The nation’s largest Lutheran denomination, with more than 4 million members, voted last month to expand its policies regarding gay clergy in the pulpit.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which had long allowed celibate gay men and women to be ordained as pastors, voted to allow gay and lesbian men and women in committed relationships be ordained and serve as pastors in its churches. No congregation is bound by the policies and each can make its own decision, but by expanding the opportunity the denomination has opened the door.
Some readers have raised questions about the use of terms such as “sexually active” — or sexuality at all — in reference to gay clergy, possibly forgetting that Iowa is just one of now five states that allows same-sex marriage. In the other states, there are no marital ties linking those committed relationships.
Other readers, seemingly those who support the issue, question why a pastor’s sexuality is even an issue.
The ELCA population is split on the issue, with some pastors and congregations across the country threatening to leave the denomination. Regardless, congregations will be discussing the vote in the weeks and months to come.
What are your thoughts? Should a pastor’s sexuality be an issue in whether — or how well — that person can serve as a church leader?