Presbyterians allow varying creation interpretions
- Presbyterians delay vote on women in combat but allow varying
By SUSAN PARROTT
Associated Press Writer
DALLAS (AP) -- The Presbyterian Church in America will wait until
to debate whether military women should serve in combat positions,
members oppose because they say it is "the biblical duty of men to
A report to the conservative denomination had asked ministers to warn
"of the moral and physical dangers'' of military service. But the
tabled after several hours of discussion Thursday.
About 1,400 PCA ministers and elders -- all male -- are meeting this
Dallas for the denomination's 29th annual gathering. They reaffirmed
doctrine allowing ministers to hold varying interpretations of
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
members. That group's General Assembly met last week in Louisville,
voted to drop a ban on ordaining homosexuals.
The U.S. military's allowance of women in combat reflects "the blind
of feminism,'' the PCA report stated.
"Woman is the weaker sex and part of her weakness is the
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
gives birth to, and nurses her children,'' it stated.
The report validates the "universal binding obligation of man to be
laying down his life in defense of bride, home and nation,'' said
Leonard, an Army chaplain at Fort Leonardwood, Mo.
But Heidi Morgan, a church member from Minneapolis, said the issue is
question of ability but holding men to their God-given
"Men have abdicated the role to protect women and children,'' she
"Women can serve supporting roles in the military, but should not be
Church leaders also this week debated whether the biblical book of
means that God created the universe in six 24-hour days or
days, which could be seen as a concession to evolution and modern
The proposal that failed Thursday sought to label anything other than
literal view as "exceptions'' and force ministers to declare their
interpretation upon ordination. Some opponents argued that such
would alienate them from the denomination.
A proposal to explicitly prohibit women from teaching men or groups
and women during church worship was denied by the group. The PCA
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.''