Shuck and Jive

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Speak Out for Morality

Jim Berkley, formerly of the IRD, now writes columns for the LayMAN and he posts occasionally on his blog. On his latest post he gloats that nine presbyteries have voted no on the passage of the new amendment B. So far no presbyteries have voted in favor.

This is no surprise. All of these presbyteries are conservative and always vote the wrong way on these measures. The strategy of the conservative presbyteries is to vote no early to show that there is some kind of momentum.

It is good to check out what the right is doing. The LayMAN and the Presbyterian Coalition are putting a lot of money and effort into defeating this amendment.

There is no momentum. We have a long way to go. All over the country presbyteries and congregations are holding conversations about this amendment. It is not time to sit around and wonder. It is time to talk it up. Find out when your presbytery votes. Make sure your session knows about it. Set up conversations. Talk to the moderates and fence-sitters. Have conversations in your adult Sunday School classes. Do what it takes.

This conversation is not just for whoever will vote in your presbytery. It is for the entire church. There are plenty of resources including films, books, and study guides available. You can have your congregation "knit for justice."

I have some resources on this sidebar. Go to
More Light Presbyterians, the Covenant Network, and That All May Freely Serve for more ideas.

The General Assembly did us a great favor. We have an opportunity to witness to justice in the church. We haven't had this opportunity since 2001 and who knows, it could be that long again.

In the meantime, sessions and presbyteries can ordain and install openly gay and lesbian persons
now. The current G-6.0106b is a bad "blue law" and it needs to go. But it is mostly made of gums and no teeth with the changes made this summer in San Jose.

It needs to go so we can unequivocally remove prejudice in our ordination practice and be the church Christ calls us to be.

It is time to do this. You can be a part of making this happen. You need to be a part of making this happen.

There is no good reason why this amendment should not pass this year. Berkley was right and wrong about one thing. He wrote:

The wholesale revision of Christian sexual morality can and will happen if good people do nothing.
Berkley is right that when good people do nothing bad things happen. Berkley is wrong in that he thinks he even knows what "Christian sexual morality" is. The current G-6.0106b is immoral. Homophobia is immoral. Injustice against our LGBTQ sisters and brothers is immoral. The General Assembly voted out the Authoritative Interpretation because it was immoral.

That was a major victory for morality. We are nowhere near finished. Now is not the time to rest.

You can be the change. Speak out for true Christian morality and support the new amendment B.


  1. John---if you haven't read it yet, there was an amazing victory for love, light, and the Holy Spirit at the Episcopal diocesan convention in MISSOURI, of all places(!), this weekend.

    There is hope, and there IS momentum---and it's in the direction of recognizing God's gift of love in the world.


  2. Doxy, thanks for that link. That is awesome. I am going to send that news around!

  3. John,

    You write so many posts it is hard to catch up with you.

    Aside from Jim Berkley's obsessive need to articulate his homophobic bigotry in as many ways he can think of, it is funny to see how some people reason sometimes. Berkly uses an analogy that says something like "You shouldn't eat apples because smoking is bad for you." Weird.

    I wonder if he has a learning disability.

  4. To relate homosexuality to pedophilia and then say it isn't a comparison is a common technique.

    Those who use those words in the same sentence know that there is no foundation, but because of the common misconception, you reinforce the prejudice and misinformation.

  5. kinda like when Bush used to say "Al Queda attacked us first. We need to fight terrorism. Let's invade Iraq" He never said Iraq attacked us, or Iraq had terrorists. He just said the two things in the same sentence. Joe Public did the rest.

    Its an effective technique when being done on purpose. I don't think Jim Berkley is smart enough to do it on purpose. I think he is somebody's "useful idiot".

    But maybe he's just trying to make idiots of his readers. Who knows.