1/04/2007

Bishops are meeting, wreckage follows.

The days leading up to the meeting of the Primates in Dar Es Salaam, February 12-19, will be interesting. There are various meetings of bishops going on, several occasion of Anglican Primates visiting these shores, without any indication that they will visit the Presiding Bishop, and of course the events in and around the Primates Meeting in Dar Es Salaam itself.

The second Camp Allen meeting, spoken of as being of “the so-called “Windsor Bishops” in the Episcopal Church” by Bishop Jack Iker in his newsletter to the Diocese, is about over. Considerable energy has gone in to knowing just who was at the meeting and Stand Firm, in spite of its somewhat snotty remark accompanying the collecting of names, has done us a service in getting the names for us.

Stand Firm may be please to know that my bishop, Bishop Wright, was with a small clergy bible study group talking about his recent visit to Dover Air Force Base chaplains, those who daily receive the bodies of those who have died in Iraq. Bishop Wright was tending to the business of the church’s life, his clergy, and the community rather than the caustically witty things Stand Firm thinks “reappraiser” bishops do.

The Living Church reported, that “According to an online report, Bishop Wimberly characterized the meeting as including “a growing number of bishops from across the United States” when he wrote to diocesan clergy about the meeting last month.” Bishop Wimberly as over optimistic. There were twenty one Americans in attendance, including the bishop elect of South Carolina, Fr. Lawrence.

As to who specifically attended, see the Stand Firm list. Four new persons are attending, and five who were at the first are not attending the second.

Interestingly, Bishop Mark McDonald of Alaska, a late arrival at the first meeting is not in attendance, and just today the Living Church announced that he will become the “Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Bishop with oversight over Canada’s first nation people.” He will continue to have oversight of Navaholand, which leads to an interesting question: to whose house of bishops will he belong? Bishop McDonald is a fine bishop and I wish him the best in his new work.

Archbishop Drexel Gomez, Primate of the Church of the West Indies, and Archbishop Donald Mtetemela, Primate of the Church of Tanzania, were present, as were the Bishop of Winchester, Michael Scott-Joynt and Bishop Tony Burton of Canada.

It appears then that the so called “Windsor Bishops” do not seem to be growing in number.

Fr. Jake has his usual excellent commentary on the meeting, and The Episcopal Majority has published a paper by The Rev. James Stockton, “A Texas Priest Responds” that is very helpful.

One of the interesting questions to be raised is this: Has the size of the realignment gang peaked?

The so called Windsor Bishops group is not getting larger; the Anglican Communion Network is not talking as much about its growth; the congregations that are now leaving are beginning to coalesce into groups that look like ‘continuing’ churches. The effort to realign the American church may become a fractured movement in which the end result is simply more continuing churches here in the US.

The Moderator of the Network was clearly concerned about this when he stated at Nashotah House, “The competitive denominationalism that characterized the Christian Church for most of the last five centuries could as easily come to characterize intra-Anglican relationships, particularly in North America. But North American rivalries and conflicts are soon enough transported to the rest of the Anglican world. The Anglican Communion Network has striven to avoid this outcome, but whether its labors will finally succeed is still to be played out… Whether we shall permanently live in Anglican silos labeled AMiA or Kenya or Anglican Province in America or Windsor or fill-in-the-blank remains to be seen. Will we choose the common good when push comes to shove? The future of Anglicanism will depend on our answer, both individually and corporately. Forty years of domestic Balkanization among conservative Anglicans point to the tremendous change of heart that must overtake us.”

For the moment Balkanization seems to be winning the day. One example concerns the congregations in the Diocese of Olympia that have come under the direction of the Anglican Diocese of Recife. (Remember that the Anglican Diocese of Recife is an external diocese in the Province of the Southern Cone, not the Diocese of Recife, part of the Episcopal Church of Brazil. According to Virtueonline,

“Recently Bishop Cavalcanti made Clark the archdeacon of the North American Recife churches of which there are presently five congregations. St Charles has four priests for the nearly 200 member congregation, plus two deacons - one a transfer from TEC and one from a continuing tradition church.”

The Anglican Diocese of Recife is an anomaly; it is an overlay on an existing diocese, supported by another Province. It is the worse possible solution to conflicting interests in a particular jurisdiction. Now this anomaly has an archdeacon in the diocese of Olympia who is, as yet, a priest of the Episcopal Church and who is charged with oversight for a group of congregations that have left the Episcopal Church. The only way this mess can hold together is by maintaining the position that these parishes are included in another diocese. They become yet another continuing church body. Balkanization comes about as a survival technique from which churches withdraw at considerable peril.

Another part of the Balkanized world of Anglican (but not in Communion with Canterbury) churches is the Anglican Mission in America. AMiA is having its conclave January 17-20 in Jacksonville, Florida, and at that conference as many as eight primates have been predicted to attend. On the 19th, there is “time with the Archbishops” on the schedule. It will be of some interest to know just who attends and what further conversations they may have. Remember that AMiA is part of the wider Common Cause Partnership of the Anglican Network.

It appears that the Primate’s Meeting in February is going to be an occasion that will test many possibilities. There is a great deal at risk and there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth and not a few clenched smiles. Here are some of the elements in this strange mix:

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, as he ought to have.
  • The Archbishop of Uganda says that some Primates (himself so declaring) will not sit at the table with her.
  • The Archbishop of Tanzania, who was just at the so called Windsor Bishop’s meeting, has explicitly disallowed any relationship with a bishop who has supported, voted of, condoned, or otherwise encouraged the ministry of gay or lesbian persons. That of course includes our Presiding Bishop. Tanzania is the host of the Primate’s Meeting.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury is proposing to “invite two or three other contributors from that Province for a session to take place before the rest of our formal business” http://blog.edow.org/weblog/2006/12/blue_christmas.html#more Just who these will be is of some interest. In all likelihood this will include Bishop Duncan of the Network, but who else? Will there again be no one from the progressive community present? For some reason the Archbishop or his advisors seem to think that the elected leadership of the Episcopal Church IS representative of our progressive community. It is not necessarily so. More importantly, this meeting of the primates will be all about bishops and bishops plus. Very few of them are competent, by reason of non engagement with gay and lesbian persons, to speak to many of the issues at stake. But God forbid that Archbishop Akinola might have to flee the room because a gay person were invited as a “contributor” to meet with the Primates.
  • Bishop Schofield is awaiting the directions of the Primates Meeting, as per his agreement with the Global South Bishops in Washington in December not to act further on diocesan level disengagement from the Episcopal Church until after the Primates Meeting.
  • The Global South Primates have put on hold their full support of Lambeth until they hear who will be invited, who not, and what the agenda will include.
  • And today, the Living Church has revealed that the Primates Meeting will receive a report from the Covenant Design Group, a group headed by Archbishop Gomez, lately attending the Windsor Bishops meeting. Here he is again. The Living Church “has learned that in addition to the Design Group’s chairman, Archbishop Drexel Gomez of the West Indies, a second primate, Archbishop John Chew of Southeast Asia, will be part of the team comprised of scholars, bishops and church leaders drawn from the United States, Africa, Britain and Singapore.” So the Design Team has two bishops who are part of the Global South Steering Committee, bishops who have met with the realignment folk in Washington in November.

This lastest news further stacks the deck: Archbishops Gomez and Chew will no doubt overlap with the AMiA primates, and have (in Gomez) with the Windsor Bishops, and will in other configurations with the Network. How does the Archbishop of Canterbury propose that any good can come from such knitting together of various conservative factions all at once? More, how can there be any voice for progressives heard in this context?

The Primates Meeting promises to be a disaster. I hope I am proved wrong. Nothing would be more delightful than to say that all went well. But it looks like a time for crash test dummies, high stakes gambling and wreckage.

Lent will be a welcome relief.


56 comments:

  1. The average Episcopalian in the pews, even here in Delaware, views our new Presiding Bishop as part of the Progressive Community. Contending otherwise is like political liberals who say that the new Speaker of the House is not one of them. Perhaps you think neither is a member of those communities, but that says more about you than their identification.

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  2. But it looks like a time for crash test dummies, high stakes gambling and wreckage.

    Such is the fruit of the unilateral actions in 2003 of the progressive community in the Episcopal Church. The Primates said in October 2003 that it would tear the fabric of the Anglican Communion, and so it has.

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  3. A very sad and pitiful situation indeed. My hope and prayer for 2007 is that ++Rowan Cantuar will see the light and, as soon as possible, return to academia. The Anglican Communion deserves better leadership, an Archbishop of Canterbury who will put his foot down and stop the border-crossings of the self-aggrandizing men in purple shirts. Why can't Cantuar work through the elected leadership of TEC, and allow the constitutional bodies to restore a semblance of order?

    John Henry

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  4. More, how can there be any voice for progressives heard in this context?

    Now you know how it feels to be an orthodox Anglican in ECUSA. Your complaint rings a little hollow.

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  5. Raspberry Rabbit4/1/07 5:40 PM

    Jeez I like Rowan Williams. What a swell guy! Of course he has to stick around. It may be his unmaking. It is an impossible task. Into impossible tasks God calls tough people. Blessings on him.

    I still think that there ought to be an internet service which links defecting congregations and clergy with appropriate primatial authority. You could check boxes which allowed you to enter this or that province with no chance of encountering gay clergy but in the company of your multiple wives, with or without the ordination of women but without biblical inerrancy. The search engine would whirr and putter and out would pop the appropriate organization.

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  6. Friends: I am asking that folk that sign on as "anonymous" begin using a name, even an alias, so that we can more easily distinguish between anonymous and anonymous. Or, if you like sign at the end with some name.

    Now, anonymous #1, from Delaware. I grant you the point, but only partially. No one gets to be Presiding Bishop who is not at least to some extent constantly willing to move more to the center than the edge, and I suppose that means the Presiding Bishop is someone I could view as attending more to the center than to the progressive edge. So she is both...progressive and centerist.

    I guess it does say something about me, more than her.

    anonymous #2, who kindly signed off as John Henry: Thanks for doing so. Good question - why doesn't the ABC work with the elected leadership, etc?

    phil: My complaint is mine, theirs is theirs. I listen to theirs, they can listen to mine. You have no idea just how mch I have listened to the complaints of those who consider themselves orthodox (I might add at my expense, since some of them believe I am not a Christian). My question is specific: when Gomez and Chew are part of the covenant drafting committee, and are so closely involved in the realignment movement, I want to ask about inclusion of other voices.

    raspberry rabbit is right... the ABC is a fine person and we need to pray for him always...and we do in our parish every service. It is OK to pray for someone and occasionally disagree with him or her...I presume.

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  7. It seems as if the Anglican Covenant is being set up for a failure. If conservative forces are given free reign to design the most oppressive structure imaginable, most of the Communion -- including the CofE -- just won't join.

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  8. Rev. Harris - I can't disagree with your impression that these two stack the deck. On the other hand, I imagine competing voices will be well represented from the (at least) British contingent.

    I don't know that for sure, though. Are all members of the covenant design working group known publicly?

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  9. To anonymous poster #1:

    The Presiding Bishop may agree with the goals of the "progressive community," that is that gays and lesbians should be fully included in the church; but, as Presiding Bishop, her role is to represent The Episcopal Church as a whole. Those two are not mutually exclusive.

    In the same way, Peter Akinola agrees with the goals of the "conservative community," that is that gays and lesbians should not be fully included in the church; but, as Primate of his Province, his role is to represent Nigeria as a whole.

    Now, you may doubt that she actually is able to come and represent TEC as a whole. I would say that you are underestimating her. I would also say that every one of her public statements have been much more generous to those that disagree with her than Peter Akinola's have been to those that disagree with him. In no way that Peter Akinola even tried to represent those that disagree with him in Nigeria. He makes it sound like all 17 million Nigerian Anglicans agree with him, when they certainly do not. Yet, you don't see TEC asking for somebody from Changing Attitudes Nigeria to be present.

    signed,
    UTS

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  10. you write "The Archbishop of Tanzania, who was just at the so called Windsor Bishop’s meeting, has explicitly disallowed any relationship with a bishop who has supported, voted of, condoned, or otherwise encouraged the ministry of gay or lesbian persons." since gays and lesbians have been supported by the ABC in the past- I guess the AbT has cut himself off from Rowan.

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  11. Regardless of how this slow motion ecclesiastical trainwreck finally ends up, I will wake up the next morning still Christian, still gay, and still in some form, Episcopalian.

    The old tradition of Anglican comprehensiveness, where flaming gay lefty me could conceivably share a Table and a common task with ++Akinola is at an end. It is over not because of some precipitate action by those crazy Episcopalians in New Hampshire, but because a large faction in the Episcopal Church, and the majority in the Anglican Communion have wanted to morph into a confessional church for decades now. And now, their fondest wishes are about to come true. A confessional Anglican church will do what all confessional churches do, start splintering all over the place. ALL of the constituent provinces of the Anglican communion will see multiple splits and divisions in the coming years. The Episcopal Church is only the first.

    --counterlight

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  12. You mentioned about Bishop Wright receiving the dead from Iraq. About a thousand U.S. soldiers a year have been dying there, which is tragic. About a thousand gays a DAY have been dying before their time in the U.S. Can we have a moment of silence for them?
    -- JF McKenna

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  13. You mentioned about Bishop Wright receiving the dead from Iraq. About a thousand U.S. soldiers a year have been dying there, which is tragic. About a thousand gays a DAY have been dying before their time in the U.S. Can we have a moment of silence for them?
    -- JF McKenna


    With all due respect, that math simply isn't right. I can go through it if you like, but for that math to be right, approximately 8% of the US population would have to be gay, and every single one of them would have to die "before their time".

    Sincerely,

    Anon #1

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  17. JF McKenna...I said he was talking to the chaplains who have received the dead from Iraq.

    And yes, more than a moment of silence for all sorts of others who die.

    Your next entries with the math and the errors, corrections, etc, are off the point of either this post.

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  18. Counterlight said . . .

    "The old tradition of Anglican comprehensiveness, where flaming gay lefty me could conceivably share a Table and a common task with ++Akinola is at an end."

    And when was, pray tell, this "golden age" of comprehensiveness in the Anglican Church?

    Was it during the time that Mary's minions were sending the church leadership to the stake? Perhaps during the time that the roundheads were leading the royalists to the block. Or was it when the quakers and puritans were fleeing to the Netherlands and America for their very lives? Perhaps the first Methodists could give us some insight, but they were busy being hunted down and expunged for their heresies.

    The truth is, the differences that members of the Anglican Church have always been willing to live with have about form, not core Christian values: High Church and Low, surplice or chasuble, RSV snd KJV. But it has only been in the last fifty years that the different groups have disagreed about the core beliefs of Christianity: Scriptural Authority, the uniqueness of Christian Salvation and the 39 Articles.

    The wondrous days of yesteryear, when Montanists and orthodox, unitarians and trinitarians, gnostics and christians all happily dined at the same table is a myth. It never happened, and in the true church it never will.

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  19. The 39 Articles are now a "core belief of Christianity"?

    When did that happen?

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  20. In other news, the so-called "Windsor Bishops" have adjourned without issuing a statement.

    It's hard for me to believe that Jack Iker let pass by him an opportunity to issue a statement of some kind, but apparently he did.

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  21. "...more than a moment of silence for all sorts of others who die."
    -- M. Harris

    Will you please stop fudging this issue? "All sorts of others." I'm talking about the deaths of people that are directly attributable to this abominable encouragement of homosexual behavior among those who might otherwise avoid it. God loves them and doesn't want them to live in a way that is harmful to themselves and to partners in this behavior. Don't you get it? If not, why not?
    -- JF McKenna

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  22. Maybe we could also have a moment of silence for those driven to suicide by hateful crackpots who thought that ostracism and cruelty were good ways to "discourage" homosexuality.

    I was nearly one of them. If people like McKenna really want to help, they could begin by shutting their hateful mouths.

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  23. I couldn't agree more about ostracism and cruelty. Is that the only alternative to encouraging people to harm themselves?

    -- JF McKenna

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  24. jp said . . . .

    "The 39 Articles are now a "core belief of Christianity"?

    When did that happen?"

    It didn't, as you know. I made a mistake. So for the 39 articles, feel free to substitute any or all of the following: the Virgin Birth, the Nicene Creed, the sinfulness of homosexual practise, along with sex outside of marriage; all of them core Christian doctrines that Episcopal bishops have disavowed.

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  25. all of them core Christian doctrines that Episcopal bishops have disavowed.

    The core doctrines of the catholic Christian faith are found, as I understand it, in the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. They include:

    1) The historic Creeds
    2) Holy Scripture (that we may not all agree to its interpretation is a given in any Church)
    3) The episcopate, with variations in its local application
    4) The two primary sacraments of baptism and holy communion

    No mention of sex there, so I think it stretches a point to say that "homosexual practice" opposes a core belief of Christianity. That the Episcopal Church has raised questions about some historic teachings of the Church, I agree, but not core beliefs. To that end, there have been many other historic teachings of the Church that have been abandoned or changed over the course of Church history without leaving the central tenants of our following after Christ.

    Never have our Bishops "disavowed" the core doctrines formally as a House.

    That exceptions, like Bishop Pike, raised questions about the Virgin Birth, etc., is different from our Church making a formal renunciation through our governing bodies.

    Finally, I don't want to be seen as over-arguing my case:

    I am simply claiming that we can continue to disagree about the questions at hand and still call each other Christian.

    If we can no longer do that, then the discussion is at an end, and we are simply abusing one another.

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  26. If, as I hope and pray we do not, we actually let the evangelicals push us into being a confessional church by using the camo name "covenant" we should lobby for a rule that no meeting of more than 2 bishops can occur without lay participation.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  27. Since we're on the subject of the core beliefs of Christianity, let's talk about the thing that invokes the wrath of God more than any other -- the thing that will result even worse than being cast into the sea forever -- and that is leading others down the path toward their destruction. It's happening on this blog regularly.
    -- JF McKenna

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  28. the thing that invokes the wrath of God more than any other

    JFM,

    If this were the case, surely Jesus would have a spent a great deal more time talking about homosexuality than, say, the plight of the poor, the hypocrisy and abuses of the religious authorities, and the fundamental injustices of marginalization, oppression, and self-righteousness.

    God's peace.

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  29. "The wondrous days of yesteryear, when Montanists and orthodox, unitarians and trinitarians, gnostics and christians all happily dined at the same table is a myth. It never happened, and in the true church it never will."

    So what was the first Pentecost then? How about the Last Supper? Did the apostles have to take an exam to be admitted? Did Our Lord quiz each of them on doctrinal fine points?

    My younger, more conservative self, always anxious about what my neighbors believed, might have sympathized with the above at one time. I was convinced that I "knew" everything.
    Now, I still "know" everything, but I don't understand any of it, nor do I think anyone else does. I prefer to trust God to do any necessary sorting out of His camp followers, needy groupies, and poor slobs who just can't get anything right and who just won't leave Him alone.
    He can sort out the tares Himself.
    When we take that task upon ourselves, at best we make terrible mistakes; at worst we commit crime.

    --counterlight

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  30. The Church is a family, not a damn college with an admissions exam.

    --counterlight

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  31. r said:

    "That exceptions, like Bishop Pike, raised questions about the Virgin Birth, etc., is different from our Church making a formal renunciation through our governing bodies."

    This is incorrect. A church which does not oppose heresy by implication legitimizes it. Bishop Spong is a functional atheist, and yet no action was ever taken against him. What does this say to those listening about the danger of his teachings?

    carl

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  32. Carl,

    I disagree. The Roman Catholic Church tried the inquisition in the Middle Ages and many suffered. Perhaps that is an extreme case. Ecclesiastical presentments and trials today are quite expensive and take away resources from much more important work of the Church. I don't think one bishop, short of debilitating misconduct, is worth it.

    That said, I wonder why Jack Spong provokes such fear and outrage? I've read his books. I disagree with him on a number of points and agree with him on others. I did not feel endangered by what he said, even by his most radical ideas and gravest doubts. Surely a prayerful faith is stronger than even a bishop's worst doubts. And doubt, in my experience, has always been an invitation to deepen and expand faith, not to cry foul.

    Finally, it seems to me that heresies that the church has challenged in the past have been more widespread and long-lived than one bishop.

    There are much more important things that make me worry for my soul: my privilege as a white, straight male; my relatively comfortable lifestyle while others go hungry; and the limited vision that comes with my office as a clergy person.

    God's peace.

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  33. r -

    Given your comfort as someone not in danger of the hepatitis and 10 other diseases that are the scourge of so many practicing homosexuals, please don't bring in the sacred name of Jesus in defense of anything that would result in spreading this kind of suffering.

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  34. "...please don't bring in the sacred name of Jesus in defense of anything that would result in spreading this kind of suffering."

    As opposed to all those diseases of the soul; Pride, Hypocrisy, Fear, Ignorance, and Malice that afflict those so determined to protect the Almighty from the contagion of perverts, who presume to know God's Mind, and who agonize constantly over the correctness of their neighbor's beliefs.

    --counterlight

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  35. Counterlight

    You don't even have to bring God into this to see that it's wrong to encourage people to do things that harm themselves and others. It doesn't even rise to the standard of decency by secular reckoning. As for agonizing, maybe a bit of that would be a good idea, not about abstract correctness but because of the unchecked tendency to promote something whose consequences are often unbelievably painful! If you're accusing me of those diseases of the soul, I'll just concede all that, if you like, but we have to try our best to look at this matter objectively.
    --Jf McKenna

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  36. "You don't even have to bring God into this to see that it's wrong to encourage people to do things that harm themselves and others. It doesn't even rise to the standard of decency by secular"

    Such as encouraging, or even requiring, people to unnaturally suppress the expression their true natures (as God so made them) resulting in all manner of maladies from neuroses, to despair, to sham marriages, to suicide.

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  37. Homosexuals are not the only people who are naturally inclined to do things that are hurtful to themselves and to others. Having a natural inclination toward something, as you know, doesn't mean that it isn't hurtful. Yes, the inclination has to be sublimated; many who have done so have done things that have benefited humanity beyond measure and with the love of the community have experienced the joy and peace of believing in their celibate lives. JFM

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  38. JFM,

    I feel obliged to point out we are most certainly not promoting the promiscuous behavior (either homosexual or heterosexual) that spreads the diseases you appear to allude to. To claim that we do promote it misrepresents and mis-characterizes our position.

    Rather, I am saying that in committed, faithful relationships between two adults of any gender, I have witnessed the love of Christ and call that a blessing.

    I also believe celibacy can also be a blessing, but it is a gift to those who choose it, regardless of their sexual orientation. To force it on anyone strikes me as a form of violence, every bit as much forcing anyone into a marriage who did not desire it.

    I share your heartache about all who are suffering from sexually transmitted diseases. That they need our prayers and acts of mercy is a given. But please do not mis-characterize our position if we are to have any conversation of value here.

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  39. "Will you please stop fudging this issue? "All sorts of others." I'm talking about the deaths of people that are directly attributable to this abominable encouragement of homosexual behavior among those who might otherwise avoid it. God loves them and doesn't want them to live in a way that is harmful to themselves and to partners in this behavior. Don't you get it? If not, why not?"

    You are a very emotionally ill person...bordering on insane...you know NOTHING about LGBT people and even if they even EVER HAVE HAD SEX...are you aware that around 40% of RC clergy are LGB people? Most are celibate.

    Grow up, get help and please quit causing hate and crimes toward others...you are dangerous toward LGBT Christians/others with your silly neurotic/ignorant spewing...LGBT don't normally die from the "hands/love" of their partners/intimates but from hate mongers like you!

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  40. It seems, JFM, that the problems that so concern you are consequences of promiscuity. You are aware, aren't you, that promiscuity is in many ways a result of social disapproval of homosexuals?

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  41. David Huff8/1/07 9:50 AM

    Lordy, Lordy, Fr. Mark - the trolls have certainly found this comment thread, haven't they ?

    And both Bishops Spong and Pike have been mentioned and maligned, which means the Episcopalian version of Godwin's Law should be invoked and those threads considered free of reasonable content ;)

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  42. Myth: Illnesses arising from homosexual behavior are only from those who are promiscuous.

    Reality: The human body cannot withstand homosexual behavior any better that it can withstand the inhalation of smoke. If you use anything for purposes other than those for which they are made, a hazardous condition is likely to result.

    Myth: Those warning against homosexual behavior are motivated by hate.

    Reality: It isn't hate to warn people from harm, and it isn't love to encourage them to do harm.

    JFM

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  43. The argument from "disease" simply isn't true in the the medically cared-for subset (ie white) population of the USA of 2007 and the poster McKenna isn't either a physician, a public health specialist, or a demographer.

    And of course users of the "disease" argument always omit lesbians from the health statistics. Lower rate of STDs than heterosexual females (and heterosexual and homosexual men).

    Facts are such inconvenient things.

    NancyP

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  44. Oh yes, and the female human body, at least in Afghanistan and many SubSaharan African countries, is not meant to withstand the sequelae of heterosexual intercourse.

    Maternal complications and death rates are very high in those countries.

    NancyP

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  45. JWL:
    Have you ever stopped to consider the sexual behaviors of your fellow straight married Christians? As a mental health therapist who has heard really interesting stories from a wide number of respectable straight Christian couples, I am utterly at a loss to even imagine what it might be that gay couples engage in that straight couples do not engage in. There is absolutely no behavior (none) that is only engaged in by gay and lesbian couples. Yet the claims of disease and death only seem to be applied toward gays and lesbians by the so-called defenders of tradition? Why is this? Why is anything dangerous when done by one class of people and safe when done by another? Enough is enough. Until you are willing to get intimately involved in the private sexual lives of every Christian couple you know, straight or gay, stay out of the bedrooms of the gay couples. And you might consider some self examination into your obsession with the sexual practices of gays and lesbians.

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  46. JWL:
    And another thought:
    Go online and read where the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychoanalytic Association, American Mental Health Counselors Association, National Board for Certified Counselors, etc etc etc, and each and every one of the European, British, Australian and New Zealand equivalents of each and every one of these organizations, have all declared that being gay/lesbian is not a disorder and not in and of itself a mental health issue (although the side effects of bigotry and hate are related to depression and worse). And note that each of these organizations, full of highly educated professionals on the front lines of medicine and mental health every single day, also have ethical codes that mandate acceptance and understanding of different sexual orientations. You can try to claim that this was done because of some sort of "librul conspiracy" against the traditional family, but it won't wash because these organizations have documented their reasons through extensive reference to peer reviewed published scientific studies. Thousands upon thousands of studies supporting the acceptance of homosexuals and the fact that homosexuality is not a disorder seem to settle the issue very well. How do your credentials compare to these organizations and their thousands upon thousands of well educated members relying on solid scientific studies? What reason do you have to say that they are wrong and you are right?

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  47. I liked the comment about so many RC clergy being gay and most are celibate -- I'd add that most are productive workers in the Kingdom of God. Now, here are the things they're avoiding:

    Seven types of venereal disease, nine types of liver ailments (e.g., hepatitis), and 10 types of trauma, e.g., fecal incontinence—for a total of 26 diseases (Journal of Adolescent Medicine); high risk of acquiring hepatitis B (New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association); a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in the year 1871 (International Journal of Epidemiology); most unsafe sex acts among homosexuals occur in steady relationships (AIDS --a journal); proctitis associated with the gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis widespread among homosexuals (Health Implications and Journal of the American Medical Association); among lesbians: a higher prevalence of BV (bacterial vaginosis), hepatitis C, and HIV risk behaviors (Sexually Transmitted Infections – a journal).

    -- JFM

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  48. Nope, JFM: Cite the journal articles - give the full citation, otherwise I have to believe that you are not being truthful. I know that your citation of the International Journal of Epidemiology is false.

    So, either you are engaging in a deliberate falsehood, or you will state the author(s) date of publication, journal name, article title. Don't worry about volume or journal number, I can find them with the above. And this isn't a difficult demand at all. Before I make any claims like this I have to look up these details all of the time. Give us the citations or apologize.

    Next, explain to me how you imagine that all of the acts engaged in by straight couples are somehow unsafe when engaged in by gays but magically safe when done by straights?
    (like I said, being a psychotherapist I can assure you that the most respectable banker or lawyer and his wife who worship in the most traditional parish engage in the very same acts that gay couples do - the very exact same)
    Is this safe for straights but not gays? Then why on earth is it ok for straight couples to do these things? Hadn't you better be busy warning the straight couples in the church how they are killing themselves? What, you aren't going to create such a campaign? But you seem rather obsessed to run such a campaign for gays and lesbians. Hmmm. Could it simply be that you don't like homosexual people?

    ANyway, give us the journal citations with at least date and author or go away.

    And my apologies for responding to you as JWL instead of your initials JFM. Not sure why I made that mistake.

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  49. Actually, JFM, I found your reference using a scholarly article search engine. In the International Journal of Epidemiology is documented the effect on life span of behaviors by males IN THE SEX TRADE, i.e. pr*stitutes. And the study (in Vancouver, BC) highlighted the problems faced by these victims leaving a major component of their risk status to be poverty, access to medical care, etc, all part of the situation of those who work in the sex trade.
    This is not a study about gay men but gay men who sell themselves. Big difference. Unless you are beyond the ability to have a rational discussion I am sure that you can see this.
    So, that claim by yours fails.
    (Weber, Craib, Chan, et al. International Journal of Epidemiology 2001;30:1449-1454)

    So, in quickly pulling out just one of your claims it seems that it cannot be justified by studies.

    You misused the literature. That is ethically shaky, if not wrong.

    But where did you get this claim? AH, I found it through Google: The American Family Association website. A notoriously poor site at backing up their histrionic claims. Hmmm.... Bad research. If you were in an undergraduate class I was teaching I'd give your paper an F for such sloppy claims backed up by a misuse of a study found on a third party website.

    Try again.

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  50. "You are a very emotionally ill person...bordering on insane...you know NOTHING about LGBT people and even if they even EVER HAVE HAD SEX...are you aware that around 40% of RC clergy are LGB people? Most are celibate."

    Leonardo,

    I think the individual's ideas are amazingly silly, fearful and illogical. However, I submit that does not validate attacking him personally. Ad hominum attacks never are the path to G-d.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  53. And so we come full circle. My apologies (especially to Mark) for encouraging what wasn't a rational discussion to begin with.

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  55. I am partly responsible for feeding a troll. I always tell myself Don't Feed The Trolls and then I try talking to them. When will I ever learn? Sorry.

    I think that JFM was, a few days ago, posting this same sort of stuff over at Episcopal Majority and Lisa was kind enough to delete the postings. I'll bet that this long missive was the posting she pointed out would have been 22 pages long. Posts at Episcopal Majority are now vetted by the moderator before listing.

    Sorry for helping stir up the trolls here. Must remember that they go away when ignored.

    I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls... I will not feed the trolls...

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  56. "Ad hominum attacks never are the path to G-d." Jim

    My only regret is that I was not able to address this sick creep in person...what would follow would "not help my pathway to God" either.

    I'd keep an eye on my own personal "character" if I were you Jim and I'll promise God to be responsible for mine.

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OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with comment moderation but with some cautions and one rule:
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