By Page Graham, the Rivard Report.
Since its inception by the Puritans, what is now known as the Presbyterian Church (USA) has usually found itself to be a sacred house divided, and events in San Antonio only perpetuate that divide.
In the 19th century, the Church was torn in two by the issue of slavery. In recent years, LGBTQ rights have been the focus of discontent. Most recently, gay marriage has become the key divisive issue. Despite official denials, that very issue is the likely cause now for a legal battle initiated by First Presbyterian Church (FPC), located in downtown San Antonio at 4th and Alamo streets.
What has been accepted nationally by the Church, in sum, is not being accepted in San Antonio.
In 2014, the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (USA) changed its official doctrine to define marriage as a covenant between “two people,” as opposed to the long-standing doctrine that marriage was a covenant between one man and one woman.
Gay marriages are now permitted in their churches in states where it is legal. Last March, Mission Presbytery (a structure similar in nature to a Catholic diocese) – of which FPC is a member – also amended their Book of Order, adopting the more contemporary doctrine.
Not surprisingly, this fundamental shift has not been without dissent among congregations and church leaders, especially in the more conservative Southern states and cities. San Antonio has been no exception.