Mexican Presbyterians Bid Adios To U.S. Church Over Gay Clergy

Despite what some Fundamentalists would have you believe, evolution and adaptation have been a constant in Christianity. Even before Luther nailed his theses to the door and Henry VIII got remarried (and remarried and remarried…), early Church leaders were debating essential issue like transubstantiation, celibacy for clergy and even which books could be counted as part of the New Testament.

In more recent times, the Catholic church has amended its views on Jews and the Latter Day Saints no longer think of Africans as intrinsically evil. (As Brigham Young once said, “The Lord had cursed Cain’s seed with blackness and prohibited them the Priesthood.”)

The latest wedge issue, homosexuality, has led to a disagreement over openly gay ministers and a break between the U.S. Presbyterian Church and the more conservative National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. After a 139-year relationship, the Mexican church has now voted to sever ties with its neighbor to the north.

Last May U.S. Presbyterians voted in favor of ordaining clergy in same-sex relationships, upsetting both conservatives at home and in countries where the denomination had spread its faith through mission work. Even as the Mexican church voted 116 to 22 to terminate the relationship, more conservative American Presbyterians are gathering in Minnesota to discuss whether they too should break with the denomination over LGBT issues.

“We are grieved by their decision, but we want to emphasize that we are grateful for their witness and our history together,” says Hunter Farrell, the U.S. church’s Director of World Mission, of the vote.  “And [we] will listen carefully as we engage in dialogue about where God is leading us in mission.”


Image via Art Mallinson

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  • Ogre Magi

    Luther’s theses, were just a pile of feces! Christianity is crap!

  • slanty

    Remember, kiddies, Christ doesn’t love you if you’re gay. His followers sure don’t.

  • Matthew Dimick

    Most of these “severing of ties” are mostly a formality. The more conservative, mega churches of the PCUSA have long ago stopped giving to the PCUSA as a denominational whole. They’re just showboating leaving over this issue, as opossed to all the other socially progressive things (universal health care, women’s choice, anti-privitization of prisons, etc) that the PCUSA stands for and these churches have long disliked.

    The real battle will be over pensions and property.

    Also, if these conservative churches turn to other more conservative presbyterian denominations–their own women ministers may lose the ability to preach or be ordained.

  • Henry

    I bet they wouldn’t break from American clergy if the sin was non-sexual. How many churches split because of tithing abuses? That’s stealing “God’s money.” Someone tried that in the New Testament, and God killed him for it.

  • o

    @Henry: Funny how God kills people who steal money from him, or who touch the Arc of the Covenant, but he keeps people alive when they hurt other HUMAN BEINGS. His despicable law even says that women who were raped need to be married to their rapists. Just read Deut 22:28-29. The Hebrews must have hated women. So do Christians, unfortunately.

  • Alex

    What I want to know is why her thumbs were bleeding in the first place.

  • WillBFair

    Oh goody, another chance for dingbats who can’t tell the difference between progressive christianity and fundamentalism to vent their spleens. It had been three whole seconds since the last b-t–fest, and I was beginning to worry that they were running out of bile.
    But of course, there has always been a large self destructive crowd sabotaging our movement. These folk who can’t recognize some of the best allies we have are following in a long and glorious tradition.

  • WillBFair

    To get to the real point of this story: Presbyterians are risking membership, real estate, and capital to support and defend us. That’s a great thing.

  • slanty

    @WillBFair: There’s no meaningful difference between “progressive” and conservative Christianity — brainwashing is brainwashing. All Christianity is inherently anti-gay. The only effective way for religious types to support gay rights is to deconvert.

  • Jim Hlavac

    Strange, Mexico City has gay marriage, but I never saw the Mexi-Presbies having a friggin’ heart attack over that down there.

  • Dave

    @slanty: As a non-religious non-Christian, I have to wonder if you realize that your argument is ultimately every bit as fantastical as atheists claim religion is. What you’re arguing is that LGBT support can only come about in a world without religion–and presumably without other human institutions that have existed since the dawn of history. The flip side of that logic coin is that LGBT folks must separate themselves completely from existing society and societal structures and form a brand new society from the ground up if they want justice and equality.

    I’m certain that plenty of people world argue that these arguments are silly on the surface of things–that LGBT folks can indeed find justice within the frameworks you’re denouncing. Personally, I don’t even find it necessary to go that far–I see your arguments as moot because your central thesis is that justice will only exist in a world that never will. Such hypotheticals can be interesting to be sure, but unless you intend your posts to be something more than ethereal rants that have no real bearing on the subject matter at hand, you’re going to have to grant realities like the existence of religion.

  • Ogre Magi

    @WillBFair: Will, you are any thing but fair!

  • B

    No. 1 · Ogre Magi wrote, “Luther’s theses, were just a pile of feces! Christianity is crap!”

    Opinions on religion aside, Luther’s theses, widely distributed via Gutenberg’s relatively recent invention of the printing press, resulted in the end of the Catholic Church’s totalitarian control of all of Europe. Others had tried similar reforms and ended up being burned at the stake as heretics. What saved Luther from that fate were

    1. Being German (which put him further from Rome than some of the others, slowing the church’s response time a bit).

    2. Luther obtaining a wide following very quickly due to Gutenberg’s invention.

    3. Luther being protected by various German princes, who no doubt saw the possibility of using Luther to increase their authority at the expense of Rome’s. However, Luther’s usefulness to them depended on his popularity, and he would not have gained that without the printing press.

    4. The Roman Catholic Church’s “too little, too late” response to Luther, exacerbated by church prelates being used to the time scaled needed to stamp out a “heresy” in the past (i.e., before the printing press made it possible to disseminate information and rates previously not possible).

    Whatever you think of Luther’s theology, he ended up being in the right place at the right time, and helped trigger the end to the Catholic Church’s dominance in a significant chunk of Europe.

  • Dave

    @B: Please, don’t ruin “Ooooo, snap!” rant lines with boring stuff like history. This isn’t a place for worthless things like “knowledge” or “learned debate” or “sensible dialog”–it’s a place for people with strongly held opinions, moderate-to-severe ignorance, and end-stage rabies to attempt crowd-pleasing zingers. We don’t need your intelligence or your historical context around these parts. Like my dear old grandma used to say, “If you don’t have any attempts at mindless zingers sling, don’t sling anything at all.” Or something like that…

  • WillBFair

    @Ogre Magi: I’m not the one cherry picking history, and ignoring mountains of evidence, and spitting hatred at our allies. You are. So I don’t give a fig about what you think is fair.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @o: You confuse words/rules/laws written by man in the name of their god with the laws of nature inherent from the Creator. Man wrote the so-called laws of god; the Creator created a universe.

  • Ogre Magi

    @WillBFair: you are so unfair!

  • Ogre Magi

    @B: Read what that wonderful man said about the Jews, or about witches!

  • slanty

    @Mike in Asheville: That sounds like Deism. If you’re into that, good for you… Deists don’t believe the anti-gay things Jews, Christians, and Muslims do.

  • ewe

    Au revoir Mexico. no tear.

  • ewe

    Block all US foreign aid to Mexico.

  • NYCBred

    @B: Thank you for helping me review that chapter of history. Definitely interesting stuff. Were the results of the Reformation good or bad? Probably mixed. Anyway, what a lot of people don’t realize is how much Catholic versus Protestant hostility still affects many people, even here in NYC, and even (surprisingly) in the gay world. A number of us still stick with our own kind- Catholic or Protestant. Even if we don’t believe in the theology, we’re still often culturally Catholic or Protestant (and even within those groups there are so many sub-groups).

Comments are closed.