The comments below are from Steve's attorney, Jon Lewis, and his
reading of the appellate decision.
The decision of the Committee on Appeals essentially boils down to
- It rejected our due process arguments on the basis that our
complaints didn't fall within the ELCA definition of due process. Since
the decision did not discuss that definition, or even set it forth, it is
difficult to understand how the committee reached this
- It rejected our argument that the policy had been improperly
promulgated on the grounds that it does not have the authority to make
such a determination. It did not discuss the fact that, if this body does
not have the authority, then there is no such authority.
- It rejected our argument that the policy is unconstitutional (in
the ELCA sense of the term - it violates the ELCA Constitution) on the
same basis - it does not have the authority to do this. Since no other
body is in a position to make such a determination, one wonders what the
point is of having a constitution, if there is no mechanism for
challenging purported legislation as unconstitutional.
- It stated that there was sufficient evidence on the record to
support the disciplinary committee's finding that Pastor Sabin was a
"practicing homosexual," despite the fact that this term is
We are disappointed, but not surprised at this decision. We are
frustrated by the fact that, in this entire process, there seems to be no
one who will stand up and say this is wrong. Actually, that's not
entirely true. One member of the Committee on Appeals (one of eleven)
dissented, but was not allowed to file a written dissent. His/Her dissent
was summarized in a brief footnote. Also, some members of the
disciplinary committee voted that Pastor Sabin not be expelled.
Other that those people, however, the remainder seem content to hide
behind a process that is unfair and irrational. To have a judicial system
that uses the terms "procedural fairness" and "due process," and then
state that these terms have no meaning makes a mockery of the
14 September 1998