I was reading this article about the PCUSA decision on ordination of gay and lesbian clergy, when I was struck by two features that hadn’t fully registered before. The first was the narrow margin that stood between simple passage, and the need for the proposal to first go through local ratification. Just nine more votes in favour, and ratification would not have been required. The second was the note that a second proposal that passed, but requires ratification, was the acceptance of the “Belhar Confession.“
Those outside the Reformed or wider Protestant tradition, and unfamiliar with South African history may be unfamiliar with this document, but it has powerful resonance for me, as a South African whose faith was strongly influenced by the long struggle against racial injustice – which has been transformed in my own story to the struggle against gender and sexual injustice. Here is a snippet from Saffer religious history.