A new policy has been introduced in the Presbyterian Church of Ireland that prevents anyone in a gay relationship from being a fully-fledged member of the church and having their children baptized.
The policy was made amid the recent decision to overturn the abortion ban and ongoing debate between the Presbyterian church in Ireland and Scotland. The latter is more liberal in allowing homosexual membership, but the former believes that it is against their doctrine.
“In light of our understanding of scripture and the Church’s understanding of a credible profession of faith, it is clear that same-sex couples are not eligible for communicant membership nor are they qualified to receive baptism for their children,” as an official report from the Irish Presbyterian church stated.
However, the Church made it clear that these couples will not be prevented from attending mass and participating in Church services such as communion.
The Church of Scotland’s position is far more liberal in that they are attempting to allow for ministers to oversee same-sex weddings through efforts to reform their marriage policy.
Similarly, the Scottish Episcopal Church voted on amending its interpretation of marriage in scripture, citing that it does not necessarily have to be between a man and a woman.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, one couple from Portstewart, Co. Derry, left the Presbyterian Church after it decided it would no longer accept same-sex couples as full members. Tony and Lesley Macaulay’s 24-year-old daughter, Beth, became alienated from the Church as result of the decision.
“However, as a result of the vote last week she [Beth] has been excommunicated from her Church because of her God-given sexual orientation,” her mother Lesley told the Belfast Telegraph.
Beth expressed a great deal of sadness from the decision, stating that she’s upset that the Presbyterian Church “cannot find the strength to accept LGBT+ members of society.” Now she and her parents are going to look for a new church that will accept her for who she is.
Conversely, others have welcomed the decision as a way to uphold the teachings of Christ and remain faithful to biblical scripture.
“We have the option of going with the current mood of society and what most people think, or the option of remaining faithful to Christ… And we desire, above all, to be faithful to Christ,” Rev. Dr. John Stafford Carson stated.
Do you think it’s time for the Presbyterian church to embrace change or should they stick to scripture?