The trial for Jane Spahr, a Presbyterian pastor and director of the group That All May Freely Serve has been set for April 12th. The charge is that she blessed a same sex marriage a while back in Canada. As she notes "Help me understand how why, when a wonderful loving couple, members of the congregation who co-sponsor our ministry, and dear friends who have been together for 20 years invite me to participate in this sacred and civil marriage - publicly marking their integrity and love - why would I ever refuse?"
A defense fund has been established to help with the legal costs associated with the trial. If you want to donate and help out Rev. Spahr and the cause of glbt inclusion in the church send checks: That All May Freely Serve, PO Box 3707, San Rafael CA 94912-3707. In other news an ELCA congregation in California whose minister lost her ordination credentials because of her orientation is considering the idea of leaving the ELCA all together. I suspect we're going to hear of more liberal congregations doing this in the mainline.
And now for the anatomy of a smear. Here's what Gene Robinson, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire said "Interestingly enough, in this day of traditional family values and so on, this man that we follow ... was single as far as we know; who traveled with a bunch of men, although there were lots of women around; who had a disciple who was known as `the one whom Jesus loved'; who said my family is not my mother and father, my family are those who do the will of God,''
Sounds like a critique on the rhetoric surrounding "family values" which the right uses. Robinson appears to be questioning whether we find warrant in the NT for such views. But the right took this story up to claim that Robinson said Jesus was gay. How about honesty and debate over the issues which divide us in the church, not made up stories to get one's base even more angry and bitter? Frank Griswold's use of the word demonic in his assessment of the right's tactics in trying to split the Anglican communion have increasing saliency these days.