Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Not Just the Swedes

About a year ago, Father A. toured Transylvania with some officials of the Lutheran state church of Bavaria. They were nice guys, and very smart. We talked about ecumenism and one pastor's adventurous mission work in the Ukraine. (Key sentence: "When my wife and I realized that the sheet of ice on our kitchen wall wasn't going to melt, we wrote home that this was probably not good for the baby.")

As we say, nice guys. Little did we know that they were soft on the gays.

Yup. Per the Religion News Service, the 2.6 million-member Bavarian church has permitted gay and lesbian people to serve as pastors, and recognized the validity of their civil unions. It has just recently taken the further step of officially permitting couples in such unions to live in parsonages. (This is probably a great relief to the six or so couples who already do.) There is a bit of opposition in the church, but the RNS makes it sound fairly tepid.

This is interesting less on its own merits than in relation to other Lutheran churches. It is is easy to imagine that the ELCA and the Church of Sweden are isolated in their willingness to accept pastors living in same-sex unions. Certainly, a recent bit of grandstanding from Tanzania made it sound that way. In fact, they're not.

1 comment:

Nixon said...

Why a state church? Why don't they rely on the offerings of their members instead of taxing people who may never darken their doors from one year to the next?