Minister faces the boot over her atheism

Minister faces the boot over her atheism

Gretta Vosper, above, an ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes neither in God nor the Bible said this week she’s prepared to fight an attempt to boot her from the pulpit.

According to this report, Vosper said congregants support her view that how you live is more important than what you believe in. She said

I don’t believe in … the god called God. Using the word gets in the way of sharing what I want to share.

Vosper, 57, who was ordained in 1993, said the idea of an interventionist, supernatural being on which so much church doctrine is based belongs to an outdated world view.

Andshe asked:

Is the Bible really the word of God? Was Jesus a person? It’s mythology …

Vosper made her views clear as far back as a Sunday sermon in 2001 but her congregation stood behind her until a decision to do away with the Lord’s Prayer in 2008 prompted about 100 of the 150 members to leave. The rest backed her.

Things came to a head this year after she wrote an open letter to the church’s spiritual leader pointing out that belief in God can motivate bad things — a reference to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

Nora Sanders, general secretary of the church’s General Council, issued a ruling in May laying out a review process that could ultimately lead to Vosper’s defrocking.

Essentially, Sanders said, the review should determine whether Vosper was being faithful to her ordination vows, which included affirming a belief in “God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

Vosper is appealing Sanders’ ruling. An ecclesiastical court is set to hear her appeal in the autumn.

Allen concedes the issue has the potential to cause disunity in the United Church, which prides itself on tolerance for diversity and inclusiveness.

What we don’t want is to limit the scope of beliefs within the church … The vision of the United Church of Canada is: There is a God in whom we believe, and our statements of faith are very clear about that.

Hat tip: Dave

18 responses to “Minister faces the boot over her atheism”

  1. There is no god. says:

    Spiritual … What a fatuous word. How often does this meaningless word get used by the pious to suggest or assert the supernatural and to invoke a god. “Oh it’s spiritual …” Yeah right.

  2. 1859 says:

    I hope the’ ecclesiastical’ (farcical) court is open to the public – if not I’ll have to console myself with being a fly on the wall. When I read what Gretta is proposing it made a lot of sense and I thought ‘Yea! At last someone not afraid to speak the obvious and act on it’. So, from a mere fly on the wall ‘ Go Gretta go!’

  3. Sallyin MI says:

    I want to join this woman’s church! I was leading a Sunday School class on forgiveness today, and I brought up that what the US is lacking is basic respect. We cannot denigrate people for being Jews or Muslims or atheists if we also believe that God made us all…did he let Satan take over Mohammed and lead all those people wrong? No, how we live is more important that praying to some phantom in the sky. Bravo! I hope she wins.

  4. Smokey says:

    Well, she seems to have broken her ordination vows, so on that basis, she should probably be fired.

    Then she could get a job where she didn’t have to affirm a belief in “God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

    This reminds me of the public servants who refuse to do their job because Jesus. If your personal (lack of) belief interferes with your job, get a different job.

  5. Laura Roberts says:

    Whether or not she loses her job, I hope she can take advantage of the Clergy Project ( From what I’ve heard, they do really good work.

  6. Trevor Blake says:

    It is remarkable that people are still surprised that the rules of the religion they sign on to apply to them as well.

  7. barriejohn says:

    This is bizarre; if you no longer believe, why not jack it in?

  8. Broga says:

    From what I have read from Dan Barker, former star preacher but now a star atheist, there are thousands of atheist preachers. They don’t want to face the antagonism from families, friends and congregations of declaring what they think.

  9. L.Long says:

    Sorry BUT if you belong to a organized religion whose dogma says “XXXXX” and you say it is wrong then they as a private club have every right to fire your butt!!! Changing a religion is easy…YOU QUIT!! and start your own! Luther did it, King ??? in England did it, the xtians did it by quitting the jews and starting their own.

  10. barriejohn says:

    The following is from the BBC site:

    There is in particular one group, called Sea of Faith, which has attracted names such as “Godless vicars” and “atheist priests”. It claims it has up to 50 vicars and some Roman Catholic priests in its membership, as well as rank and file church members.

    It is easy to see why the organisation has been controversial. Although it has about 700 members in the UK, it draws on several denominations and also other religions. But what binds the members together is that they share the view that religion is a “human creation”.

    Some of its members go further and believe that God is also a human creation – a metaphor for human values such as love and forgiveness.

    In other words, some of them believe there is no such thing as God in the traditional sense of an independent being.

    The group is all the more controversial because some of its members decide to stay within the Church, even as vicars, and to continue to call themselves Christians.

  11. barriejohn says:

    Here is Sea of Faith:

    “Exploring and promoting religious
    faith as a human creation…”

  12. AgentCormac says:

    @There is no god.
    Seen this one before?

  13. Newspaniard says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t wimmin fight tooth and nail to become priests of one kind or another to get on the religious bandwagon with a pension for life. Isn’t this woman betraying those other disillusioned of her sex by admitting that she got in to start a fifth column and destroy the priesthood from within. How many other masculine activities have women fought to get in, like firefighting, where they were driven by penis envy only to find that they weren’t any good at it anyway, but they kept competent men from getting a living from it? Ho Hum…

    The same applies to the police and armed services.

  14. Brian Jordan says:

    Isn’t it generally considered that there are CofE BISHOPS who don’t believe in a god?

  15. dennis says:

    @ Smokey, Agree.
    @Newspaniard fifth column, well I guess her Feminist views where over ruled her Atheist views.

  16. Clive Bond says:

    Now thats a congregation I might join.