. The only hope for survival is to become more liberal, more progressive – otherwise they wouldn’t have any customers.”

    … which doesn’t fit the facts described in – which points out that conservative denominations have been increasing relative to the rest (this article disagrees merely regarding the reason – it attributes it to increased fertility). Church membership may be dropping overall, but the market share of the conservatives is going up, or so it seems.

    You may not like this, but ignoring the facts is counterproductive if you want to improve the situation.

  • Brian

    @B.: Your reference Lutheran Church said “affirming sexual diversity.”It did NOT un-wrong homosexuality. It is still wrong, sinful and deviant. They need to reject the homosexual scriptures. While they’re at it have them reject the ones about slavery and demeaning and devaluing women.

    The sum of the statement you’ve provided simply says “we welcome LGBT” and we haven’t actually done anything about the homosexual lie.

  • Brian

    @B.: Read what I wrote. Lutherans made a “business decision.” This group did exactly that – becoming more liberal they naturally target LGBT. Ultimately, when they actually VOTE on homosexuality they will split with the conservative Lutherans. They have anticipated this for years.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: Your reference Lutheran Church said ‘affirming sexual diversity.’ It did NOT un-wrong homosexuality. It is still wrong, sinful and deviant.”

    Err, Brian, the Lutherans in question seem to use ‘affirmation’ in a broader sense: states, “We affirm with the apostle Paul that in Christ “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female” (Galatians 3:28). Christ has made us one. We acknowledge this reconciliation extends to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

    Or read Winter02/index.htm
    which says, “Folks within this congregation who had long ago been indoctrinated with the idea that homosexuality was a sin could not help but take a stand for the sake of righteousness and reevaluate old perceptions.”

    They would not have written about mistaken indoctrinations from “long ago” if they still thought homosexuality was sinful.

    You can certainly find Lutherans who think it is sinful. It’s just that it isn’t all of them – they have a wide range of opinions.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: Read what I wrote. Lutherans made a “business decision.”

    Except they didn’t. They will lose financially by being supportive of gays and lesbians (they will lose more from the conservatives leaving than they will gain from gays and lesbians joining, at least in the short run, and in this country, “business decisions”
    are typically made based on the quarter’s bottom line).

    It may surprise you, but the ones who voted for policies more favorable to gays and lesbians almost certainly voted that way because they thought they were doing the right thing.

  • Brian

    @B.: It’s all double-talk. It is very simple for any denomination to declare “Homosexuality is not wrong, sinful and deviant,” instead of a bunch of meaningless statements. If they are serious about gays and lesbians then have them un-wrong homosexuality. Until then it’s just more religious bullshit.

    @strumpetwindsock: If Christians don’t apply some parts of the Bible “literally,” then it would be easy for them to say which parts. Find one Christian Faith that has formally said they reject the homosexual references. That would be PROGRESS.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: It’s all double-talk.”

    Brian, when a Lutheran sect risks enough people leaving
    (roughly 1/3 if the vote is any indication) by stating
    that gay sexual relations are OK in loving relationships,
    the same standard they have for straight sexual relationships,
    it is not “double talk”.

    All the theology may be double talk, but a vote to “do the
    right thing” (i.e., support gay rights) in spite of significant,
    negative financial implications is not.

    You need to target the “dissing” more selectively, aiming
    it at the real Bible thumpers, not the the religious people
    who are starting to behave more reasonably. Otherwise you
    just end up helping to push them back into the arms of the
    “fire and brimstone” people.

  • Rob Moore

    Well isn’t that just so special?! My day is so much brighter now that a bunch of worshippers of a spirit in the sky say that maybe they would let me in their little club. I am just so happy, I could just, well cry. In fact, I think I’ll go find a Lutheran somewhere and fuck him silly. Oh wait, I already did that or was it the Presbyterian. Oh shoot, it is just so hard to tell a Baptist from a Catholic from a Jew from a Muslim. Anyway, I am just so grateful to have some people say that they won’t hate me anymore, just my dick and the things it does.

  • B.

    Rob Moore wrote, “Well isn’t that just so special?! My day is so much brighter now that a bunch of worshippers of a spirit in the sky say that maybe they would let me in their little club. I am just so happy, I could just, well cry.”

    Whether you cry when happy or not is your business, but you might consider the result – all the “sheep” in the congregations of the churches in this sect will now be interacting with their gay fellow church goers, who will no longer be so easily demonized as it is easier to demonize what is left to the imagination and what is left to the imagination is what is still in the closet. How do you think these religious folks might vote in 2010 or 2012, after several years of gay-positive input, when an initiative to repeal Proposition Eight is on the ballot? I’ll give you a hint – there is a reason that certain church goers are called “sheep” (or sometimes “sheeple”), and thinking for themselves is typically not one of the reasons. If you want them to move in a favorable direction, you better get them someone to follow who is going that way.

  • Brian

    @B.: Where3 is the formal statement. Everything you have shared is just to mislead LGBT people. Progress would be ANY religion declaring “homosexuality is not wrong, sinful and deviant.” Lutherans (every different group) has NEVER made a simple statement like the one above. Pray for that.

  • Brian

    You are correct Rob, B is delusional.

  • B.

    Brian wrote, “@B.: Where3 is the formal statement. Everything you have shared is just to mislead LGBT people.”

    Now you are reduced to lying – there was no attempt to mislead LGBT people. As to a formal statement, why would you expect one when a common Lutheran belief is that “every human thought and deed is infected with sin and sinful motives” ( The root cause is assumed to be “original sin”, which they blame on a straight couple (the mythical Adam and Eve).

    Then you went on with a mindless personal attack that just makes you look like a fool: “You are correct Rob, B is delusional,” something Rob never said.

    According to,
    “At the same time, we also find in the Bible human emotion, testimony, opinion, cultural limitation and bias. ELCA Lutherans recognize that human testimony and writing are related to and often limited by culture, customs and worldview. Today we know that the earth is not flat and that rabbits do not chew their cud (Leviticus 11:6 ). These are examples of time-bound cultural understandings or practices.” so, they admit that statements and proscriptions in the Bible can be wrong or out of date.

    Oh, and BTW, according to, when some conservative elements wanted wording added that “This church regards the practice of homosexual behavior as contrary to God’s intent for His children,” that wording was defeated. Why would they defeat it if they thought it was true, and why would someone want to add it if it was already there?

  • Rob Moore

    @B.: If only it was as simple as that. If it was, segregation would never have taken hold here in the South. Living and interacting with African-Americans had very little effect on the racial attitudes of white Americans. If desegregation had not been imposed from outside the South by non-Southerners sympathetic to the civil rights movement, Jim Crow would be alive and well, today.

    Gay people have always been in the congregations of these churches, and everyone knew who was and wasn’t. Half the male choir directors, a good percentage of the pastors and priests, as well as a lot of preacher’s sons were gay. One of my schoolmates during early adolescence was a good boy by most people’s standards although it was pretty clear he liked boys. He was caught having sex with another of our male classmates during the summer break between 8th and 9th grade. His daddy resigned and the family left town. I do hope he survived the AIDS crisis which began when we were in our early 20s. Point is, everyone knew. Everyone left it alone until they were confronted with the fact he was actually acting on his nature.

    Almost all the people who voted for anti-gay marriage and adoption measures on religious grounds will still have those same religious grounds. I don’t care how much they might appear to like us, they will still vote on the side of their spirit in the sky.

  • B.

    Rob wrote, “@B.: If only it was as simple as that. If it was, segregation would never have taken hold here in the South. Living and interacting with African-Americans had very little effect on the racial attitudes of white Americans. If desegregation had not been imposed from outside the South by non-Southerners sympathetic to the civil rights movement, Jim Crow would be alive and well, today.”

    Rob, what you are missing is that the term Lutheran encompasses such a wide set of beliefs that they disagree internally as much as those in favor of desegregation disagreed with those in favor of it. Lutherans are not in a monolithic organization and there is no real central control. And the federal government can’t step in because of the First Amendment.

    Also, the reasons for segregation were fairly complex, as were the events that lead to its demise. Read for some of the history (a short summary).

  • Brian

    @B.: Gee whiz, I thought Lutherans believed the BIBLE. You know, “God’s” word. You have provided more vague comments. I will repeat (for the last time) it is SIMPLE to sign a formal Declaration that says “Homosexuals are not wrong, sinful or deviant.” Until then you are just like ALL the other Christians.

    Stop with the “we’re all sinners” crap, too. Homosexuals were singled out for special attention as “abominations” and compared to “murderers.” If the ELCA Lutherans are so happy with homosexuals it would be very easy for them to correct the past and REJECT the lies about homosexuals. Have them do the same for racist references, promotion of slavery and devaluing Women. Plus, my Jewish friends would love a cheeseburger, so let’s just remove Leviticus altogether. Deal?

    Oh, get it in writing.

  • Peter

    Brian…..It is in writing; but you just must know how to read.
    Sorry that we could not help you in your time of need.

  • strumpetwindsock


    Actually I have quite few Jewish friends who enjoy cheeseburger… with bacon and shrimp on the side.

    Perhaps YOU are the one who needs the reminder that it is time to get out of the middle ages.

  • strumpetwindsock


    Never mind that no fast food beef burger is even kosher to begin with – cheese or no cheese.

  • Brian

    @Peter: Maybe one of these days the Lutherans will actually do what you think they’ve done. I’ve read every word – it’s not there. It’s odd. It would be so simple to just declare “homosexuals are not wrong, sinners and deviant.”

    Seven words and all the difference in the World.

    Tell the Lutherans to be the first Christians to set the record straight. That would be progress, instead of an “acceptance con-job.”

  • B.

    Regarding Brian’s comment, “@B.: Gee whiz, I thought Lutherans believed the BIBLE. You know, ‘God’s’ word. You have provided more vague comments.”

    First, there is nothing “vague” about URLs and quotes of the ELCA’s official position, which seems to include a belief that the Bible contains mistakes attributed human writers, copy errors (copying used to be done by hand), translation errors, and common misunderstandings as to when it was written.

    Second, as was pointed out to you, the term “Lutheran” covers a number of sects with differing beliefs. Some of these sects hold homophobic beliefs and some don’t. They don’t agree with each other. Your demand for some “formal declaration” is quite frankly silly – the ones who never preached against homosexuality have no reason to make one, the ones who preach against it won’t sign one because they don’t agree with you, and nothing will get done in any “joint meeting” that requires a 2/3 vote to get something passed. If you want a secular example of what a 2/3 vote does, go through some recent newspaper articles about the California budget fiasco.

    Third, when you say things like “Stop with the ‘we’re all sinners’ crap, too. Homosexuals were singled out for special attention as “abominations” and compared to “murderers,” you just make yourself look silly – the “we are all sinners” thing is Lutheran theology, not my “crap”. The result of that, however, is that you can’t expect them to say that gays are not “sinners” when they think everyone is a sinner. The “abominations” thing is from Leviticus, which various Lutheran sects reject – they take it as a historical description of ancient Jewish customs.

    So, as I said, put the blame on the sects causing the problem. It is counterproductive, however, to rag on them when they finally get a vote in your favor when it requires a hard-to-get
    2/3 vote.

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