Presbyterian Minister ruled guilty over gay weddings

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A retired Presbyterian minister with roots on the North Side was found guilty of violating church law in officiating at two lesbian weddings.

Jane Spahr of San Rafael, Calif., is an openly gay ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She was ruled to be at odds with the church's constitution when she married the couples in 2004 and 2005.

A judicial commission with the Synod of the Pacific, a multistate governing body, ruled 6-2 that while Ms. Spahr "acted with conscience and conviction," she was guilty of misconduct. It reversed a local Presbytery decision in March 2006 that said Ms. Spahr was within her rights as an ordained minister when she married the couples. The decision came with the recommendation that Ms. Spahr be rebuked.

Ms. Spahr said the decision made her sad, calling it second-class treatment for people who are different and "perpetuates myths and stereotypes that give license to violence."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesPresbyterianSexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

Posted August 26, 2007 at 5:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. HowieG wrote:

I see three issues here:  First, Jane Spahr violated the Teachings of Bible concerning homosexuality.  Second, She violated the rules of her own Church against same-sex marriages, and thirdly, she performed an illegal wedding in the State of California. 

Now, she is very sad and playing the “woe is me” card.  Doesn’t California have a 3 strikes and you’re out Law? 


August 26, 8:46 pm | [comment link]
2. Alice Linsley wrote:

Jane can join TEC and probably someone has already contacted her about doing so.

August 26, 10:50 pm | [comment link]
3. Cousin Vinnie wrote:

Sorry, HowieG:  The Progressives never admit to striking out, they never sit down, they never shut up.  If you’re not prepared to fight them 24/7 until Jesus comes, your church is lost.

August 27, 1:32 am | [comment link]
4. Newbie Anglican wrote:

Jane Spahr has been running rampant in the PCUSA for decades.  That she might finally, maybe, actually be disciplined is a pleasant surprise.
And, yes, her . . . persistance backs up what Vinnie said.

August 27, 9:48 am | [comment link]
5. Fred wrote:

# 1 - I have never seen anything in the Bible that says one can’t officate at a gay union. It’s really time to stop using the Bible to justify discrimination!

August 27, 2:59 pm | [comment link]
6. Rolling Eyes wrote:

Fred,  if you read the Bible, you’ll find plenty about how it homosexuality is an abomination to God, and contrary to the very image in which He made us.

Why, then, would the Bible need to explicitly address not being able to officiate a gay union?  It’s assumed.

Fred, can you tell us where in the Bible it is expressed that one SHOULD be able to officiate a gay union?  Better yet, can you show us anything anywhere in the history of the Church where such a thing is allowed? 

No, you cannot.  Because it’s not there.  Because it’s never been allowed due to the fact that this issue has been settled for centuries.

August 27, 4:15 pm | [comment link]
7. David Fischler wrote:

Rev. Spahr was not convicted on the basis of Scripture but of violating the PCUSA constitution, which defines marriage as per Scripture as the union of a man and a woman.

August 27, 5:58 pm | [comment link]
8. Fred wrote:

#6 - The Bible doesn’t mention gay marriage. Period!

August 27, 7:18 pm | [comment link]
9. HowieG wrote:

To Fred:  Does EVERYTHING have to be specifically spelled out???  The Bible, in a number of places specifically condemns, homosexuality.  It must, therefore, be assumed that anything related to the practice of homosexuality, including same-gender weddings, also be condemned, especially if it leads to a sinful event.

You speak of not using the Bible to justify discrimination.  That is a nothing short of a Red-Herring. I remind you that the entire Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is very discriminatory against all other non-Hebrew peoples.  Even at the time of Jesus, Jews were always first.  Only when Paul confronted the Jewish-Christians that the Body of Christ expanded.  Paul also reminded the early Church that the Code of Holiness (q.v.) was (and is) still in effect.  We are to love the sinner, but hate and condemn the sin.  I strongly suggest you look up the definition of discrimination.  You may find that your usage of the word to attempt intimidation falls flat.

To David #7:  What you say is technically true.  But, by inference, Spahr was convicted on the basis of Scripture. 

On a general note, has anyone not asked him or herself why Jesus condensed all the law of the Prophets into two laws?  I would submit it is because when you violate one law, you set into motion the violation of a number of laws.  Think assault and battery.  Can you really separate the two offenses? Answer: no.  Hence my original comment, the good Rev. has violated the Teachings of the Bible.


August 27, 8:11 pm | [comment link]
10. Sarah1 wrote:

RE: “The Bible doesn’t mention gay marriage.”


The Bible doesn’t mention stagecoach robbing either.

August 27, 11:49 pm | [comment link]
11. libraryjim wrote:

or computers, or cars, or pants, or coffee, or cats, or ..... wink

August 28, 12:31 pm | [comment link]
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