This announcement is a kindness. By pulling the plug on any potential incumbency now, Kirkpatrick is allowing other able leaders to step up to guide this denomination once again into greater biblical fidelity and increased effectiveness as a Christian body.Here is a news story about Rev. Kirkpatrick's announcement and various responses. Here is my response to the right wing of the church:
1) Don't blame others for your ineptitude. The stated clerk has nothing to do with gains or losses in membership for the denomination. If your church is not growing why don't you get off your butt and do some evangelism?
2) You want a stated clerk who will "guide the denomination into greater biblical fidelity." Let me unpack that statement. According to the right wing, "biblical fidelity" means that you try to prove that the Bible (and therefore God) hates the same people you do, namely, THE GAY. The biggest criticism of our stated clerk is that he did not personally paddle every clergy and church the right wing thinks is behaving in a naughty fashion. We have a court system, not a pope.
3) Kirkpatrick spoke on behalf of the General Assembly in regards to social announcements. He didn't make it up. The General Assembly votes on positions. If you don't like the positions the GA takes, don't blame the messenger.
Now, an election for stated clerk will take place in 2008. It will be interesting to see if an evangelical is elected to office. It wouldn't matter. As soon as he or she made some kind of decision that didn't please the right wing, s/he would be demonized, just like the other evangelicals (Jack Haberer, Jack Rogers) who realized that to be a Presbyterian means you need to work across lines.
The right wing (Layman, IRD, New Whineskins) don't care. They simply want to blame others for not doing what they are unable to do. They will continue in their quest to tear down and foment schism.