The Presbyterian Church (USA) says it will add a third gender option for “nonbinary/genderqueer” people when it collects data about its members in what is the latest example of the leftward drift of the mainstream denomination.
The PCUSA, in a news release, said the change will take place next year when the Office of the General Assembly collects data from presbyteries on church membership, ethnicity and age distribution.
Among the changes, the denomination will:
– Add a category for 17-/18-year-old members.
– Remove definitions from the racial/ethnic sections according to General Assembly action.
– Add a nonbinary/genderqueer category alongside “male” and “female.”
“We’ve always asked how many female members there are in the church,” said Kris Valerius, manager of denominational roles and statistics. “We’re now asking how many men, women and nonbinary/genderqueer members there are. We’ve never asked that question, so we don’t know how many people will fill it out.”
The non-binary question, Valerius said, is important to the denomination.
“If we want to be inclusive, then we have to start asking because you should be aware of who’s a part of your church,” she said.
In 2014, the denomination changed its constitution’s definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people.”
Meanwhile, denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention have passed resolutions affirming marriage’s definition as between a man and a woman. In 2021 SBC messengers passed a resolution encouraging “love and compassion” toward the LGBT community. The resolution said messengers “invite all members” to “turn from their sins and trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel.”
“We believe effective Gospel ministry to individuals who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community requires that we speak to them and about them with respect and Christlike love while holding firmly to our biblical convictions on these issues,” the SBC resolution said.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.