We got a fair amount of e-mail on Friday from Lutherans who weren't happy that we characterized a threatened split in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a "backlash" against last month's vote at its convention in Minneapolis to allow non-celibate homosexuals to serve as clergy. Many of the letter writers described widespread acceptance of gays in their church and the relatively few people -- 1,200 -- who were to gather on Saturday to decide whether to sever ties with the church.
They did meet today and decided to give it a year.
It would be impossible to have attended last month's sessions at the Minneapolis Convention Center and still not realize that a split in the church -- any kind of split in the church -- worried most delegates on both sides of the issue.
I'm curious. If they objected to characterizing the threat to split as "backlash" what did they want you to call it? because the people I heard on the radio talking about splitting off were very clear that it was due, in part, to the specific decision that symbolized other things that they didn't like. Isn't that what backlash is?
Regardless of what they want to call it, it is a backlash in my book.
They just don't want it to be called a backlash because as soon as these disgruntled people who used to be ELCA Lutherans-- a people in of peace and social justice-- split from the church, they will be the very ones who become associated with bigotry and inequality.
If it's "just the most recent in a long line of poor decisions" or that the changes in the ELCA are indicative that "the church is leaving the people; the people aren't leaving the church", then it becomes something a little less overt, a little less appalling, and a little less wrong in their own minds.