Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Beware the Jabberwock!

Like many PresbyBloggers, I was dismayed by the recent GAPJC ruling in the Rev. Jane Spahr case. Amidst the dueling opinions issued (majority, partial majority, concurring, betwixt and between, etc.), the rationale for the decision that emerged was stunning in its sophistry. Stunning.

Rev. Spahr was honest and forthright about her actions and motivation--to bring a test case over what she believes is a justice issue. The majority ruling was dishonest in its attempt to dodge the central issue in the case which was Spahr's deliberate disobedience to the Book of Order's prohibition against conducting same sex marriage ceremonies.

Some have suggested the opinion was an attempt to avoid sparking controversy this close to the June General Assembly meeting. But the pot is now stirred to a froth, and all sides are riled up. The decision has undermined confidence in the church's highest court. The multiple opinions issued do not give reliable guidance to the church for the future and create confusion and uncertainty.

Yesterday Presbyweb posted a Viewpoint by Rev. Ed Koster, one of the candidates for Stated Clerk who is a lawyer as well as a minister, in which he pointed out several unintended consequences that could result from this jabberwocky, which is now legal precedent for the church. One these is that since G-6.0106(b) of the BOO limites ordination to those who are married or celibate, then non-celibate gays or lesbians who have been ordained are not really ordained: if it is impossible to marry a gay couple then it is likewise impossible to ordain non-celibate gays and lesbians. Koster is exactly right when he points out that this is the logical application of the rationale in the Spahr case to the ordination issue.

A bad decision, badly decided. Pass the slithy toves, I'm feeling rather mimsy. Brillig, anyone?


Reformed Catholic said...

I'm starting to like Ed Koster as candidate for Clerk. Too bad I'm not a commissioner this year.

Shawn said...

It's past time to stop trying to make everybody happy, when in fact nobody is happy (except those who fear any sort conflict). I don't know if you've read Bruce Reyes-Chow's post about whether we can agree to disagree, but it seems to be a different approach than was taken by the PJC.


Anonymous said...

Yep, feelin' a tad mimsy over this as well...Koster's comments are spot on...logic flew out the window on this one...


Presbyterian Gal said...

Wouldn't those same consequences apply to non-celibate hetero pastors? Or how about the hetero pastors who cheat on their spouses?

*POOF* Not ordained any more. Or as Emily Litella would say: "Never mind"

Getting ugly this is (says Yoda).

Quotidian Grace said...

Whoa, PresbyGal--excellent point. More unintended consequences.

The Frumious Bandersnatch awaits.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone out there still think that Presbies don't drink?... it't the only logical deduction... they must all have been smashed.

Reformed Catholic said...

FWIW .. I have no problem saying 'POOF' to cheating pastors ;)

Becky Ardell Downs said...

Which just points to the assertion that 60106b wasn't clearly written in the first place. If we're against homosexuality, then let's just say that, not talk about "any unrepentant sin", which covers about all of us. But those bases have been covered many times, I know.
Weary of the same fights, locally and nationally