Wednesday, May 25, 2011

To the Layman: Lay It Down

Occupying half of page five in the newspaper on my breakfast table this morning: an advertisement headlined "Presbyterian? What can you do?"

This ad comes courtesy of The Presbyterian Layman, a right-wing rag that my father used to read back in the 1970s.

My father, mind you, was not a churchgoer or Christian, but he had migrated toward the right politically during the Vietnam War protests. My mother attended church, and he loved to get The Layman.

Two weeks ago the 173 local branches of the Presbyterian Church USA voted to allow each local branch to determine whether to ordain openly gay or lesbian pastors, elders, and deacons in the churches under its jurisdiction.

See this commentary by a pastor in West Virginia:,0,4233480.story

What a tolerant solution to the debate that has lasted years--let each local area make up its own mind.

But that's not good enough for the folks at The Presbyterian Layman.

No, they need to invade my breakfast table with a call to "stand up and be counted" against this tolerant compromise. They want me to order their book, donate to their cause, and launch an inquisition against my local church.

No, thank you, laymen.

Your book shows a cute little steepled church perched on a slim pyramid of stones, the rest of the soil presumably eroded away. Its title is Can Two Faiths Embrace One Future?

Excuse me, but the last time I checked we both held the same faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. We just read the Bible differently.

I'm not going to scan your QR code to get a free copy or donate any money to you.

In fact, I'm going to write a check for $100 today to my local congregation, Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, to thank them for their continued support of tolerance, human rights, and the Presbyterian Church USA.


Barbara Kellam-Scott said...

Anne, thanks for this. I have some history with The Layman and I'm afraid have given up on thinking they can be reasonable. I was told 2 years ago, by a leader of the Presbyterian Coalition at the time G-6.0106b was passed, that "we knew it was bad law and could not stand. We're amazed it's taken this long." It's about money. The Lay Committee rants about accountability of GA staff and leaders, but why do their donors never quibble with having their money spent on WSJ ads? But keep speaking out.

Steve said...

Gee, I don't know. I kind'a like those Layman folks. It shows that there are still some guts and some residue of old Calvinism in the PCUSA. For that I am thankful.