Nov 6th, 2008 · Categories: PCUSA · No Comments

PCUSA: The Sundquist disaster

The Sundquist decision is reminiscent of Roe v. Wade. In that case, an activist Supreme Court searched the Constitution high and low to find a hook on which to hang its desired result. Through some of the most tortured logic since the Dred Scott case, the Court found the right to an abortion tucked away in the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Likewise, the GAPJC discovered powers invested in the presbyteries that until now have lain completely hidden in the Book of Order, awaiting discovery by a greedy and desperate bureaucracy.

The really alarming thing about the Sundquist decision is the practical reality of how churches wishing to escape the clutches of the PC(USA) might initiate the process. The session can’t ask the congregation what they think. The session can’t vote to ask the presbytery to launch their intrusion into the life of the congregation. There seems to be no mechanism to compel the presbytery to take action, so particular churches must beg the presbytery to act. They are entirely at the mercy of the presbyteries who have been granted authority to lord it over them like the Gentile kings and call themselves “Benefactors”.

It seems the denomination’s dreams of converting presbyteries into bishops (cf. the Louisville Papers) is coming closer to fruition. With this decision in hand, it will be much easier to convince a judge that a presbytery is not a body governed by representatives of local churches, but is in fact a powerful hierarch with ruling authority over those churches.

One has to wonder if the the part of this decision that limits expressions of conscience to speech only (no action permitted) will apply to the broad right to scruple. If one had any confidence in the integrity of the GAPJC, one would assume that the first case involving a candidate scrupling G-6.0106b would result in the candidate being told “You can verbally disagree with the standard, but you can take no action that would violate it.” Odds, anyone?

Frankly, this comes as no surprise. Those of us who have studied the Supreme Court over the years have witnessed its growing tendency to act as though the Constitution means whatever the Justices say it means. This seems to be a common weakness in constitutional systems of government: Where the legislative body is either weak or complacent, the highest court is free to interpret the constitution any way it pleases. So it is with the PC(USA). Perhaps the GAPJC took its lead from the 218th GA’s authoritative interpretations that declare meanings not found in the actual words of the Book of Order.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2008 at 9:03 pm and is filed under PCUSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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