On Jan. 27, the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond voted to leave the Presbyterian Church USA by a landslide margin of 815-55.
This separation is part of a national trend of conservative congregations severing organizational and doctrinal ties with national church organizations. The causes most frequently cited by the dissenting congregations for their departure are the parent organizationís acceptance of homosexuality and general movement away from belief in the absolute authority of literal interpretations of scripture.
Although individual churches should certainly be guided by the desires and beliefs of their members, they will not be able to remain relevant to younger generations if they define themselves by homophobia and biblical literalism.
Religiosity is on the decline in America, particularly among young people. About 16 percent of Americans are religiously unaffiliated, a higher percentage than at any other time in the countryís history, and about one-fourth of those 18 to 29 are unaffiliated.