Van Kuiken, 44, a minister for 19 years, has continued to marry same-sex couples even after a Presbyterian court told him to stop. He is appealing the ruling within the church. The Cincinnati Presbytery, a cluster of Presbyterian churches in the area, must investigate Jensen’s filing and determine whether Van Kuiken should be tried on the new accusations. Van Kuiken’s trial in April was the first to result from those charges.
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John Adams, editor of the Layman, a publication of the Presbyterian Lay Committee in Lenoir, N.C., said serious allegations like heresy and blasphemy usually are handled by the administration, not through church courts. The Presbyterian Lay Committee is an independent Presbyterian group that promotes traditional biblical values. Jensen filed allegations last year with about 15 presbyteries nationwide urging action against church officials he said were violating the denomination’s constitution.
Van Kuiken said the church is discriminating against homosexuals and he feels an obligation to continue pressing for same-sex marriages. The Cincinnati Presbytery court that tried Van Kuiken in April gave him the mildest form of punishment: a public rebuke that directs him to only marry men to women. He could have been suspended or removed from the ministry.
The court acquitted Van Kuiken of a companion charge that he ordained as deacons and elders gays who did not adhere to a church rule of chastity for unmarried lay ministers. The court said local congregations and their ruling boards select lay people for ordination and that it would not convict Van Kuiken of something not under his authority.When Charlene Dalton began working as a neighborhood activist in Cincinnati, she was afraid of confrontation.
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“I didn’t know spit about nothing,” she said. “I was too scared to get up into anybody’s face. I was too scared to face the policemen who arrived.” Now, “I just spit it out and say it like it is.” Dalton, an activist with the Cincinnati group Working In Neighborhoods, shared some of her organization’s successes in fighting crime with community leaders from across the country on Monday.