President Obama’s scheduled May 17 commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame has sparked protests by some Catholics. The local Catholic bishop, John D’Arcy, said he will boycott the event because some Obama policies contradict church teaching.
The president of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod expressed “great disappointment and deep sadness” over recommendations before the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to ordain partnered gay and lesbian ministers.
A blue-ribbon panel has recommended that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lift its ban on partnered gay and lesbian clergy, but only after the church agrees in principle on gay relationships and agrees to respect the consciences of those who dissent.
The death threats have lessened over the five years since Episcopalians affirmed V. Gene Robinson’s election as their church’s first openly gay bishop. But the man who symbolizes, for many, a defiance of a traditional understanding of scripture and sexual morality will soon be in a risky spotlight again.
“The Church’s Unfinished Sexual Revolution” was the title of an article in the spring 2006 issue of Yale Divinity School’s Reflections magazine. In it longtime Christian ethicist James B. Nelson described some progress in church thinking about sexual ethics, but contended that the church’s agenda on sexuality remains “confusing, unsettled, unfinished.”
Episcopal bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, a flashpoint of controversy within the Anglican Communion for being a partnered gay bishop, said he turned down an offer from fellow U.S. bishops to be on the margins of this summer’s Lambeth Conference in London—allowed to appear in the exhibit hall and give media interviews.
At the last biennial Presbyterian General Assembly, many gay-rights supporters along with many conservatives weary of decades-old fights approved a delicate compromise that kept the ordination standards of “chastity and fidelity” but allowed presbyteries to approve otherwise qualified gay and lesbian clergy candidates who morally objected to the rules.
Presbyterians in Minneapolis–St. Paul have voted to restore the ordination of an openly gay man who has refused to pledge celibacy, in the latest test of revamped pastoral guidelines in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).