A proposal for the 900-member First Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Georgia to separate from the Presbyterian Church (USA) failed by just eight votes on Sunday. The vote took place in response to the national denomination’s changing views on same-sex marriage.

The Columbus Ledger-Inquirer reports that the vote ended up 266 to 146 in favor of separation, but the number fell short of the 274 votes needed for a two-thirds majority vote. Members in favor of the proposal were reportedly hoping the church would join the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, a new denomination formed out of churches that have left the national church.

“Christianity is under attack and America is fast becoming a secular nation,” said Frank Lumpkin, 57, at the special meeting held after the 11 a.m. service. “In the last few years, little by little the government has been chipping away our religious freedom and Christianity as we know it at this time.

“Most of us don’t know how to stop it and there’s probably not much we can do about it on a national scale,” he said. “But the issues that arise like this one at our church right now, we can do our part and say, ‘No, I am not changing my core beliefs to simply appease a (denomination) that cares more about political correctness than the foundation of our faith.”

Columbus is represented in the state Senate by Sen. Josh McKoon, the Republican who authored the failed “religious freedom” bill for the second year in a row. He plans on bringing it back at next year’s session.

However, Joan Cheves, a member two decades Lumpkin’s senior, had a different message.

“I think we’ve been so busy in the church being Presbyterians that we’ve forgotten to be Christians,” said Cheves, who had just returned from her nephew and his partner’s wedding in Tallahassee, Florida.

Teenager Emmie Van Doorn spoke of her gay friends in school.

“I make them smile and they make me smile,” she said before breaking into tears according to the Ledger-Inquirer. “I just want to say that this a good church and I hope everyone can see that everyone is God’s child.”

(h/t AJC)

2 Responses

  1. Peter

    “Christianity is under attack and America is fast becoming a secular nation,” said Frank Lumpkin, 57″

    No Frank, It’s called becoming more Christian. This has nothing to do with an attack. The only attack is by zealot xritians trying to demand everyone live by their restrictions. That is the only attack going on and it is clearly not Christ-like. Stop with your hate filled rhetoric and follow Christ’s teaching of love acceptance. We are all made in God’s image after all.

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  2. Tim Fardella

    I agree wholeheartedly with Peter’s post.

    On a personal level, I might also add that if Christians got rid of the anti-gay discrimination in their bible, their problems would all be over. No one, myself included, would have anything negative to say about the Christian religion. Nothing.

    I suspect some churchgoers find serenity in disliking gay people. That it somehow rubs them the wrong way that gay people can love, without fear of gossip and ridicule, without fear of bodily harm, in a loving marriage.

    That’s the deceit behind people who want to break away from churches that allow same-sex marriage. Not so much that they insist that Christians should be shielded from a ceremony that is not part of their religion – but that they don’t want a class of people to love and more than anything they don’t want that love legitimized.

    Let us not forget that it is certain Christians who are prejudiced against gay people. Gay people do not follow a bible that encourages bigotry against Christians.

    And as I have said more than once, perhaps it is time for gay people to start thinking about starting their own religion.

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