Author Topic: Recommendation 2 Approved  (Read 3120 times)

Richard Johnson

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Recommendation 2 Approved
« on: August 12, 2005, 02:45:23 PM »
As the assembly convened after lunch, Bp. Hanson first clarified the parliamentary situation (again fairly, in my view). There was a brief interruption by Bp. Rimbo, asking that the Palestinian Lutheran bishop be invited to address the body (by phone) prior to consideration of the Middle East resolution. House agreed, of course.

Then the Assembly took up the Benne amendment. Bob Benne spoke first, arguing for clarity and consistency with the bishops’ statement, the social statements of predecessor bodies, the rites of the LBW, and the teaching and practice of the church catholic. There followed twenty minutes worth of debate. Supporters mostly pled for clarity, opponents argued that the policy we’ve had has been working, there’s no need to change. Ultimately the Benne amendment lost, 418-581.

Next came the amendment of David Owen, Slovak Zion synod. This one would have specified that “pastoral care” doesn’t include blessing of same-sex union. Bishop Ullestead tried to cut process short by moving previous question on all matters before the house, but the Assembly would have none of it. Debate proceeded, with the arguments being pretty much the same as they had been on the previous motion. Bp. Craig Johnson of Minneapolis made a comment that raised some eyebrows by saying, a bit petulantly, that he wanted the definition of pastoral care to be made by “my pastors on the ground in Minneapolis, not by somebody in Pennsylvania or Southwest Minnesota.” A subsequent speaker identified himself as being proud to be serving in the Southwest Minnesota Synod. In the end the Owen motion was defeated, 415-580.

Then one from the other side. The Steven Benson motion to specify that the bishops’ statement not be used for discipline was debated. There was twenty minutes of debate, and then the Benson motion was defeated 382-612.

Then an amendment by Bp. Carol Hendrix, which would change the phrase “same-sex couples” to “all to whom they minister”—in other words, it uses the language of the original Conference of Bishops advice with no reference to “same-sex couples.” One significant point made by Pr. Bill Crabtree of Sierra Pacific Synod was that this issue affects many people, not just gay and lesbian couples; their families, for instance, are often in need of pastoral care. After some debate, the Hendrix motion CARRIED very narrowly, 491-484.

A goodsoil operative immediately asked for a ten minute recess, which was refused overwhelmingly by the house. Debate proceeded on the recommendation as amended, and after just five speakers, the question was moved and voted. There was request for clarification from the Church Council as to whether or not the recommendation allows blessing of same-sex unions, to which Council member Jonathan Eilert gave a non-answer. This resulted in a couple of members saying they would have to oppose this, because they don’t know what it means. But the Assembly apparently was comfxortable with the ambiguity, and the recommendation as amended (by the Hendrix motion) was APPROVED 670-323.

Bp. Martinson of Alaska attempted to move reconsideration, but Bp. Hanson deferred that motion until after action on Recommendation 3.

The irony here is that neither Goodsoil nor Solid Rock is particularly happy about this action, but on the whole my sense is that Goodsoil likes it less, at least at first blush. It gives some additional authority to the Conference of Bishops statement (until now, nothing but “advice”), and eliminates a specific reference to same-sex couples. On the other hand, Solid Rock wanted a specific prohibition of same-sex blessings, and the Assembly was not willing to do that. My guess is that the secular press will lead with “ELCA refuses to ban same-sex blessings.”

roj in Orlando 8/12/05 3:09 p.m. EDT



« Last Edit: August 13, 2005, 05:02:25 AM by roj »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Norsk

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Re: Recommendation 2 Approved
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2005, 03:19:46 PM »
Richard, I would have bet lots that you were right about the secular media (and you still might be, on the whole).  BUT we have this from the AP:

Lutherans Reject Easing Rules on Gay Clergy, Same-Sex Blessings

By Rachel Zoll The Associated Press

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/florida/MGBI5FVYACE.html

ROB_MOSKOWITZ

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Re: Recommendation 2 Approved
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2005, 04:35:05 PM »
Richard thank you for all your good work!

Now can I aska stupid question?    Isnt #2 the way it was adopted still amigious?   Its still an open door?

Michael Huntley

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Re: Recommendation 2 Approved
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2005, 06:16:48 PM »
I didn't have time to post earlier, but even before you posted this, the following was already out in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

http://www.startribune.com/stories/484/5556995.html

The headline "Tepid support from ELCA for same-sex relationships"  Which was followed by the cryptic lead paragraph, "Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Churchwide Assembly today morning overwhelmingly approved watered-down language addressing the endorsement of same-sex unions."

How prophetic, you have quite a gift!

Everyone else I've seen, including some gay news sites (hey, it came up on Google news-I didn't know what it was until I went there; please don't tell my bishop! :-)  ) sees it the other way.

darelmass

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Re: Recommendation 2 Approved
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2005, 07:34:03 PM »
Rec #2 states that the ELCA will "continue to respect the guidance of the 1993 statement" which rejects the creation of "an official ceremony by this church for the blessing of a homosexual relationship". It is not at all clear that it rejects unofficial/independent "blessings" by rostered clergy, acts which I believe go on today in the ELCA.

Note that the Owen amendment to Res #2 -- which would have clearly stated that "pastoral care" to homosexuals did NOT extend to "the blessing of unions" -- went down to a sound defeat, 415-580.

So I suspect that Rob and WordAlone are right. The door remains open for informal, unofficial and irregular "blessings", no?

Richard Johnson

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Re: Recommendation 2 Approved
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2005, 08:28:08 PM »
I think the answer is yes, the "door remains open." But frankly I think even the Benne motion would have left the door open. All the CWA really can do at this point is the express its opinion, which is only somewhat more binding, if at all, than the advice of the Conference of Bishops. To absolutely prohibit same-sex blessings would require a constitutional provision, and that was never in the cards.

But of course it all depends on bishops. One bishop was heard to say this evening, "The assembly did not authorize same-sex blessings, and they will not take place in our synod."

Other bishops will say other things, while most will keep their mouths shut and deal with matters that come their attention very quietly.

But we have been told that this question will be on the agenda for the bishops' meeting Monday, and that at least one bishop intends to push pretty hard for some consistency.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2005, 08:30:08 PM by roj »
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS