Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rev Bradley Schmeling decision: Disciplinary committee suggests that ELCA allow practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy, delays his suspension until after Synod meets

I'd been checking the website of Lutherans Concerned North America (, the ELCA's LGBT ministry) for news on Brad's case. Madpriest beat me to it.

If you check some news articles on the web, you'll see that Brad has been suspended. This is correct: as of Aug 15, the committee has ordered that he be removed from the clergy roster.

Aug 15 is quite some time away. In fact, it is after their next synod meeting. The committee has respectfully suggested that the ELCA:

1) Revise their regulations (Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline and Vision and Expectation) to allow practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy. They believe that the previous restrictions were at best bad policy, and at worst violations of the ELCA Constitution.

2) Permit the reinstatement of clergy who left or were removed because they entered into same-sex relationships.

Their decision is posted here:
It is a legal document, so it is a little long.

The ELCA has struggled with this issue before. They obviously had not managed to remove the restrictions. Brad may still face dismissal: the panel has concluded (I'm pretty sure) that if the restrictions are upheld, they have no choice but to remove him. His church has pledged to keep him even if that happens, but I pray they will not have to resort to this.

Some of you may have heard of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, a right-wing organization funded by wealthy ultra-conservatives, which is funding groups in the Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches which are attempting to keep these churches from moving to accept LGBT individuals and their relationships. If the ELCA makes the same move, these people will target the ELCA as well.

North Korea's official name in English is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The IRD is as democratic as the North Koreans. And they are as religious as Peter Akinola, and the Protestant and Catholic churches that supported Nazi Germany.

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