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February 22, 2012

On The Altar of Change

Norman M. Covert

My “Right Wing Extremist” neighbors admit to some naiveté, being mere knaves or babes in the wood for doubting the efficacy of social engineering in Maryland State House deliberations. Is this the time to recall “an effete corps of impudent snobs,” words of wisdom from the disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew?


Mr. Agnew was castigating the anti-war crowd in October 1969, but his stinging words may adequately describe leaders of today’s political perversion. The world is being turned upside down by those empowered to be the watchdogs of right and wrong.


Consider the notion that our back fence intercourse is insufficient to explain the collection of bedfellows, who have emerged in support of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s homosexual “marriage” bill.


(At this writing the Maryland Senate’s version of the legislation was expected to be sent to the floor from committee for probable vote and easy passage. The House of Delegates passed its legislation last Friday by a single vote. It is expected the Sen. Ron Young (D., Frederick/Washington) will vote in favor, while Sen. David Brinkley (R., Frederick/Carroll) will vote “nay.”)


Like A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, we must be “Bears of Very Little Brain” not to perceive, as does the Guv, that homosexual partnerships are equal to Holy Matrimony or the legal marriage of a man and a woman.


Haven’t we seen several national church assemblies reject certain Bible tenets, interpreting newly revised versions of Holy Writ as supporting, instead of condemning, homosexual practices?


No manner of rhetorical spin can change the reality that same-sex relationships are anathema in most religious tenets and Holy Writ as set forth in the ancient Pentateuch.


Two letters appeared in The Daily Blather Sunday echoing the newspaper’s editorial buttressing of the same-sex marriage bill. Pastors of both Evangelical Reformed United Churches of Christ in the City of Frederick signed the letters, which rejected the notion of sinner and sin and called for passage of the bill.


Our considered response is that the letters reveal an absence of wisdom and scholarship by the pastors. I wonder what He is thinking about this heresy, considering the tribulations of the early Christian saints and struggles of the evangelical “awakening” in America more than a century ago.


One ponders that God has no sense of humor in this.


The issue is a fracture in our litany of Christian belief. The Episcopal Church in America and the Archbishop of Canterbury (Church of England) agreed that active homosexuality is not a disqualifying factor for ordination.


One supposes he or she may wear the distinctive clerical collar if the supplicant has the correct academic credentials; the curriculum vitae must bear the indicia of liberal socio-political activism.


Church leadership’s validation of homosexual behavior is central to the worldwide Anglican schism. A significant number of believers are establishing conservative assemblies to worship in accordance with Biblical tenets.


After a protracted struggle the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) succumbed to its homosexual lobby. ELCA started down the slippery slope by agreeing to “communion” with the Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations. The fellowship and sharing of ministerial resources was sure to bring change and it did.


ELCA delegates to the 2011 assembly voted to recognize homosexuality as a requirement in sharing God’s love and message. Initially it is a “love the sinner, hate the sin” notion; no longer would ELCA deny the collar to a professed homosexual as long as there was assurance he/she did not practice such activity.


The surrender is having impact on ELCA membership. Local congregations, shaken by the national decision, ponder the future of their worship practices.


The Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. changed its clerical and membership standards, too, several years ago. Other major denominations, including The Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and prelates of the Roman Catholic and collective Eastern Orthodox churches remain firm in rejection of homosexual behavior.


The Roman Catholic Church is in a long-term battle, too, over revelations of the sexual abuse of children by priests. The revulsion of such acts should be more than enough to influence established denominations to strictly interpret Bible teaching.


General disappointment came from many when Del. Galen Clagett (D., Frederick) voted for the same-sex marriage legislation. He proved last year that he could bring home some slabs of bacon with the right votes. We’ll see what becomes of the predictable quid pro quo – the tit for tat.


Del. Patrick Hogan’s (R., Frederick) brief notoriety as a possible “yea” vote ended when he voted “nay.” He correctly opined – in our estimation, that there may be a “value added” in authorizing the union of single sex couples as a legal contract, albeit not being defined as “marriage.”


We never doubted Del. Kelly Schulz (R., Frederick) and Del. Kathy Afzali (R., Frederick), both of whom cast their votes in opposition.


The opposition promises a successful referendum petition drive to put the issue to voters in November after Governor O’Malley signs the bill into law.


Worship options, however, are a matter of conscience. This includes seeking Heavenly guidance when we believe our religious anchor has lost its grip. It is bewildering to question our pastor’s “calling” as shepherd of the flock.


It is, however, a sign of the times.


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