The Role Sexuality Plays in Ordination Discrimination – Pt 2 (LGBT Discrimination)

The Role Sexuality Plays in Ordination Discrimination – Pt 2 (LGBT Discrimination)

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Sexuality Continued –

To further the discussion we also have to take a look at the role one’s sexual choice plays in ordination. In other words how will being homosexual affect ordination. Table 2 shows that out of a sample set of 7470 polled Mainline Churches (including Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Anglican) 56% of them say that Homosexuality should be accepted by society.

Table 2 Views About Homosexuality [1]

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Being homosexual and being called to ministry isn’t something that is new. In 1969 the United Church of Christ struggled with whether on not to allow gay or lesbians the right to become ordained. Finally “in 1972, the UCC ordained the first openly gay person into ministry, the Rev. .”[1] In 2003, the Episcopal church The New Hampshire diocese elected Gene Robinson as bishop. Robinson who is openly gay is the first open gay male to become bishop of a major Christian denomination.[2] Even more recently the Presbyterian Church of the United States voted by a narrow margin (373-323), on July 8, 2010 to lift the ban on non-celibate gays and lesbians becoming ordained. The Presbyterian Church has 2.1 million members. This had been the forth vote since 1990.[3] Although some mainline churches are starting to open up their doors to gay community others are still on the other side of the fence. Regarding Homosexuality the United Methodist have posted this on there website:

While persons set apart by the Church for ordained ministry are subject to all the frailties of the human condition and the pressures of society, they are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world. The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals1 are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.2
1. “Self-avowed practicing homosexual” is understood to mean that a person openly acknowledges to a bishop, district superintendent, district committee of ordained ministry, board of ordained ministry, or clergy session that the person is a practicing homosexual. See Judicial Council Decisions 702, 708, 722, 725, 764, 844, 984.
2. See Judicial Council Decisions 984, 985.

Noted Examples of Discrimination against Homosexuals

Although there have been some advances for the non-discrimination against the homosexual community they still face a tremendous hill to climb in becoming ordained. Too many within the clergy still view homosexuality as solely some sinful action taken on a site like, which leads to many who would make for perfectly fine ministers to miss their chance to serve God and their local communities. For instance John Blevins a graduate from the Duke University School of Divinity was licensed to preach by the Onlin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist church in 1992 but never was able to become ordained. Binkley was even removed from the Southern Baptist Convention because they licensed a homosexual. Binkley lost members and donations and no one in the Convention would sponsor Blevins because of fear of being removed from the convention. He would have to seek ordination from another denomination although he felt a strong connection to the Southern Baptist. Gene Robinson would also have to deal with death threats after his appointment.[4]


Some may not initially see the parallel between the struggles of women and those who are gay. But if we look closely we can see that the shift to become an inclusive ordained community starts with the move from the literal interpretation of the Bible. We can look to 1 Corinthians 14 where Paul states that it is shameful or disgraceful for a woman to speak in church, but in the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s we started to see a move from that way of thinking. Even now there are movements in some denominations to shy away as thinking of homosexual acts as an abomination (Leviticus 19), as gays are becoming appointed as bishops and denominations are changing there stance on ordaining those who are openly gay. Research even shows that they idea of seeing the Bible as the literal word of God is not believed to be true by all Christians. (see Table 3).

Table 3 Literal Interpretations of Scripture

Although beliefs have and are still changing over time amongst denominations regarding the role one’s sexuality plays in ordination the only group with a clear pass along these lines are straight men.