Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soon to be "The Rev. Lisa Larges"

News from CA, first from More Light Presbyterians last night, and now from Presbyterian Outlook: Lisa Larges, who declared she had scruples with the current ordination standards in the PCUSA, has been cleared to be ordained...finally.

From Presbyterian Outlook:
In a 5-4 decision, the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Synod of the Pacific has ruled that the Presbytery of San Francisco acted properly when it allowed Lisa Larges to declare a conscientious objection to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s ordination standards regarding sexual practice.

The presbytery voted 156-138 in November 2009 to allow Larges to be ordained even though she declared a “scruple,” or an objection based on conscience, to the PC(USA)’s requirement that those being ordained practice fidelity if they are married or chastity if they are single.

Larges, a lesbian and a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, has sought for two decades to be ordained by the church. In her statement of faith presented to the presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, Larges wrote that the “fidelity and chastity” standard “deliberately and intentionally denies the dignity and lived experience of same-gender loving people,” and gives them an “impossible choice” by not honoring their faithful, covenanted partnerships.

She also wrote that the standard “raises one category of persons, heterosexual persons, above all others and thereby makes an idol of heterosexuality.”

The synod permanent judicial commission ruled Sept. 25 that San Francisco Presbytery had “conducted a reasonable, responsible, prayerful, and deliberate examination” of Larges.

The General Assembly has passed an authoritative interpretation saying that a governing body can allow such exceptions to the rules on a case-by-case basis if it determines that the departure does not involve an “essential” of Reformed faith or polity.

The synod judicial commission said it accepted the presbytery’s determination that Larges’ conscientious objection to the “fidelity and chastity” standard in this case did not violate an essential of Reformed faith and polity.

This is one of the cases in which, when we look back, we will realize how draconian the bias and prejudice against LGBTQ people looked like as the walls of discrimination come tumbling down.


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