The Vice Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has resigned amid controversy over her signing a same-gender marriage license:
Surrounded by controversy since it was learned she had recently signed a same-gender wedding license in Washington, D.C., 220th General Assembly vice moderator Tara Spuhler McCabe stood down from that office today (July 4). The news was greeted with a chorus of “no!” and a standing ovation from most of the commissioners as she concluded her statement.
McCabe told the Assembly that “the amount of conversation in person and comments online indicate that my confirmation (Sunday) touched a nerve”. During the question-and-answer session during the moderatorial election Saturday night, the Rev. Neal D. Presa, 220th GA moderator, acknowledged that he and McCabe disagreed on the issue of same-gender marriage but their friendship outweighed their disagreement.
When Presa placed McCabe’s name in nomination as vice moderator Sunday, questions were raised on the floor and her confirmation was approved by a 55-44 percent vote.
Comments at Monmouth Presbytery Clerk’s blog.
And from More Light Presbyterians:
McCabe’s fitness to serve the Church was challenged by anti-gay conservatives when they published an article before the General Assembly that included reference to a same-gender wedding license she had signed in Washington, D.C. McCabe told the Assembly today in her resignation statement that “the amount of conversation in person and comments online indicate that my confirmation touched a nerve.”
“We grieve that these personal attacks did not stop with that first article. Rather, they escalated in person and online. It is a sad day for the Presbyterian Church (USA) when some within it resort to nothing less than ad hominem attacks and cyber-bullying. This is a sad day for Christianity. This is a sad day for civility,” said Michael J. Adee, Executive Director.
Bruce Reyes-Chow on Patheos blogs her resignation statement. Text below:
July 4, 2012
Mr. Moderator, sisters and brothers in Christ:
In his letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul wrote:
1 If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus….
It has been quite a journey over these last few days since being confirmed as your Vice Moderator. The amount of conversation in person and comments online indicate that my confirmation has obviously touched a nerve. And so I appreciate a moment to respond.
I am a pastor. That is who God has called me to be. As I reflect on what’s happening now, I think I am embodying the reality of a growing number of pastors who find ourselves caught. We are caught between being pastors – being with couples in those sacred moments when they make their vows to one another . . . and having a polity that restricts us from living out our pastoral calling – especially in states where it is legal for everyone to be married.
The tension over all of this is real, and clearly the energy and passion about this issue runs deep – and isn’t going away. I am surprised and saddened by the pervasive poisonous activity that has increased toward the overall tenor of our General Assembly and toward the Office of the Moderator. Individuals and groups with no personal relationship with me and have made no attempt to have one-on-one conversations with me or the Moderator are blogging and tweeting unhelpful and, frankly, divisive comments.
I am also saddened by the amount of energy and time that others have taken on, in the midst of their important work here, to defend what the majority has already decided, or to feel the need to protect me.
Because I have great appreciation and affection for this church and our process, I am deeply concerned that some within our community here plan to use parliamentary order, among other things, in a way that will serve as a stumbling block to us – keeping us from tending to the vital business that is before us as the General Assembly.
I do not want this situation to get in the way. And it is obvious that it is.
And so I am resigning as your Vice Moderator. It is my choice and my decision, and it comes from that same pastoral core that led me to be present for two women in their sacred moment in DC.
I am incredibly grateful to this Moderator who has already demonstrated the unity of Spirit in the bond of peace and who continues to affirm, support, and love me as a sister in Christ.
So, bottom line: I care too much about this church and about this assembly to let this situation continue. We have important work to do here, and so let us get to what it is God called us here to do.
May the peace of Christ be with us all.