Friday, 31 January 2014

US Presiding Bishop on LGBT rights

The US Episcopal Church has issued this press release.

Presiding Bishop on LGBT rights

The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
Thursday, January 30, 2014

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has issued the following statement on LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered) rights:

The Episcopal Church has been clear about our expectation that every member of the LGBT community is entitled to the same respect and dignity as any other member of the human family. Our advocacy for oppressed minorities has been vocal and sustained. The current attempts to criminalize LBGT persons and their supporters are the latest in a series, each stage of which has been condemned by this Church, as well as many other religious communities and nations. Our advocacy work continues to build support for the full human rights and dignity of all persons, irrespective of gender, race, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability or inability. To do less is effectively to repudiate our membership in the human community. No one of God’s children is worth less or more than another; none is to be discriminated against because of the way in which she or he has been created. Our common task is to build a society of justice for all, without which there will never be peace on earth. Episcopalians claim that our part in God’s mission is to love God fully, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means all our neighbors.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church

Posted by Peter Owen on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:20am GMT | TrackBack
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Comments

"To do less is effectively to repudiate our membership in the human community."

Now *that* is laying it on the line. Very well said.

Posted by: James Byron on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:25am GMT

"Our advocacy work continues to build support for the full human rights and dignity of all persons, irrespective of gender, race, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability or inability. To do less is effectively to repudiate our membership in the human community. No one of God’s children is worth less or more than another; none is to be discriminated against because of the way in which she or he has been created. Our common task is to build a society of justice for all, without which there will never be peace on earth."

Well, so much for Anglican Fudge. That's about as clear and forthright a statement as anyone could hope for. It may or may not survive any number of doctrinal or scriptural litmus tests; who knows and who cares. The statement is Christian and humane (that those two things should ever be put in conflict is scandalous).

Leave it to the lady to show her gentleman colleagues how to do their jobs.

Brava Bishop Schori!

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:51am GMT

Glad to say I'm an Episcopalian in the U. S. today. I'm with my Presiding Bishop on this statement. Thank you, Katharine.

Posted by: Lois Keen on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:58am GMT

Go PB! She's a bit late to the party, but her statement is by far the best.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 1:12am GMT

She is the real deal. This is the church I believe in.

Most of the rest of the Communion is still in the Dark Ages on issues of sexuality.

I honour this leader and the Church she presides over.

Shining beacons of decency and courage.

I would never break communion with the Episcopal Church in the US.

I don't even recognise the 'positions' of Church spokespeople or leaders who say "The Church of England believes this".

If the Anglican Communion ever tried to kick out TEC then it wouldn't alter the majority of churchgoers still being in communion with them, because at that point the leaders would have become incongruent with people's conscience and grace.

Honestly, as a provisional best place, I'd say TEC is my spiritual authority until we start celebrating people's sexual love instead of merely tolerating it.

Quite crazy that *they* were the ones who got scapegoated.

Here in the UK, more than half the ordinary Anglican churchgoers accept her take on gay and lesbian sexuality.

She is open and forthright and admirable.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 2:01am GMT

From the statement, "No one of God’s children is worth less or more than another; none is to be discriminated against because of the way in which she or he has been created"

I hope the Canadian church, which gave the PB as standing ovation as a guest at a General Synod, is taking note. The most recent Canadian GS has directed that an amendment to its Marriage Canon be prepared allowing for same sex marriage. In a "meeting after the meeting" nervous Canadian bishops have set up a panel of experts in attempt to slow down or even derail the direction from GS. Of course, it will be a problem for the Canadian bishops to reach a "sense of the house" on this given that some of their members are plugged into GAFCON.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 2:44am GMT

"No one of God’s children is worth less or more than another; none is to be discriminated against because of the way in which she or he has been created."

This is The Faith that saves.

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 2:49am GMT

Well done for an excellent piece of biblical teaching- that's what we need to take the Bible seriously.

Posted by: clairejxx on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 4:56am GMT

Hear! Hear! Why are we making such heavy weather of this in the UK? The sky has not fallen in for the Episcopal Church. I very nearly returned my PTO on Monday but who would have noticed or cared and what difference would it have made anyway...at least we know we are on the winning side eventually. I just worry about all the people being hurt whilst we get there. If I was gay I would have given up on the Church of England years ago. I'm just hanging on by my finger tips and feeling pretty angry after Monday's meeting.

Posted by: Robert Ellis on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 8:47am GMT

Robert,
I fully understand where you are coming from.

On Thursday next I celebrate my 80th birthday, and have been an Anglican all my life. A priest for 50 years. A gay person, whom God loves and leads whatever the Archbishops and York says. In spite of them, and some of their ilk, I know God has called and led me in His church. I will never leave; God is my boss, and Father.

I remember well many years ago at my ACCM, that is the selection board; that the young priest selector called me a gay man. Shock ! But added much to my relief, that the church needed people like me.

Men of my generation have learnt to be themselves as God created us, and to be lead by God, and be deaf to the soundings of some of our so called church leaders. I respect the office of Bishop, but not
all the views of the person.

I certainly respect the Presiding Bishop, and grateful that she is free to say and write what she believes. God Bless her.

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:47am GMT

And it takes a Woman Bishop to tell things how they are!!. Church of England, take note. No more delay in the ordination of women as bishops in your Church. You need their instinctual wisdom.

I've always admired Bishop Katherine. She is part of God's 'Light to enlighten the Gentiles', to be celebrated this Sunday. Great Shakes, TEC.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:49am GMT

This is true Christian leadership -- preach it, Bishop Katharine.

"That means all our neighbors." Amen, amen.

Posted by: Jeremy on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 11:56am GMT

I have recently been looking at the Public Broadcasting Service series 'Eyes on the Prize' and it strikes me once again that however late-in-time, however devastatingly painful, however divisive (!) and however costly of innocent lives, the civil rights movement did teach us (I'm a Yank too) that to abridge anyone's freedom, is to abridge mine, to belittle anyone's personhood, is to belittle mine, to deny anyone's civil rights, is to deny mine. And that is an inestimable gift which TEC often makes good use of. Thank you Katharine, now and many times over.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 12:59pm GMT

CLEAN, honest, uncluttered, direct and welcoming, accepting/grounded in love...The Episcopal Church and Katharine Jefferts Schori have given abundant clarity to the commands of a loving God, greater self-respecting of self, and especially loving thy neighbor. ALL of thy neighbors (and co-pew-sitters, family, coworkers and friends).

There are no exceptions, demeaning exclusions or silly ¨disordered¨ shame/blame and/or spiritually unsanitary proclamations NOTED or warned against equals at Church!

Meanwhile some BIG MAN African archbishops pale in stewardship size next ++KJS. Now, more than ever before we can seperate the REAL men from the naughty/dangerous boys and see, in words/action, the wholesome leadership of Bishops who are spiritually healthy WOMEN and/or MEN throughout the Anglican Communion. We have listened. Now we hear better.

Somebody needed to light the way (on this day) and ++Katharine Jefferts Schori did it! We can even see better!

Mil Gracias, Leonardo Ricardo/Guatemala

Posted by: Leonardo Ricardo on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 2:16pm GMT

Brava Bishop Katherine! Thank God for The Episcopal Church. By contrast, the degree to which the Church of England has shown itself, over and over again, to be cowed by heterosexist bullies, whether within its own ranks, or abroad, is lamentable, deplorable, reprehensible. I very sadly have come count myself amongst the MANY who now deem it necessary to pray as much for our protection from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, as for them.

Posted by: james on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 3:54pm GMT

A bit simplistic Ron..your Bishop is a Lady (woman), but she is holding the line against gay blessings and more concerned with getting a new cathedral.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 5:14pm GMT

"A bit simplistic Ron..your Bishop is a Lady (woman), but she is holding the line against gay blessings and more concerned with getting a new cathedral."

Robert Ian, what are you talking about? TEC, including our PB, supports same sex blessings; they are taking place all over the country (USA). Some dioceses are doing the sacrament of marriage, including our National Cathedral in Washington DC. While they are ahead of General Convention, which is taking up the issue of equal marriage at the next meeting, I have heard of no rumblings of opposition to equal marriage from our PB.

When she first became PB and saw the opposition from Africa, she hit the "pause button" on gay inclusion in TEC. I was not happy about the pause. However, after much prayer, listening, and reflection a very decisive decision was made on the side of LGBT inclusion.

She's not a hypocrite. She gave the African bishops as much time as their homophobia deserved, about 3 years. After coming to the inevitable conclusion that homophobia is incompatible with Jesus commandment to love your neighbor, all of your neighbors (which is what the story of Good Samaritan illustrates), TEC moved forward. And we will keep moving forward, because that is the call of the Gospel.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 7:28pm GMT

"...she is holding the line against gay blessings and more concerned with getting a new cathedral."

She's also making a stand for what is right and decent.

I'll believe Pope Francis is doing the same thing when he and Rome stop opposing all civil rights legislation around the world intended to protect sexual minorities from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation. I'll believe the new Pope really is what he says he is when he makes a similar statement condemning the singling out and persecution of a minority population (instead of African Catholic bishops praising and endorsing just such legislation). I'll believe there really is a new wind blowing through the stagnant air of Rome when, for example, the American Council of Catholic Bishops supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) instead of working so hard to defeat it.
I'll believe that the Pope really means it when he says he wants to transform the Roman Church into a field hospital instead of a haven for monarchist reactionaries, antisemites, and pedophiles.

Posted by: FD Blanchard on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 7:41pm GMT

Cynthia,
I believe Robert was talking about a woman bishop in Fr Ron's home country of New Zealand.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 7:47pm GMT

Deeply, deeply proud of her and of the Episcopal Church. Truly a prophetic and bold statement.

Posted by: Nathaniel Brown on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 8:09pm GMT

Yes, the reference was to Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch where Fr Ron is resident. Unfortunately, all the bishops of Aotearoa/New Zealand are holding the party line regarding same-sex blessings and ordination of openly gay partnered persons until the General Synod in May.
I know my own Bishop in Dunedin was openly supportive until his consecration when he began to sit on the fence. Unlike his predecessor who was willing to flout the rulings. I guess like many, I am waiting to see what happens in May. If I am to be disappointed, I may wish there could be a branch of the Episcopal church of USA established here.

Posted by: Brian Ralph on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 9:05pm GMT

Brian Ralph said, "If I am to be disappointed, I may wish there could be a branch of the Episcopal church of USA established here."

The Episcopal Church is worldwide. It includes churches in Europe and Latin America -- and nearer to Brian, in Micronesia and Taiwan.

Posted by: Jeremy on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 12:34pm GMT

Brian Ralph said, "If I am to be disappointed, I may wish there could be a branch of the Episcopal church of USA established here."

I volunteer to be a missionary! ;-)

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 1 February 2014 at 5:49pm GMT

An interesting bit of conjecture about what might happen if the Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia general synod decides to take a conservative path this May, or (more likely) finds yet another formula that will allow continued fence-sitting.

Most previous conjecture has assumed that the steadily increasing pressure will force the synod to take some sort of progressive or liberalising direction, and the discussion has been about what will the Conservative Evangelicals do then. But maybe you are right, Brian, and perhaps it is time for those of us who see GLBT folk as an expression of God-given diversity to talk about jumping ship in the direction of the Episcopal Church.

Of course, we'd like to take the buildings with us.....

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Sunday, 2 February 2014 at 2:37am GMT

"Yes, the reference was to Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch where Fr Ron is resident."

Disconcerting news, given that her ladyship was hardly a foe of blessings before her translation!

Posted by: Geoff on Monday, 3 February 2014 at 3:02am GMT

Re Geoff's comment. Different context, different polity. At the moment ACANZP has not approved of LGBT - Partnership Blessings or S.S. Marriage. Like most Bishops anywhere, our Bishop Victoria is limited by G.S. from such approval. However, from her speech at the ACANZP Hui recently, in which she outlined her own opinion on such matters, it is very likely that her vote will go towards the liberalisation of our Church's polity, that will be in line with her statements as a Bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada - please God!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 3 February 2014 at 10:04am GMT

I think Ron is too optimistic. The Anglicans in Aotearoa/New Zealand fear the internal schism of the Diocese of Nelson, and there are dioceses with a growing evangelical presence.

Under no circumstances will GS precipitate schism.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Monday, 3 February 2014 at 5:04pm GMT

Dear Robert. You are now out of touch with your former Anglican Diocese of Nelson in Aotearoa. I think, if you had been privy to the situation here over the last few years, you would have found that your old diocese no longer has as much punch in the affairs of ACANZP as in former days.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 7 February 2014 at 2:09am GMT
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