What’s Going On in the PCUSA (Part 4)

At the last Chicago Presbytery Assembly meeting a pastor said during the Belhar debate that it is insulting to be forced to vote over and over on the same issue.  He elaborated that apparently Presbytery votes don’t mean anything until they come out the right way.

We see this attitude in practice on same-gender marriage in a Rational paragraph from the Presbytery of Chicago (Amending Marriage).

Overtures directly addressing marriage equality in the United States and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have come before the last two General Assemblies. The 219th Assembly (2010) completely failed to substantively address the marriage-related overtures that were before it. The 220th General Assembly (2012) failed to substantively address overtures related to authoritative interpretation of the marriage provisions at issue in this overture and, by a narrow margin, failed to approve changes to W-4.9000.

Note how failure to approve same-gender marriage is viewed as failure to do the “right thing,” thus requiring continual debate, ending only when the “right thing” has been done.

We see this issue again in the concurrence rationale from the Presbytery of Santa Barbara for “On Supporting Middle East Peacemaking”.

The overture also calls on the General Assembly to make clear that the PC(USA) is not a part of the international Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement. … Official committees of the PC(USA), like the Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) and the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP), have failed to recognize the spirit and intent of prior General Assembly actions and have continued to promote the very kind of negative approach to peacemaking that prior General Assemblies have rejected. This is wrong and must end.

These are all examples of the same strategy, whereby the PCUSA elite refuse to accept a negative outcome.  Rather than showing respect for the views of the majority, they have made it clear that there will be no peace until the denomination has submitted to their demands.  Once they have won, we are all supposed to respect the decision of a majority that has been created by driving out of those in opposition.  Should those of us in opposition who remain accede to this demand, or, should we continue to fight?

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