Presbyterian ministers protest gay-friendly churches

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 30 2002 12:00 AM ET

Five Presbyterian ministers from Pennsylvania and Illinois have called on leaders of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to discipline gay-friendly churches. The ministers posted a declaration of protest Monday on the door of the denomination's headquarters in downtown Louisville, Ky., imitating the dramatic act that launched the Protestant Reformation in 1517.

The declaration wants the denomination to discipline churches that openly defy the church constitution, which bans the ordination of noncelibate gay men or women and forbids same-sex marriages. The church permits same-sex unions that don't resemble marriages, however. "The Presbyterian Church (USA) is decaying and dying in the belly of the beast and is irretrievably apostate under current management," the statement read.

Clifton Kirkpatrick, who as stated clerk is the Presbyterians' top officer for enforcing the constitution, said that he has made it clear that defiance of church laws is "inappropriate" but that enforcement of such laws should generally be done at local or regional levels, according to the Presbyterian News Service.