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Presbyterians allow varying creation interpretions

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  • Chris Ashcraft
    Presbyterians delay vote on women in combat but allow varying creation interpretations By SUSAN PARROTT Associated Press Writer DALLAS (AP) -- The Presbyterian
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2001
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      Presbyterians delay vote on women in combat but allow varying
      creation interpretations

      By SUSAN PARROTT
      Associated Press Writer

      DALLAS (AP) -- The Presbyterian Church in America will wait until
      next year
      to debate whether military women should serve in combat positions,
      which some
      members oppose because they say it is "the biblical duty of men to
      defend
      women.''

      A report to the conservative denomination had asked ministers to warn
      women
      "of the moral and physical dangers'' of military service. But the
      report was
      tabled after several hours of discussion Thursday.

      About 1,400 PCA ministers and elders -- all male -- are meeting this
      week in
      Dallas for the denomination's 29th annual gathering. They reaffirmed
      church
      doctrine allowing ministers to hold varying interpretations of
      biblical
      accounts of creation and letting only men preach.

      The Presbyterian Church in America, with 300,000 members, is more
      conservative than the larger Presbyterian Church (USA), which has 2.5
      million
      members. That group's General Assembly met last week in Louisville,
      Ky., and
      voted to drop a ban on ordaining homosexuals.

      The U.S. military's allowance of women in combat reflects "the blind
      passions
      of feminism,'' the PCA report stated.

      "Woman is the weaker sex and part of her weakness is the
      vulnerability
      attendant to her greatest privilege -- that God has made her
      the 'Mother of
      all the living.' Men are to guard and protect her as she carries in
      her womb,
      gives birth to, and nurses her children,'' it stated.

      The report validates the "universal binding obligation of man to be
      manly,
      laying down his life in defense of bride, home and nation,'' said
      Steve
      Leonard, an Army chaplain at Fort Leonardwood, Mo.

      But Heidi Morgan, a church member from Minneapolis, said the issue is
      not a
      question of ability but holding men to their God-given
      responsibilities.

      "Men have abdicated the role to protect women and children,'' she
      said.
      "Women can serve supporting roles in the military, but should not be
      on the
      front lines.''

      Church leaders also this week debated whether the biblical book of
      Genesis
      means that God created the universe in six 24-hour days or
      six "figurative''
      days, which could be seen as a concession to evolution and modern
      science.

      The proposal that failed Thursday sought to label anything other than
      the
      literal view as "exceptions'' and force ministers to declare their
      interpretation upon ordination. Some opponents argued that such
      labeling
      would alienate them from the denomination.

      A proposal to explicitly prohibit women from teaching men or groups
      of men
      and women during church worship was denied by the group. The PCA
      constitution
      already prohibits ordination of women.

      The leaders approved an amendment clarifying "that the Word of God is
      preached only by such men as are sufficiently qualified.''

      AP-ES-06-22-01 0547EDT
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