There was some encouraging news for LGBT members of the ELCA today. I am particularly pleased that the measure discussed below pasted by over a 100 vote margin. Here's part of a story on 365gay.com and also from the ECLA's web site:
(Chicago, Illinois) A national assembly of Evangelical Lutherans urged its bishops Saturday to refrain from defrocking gay and lesbian ministers who violate a celibacy rule, but rejected measures that would have permitted ordaining gays churchwide. Still, advocates for full inclusion of gays were encouraged, calling the resolution a powerful statement in support of clergy with same-gender partners. The conservative group Lutheran CORE, however, said bishops will now feel more secure in ignoring denomination policy. The 538-431 vote came on the final day of a week long meeting in Chicago - and after emotional debate over how the denomination should interpret what the Bible says about homosexuality.
In the adopted resolution, the assembly "urges and encourages" bishops to either refrain from or "demonstrate restraint in disciplining" ministers who are in a "mutual, chaste and faithful committed same-gender relationship." "This is huge," said Phil Soucy of Lutherans Concerned/North America, which lobbies on behalf of gays and lesbians. "More than half of the people in the Churchwide Assembly have said don't punish anyone for what is a simple violation of the policy, where the offense is simply that they have a partner."
In this area, there are a great many gay Catholics who no longer feel welcome in the Roman Catholic Church. In my view, the ELCA could be a great alternative for these individuals who want a familiar service and church setting, but who cannot bring themselves to attend a Catholic Church services since the Vatican finds gays "objectively disordered." As for conservatives in the ELCA who opposed this resolution, I ask them to ask themselves this question: does marginalizing gays make God happy, or does it make you feel better about yourself and make you feel superior?