Thursday, 22 March 2007

American bishops: further press coverage

For earlier reports, including UK papers this morning go here.

BBC US bishops refuse Anglican demand

Reuters Global Anglican dispute remains after US meeting

Associated Press Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum from Anglican leaders, risking split from Anglican family

New York Times Episcopal Church Rejects Demand for a 2nd Leadership

Washington Post Episcopal Bishops in U.S. Defy Anglican Communion

Los Angeles Times Episcopal-Anglican rift deepens

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal bishops reject Anglican demands

Houston Chronicle Episcopal bishops spurn demands from Anglicans

USA Today Episcopal bishops reject Anglican ultimatum on gays

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 8:33am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

The Presiding Bishop said "she had previously asked the archbishop of Canterbury to visit the United States and been told that his calendar was full"

Beggars belief, doesn't it?

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 9:51am GMT

No. Williams is a coward. Its absolutely in character.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 10:25am GMT

I am still amused (or perhaps bemused) by the fact that in rejecting the plan for a Primatial Vicar, the House of Bishops of TEC appeals to the importance of permanence in marriage:

"The real cultural phenomenon that threatens the spiritual life of our people, including marriage and family life, is the ease with which we choose to break our relationships and the vows that established them rather than seek the transformative power of the Gospel in them."

What message is this sending to Gene Robinson (divorced once), Barry Beisner (divorced twice) and others in TEC? Or is it a sign of a sea-change?

Posted by: John Richardson on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 10:52am GMT

John Richardson. I don't think anyone has ever suggested that divorce is a good thing. Certainly not Gene Robinson. So what is your point?

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 11:11am GMT

My point is that according to the HoB, divorce can be too easily envisaged. There are therefore some people who have divorced too easily, wrongfully and indeed sinfully. Amongst the questions this raises are (a) who are these people and (b) what should be the church's policy on, for example, the ordination and consecration of (at least some) divorced persons? Should it, for example, go back to its earlier position where such persons, whist welcome in the church, could not be ordained? Would there be a policy of interviewing or examining divorced candidates to establish whether their divorce fell into the category of 'wrongful'? In short, is TEC about to change its policy on divorce or does it feel that it current policy is not in conflict with this statement? (Incidentally, as soon as I write this, I know the answer is the latter - I just find it incredible.)

Posted by: John Richardson on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 11:40am GMT

Your thoughts on the following would be most appreciated especially since some of you are closer to the Brit "mind-set"----I have a serious question and would appreciate -as far as possible- unbiased and cool-headed thoughts on the following: There was originally speculation that Rowan Williams suppressed his personal feelings ( as expressed in his “previous life” as an academic) when he was elected Archbishop of Canterbury in a valiant attempt to hold the AC together. Some said he “held his nose and did what he had to” and some said he was acting as a colonial administrator would playing various factions off against one another. IF there is validity to this view then how will he respond when breakup is inevitable? Will he throw in his lot with the GS where he will be a rump representative -a posterboy to brought out on ceremonial occasions- a post colonial figurehead? Will he kiss and make up with the Northeners (not just Bishop Schori and TEC but with Canada and a significant part of his native COE constituency? Will he go back to his “roots”- theologically and nationally or will he continue on his present course? Thanks for measured response addressing the political and psychological more than the biblical- which will be the trump card? Are your comments based on hope ( a virtue I respect) or on a worldly vision of politics and power - for better or worse Talleyrand had more insight than Napoleon and his vision was not based on Napoleon’s belief in his “star”

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 11:45am GMT

I really wish I knew, ettu. I find Williams' stance inexplicable, to be frank.

But you are right, of course - if there is a split and he stays with the conservatives, I think they will have very little genuine respect for him.

Sadly, we liberals feel much the same these days.or at least, most of us do (Changing Attitude have gone awfully quiet again....)

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 12:10pm GMT

John,
I thought the selection process for ordination was thorough enough to weed out those who treat their relationships carelessly and divorce too easily.

The statement is a general comment on a social phenomenon, not on the selection process for clergy or bishops and warrants no immediate moral panic.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 12:22pm GMT

John Richardson-

I would say that your characterization is wrong. From what I am able to understand the Robinson’s were not “divorced too easily, wrongfully and indeed sinfully.” While the line that Bishop Robinson got divorced in order to “have a relationship with a man” continues to have currency amongst the Donatists who prowl about the Church seeking the ruin of souls, but it is false. Their divorce came after years of prayer, counseling and therapy and is born out of her desire to have a relationship with a heterosexual man.

Posted by: John Robison on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 12:32pm GMT

Ettu,
I think depending on what happens next, and if there is to be a split, it will be a case of TEC leaving the AC, or of the AC casting TEC out. In either case, the AC will still be there, so Rowan will still be its Primate.

The split would have to involve many more churches before there was a real choice for him to make.

What his theology is by now and how he will feel about his personal position I have no idea. It appears that he has truly become more conservative. I only hope he writes a diary so that future generations will be able to piece it all together.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 12:43pm GMT

ettu - I think the answer to your question lies in the fact that Rowan Williams has a track record, in his actions and in his pronouncements as Archbishop of Canterbury, as a passive person and as an institutional conservative.

I don't think he will "throw in his lot" with anyone. He will just end up where he is left. Therefore, if TEC walks out (which it has said it won't do) or if it is thrown out, he will be left with the rest. And, likewise, if Nigeria and, perhaps, others get impatient (which they have signalled in a number of recent statements), and leave, he will be left without them. That is his passive side.

The point that he has made time and again on his institutionally conservative side is that he respects the fact that conservative teaching on human sexuality represents the overwhelming consensus, both of Christians across the ages (and he has a keen sense of church history) and of those Christian denominations which he is personally closest too - mainly the Roman Catholics and, to a lesser extent, the orthodox. This I think explains why he is, actually, hostile to the Americans, even though, as a theologian, he was interested in exploring the arguments for a change in teaching. The fact is, that change has not taken place, and his repeated gripe has been that the US Church has moved too fast - faster than the consensus. He won't do that.

Posted by: badman on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 12:50pm GMT

John Richardson:

An interesting point, and valid except for one thing: most in the HOB are quite capable of talkin' out of both sides of their hats on almost anything. Consistency is not their strong suite.

Steven

Posted by: Steven on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 1:13pm GMT

John Richardson wrote: “My point is that according to the HoB, divorce can be too easily envisaged. There are therefore some people who have divorced too easily, wrongfully and indeed sinfully.”

We all know what the HOB noted, that rejection is the easy way out and one too often “chosen” in this Age of greed and selfishness. Rejection of other, rejection of communion, rejection of community. Vengance, revenge, gotcha!

The declared policy of the present American administration is “Who is not for us is against us.”

John Richardson asked: “(b) what should be the church's policy on, for example, the ordination and consecration of (at least some) divorced persons? Should it, for example, go back to its earlier position where such persons, whilst welcome in the church, could not be ordained?”

All this should be considered on a case to case basis, as of yesterday, as of today.

“Would there be a policy of interviewing or examining divorced candidates to establish whether their divorce fell into the category of 'wrongful'?”

Surely, if we elect someone for Bishop we expect him/her to be able to examine themselves. If they’re not, why ever make them a bishop?

“In short, is TEC about to change its policy on divorce or does it feel that it current policy is not in conflict with this statement?”

Why should it? and How would it be?

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 1:16pm GMT

I find peoples preoccupation with sin, yours, mine or others, rather disturbing. Maybe we should only refer to our sins (especially in general confession) and not worry about other's sins IMHO. It leaves one to believe that someone is better than others and therefore has the right to point out other's sins.

Posted by: BobinWashPA on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 1:32pm GMT

Badman: "The fact is, that change has not taken place, and his [the ++ABC's] repeated gripe has been that the US Church has moved too fast - faster than the consensus. He won't do that."

Oh, but it has.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 2:11pm GMT

Whilst the GS primates may in the course of time wish to throw TEC out of the Communion, they can't force the hand of the ABC, and as I've commented on another thread, I don't see how it could be designed for the CofE to expel TEC. Apart from anything else, Messrs Sugden, Perkins, Giddings and friends (for 'twould be they) would never carry it through Synod.

The everything-going-pear-shaped scenario would thus be that the GS group would say to Canterbury, "Chuck them out or we go" and he would have to reply "I can't chuck them out. There is no mechanism for it." So the GS lobby would themselves declare themselves Sydneyites or whatever. This also fits in with what has normally happened in the past (the 16th century reformation being the exception) that it has been the conservatives who have left. And, one might add, survival rates haven't been very good.

Posted by: cryptogram on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 2:17pm GMT

Rowan Williams wants the Churches in the communion, so he won't be in the driving seat to remove any one of them. His push for unity is a road for his own back.

In this most recent radio interview he said he is accused by one side of being too soft on the liberals and by the other of being too soft on the bigots. So that might be about right. Or we conclude he is too soft.

My own view is that TEC does not want to walk, and it is left to the Anglican Communion to push. A great many will not want to push, and view the alternative without TEC as worse. On the other hand, Nigeria is very busy, and may well walk as an active part of setting up something else that becomes an Anglican Communion.

It was held in last time by pushing the communiqué to be to more of its liking, and by giving assurances of the continuation of CANA. Plus the 30 September deadline was crucial, making everything having the quality of delay. The House of Bishops statement has rendered that deadline meaningless because it has brought the decision forward - it does not even accept the transitory arrangement for communion oversight and another bishop in charge.

Rowan Williams said he wanted this oversight arrangment acted upon quickly, to get it up and running. Well that would now be a waste of energy: it is over. He nor anyone can interfere in TEC's space, except by the violation being carried out by Akinola. Prsumably Williams still does not approve of the violation, but he is left with nothing to do other than declare "conditions not met" and try to find a way to keep TEC in.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 2:18pm GMT

On the issue of divorce, perhaps Mrs Robinson was right to divorce Gene, if she didn't know (and he couldn't reveal) his inclinations at the time of their marriage. I must say, though, that his fathering children by her suggests something other than repulsion! So if, at the time of their marriagge, he loved and physically desired her, I still find it hard to see why the HoB statement about working things through in the "transformative power of the Gospel" couldn't have applied to them. I would also suggest a promise is a promise is a promise.

The guy that is twice-divorced, thrice-married must be very unlucky in his choices.

Posted by: John Richardson on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 2:32pm GMT

I don't know the Robinsons, so I can't speak to the quality of the relationship that they had. My understanding is that they divorced before he entered into his current relationship. I specifically recall that his former wife and his children are supportive of him, which should acquit him of some of the more vicious comments. If he did not truly come to recognize and accept his orientation until later in life, I have trouble saying that he has acted in suich an awful way.

Posted by: Paul Davison on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 2:41pm GMT

John Richardson, as the ex-wife of a gay man, I feel I have some "standing" to speak on the issue of marriage/divorce under those circumstances.

My ex and I loved each other very much, and we tried to work things out, even after he came out of the closet.

But the bottom line for me was that I knew he was not thinking of me when we were intimate. He could "function" just fine, but the knowledge that he has to fantasize about men in order to function with me was devastating and highly corrosive, both to our marriage and to my sense of self-worth.

So please don't assume that children are some "evidence" that +VGR should not have divorced his wife. She has a right to be with someone who can love her in all the ways a spouse should be loved. And he has a right to a "true" marriage, as well.

I'm glad they are both happy now. She has always said that she still cares for him and wishes him well. That ought to count for something, I think.

Posted by: Been there, done that on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 3:21pm GMT

Bob,
It is way too simplistic to characterize this issue as a question of sin. It is a question of how we read and respond respond to scripture, tradition, and reason. Where it's true that some so-called "conservatives" have come down on a strict "literal" interpretation it is as true that the so-called "liberals" have made scripture into at best a child's fgantasy and at worst a lie fostered by men who only wanted to consolidate power. Some people, on both sides, will point the finger. We've seen plenty of that. I've heard as much the cry of "Homophobe!" as I have "Abomination!" Full inclusion is no more "Via Media" than exclusion from the sacraments. TEC is at the crossroads... I'm not so sure The Communion is.

Posted by: john on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 3:41pm GMT

I have heard Bishop Robinson and his wife quoted as saying that she was aware of his inclinations before they were married, but they hoped and, yes prayed that marriage with a love one would "cure" him. I've never been married to a gay man, but I've personally known several such tragic marriages. Fathering childern (or mothering them for that matter) is not any proof of physical desire or satisfaction.
I am sorry that John Richardson does not understand or chooses not to. He would not have to look far to find men and women who could explain.

Posted by: Proud Episcopalian on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 3:51pm GMT

I find it appalling that we're even discussing the divorce of a man none of us know, with whom none of us has ever spoken, but who has clearly satisfied all those who know him well and who were responsible for his appointment that he has acted morally correct and that he is suitable for the position he is holding.

What can be the purpose? Do we all have to stand public trial before we can be accepted? Before which judges?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 3:56pm GMT

One further note on +Gene's situation. His ex-wife remarried before +Gene met his partner.

And one further note about gays who marry opposite sex spouses. I married a man because that 'proved' to me that my feelings for women while in undergrad school were 'a phase.' My husband, as it turned out, was also gay. Our divorce freed both of us to be the people whom God had created us to be, and not imitation straights.

With society's growing acceptance of gays, with sex education [in some places] being more honest, with gays being out and visible in local communities, my hope is that young gays will not enter into such sad marriages any more.

There are lots of us formerly-married-to-someone-of-the-opposite-sex folks in our 50s, 60s and up; my prayer is that young gays will no longer feel the need to marry for cover, but will be able to marry - in church and civily - their true loves.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 3:57pm GMT

Thank you "Been there, done that" for showing and reminding us that beyond dogma and polemics are issues of charity and human dignity, all too easily and too frequently overlooked. Let's hope that the basic, stark, yet understanding terms in which you outline your experience will kindle a little charity and a little more consideration in others. Might I suggest that there are other blogs around where your story might perhaps kindle a much-needed spark of charity.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 4:34pm GMT

Thanks or the insightful comments re RW and the COE and the probabilities of various actions - the best analyses I have seen to date - or at least the most helpful to me regards

Posted by: ettu on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 4:42pm GMT

cryptogram said:

"This also fits in with what has normally happened in the past (the 16th century reformation being the exception) that it has been the conservatives who have left. And, one might add, survival rates haven't been very good."

Actually, I think there is a very good case to be made that it was the conservatives who "walked" (or took action to break communion) in the English Reformation as well.

The Church of England certainly declared that "The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England," but England did not take the canonical action to sever communion with Rome. It was Rome, finally, that declared the relationship over.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 4:42pm GMT

I happily note that the HoB did not refer specifically to Gene Robinson or Barry Beisner when they made their comments about the threat of 'easy divorce'. I simply raised those two examples as people I presume endorsed the statement and whose lives would therefore come in for some scrutiny. I gather there is more than one other TEC bishop in the same situation.

The problem the HoB raised was not that there may be good reasons to divorce but that there might be better reasons to stay together - to enlist the transforming power of the gospel, as they put it.

One of those reason would, of course, be that marriage is based on a Covenant Promise: "til death do us part". I would gladly welcome the HoB re-examining what has happened in TEC over the last several decades, and even be willing to champion their remaining part of the Anglican Communion if they were willing to do so.

The problem I see is that they wish to invoke this argument, but not apply it.

Posted by: John Richardson on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 5:24pm GMT

Ettu, you Brute, you've raised a very interesting question. Here, for what it's worth, are my speculations.

The Anglican Communion is about to lose the Americans. It is virtually certain that this will happen. Others may leave or stay in.

However, since the Communion "instruments of unity" will suffer a 30% budget cut once the Americans are gone, the Communion itself will rapidly become a vestigial and powerless set of committees with no actual power or influence.

Bilateral, ad hoc communion agreements will grow up around the shell of the old Communion and to some extent replace it. It is not unreasonable to suppose that in a few years the Archbishops of Canterbury and York might seek out a bilateral communion arrangement between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church. However, the Americans now feel such a deep ill will toward the Church of England that formal communion may be impossible to effect for quite some time.

I would like to say more about that. I note that the Episcopal House of Bishops have surprised everyone on the British side, even Inclusive Church, with the promptness, clarity, and comprehensiveness of their response. What the British may not realize is how thoroughly and comprehensively they have offended us.

Such things as Ruth Gledhill's dismissal of Paul Marshall as a "fringe bishop" come to mind, though Rowan Williams telling our Presiding Bishop that he was just too busy for the next year to come and meet with her church surely tops them all. If the Archbishop wanted a permanent breach with the Americans, he could not have come up with a better way to effect one.

Why? To oversimplify the sociology: We in the US do have an elite, but not (really) a class system. Prestige thus accrues to the individual person, not the class to which s/he belongs, and prestige can always be taken away. An American who has been publicly and successfully "disrespected" loses personal prestige and has no class status to fall back on. Therefore we are extremely sensitive to being "dissed" and never stop anxiously measuring our personal status against others'. A member of the British Establishment, on the other hand, "knows who he [sic] is"; he always has his class status to fall back on and can thus suffer a good bit of personal "disrespecting." I would think these ingrained sociological characteristics don't change very much even if one is called to become a bishop.

Well, now you know why you lost America --

Posted by: Charlotte on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 6:44pm GMT

Would be interested to know how Malcolm French views the 1559 Act of Supremacy, if not as a breach of communion with Rome.

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 7:15pm GMT

Re: The comments of John Richardson. I read this site occasionally and to my amazement each time I do, there is always a new conservative pontificating about the sin of homosexuality who makes it plain by his (it's usually his) comments that he knows nothing about the lives of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people.

It is also amazing that so many self-described Christians have the moral arrogance to believe they know best how to run the lives of people they can't be bothered to inform themselves about.

How do you do it?

Posted by: Georgia Episcopalian on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 7:44pm GMT

Charlotte said:

'Well, now you nkow why you lost America...'

Well, now we know why US foreign policy is the way it is.

Posted by: ChrisM on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 8:38pm GMT

Charlotte

Your comments on "know you know why you lost America" also apply to why they lost a lot of other souls too. There is an emotional parallel about how they (didn't) talk to the Americans or about them and how they (don't) talk to women or GLBTs or other unsuitables.

Their credibility as peacemakers should be in tatters. They can't even dialogue with people who would be in the same communion with them. So how would any sensible person envisage they would reasonably communicate with "others" either?

Similarly, their theology imagines a God that seeks out an elite group and plans to exterminate the unsatisfactory remainder of Creation so that only those that please them are with God in heaven. It is a very insulting form of theology and does not acknowledge God's repeated overtures to members of humanity to come into an active relationship with God. Jesus is only one in a string of such interventions, Moses, Noah, Daniel, Jeremiah also come to mind. Further, if the "OT" prophets have been discarded, then so too can be Jesus. God does not discard the beloveds, God can love more than one soul at once, more than one gender at once, more than just the perfect and powerful.

Further, they should remember the rebuke to little gods who purport to be Big Gods (little "g" versus big "G"). The God of gods response to little "g"s who get out of hand is Ezekiel 28. This rebuke applies to both the human and angelic orders. No order is above being disciplined. What God has done once before, can be done again. If God chooses to not do it at this time, that is God's grace and choice.

Posted by: Cheryl Clough on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 8:57pm GMT

"The Communion ...a vestigial and powerless set of committees with no actual power or influence." Sounds a fair description of what the Communion has been since it started. It is just a series meeting of churches who volunarily choose to stand together. As Tutu famously defined it "We meet".

Posted by: obadiahslope on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 9:40pm GMT

Charlotte ; what you also need to realise is that there are many of us who have given up on the Church of England. I stopped attending church over a year ago, and have no intention of returning to anything affiliated with Akinola et al.

So - what we want to see is TEC looking to enable people like us to relate to them instead in one way or another - spending some of that money on setting up an Episcopal denomination here. Then we will have to see if Inclusive Church have any guts and are prepared to tell the CofE where to stuff itself.

Posted by: Merseymike on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 9:43pm GMT

Georgia Episcopalian asked: "How do you do it?"

They get paid?

;=)

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 10:20pm GMT

The Acts of Supremacy were certainly a provocation. But the Acts of Supremacy did not take any position on being "in communion." (Strictly, I think it would be an anachronism to go too far down this road.) The Bishop of Rome's authority as a Diocesan bishop was never questioned. Neither was his authority as Metropolitan or Primate. It was merely his status vis-a-vis the Church of England that was at question.

The situation is actually quite analagous to the present situation. A national church took decisions that certain foreign bishops found provocative and it eventually (perhaps) led to a severing of formal relationships.

The former Canadian Primate Michael Peers, having quoted Tutu's definition ("we meet.") was asked if that was rather a weak thing. He responded, "but what would it mean if someone decided not to meet?"

That is where we are today.

To date, neither the Americans nor the Canadians (nor the Mexicans, Brasilians, South Africans, etc.) have refused to meet. The onus of schism, it seems to me, is at least as much on thoise who refuse to meet. And I don't see the progressives refusing any time soon - as much as they may refuse to submit to bullying demands from people who have no authority to demand things.

Posted by: Malcolm French+ on Thursday, 22 March 2007 at 11:20pm GMT

ChrisM, that might have been intended as a snarky comment, but however you meant it, you're right. That IS why American foreign policy is the way it is. Making allowances for what I'm fully prepared to admit is a gross oversimplification, of course, it's also one of the reasons our murder rate is so high.

You wouldn't think so from our news programs -- of course they are nothing but entertainment -- but we Americans spend our lives tiptoeing around each other, careful not to show the slightest sign of disrespect. Teachers are enormously respectful toward their failing pupils. Students -- the college-bound ones -- take great care not to talk back directly to their teachers. Everyone complains about "political correctness," but no one wants to get caught using one of the many, many taboo words -- the punishment is immediate and severe, and no one sympathizes.

I wish I'd thought of this particular cross-cultural problem in time, because I think it has been the cause of a great deal of ill-will, probably quite avoidable, between the Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury. I'm not sure much of anything can be done about it now. My bishop, John Howe, had a good idea when he proposed that the Archbishop of Canterbury meet with the Episcopal House of Bishops, but it's rather a last-ditch effort at this point.

Posted by: Charlotte on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 2:47am GMT

Chris M wrote:

"Charlotte said:

'Well, now you nkow why you lost America...'

Well, now we know why US foreign policy is the way it is."

Chris M's final line is both absurd and disingenuous.

The right-wing fanatics who support the dangerous Bush policies are largely part of the same right-wing movement trying to take over the Episcopal Church, and other mainline Protestant denominations who can't otherwise be moved into the fundamentalist camp.

The Episcopal Church is an inconvenience for the right-wing neo-cons supporting (some would say "controlling") Bush, and they are adept at creating phony "moral issues" to make people forget their true Christian responsibilities, not to mention forgetting the lessons of history.

Chris M appears to have been fooled by them as well. Perhaps he/she should not confuse the religious equivalent of a Declaration of Independence for a Bush declaration of war.

"Here I stand, I can do no other." - Martin Luther

Posted by: Jerry Hannon on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 3:17am GMT

Georgia Episcopalian and Cheryl,

Please read through your remarks again, and reflect on the amazing condescension, and how they shut down any respectful discussion. How do you know what is in the experience and hearts of those with a different viewpoint? Perhaps many have direct knowledge of the LGBT world, and come to their understanding in love? Just because some can accept LGBT folk, but believe acting on orientation is non biblical, doesn't mean they are hateful or homophobe.

Please, can we have a little respect for other viewpoints, here on this blog for supposed 'thinking' anglicans?

Posted by: harvard man on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 3:36am GMT

"Perhaps many have direct knowledge of the LGBT world, and come to their understanding in love? Just because some can accept LGBT folk, but believe acting on orientation is non biblical, doesn't mean they are hateful or homophobe."

Reminds me of "some of my best friends are black / Jews / Muslim"

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 8:44am GMT

"Perhaps many have direct knowledge of the LGBT world, and come to their understanding in love"

The problem is that Christians often use the word love as though it meant "tolerance through gritted teeth because God told us to, but thank God we're still allowed to criticise and to know best".

The problem is that unless someone truly knows, understands and fully accepts me, I don't feel loved at all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 9:15am GMT

Been there, seen it - don't believe the claims.

There is not one factual example to show that this is not about homophobia.

And remember, the "H" word is not about hating and despising the other - you do that anyhow - it is about fearing self.

Posted by: Göran Koch-Swahne on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 9:23am GMT

I cannot get this comment out of my head:

"Perhaps many have direct knowledge of the LGBT world, and come to their understanding in love"

This makes it sound as though there is a totally different universe full of lgbt people that's quite removed from normal society.

If you really believe you have no direct experience of the lgbt "world" then that's because we're as utterly normal and conventional as you are and we don't stand out in any setting.

You find me - slightly overweight, middle aged, 2 children, utterly normal - at the school gates, in the doctors sugery, in the shops, in the hospital waiting rooms, in my small village church.

You don't need a passport to visit us and to get "direct knowlege" of us. Just open your eyes and your heart.

As for "a little respect for other viewpoints" - are you really asking me to have respect for views that condemn me as though you were talking about a philosophical subject not about a real life me?

Do you have "a little respect" for extreme feminists who denounce all men as inherently unacceptable?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:04am GMT

Harvard ; people who claim to 'accept' me but not my relationship are deluded.

Essentially, your stance is homophobic, and I'm not really interested as to how you choose to defend that stance. Either you believe that gay people and their relationships are the moral equal of straight people and theirs. or you don't.

And if you don't, then your viewpoint is homophobic.

Why should bigotry and prejudice be 'respected' just because it is backed by religious dogma? Did we respect apartheid?

Posted by: Merseymike on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 10:49am GMT

Harvard Man says I've been condescending. Honey, I am just gettin' started, or as the black girls say down here, "You don't wanna see me take off my earrings." I would luv to hear everything Harvard Man has to tell me about the LGBT worlds of Baxley, Georgia, Dothan, Alabama, and Philadelphia (especially Philadelphia), Mississippi.

My apologies to Simon and all for this snit, but it's been a wearing week between my fury and despair over the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War and my exhilaration that our TEC HoB has finally taken a clear stand against primatial abuse. Thanks be to God for all of you who support TEC in its struggle to be the church the Spirit is calling us to be.

Posted by: Georgia Episcopalian on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 1:22pm GMT

Harvard Man: "--Just because some can accept LGBT folk, but believe acting on orientation is non biblical, doesn't mean they are hateful or homophobe."

And there you have it, "some" just put a higher priority on their beliefs in "biblical" readings than their encounters with LGBT people in their daily lives.

In effect it would seem that "they" are worshipping a book. At the expense of God's creation.

Posted by: choirboyfromhell on Friday, 23 March 2007 at 4:38pm GMT

Merseymike said:
"people who claim to 'accept' me but not my relationship are deluded.

Either you believe that gay people and their relationships are the moral equal of straight people and theirs. or you don't.

And if you don't, then your viewpoint is homophobic."

One gets this feeling you've made your sexuality an idol. You have literally said you can not be in communion with those who don't accept your sexuality. You have allowed your sexuality to have greater importance in your identity than your faith.

I understand this is a VERY direct, but I feel it must be said. I would - and have in real life - also called people to account for saying they can not commune with homosexuals.

We are all heart-sore about these issues, but we can not let bitterness destroy all hope of unity.

Posted by: Chris on Saturday, 24 March 2007 at 4:13pm GMT

Chris
Isn't it the conservatives who insist on defining lgbt people by their sexuality alone? Who will deny us our rightful place in the church because they dislike our relationships? You cannot be in the same church with us? Who don't care about the depth of our faith, the love in our lives and how we live our lives?

I am trying not to be bitter but I can understand those who are! First we are being defined by our sexuality whether we like it or not, then if we engage with those who oppose us on their terms you tell us we are the ones who are making sexuality an idol.

Allow everyone to let the subject rest, allow all of us to live side by side serving Christ, and you'll find that we're not actually focused on our sexuality at all.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 25 March 2007 at 4:04pm BST

Chris ; my sexuality is simply a fact, and something I'm totally at ease with.

No, I don't feel that 'communion' can exist with those who reject me. I don't actually believe I am in communion, or share the same beliefs as conservatives. Two entirely different belief systems.

Thus, I don't want unity with them. I'd just as soon have unity with Satanists, to be frank.

Posted by: Merseymike on Tuesday, 27 March 2007 at 12:29am BST
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