You may have heard on the BBC Scotland news this evening that Queen’s Cross Church of Scotland’s right to call an openly gay man to be their minister, a decision endorsed by a majority vote of the Presbytery of Aberdeen, has been the subject of a complaint and the case will be heard by the General Assembly in a few weeks.
There are some in the church who don’t think that a homosexual should be ordained as a minister so a petition is being gathered to take to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland to call on them not to uphold the right of the congregation to make its own decision about who they can call to be their minister on the grounds of his sexuality. Apparently 1/5 of the ministers of the Church of Scotland have signed the petition.
I don’t want to get into the discussion about sexuality here and now. That will no doubt come in the future.
What I do want to say is that tonight people across Scotland and across the world have had their own prejudice confirmed. Their own stereotype image that the Church of Jesus Christ is intolerant, bullying and homophobic has been paraded on the evening news. Again.
There are ways to go about disagreeing. Disagreements can be had with dignity and with respect. Raising a petition, giving that petition to the press as an ‘exclusive’ and trying to raise a groundswell of support to pressure the poor souls whose turn it is to attend General Assembly into making the decision you want is not dignified.
‘What Would Jesus Do?’. I wonder where ‘start a campaign that will put someone under intense media pressure, drag them in front of the General Assembly and have their life paraded for all to see’ comes in the answer to that question. I don’t think it does and tonight I am ashamed to be a member of the Church of Scotland.
So, no. I won’t be signing your petition. And I hope no-one else does either. Not because I don’t belive in your right to have one. Not that because I don’t think you have the right to hold your opinion. But because I believe that we are called to love one another and to conduct our discusions with love and respect.