Nice try, Lutherans
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America is being lambasted by both sides of the gay rights debate, as a panel tried for reasonable middle ground.
The group recommended that the church maintain its official positions against blessing same-sex marriage and hiring known gay and lesbian ministers in homosexual relationships, but also publicly expressing tolerance for those who feel differently. A political deal worthy of Solomon, nearly.
It was a well-intentioned attempt to hold out a rose to both sides of the controversy that is simply too thorny to resolve that easily. Sadly, the Lutherans took a beating for their efforts.
There seems only three possible stances today - staunch opposition to homosexuality, complete tolerance, or a military-like attempt to look the other way and hope it goes away. Neither pro- or anti-gay-rights groups are going to accept a compromise.
Methodists, Episcopalians and Presbyterians are involved in the same kind of soul-searching right now, split between the feeling of responsibility to enforce some a social and moral code, and the desire for human tolerance that they believe in.
Eventually, the real question will need to be addressed - is it up to panels of church officials to decide people's sexuality? There seems to be no winners in that game. Let a church be a church.