Even in its diminished size, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) still matters to a host of advocates hoping to enlist the church in causes ranging from marriage to the Middle East to global warming as its representatives gather for their biennial legislative General Assembly in Detroit this week.
Some advocates are hoping the church becomes the largest U.S. religious denomination to recognize gay marriage, or to pull all its investments from the fossil fuel industry, or to target Israel by pulling investments in military contractors supplying that nation’s occupying forces in the West Bank.
Each of those proposals, though, is facing opposition. Some want the church to retain its traditional definition of marriage as a man-woman covenant, citing the exodus of hundreds of conservative congregations in recent years as the denomination moved left on such issues as its 2011 approval of the ordination of gays and lesbians.
Still others are urging a slower, more deliberate approach to global warming.