Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Episcopal Bishops Vote to End Moratorium on Gay Clergy

In a welcomed move, the Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to open the door to consecrate more bishops who are openly gay. No doubt the haters among the homophobic bishops in Africa and elsewhere will blow a gasket and continue the perversion of the Gospel message into a weapon of hate. What the weak kneed Archbishop of Canterbury will do is likewise yet to be seen since he seems to largely be selling out to the homophobe set within the Anglican Communion. In my view, accepting gay clergy is a move that is overdue and is a trend that the I hope the ECLA will move forward on next month at its Churchwide Assembly. It is sad that a few phrases written thousands of years ago without the benefit of modern knowledge continue to be used to justify so much hatred and mistreatment of other human beings. Here are some highlights from the New York Times:
The Episcopal Church voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to open the door to consecrate more bishops who are openly gay, a move that is likely to send shock waves throughout the Anglican Communion, the global network of churches to which the Episcopal Church belongs.
By voting to affirm that “any ordained ministry” is open to gay men and lesbians, the Episcopal Church effectively ended what many regarded as a moratorium on ordaining gay bishops, which the church passed at its last convention three years ago.
Many delegates to the church’s convention here characterized the action not as an overturning of the moratorium, but as simply an honest assertion of “who we are.” They note that the church, which claims about two million members, has hundreds of openly gay laypeople, priests and deacons, and that its democratic decision-making structures are charged with deciding who merits ordination.
“It’s not an attempt to fly in the face of the Anglican Communion,” said Bonnie Anderson, who as president of the House of Deputies, which represents laypeople and clergy members, is one of the church’s two top officers. “It’s an attempt to deepen relationships with the rest of the communion, because real relationships are built on authenticity.”
The Episcopal Church acted despite a personal address at the start of the convention from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who as head of the Church of England is considered “first among equals” among the communion’s archbishops. “Along with many in the communion,” the archbishop said, “I hope and pray that there won’t be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart.”
It says that many gay men and lesbians are already ministering in the church and that “God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church, and that God’s call to the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church is a mystery which the church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church.”
Conservative provinces in the Anglican Communion, especially some in Africa, broke their ties with the Episcopal Church after it consecrated Bishop Robinson.

1 comment:

Josh said...

Thank you for writing about this, Michael. We GLBT Episcopalians are eager to spread this news far and wide.

It's taken the Episcopal Church 40 years of steps forward and steps back, but now we're in the home stretch of full inclusion. Haven't crossed the finish line yet, but it's close.

Three other items from the Episcopal convention that are major news: no discrimination against transgenders; turning our citizen-lobbyists loose on Congress to repeal the "Defense of Marriage" Act; and approval by the church to begin compiling written texts (liturgies) for same-sex blessings. Episcopal priests in many dioceses are already doing SSB, quietly or publicly, and now the church as a whole wants to start pulling these various services together with a view to establishing an official marriage rite.

In those states where same-sex marriage is already a civil right, clergy are free to officiate and bless.

I would much rather get married in church than have to go to a justice of the peace, pay my money, then cross the street so the real service can happen with friends and family.

By 2012, Episcopalians will have most of this worked out. There will still be a few places where no SSBs are performed, but the votes this year were decisive, 2-1 or even 3-1 pro-Gay.

The fight for LGBT rights and dignity in the Episcopal Church is now over. The true teachings of Jesus have finally defeated the homophobes. Thanks be to God.