[Mark Hanson - ELCA Presiding Bishop]
As one very familiar with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I was delighted to note that the church, at its biennial convention in Minneapolis, voted 559-441 to negate the church's ban on non-celibate gay pastors.
The ELCA is the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States with almost 5 million members. It's been dancing around the issue of gay ministers for many years, prissily insisting that if a pastor is gay, he sure as hell better remain celibate!
But then, a lightning bolt struck the Convention Center where the ELCA was meeting. As PZ Myers suggests over at Pharyngula, it was probably a sign from God warning the pious that he/she loves gays and they better do the right thing. Fortunately, while the vote wasn't an overwhelming one, it was enough.
You can be gay and in a relationship and even married, and be a pastor in the ELCA!
Not all is sweetness and light, however. The fundies (yes, even the ELCA has christianist fundies!) will be coming out of the woodwork, doing their best to undo God's will! One gentleman by name of Ryan Schwarz, who is running for vice president of the ELCA, said "...I plan to speak out ... about how the leadership has failed this assembly."
The ELCA was formed a number of years ago by the LCA, the ALC and a "liberal" group formerly affiliated with the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Because the ALC and the former Missourians carried within their ranks a number of fundamentalists, that's where the opposition will come from.
Hopefully, it will not lead to a split. But, it's hard when you know God's on your side and while he doesn't "hate" gays, he hates their "sin" and surely would not want them pastoring in His church!
Read more on the fundy reaction here.
Another funny fundy article here.