Being a pastor over a congregation means accepting the calling that God had over one’s life. But what if one’s calling interferes with one’s lifestyle?
According to www.avert.org, there are reportedly more than 5 million gay or lesbian people living in the United States.
Out of the various denominations, less than half of them allow gays or lesbians to have a place in the pulpit. If they are granted the right to preach, many of the denominations make it law that the pastors remain celibate.
The issue of homosexual’s rights has been a much-debated topic for decades. More fuel is being added to the fire when the issue of homosexuals becoming reverends comes into play.
The Anglican Lutheran denomination passed a law in August that allows all preachers, regardless of sexual preference, to teach the Bible and remain in a monogamist relationship.
The question that many churchgoers are raising is if allowing gay pastors the right to preach a contradiction itself?
Marda Messick is the residing pastor over a Saint Lutheran Church and believes that the judging should be left to God.
“I don’t feel that anyone has the right to deny a person of their calling,” Messick said.
“Sexual preference should not even be an issue.”
According to Messick, there are 10 gay and lesbian affirming churches in Tallahassee and Messick hopes they continue to grow.
Not everyone is as hopeful for such a dramatic change in the church.
Jerrell Dukes, 21, a fourth-year business student believes that he has no right to judge but wouldn’t attend a church that a gay pastor was over.
“If I was in church listening to him, in the back of my mind I would be thinking I can’t believe him,” Dukes said. “He is doing exactly what the Bible says not to do.”
The churches also seem to be divided. This debate may be far from over but in some churches the doors have already been closed on this issue.
Josh Linder, 21, a fourth-year business student, attends a Baptist church but doesn’t know if he has the right to make such a big decision.
“Who am I to say what someone can and cannot do?” Linder said. “I don’t know what their calling is. I just really don’t know.”
The Bible states in Leviticus 1:27: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. This is an abomination.”
Although this verse is in black and white, many churches debate that the interpretation of the Bible can be taken in different ways. The time frame and setting in which the Bible was written makes it difficult to take the entire book literally.
“If I took everything the Bible said for verbatim, I wouldn’t be able to preach at all because I am a woman,” Messick said.
Regardless of what is in the Bible, homosexuals are receiving their licensing to preach.
“I’m not perfect but I want somebody leading me who is at least trying,” Dukes said. “But who’s right is it really to judge?”