Back in May, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted on a momentous change in their ordination policy, opening the door to LGBT people of faith. This past Saturday, the first openly gay candidate, Scott Anderson, was ordained in Madison, Wis. This change in church ordination policy aligns the Presbyterian Church with other mainline Protestant churches in the United States, including the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and has garnered praise from denominational bodies based outside the United States. Letters have arrived from Australia, Britain, and Colombia. Among these letters of support was one from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican Archbishop emeritus and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. His letter of support states, in part:
It is incumbent upon all of God’s children to speak out against injustice. It is sometimes equally important to speak in solidarity when justice has been done. For that reason I am writing to affirm my belief that in making room in your constitution for gay and lesbian Christians to be ordained as church leaders, you have accomplished an act of justice.
Sadly, it is not always popular to do justice, but it is always right. […] How wonderful that God has made us with so much diversity, yet all in God’s image! Salvation means being called out of our narrow bonds into a broad place of welcome to all. […] May God bless you as you live into this reality, and may you know that there are many Christians in the world who continue to stand by your side.
Archbishop Tutu’s letter encompasses the love, welcome, and acceptance that many churches desire to stand for. As a former Anglican Archbishop and advocate for peace and reconciliation, his letter to the Presbyterian Church (USA) speaks to a broader audience than the direct recipients. Michael Adee, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, notes that “Tutu's message applies […] to all denominations and their work with global partners not just Presbyterian.”
GLAAD commends the Presbyterian Church (USA) again for their move toward full inclusion of LGBT Presbyterians and congratulates Scott Anderson on his ordination.