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Same sex marriage divides Presbyterian Church

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LAWTON, Okla._One of America's largest protestant denominations, Presbyterian, has decided to allow their pastors to perform gay marriages in states where it is legal.

One Presbyterian pastor in Lawton says that not all pastors within their religion will grant the marriages since they are a religion divided. Presbyterian Church USA, the largest Presbyterian Church organization in the country, announced Friday their approval for same sex marriages. However, Pastor Brian Belh says most Lawton Presbyterian churches, including his, are part of another group, the Presbyterian Church in America, and strongly oppose the decision saying it goes against everything the bible stands for.

"We are saddened that the name Presbyterian is being dragged through the mud on this issue," said Past Belh.

The news that the Presbyterian Church was for allowing gay marriage wasn't a surprise to all Presbyterians, and for Beal Heights Presbyterian Church in Lawton it wasn't a surprise but it's also not their view. Beal Heights Pastor Brian Belh says in 1973 the church organization PCA broke away from PC(USA)because of differences in views.

"The greatest concern I have had with the PC(USA)is that it's molded itself to cultural rather than standing firm in the scriptures," said Pastor Belh.

For Belh, the decision for the church to be against gay marriage isn't a political one. He says he preaches the Bible's scripture which clearly defines marriage.

"We are not primarily a political organization, but we do speak to the issues. Our standards are very clear, scripture is very clear. Marriage is between a man and a woman, that's how God originally made it. God is actually the one who created the institution of marriage with Adam and Eve. We hold that as truth, it's biblical," explained Pastor Belh.

Belh says out of all the Lawton Presbyterian churches, he believes all but one are PCA churches and against gay marriage. He says he even believes the one PC(USA)church in Lawton is against gay marriage.

"I know that not every PC(USA)congregation would delight in the news that just came out. There's still opposition," said Pastor Belh.

Belh is just disappointed that when the decision was made by PC(USA)it wasn't made clear that the decision did not speak for the entire religion.

"I would see that as giving a black eye to Presbyterianism because not all Presbyterians are like this," said Pastor Belh.

The decision by the PC(USA) to allow its ministers to perform gay marriages is not final just yet. A majority of the 172 regional Presbyteries must approve it.

A vote is scheduled for later this year.

 

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