Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


We did it!

The 87th and deciding vote came in tonight from Twin Cities Presbytery!

Twin Cities voted overwhelmingly in favor of Amendment A, 205-56-3!

Barriers to ordination have been lifted.


The movement for full inclusion of LGBT people began in the Presbyterian Church in 1973, when David Sindt held up a hand-lettered sign at the General Assembly that read "Is Anyone Else Out There Gay?".

Since that courageous moment, we have endured over 30 years of official prohibition.

The Definitive Guidance/Authoritative Interpretation which oppressed the church from 1978-2008 is gone.

Its evil companion, G-6.0106b, has been in the Book of Order since 1997.
Three attempts were made to remove this "b in our bonnet" since then (1997-8, 2001-2, 2008-9).

All failed to pass the presbyteries. Many of us thought we would never get it through the presbyteries. Finally, in 2010-11, tonight, justice was served.

The fourth time's a charm.

Take a deep breath, advocates! This has been an incredible journey. The PC(USA) took the hard path. Our polity made it more of a challenge to remove discriminatory barriers as it needed to pass through the majority of presbyteries in addition to being approved by the national body. But because of that, this change shows that it reflects the will of the whole of the church.

This is not only important for the Presbyterian Church, this is a sign of change that is happening throughout our country. We now join other mainline church bodies, The Episcopal Church, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and The United Church of Christ, as open to LGBT people for ordination.

The struggle continues as I
pointed out yesterday. Here are some helpful FAQs regarding the specifics of what this amendment means.

Today, finally, I can say that I am proud of my denomination.


  1. Congratulations, I think we mainly have to wait for the bigots and homophobes to die off.

  2. Thanks for posting the song! I am SO thrilled we can finally celebrate. What do you think about the PC(USA) moderator's suggestion about reaching out to those who are "grieving" about this decision?... I'm too happy to empathize with the oppressors tears right now, maybe tomorrow I'll feel differently.

  3. San Gabriel no 92-92

    Yes, a tie! Great effort out there!

    Tall 88-66.

  4. Hey Debra,

    I think it is good thing to do. I happily work on common projects with those in disagreement with me. We can celebrate and be cooperative.

  5. Debra, there is a thing about that I do need to mention. That is the guilt implication that we should somehow feel bad for feeling happy. I think it is connected to a couple of things.

    One is religious guilt. That our purpose in life is to be miserable for the Lord. That is embedded in certain religious experience. We always have to be packin' that cross.

    The other has to do with internalizing the victimization of the oppressor. Are we being asked to feel bad because some people feel bad that we have removed dehumanizing policies?

    There is self-hatred built into that that I will not affirm.

    "I am grieving because I can no longer treat you like a second class citizen."

    I am supposed to grieve with that? No way.

    I will in no way feel sad, sorrowful, or grieve regarding something that elevates human life.

    That said, I will happily cooperate on common projects. I will celebrate but I won't gloat and there is a difference. I will acknowledge that some people feel badly. I will do whatever I can do to help others embrace equality and help them overcome their prejudices.

    This is a time of celebration. To do anything less heaps guilt on those who already experience dehumanization.

  6. Well said, John. What they have "lost" is the power to keep others as "others" and thus out of the circle. What the whole Church has gained is the power to let everyone in.

  7. The New York Times quotes one of the conservative churchmen as saying, "The book that we hold up as holy is saying one thing, and now the church is behaving differently." The underlying issue here and elsewhere is the poor job the church has done in teaching the historical development and conditioning of the book -- as pointed out many times on this blog. Avoiding facing the implications of historical critical issues results in people having unrealistic views, which directly leads to the exclusionary policies that are only now being ended.

  8. Congratulations! This is thanks to the hard work and unceasing effort of people like Pastor Shuck who have never given up on righting this wrong in church polity. And you're right, it does show a profound shift in American life. Things are changing, and as the saying goes: "resistance is futile."


    Hugs to my GLBT friends and family. I know at least two folks whose ordination is long overdue. They have so much to offer the family of Christ and I can't wait to hear them preach!

  9. I am feeling a bit better about American society today because the PCUSA has surpassed the Methodists in tolerance, love, and following Jesus.

    "Step by step the longest march can be won."

  10. As I noted in an earlier thread, it's crucial to run up the score now.

    Remember that it is possible that several of these votes will be challenged by the BFTSs. (The one from New Jersey where they voted twice, for example.)

    And every ally we make now will mean that the next fight on marriage will be that much easier.

    Some presbytery somewhere will likely send a repeal of 10A overture. So running up the score also shows how futile that effort will be.

    So celebrate! But we've still got a month of votes to go.

  11. Thank you, John for the personal sacrifices you have made to help make this finally a reality. We truly appreciate your continued love and support throughout the years. The countless hours you spent blogging, making speeches, and educating through radio broadcast interviews and public appearances are truly commendable. Moreover, we cannot forget your endurance, fortitude and inspiring and contagious spirit.

    We, too, reflect upon all the amazing and wonderful people who now may serve to their full capacity and complete calling of Christ. (IE: Our mutual and dear friend Doug Johnson)

    You are correct when you say that the struggle is not over. Is it not only through continued education that homophobia might be erased because doesn’t “hate” stem from fear? I am sure there are many people asking questions such as:
    "How will these changes affect our church?"
    "What will these changes look like?"
    "Where will my place now be within the PC(USA)?"
    I think you or another blogger said, “How much power (voice) will I lose or have to give up once these changes go into effect?”

    Lastly, we often wonder, what target group is next to suffer persecution?

  12. @Snad Exactly!

    @Michael Thank you for making that connection between the lack of higher criticism and its effects on issues.

    @Tim !! : )

    @Southern Beale Thanks for the shout at your place. Change is happening.

    @Sea Raven I am hoping that this next year will be when the Methodists get their gay on.

    @Alan Absolutely. I am shooting for 96 YESes!!

    @Tony & Mike The pic of your weddin' is in my office for everyone to see. You are the ones who helped me find my voice. Whoever gets picked on next, we'll all stand up for them. Good to hear from you!