A Lutheran task force on Jan. 13 recommended no change to church rules that ban gay clergy and same-sex unions, saying a majority of the church does not support “wholesale change” to existing gay policy.
But the 13-member panel of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America proposed that the denomination refrain from disciplining churches and pastors who feel “conscience-bound” to disobey the rules.
The proposals suggest that-at least for now-the 5.2 million-member church will follow the lead of other mainline churches in choosing the status quo over major changes on the divisive issue of homosexuality.
“Rather than attempting to resolve our differences through legislative action, we have sought to place matters in the realm of pastoral care and to encourage continued engagement as we minister to one another,” the panel said in its report issued at church headquarters in Chicago.
If adopted by the Churchwide Assembly this summer, the recommendations offer a way for Lutherans to sidestep a yes-or-no decision on sexuality through a policy that essentially turns a blind eye to open defiance of the rules.
Religion News Service