San Francisco's St. Mary's Cathedral has found a novel way of showing love and mercy to the least of these: by installing a watering system that floods their front steps, drenching anyone underneath it and any makeshift shelters that may have been set up. "They actually have signs in there that say, 'No Trespassing,'" a homeless man named Robert told local news station KCBS. "We're going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in." The news station reported that the water turned on every 30 to 60 minutes near every entrance of the church—they also noted it drenching homeless people and their belongings.
KCBS spoke with a church staffer who confirmed that the sprinkler had been installed "to deter the homeless from sleeping there." They also found that the installation had been illegally installed.
Chris Lyford, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, told the news station that he was not aware of the flooding system, but defended its purpose. "We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person," he said. "But there is only so much you can do."
This week, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officially amended its church constitution to expand its definition of marriage as a more inclusive “commitment between two people,” allowing for gay marriage. The new wording also includes the phrase “traditionally a man and a woman.” The move isn’t entirely surprising. Last year, the church’s general assembly granted approval for the change, but a vote among local leaders was still necessary for it to be ratified. Since last fall, the church says, “members of congregations elected to serve as ruling elders have come together to pray, discuss, and try to discern the mind of Christ” on the issue.
Yesterday, the church announced that it had the votes among presbyteries (local districts) to ratify the measure: “While the Office of the General Assembly is still awaiting official tallies, it appears that a majority of the 171 presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have approved a change to the current description of marriage in the PC(USA)’s Constitution.” The announcement also said, “The General Assembly also included in those changes clear language that no teaching elder or session can be forced to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony if they do not believe it is appropriate.” The change goes into effect this summer ... Discuss