Scott Anderson, an official with the Wisconsin Council of Churches, is set to be the first openly homosexual man to be ordained a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Saturday.
"The decision to remove sexual conduct from PC(USA) ordination vows is symptomatic of a deeper, ongoing struggle within the church over the authority of holy scripture," said Presbyterian Action Committee Chairman Gary Green. "This action stands in contradiction to the PCUSA confessions of faith, which continue to teach that faithful Christians have the choice either to be faithful in marriage or chaste in singleness."
The ordination comes after a majority of presbyteries in the PC(USA) voted to remove the "fidelity/chastity" standard from the church constitution earlier this year. In July, the standard was changed from one that required either a single man to remain chaste or a married man to remain faithful to his wife, but the new requirement does not address guidance for sexual behavior, nor does it include a biblical reason for why non-marital sexual relationships are now acceptable for ordained ministers.
While the denomination's Book of Confessions still professes that sexual relations should be reserved for marriage between a man and a woman, its ambiguity is flexible enough so that those wishing to do so may ordain church leaders in same-sex or opposite-sex relationships outside of marriage.
The issue of homosexuality has always been a hot-button issue in the Christian community and has many divided on the notion that it is an abomination or a sin to live a homosexual lifestyle.
In response to a blog post on the topic of Anderson's ordination titled "Meet Scott Anderson" by John Shore, user Christocentric posted:
"A huge mistake many churches are ignoring in having Gay pastors or accepting homosexuality is ignoring God’s description of love: “. . .does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.;”… (1 Corinthians 13:6).True love rejoices in TRUTH and not INIQUITY (immorality)."
Another user, Mindy stated, "The fact that God would damn his own creations for simply being honest about who they are and who they love goes against everything Jesus taught about love."
However, not all members of the PCUSA agree with the move to ordain open homosexual ministers, and some feel the ordination goes against biblical teachings that homosexuality should be condemned. A conservative group within the Presbyterian denomination, Presbyterians for Renewal, stated the possibility of disassociating with the PC(USA) over conflicting beliefs.
Additionally, the Westboro Baptist Church, a faction infamous for picketing the funerals of soldiers and homosexuals, posted on their website that they plan to make an appearance at the ordination.