If you’re curious about what the next five years holds for the Presbyterian Church (USA), look no further than Daniel Saperstein’s recent address “Marriage Equality in the PCUSA” delivered to the Covenant Network’s Regional Conference in Denver earlier this year.
While we won’t know for sure that the strategy outlined in Saperstein’s address will be the one pursued by advocates for marriage redefinition, we can assume it will be at least one of a number of strategies employed to shape the debate on this critical issue.
Saperstein considers his proposal modest, a via media between the heterosexism of the right that refuses to allow gay couples to marry and the radicalism of the left that would splinter the denomination into a million pieces. Saperstein’s is a third way: “Instead, we should learn from the success of Amendment 10-A by focusing on amendments that appeal to our historic middle way of creating space for difference while not mandating specific actions.” In other words, each should do what is right in his own eyes. This, at least in the Biblical witness, has generally not worked out well for the People of God.
As Saperstein sees it, liberals in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have used three approaches for creating Constitutional space for same sex marriages. It should be noted that Saperstein’s address focuses on political solutions, perhaps assuming that the bus of theological and interpretive consensus has long left the church.