Friday, April 28, 2006

working on a few new paragraphs of draft 2:

In fact the Christian faith, in particular the Presbyterian denomination has had a very difficult time dealing with the issue of homosexuality. George faced a faith that did not support him when he needed it the most, during the most trying hurdle in his life and yet his belief in God kept him company with nothing else did. The anti-homosexual parishioners share varying degrees of concern; some in support of homosexuals protest that homosexuals share some of the same morals and values of those heterosexuals. Many of the anti-homosexual parishioners feel as though homosexual couples should not be welcome to worship among the members of the church. Homosexuals argue that they should not be discriminated against when all they wish to do is worship the God who they share with their neighbors, and feel as though the church should be a haven where they can be accepted despite their sexual orientation. The controversy continues on with many issues arising which contribute to a deeper more passionate debate.
The Presbyterian Church, although not alone in their struggle with accepting homosexual congregation members, are rather vocal about this issue they see as a problem. Keith Hartman, a social critic, wrote Congregations in Conflict: The Battle over Homosexuality in which he states, “Homosexuality is the most divisive element facing the [Presbyterian] Church today” (Hartman, vix). It has openly been an issue since the early 70s. Meredith Ashbaugh suggests in her article, Homosexuality in the Presbyterian church, that the Presbytery is “escaping from its previous morals,” and that is the real issue at hand, not homosexuality, yet it is something else (Ashbaugh, 1). It took the Presbyterian Church over seven decades to ordain women into ministry; with that thought, society must recognize that homosexuality in the Presbyterian Church has only been an issue since the 70s (Ashbaugh, 2). Judging by the history of the Presbyterian Church overcoming challenges, this issue is far from over. The Presbyterian denomination is known for not interpreting the Bible in such a literal sense; however this has become increasingly more prevalent in recent years (Ashbaugh, 1). “Reinterpreting the Bible to meet the needs of…society,” best describes the way in which the Presbytery applies the words of the Bible to life (Ashbaugh, 2). According to Meredith Ashbaugh, homosexuals are among those who practice a more relaxed interpretation of scripture. There are still those conservative members who wish for policies and traditions to not be change or updated. It is not uncommon for heated debates to arise every couple decades, due to congregational fears that the Church is wandering away from their stated principles (Ashbaugh, 2). It would be interesting to see the relationship between the geography of Presbyterians and their view on the issue, since there has been a sudden influx of Presbyterians in the south. Or is this perhaps related to the current average age of the Presbyterian Church, which Jennifer Ashbaugh reveals “…is around 60” (1). The Presbytery will not allow any Presbyterian Church to open its doors for a ceremony uniting a same sex couple in a civil union or marriage. When interviewed, some heterosexuals claim that their struggle to accept homosexuals in the Presbyterian Church stems from their fear if they accept them would result in destroying the traditions of the Presbyterian ministry.
Many scholars believe that Christians struggle with this topic of homosexuality in the Church for three main reasons. Many anti-homosexuals, have difficulty accepting homosexuality as a result of “social and psychological reasons…religious considerations…and informal reasons” (Scanzoni and Mollenkott, 45). Homosexuals as well as Presbyterian Ministers could argue that other parishioners have more minor arguments, resulting from insufficient knowledge of homosexuality. While interviewing more conservative Presbyterians, I found that socially they feel that it is inappropriate for their children to witness homosexual couples interacting, believing that it provokes interest that they wish for young eyes to not see. This argument is no concrete, not all homosexuals display public affection just like some heterosexuals refrain from it as well. Most homosexuals are aware that public displays of affection could offend others, so they refrain from holding hands, touching each other, or kissing. This issue is also discussed in Andrew Sullivan’s Same-Sex Marriage: Pro and Con. More liberal open minded individuals could be argue that, our society has long kept homosexuality as a quiet personal matter, and to now make it publicly acceptable is perceived by many as flaunting immoral behavior. This case against homosexuals is more concrete, which I believe is the truth behind the issue.


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