In an extremely rare move, Dominic Palacios, Classis Rocky Mountain, lost his privilege to speak during plenary sessions of Synod 2022 until he rescinded something he said the previous day. He declined to do that. He was still allowed to vote but could not come to the microphone to speak. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.
During deliberation of the human sexuality report, Palacios spoke against it and its conclusion that homosexual sex constitutes “unchastity,” which has been the CRC’s traditional position since 1973. “What is the fruit of the ’73 report?” he asked passionately. “It’s suicides, it’s people feeling excluded from the fellowships—and those will continue. I believe our theology around this issue has caused there to be blood on our hands, and there will continue to be blood on our hands because of it.”
Derek Buikema, the synod vice president who was chairing the deliberation, said that Palacios’ “blood on our hands” comment violated the rules of decorum and requested that he rescind it if he wanted to continue talking. The synodical rules say, “The president shall see to it that business is transacted in the proper order and expedited as much as possible, and that members observe the rules of order and decorum.”
Palacios refused to rescind his comment and took his seat.
The following day, Palacios got in the queue during the discussion about Neland Avenue CRC. Before getting to the microphone, Palacios learned from Jose Rayas, president of synod, that in order to be granted that right he'd need to rescind his words from the previous day.
The officers did not speak to synod about Palacios’ situation. The Banner asked Rayas why the delegate was prevented from speaking. He simply said, “According to the synodical rules and the decorum, he (Palacios) was out of order.”
Palacios told The Banner that he is disappointed and thinks it’s unfair, “but it is in the rules of order (that) they can make these decisions, and I’ll abide by those rules.”
Palacios confirmed that he is allowed to vote, but he will not be allowed to speak on the floor unless he rescinds what he said. Palacios told The Banner, “I will not rescind because I stand by what I said.”
Research, including a 2018 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, has shown an association between religious faith and suicidal behavior in LGBQ young adults.
While the human sexuality report recommended by synod maintains a biblical interpretation that homosexual sex (even between married same-sex partners) is outside the will of God as revealed in Scripture, it does not make a judgment on sexual orientation itself. A prayer of lament and confession at the beginning of the report includes, “We recognize that we ridicule and fear the LGBTQ among us. We admit that we drive our sisters and brothers away. … We confess that we overlook the sexual sins of the majority while harshly judging those of the lesbian and gay minority. We do not show the love and hospitality of Jesus to people whom we deem worse sinners.” The report challenges the church: “While supporting each other in the ‘holiness without which no one will see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14), we should also treat each other as fellow sinners in constant need of encouragement, forgiveness, and mercy.”
Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod.