PG article on Presbyterian Homophobia confuses Correspondent

In today's PG, Ann Rodgers reports on the Pittsburgh Presbytery's decision to keep homonegative language in a document that underscores anti-LGBT ordination. 

I get that the majority of Presbyterian voters decided that this language is okay with them, even when challenged to reflect on whether this language truly represents the church.  What language?  Here's a bit:

“Even where the homosexual orientation has not been consciously sought or chosen, it is neither a gift from God nor a state nor a condition like race; it is a result of our living in a fallen world.”

That's nice.  I love how neatly people split human rights into immutable characteristics and behavior.  If only people could be so neatly compartmentalized. 

But kudos to those brave souls who put themselves out there to generate this dialogue.

However, Ms. Rodgers has me puzzled.  Maybe I'm just statistically challenged.  But I cannot figure out what this sentence means:

However, the margin of 3-2 was closer than the 2-1 votes with which the presbytery has turned back efforts to approve the ordination of actively gay clergy in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

What does that mean?  Am I just dense?  Did I have too much late night caffeine? 




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  • 3:2 means that, out of 100 people, 60 of them voted against this measure and 40 voted for it. In the past, when attempts have been made to approve the ordination of “practicing” gays, the vote was 2:1, which translates to 67 voting against and 33 voting for (rounded, of course). Thus, the most recent vote is closer. If your candidate lost one election 67 to 33, and then lost the next election 60 to 40, you're making some progress.
    I am just so glad you at least didn't repeat Barbie's “Math is hard.”
    Of course, the question might really be, whether that's what's reflected in the vote, or if the difference in numbers was because of the egrigiousness of the wording that was to be removed. Were a vote held on ordination of “active” gays (celibate gays have been ordainable for years and straights involved in sexual relationships outside of marriage cannot be ordained — that's one of the reasons the fight for gay marriage is important). the result might still be 67-33. Presbytery votes are obscure, emotional, and often inconsistent. One might have better luck reading tea leaves.
    BTW: I suspect you quit reading the “Deb” posts at 3. I think you missed some things as a result, things that relate to this very issue.

  • Thanks for the explanation. Am I the only non-mathie who found that particular sentence confusing? If they had used Rob's simple math, the article would have been easier to understand. 🙂
    Math ain't hard. Recalling mathematical concepts you haven't actually used for 10+ years is a bit of challenge, but thankfully there are the Robs of the world to keep us straight (no pun intended). Thanks Rob!

  • I'm married to an engineer — she took more math than I did, and had to explain the “Bessel Functions of the Third Kind” joke to me. I've only had math through “Numerical methods for solving partial differential equations,” and she reminds me of that. One of our songs is “Take It To the Limit,” because it's a pun on a particular calculus technique.
    The pressure on women to be bad at math infuriates me. I've actually seen it destroy women's careers. Sorry if I'm off on a rant.

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