Dutch Reformed Church will be asked to accept gays, but not gay marriage

The general synod of the Dutch Reformed Church will be asked by its Western Cape moderator to consider accepting homosexual relationships and pastors, Beeld reported on Thursday.

Western Cape moderator Dr Frits Gaum said the proposals were the collective plea of 26 church parishioners, among them Gaum’s own son, Laurie.

The issue was “a very divisive one in churches all over the world”, but the general synod should consider the request “in a sober, scripture-guided manner”, Gaum said.

In the proposal, the 26 request that a significant section of church policy, announced in 2007, should remain unchanged. This included the decision that only the union between a man and a woman could be regarded as a marriage.

However, the 2007 policy also states the church will not accept homosexual relationships as an alternative to marriage.

The new proposal asks the general synod to accept there could be a permanent and unique relationship between two people of the same sex.

In 2007, the church also ruled that gays could become pastors, on condition they led celibate lives. Gaum said he would ask the church to drop the celibacy clause.

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PMS 3: Why Can’t a Pope Be More Like a Liberal Nun?

Today’s victim of Papal Malarkey Syndrome is Lisa Miller of the Washington Post, who interviews two pseudo-Catholics nuns for a piece benedictentitled, “Wanted by American nuns: A pope who listens to and appreciates female leadership.” That is to say, a pope who throws Catholic orthodoxy in the trash bin and embraces Catholicism Episcopal-style:

Florence Deacon wants a new pope “with experience of living with a lot of ordinary folks. Someone who understands the difficulty of having to live the gospel and at the same time get a little boy to eat his breakfast before he goes off to school.”

Margaret Farley wants to see a church leadership “marked by the grace of listening and respect — and mutually so.”

Deacon and Farley are not just Catholic women, they’re nuns. And both have run afoul of the administration of Pope Benedict XVI. Sister Florence is president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which continues to be investigated for what the Vatican has called doctrinal inconsistencies, including “radical feminism.” Sister Margaret is an emerita professor at Yale. Her 2010 book “Just Love” was censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for being “in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching on sexual morality.”

Farley is an advocate for reversing Catholic moral positions on abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, and remarriage after divorce. When the Vatican condemned it, their announcement stated that it contains “erroneous propositions, the dissemination of which risks grave harm to the faithful.” That makes her a perfect person for a liberal journalist to speak to about who the next pope should be. Deacon, meanwhile, leads an organization that has become a cause célèbre for the Catholic and secular left in America, one which has weighed in on a wide variety of issues for which it has no competency except invariable liberal political opinions. (Did you know nuns were experts on fracking? global warming? free trade agreements? Yeah, me neither.)

So what do these women want? Someone to pay attention to them when they bang their spoons on their high chairs:

Sister Florence says that although her organization represents 50,000 American sisters, the LCWR has no regular audience with the pope. She has never met any pope. No one in the American church leadership has ever asked her opinion on a matter of national, political, or ecclesiastical significance, such as the contraception mandate in President Obama’s health plan or the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Gee, I wonder why. Miller, of course, being a liberal journalist, knows exactly why this is:

In the meantime, the church hierarchy has closed ranks, appearing to the public more than ever like a group of old guys in dress-up, deaf to the real concerns of their members. Allegations of sexual abuse continue to ripple through the church at high levels, while an insistence on the immorality of birth control seems to define the U.S. bishops’ public position on the entire universe of male-female relations.

Miller’s ignorance regarding the U.S. Catholic bishops stances on a wide variety of gender and relationship issues is no surprise—in this matter, she is the journalistic equivalent of the low information voter. I do think she has a point with regard to the “old guys in dress up,” however. I’m sure that if the Vatican had more young guys in dress up (RuPaul, say, or the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence), things would be much different. Of course, it would also help if they simply busted up the patriarchy:

“For the church to thrive, we must take seriously the role of women and create opportunities to elevate women to positions of meaningful leadership in the church, even in the Roman Curia,”says Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. “Pope Benedict XVI’s successor would do well to recognize that the church is impoverished when we do not avail ourselves of the full gifts and talents of women.”

To that end, Sister Florence has done some research, and she contends that there’s no reason why women can’t become cardinals. In recent memory, cardinals have been priests first, but “in the past,” she says, “people could have been made cardinals and then ordained. I haven’t heard anyone seriously pushing this, but the cardinals are seen as advisors to the pope.”

She hasn’t heard anyone seriously pushing this. I wonder why not.

ENGLAND: Conservative Party Roils over Same-Sex Marriage

An Eastleigh by election could change the political landscape in England

By David W. Virtue

Britain’s Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron is deeply divided over his political push to make same-sex marriage legal, pushing it on to the national stage. Conservative MPs and local Party Association Chairmen warn that the gay marriage bill has “weakened” Cameron’s position. Two-thirds believe the Conservatives are now a divided party, according to the exclusive YouGov poll.

Mr. Cameron had hoped extending gay rights would help shed the Tories’ “nasty party” image. It did not appear in the Party Manifesto for the General Election or in the Queen’s speech, but Cameron is determined to make a central piece of his political reform for England.

But there is considerable disquiet in the Conservative Party over the Prime Minister’s project to introduce same-sex marriage. In the second reading of the bill in the House of Commons, a majority of Conservative MPs, some 134, voted against the bill, refusing to back him.

A Conservative Association Chairman, Ed Costello, resigned over the issue. A group of 23 Conservative Association Chairmen presented a letter to Cameron’s office at 10 Downing Street on February 3rd protesting the bill and setting up a website Conservative Grassroots with a lead article that screams “Don’t divide us over marriage.” http://www.conservativegrassroots.org.uk/

Enter Danny Stupple. The Chartered Quantity Surveyor is an evangelical Anglican layman who has presented himself as the Independent Candidate in the Eastleigh By-Election on the platform of “Real freedom and Real Marriage”. Rejecting the “out of touch” Conservative Party leadership, he is making a stand that marriage can only be between a man and a woman and wants to make it an issue in the upcoming campaign. www.danny4eastleigh.org.uk.

The Conservative Party’s own candidate, a Roman Catholic who initially voiced her opposition to “gay marriage”, has, since her first press report, reportedy been gagged by Tory Party officials who don’t want the issue raised. The Prime Minister is deflecting that hot button by making immigration the key issue. The runoff is set to take place on February 28.

Christian campaigners for Real Marriage have noted that Peter Tatchell, the gay human rights campaigner, recently boasted that he gave Prime Minister Cameron the lines for his 2010 Conservative Party Conference Speech saying that he supported gay marriage because he was a conservative. Tatchell reportedly said, “I wrote David Cameron’s speech for him. That line about ‘I believe in gay marriage because I am a Conservative’ came directly from what I wrote.”

The Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne who resigned in disgrace had a 3000-vote majority. Both Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are keen to win the seat. Votes for Real Freedom and Real Marriage could make the difference and indicate to the Prime Minister that his Same-sex Couples Bill is a vote loser. Candidate Stupple is supported by the Christian People’s Alliance and many more in local churches. He is a lay reader in an Anglican Church. He has a visible presence in the life of his church and is involved in several charitable organizations.

Stupple believes that at this time in UK history, the Christian faith offers the greatest hope of cultural change for the benefit of the people, in particular, the strengthening of the traditional family as the primary building block of societal transformation. The freedom of conscience in matters of faith and conduct historically enshrined in British societal development offers the way forward into a very diverse, equal, loving and free future for everyone, he adds.

Stupple is supported in his contention that marriage is as important to the future of the nation as climate change and poverty, by Baroness Ruth Deech who heads the Bar Standards Board.

The Baroness said the growing numbers of families without fathers is doing more harm to the next generation than other factors such as smoking, alcohol, poor diet and lack of exercise. She also warned that a conspiracy of silence surrounds the issue because political leaders are afraid to say married families are better for children than cohabiting families or single parent families.

“Politicians are now too afraid to offend single parent families”, said Lady Deech. “Marriage is based on a public promise and evidence showed married parents were twice as likely to stay together through a child’s early years as cohabiting parents. Children of single mothers have greater problems than those of cohabitee parents, and children of cohabitees have greater problems than those of married parents.”

Lady Deech noted that those who favor cohabitation often say marriage is “only a piece of paper”, adding, “It is clearly a very important piece of paper, nonetheless, of the utmost significance to life, equal love and happiness, say the gay community, when gay marriage is on the agenda.” Other kinds of relationship are seen as less than marriage.

“Children deserve natural parents who are prepared to make the act of commitment and aspiration found only in marriage, in order to demonstrate to those children that they intend to be there for them, without question, as they grow up.

“The wedding ceremony highlights the fact that marriage is the strongest bond ever invented to link together two people and two families, for now and posterity – intimately, legally, politically, religiously, civilly and publicly.”

Mark Regenerus Gets it Right

Dr. Bryce Christensen

Reprinted from The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy

Although the American Psychological Association (APA) boasts scholarly objectivity, the social-science guild has for years conducted studies that generate the results—from the alleged benefits of the “good” divorce to the virtues of homosexuality—that progressive activists’ itching ears want to hear. Consequently, it often falls to one brave solider to challenge the groupthink.

Indeed, Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas has done exactly that, conducting the first methodologically rigorous study of homosexual parenting, the latest cause of American elites. Exposing the discredited studies hailed by the APA, the sociologist establishes that children raised by homosexual parents—like all children raised by anything but a married mother and father—suffer risks that should not be overlooked or minimized.

Unique to Regnerus’s study is the data source: his New Family Structures Study, a new research instrument that yielded a data sample of 2,988 randomly selected Americans between the ages 18 to 39, including 175 adults with lesbian mothers and 73 with homosexual fathers. The cross-sectional study queried respondents about their social and economic behaviors, health behaviors, family of origin, and current relationships. Based upon their answers, the lone Texan quantified how the 248 adult children who reported parental homosexual behavior prior to age 18 differed from their peers from six other family-of-origin types.

And differ they do, especially the children of lesbian mothers, who represent the vast majority of children with homosexual parents. When compared to their peers from intact families, Regnerus found that these children suffered risks of less-desirable outcomes that reached statistical significance (p < 0.05) in twenty-five of the forty measures under consideration. In further analysis with a full set of demographic controls, the disparities remained significant in all but one of these measures. Among children with homosexual fathers, bivariate analysis revealed statistically significant differences with children from intact families in eleven measures.

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