6/26/2009

Excellent post on Changing Attitude

OK... Go there and read it. Here: Why are Church of England bishops betraying the Communion?

One snippet:

What puzzles me is, how do the rest of the House of Bishops tolerate such dissent? Changing Attitude would like to know why English bishops and senior lay people are prepared to support groups which treat LGBT people and women as inferior third class citizens at best. At worst, they don't believe gay people exist and advocate prejudice and intolerance.

To that I might add, these people are paid employees of the State Church, and one might think that they would be bound to uphold something like the standards of the State. Does the UK "treat LGBT people and women as inferior third class citizens at best"? If so shame on the UK. If not shame on the CofE.

Read the article.

20 comments:

  1. I am tired of this "equality" nonsense. Who's not equal? A requirement of clergy that they be celibate or living in Christian marriage is "sexual orientation neutral." Allowing co-habitating homosexuals can be ordained but not co-habitating heterosexuals is simply homosexualism. Now, if liberals had integrity, they would work for Christian marriage being extended to homosexual couples - first.

    And what happened to irenic plea for friendship? I guess you didn't mean it, Mark+? We have calls to discipline clergy for simply remaining on amicable terms with the ACNA folk? Shameful. And I like the call to discipline those participating in the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicanism. We can't have clergy upholding things like the 39 articles! How outrageous. Off with their heads!

    I would give it a RLOL if it weren't so sad.

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  2. As someone else noted, the comment section here seems to have become SFiF II. In particular, "robroy" seems to have a lot of free time.

    My security word is "proud"!

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  3. Are you sure that clergy are state employees in England?
    If they are, another reason why church and state should be separate.

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  4. Actually, I think it is a bit more complex than that. The Clergy are not exactly State employees. So for instance this year a number of seminary grads are not going to be ordained because the church has no money to place and pay them. Were it a taxing authority this would not be a problem.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  5. Robroy, the post on Changing Attitudes is about the Church of England, and is written with their structures in mind.

    I honestly tried to research where your bit about the living arrangements of clergy came from. It doesn't seem related to this post or the one on Changing Attitudes. It sounds like you just wanted to scream out your views.

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  6. Mark - you could do much better than referencing and endorsing anything that was posted on the Changing Attitudes blogsite. Only the people behind Changing Attitude could be twisted enough to believe that those faithful orthodox bishops are setting out to destroy the Church of England when in fact it is the promotion of perversion by Changing Attitude which will drive many people away from the Church of England as has happened to ECUSA through the same work of Integrity. Those faithul bishops who have got behind ACNA are not betraying the Communion but trying to preserve it by upholding orthodox Christian belief and practice in places where that is in danger of being lost because of the perversion of homosexual behaviour and the slaughter of innocent babies in the womb being promoted as social justice issues by a church which has lost its theological and moral compass.

    ECUSA has problems enough with shrinking and aging congregations and dioceses in financial free fall, while pluralism and immorality are being promoted as the solution to those problems when it fact they are the cause. Do you really want to have that outcome spread throughout the Communion? Fortunately evangelicalism is alive and well in the UK, and I mean British Anglican evangelicalism, not the kind of evangelicalism generally found in the United States.

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  7. Lynn, my comment is directed at this statement, "Changing Attitude would like to know why English bishops and senior lay people are prepared to support groups which treat LGBT people and women as inferior third class citizens at best."

    Thus, the statement that clergy should be either celibate or living in Christian marriage is "sexual orientation" neutral. Not allowing heterosexual clergy to shack up is treating them like "inferior third class citizens at best."

    If you want homosexuals to be eligible to be clergy, the correct way to proceed is to work towards extending Christian marriage to homosexuals, but until then allowing cohabitating homosexual clergy but not cohabitating heterosexual clergy is homosexualistic (or should I say bigoted?).

    WilliamK, I don't post more than one or two comments per day. I abide by Mark+'s very charitable rules. It seems to me that any conservative comments are in a sea of liberal ones. They generate more discussion and interest. Are you threatened by them?

    Apparently, the so-called "Thinking Anglicans" were so threatened because I was kicked off from that site despite my always trying to be respectful (although sometimes being exasperated as above). So much for their thinking.

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  8. Actually, RR, I don't think it's what one says at sites like TA (though endless blind repetition can be unwelcome there - witness the fate of the late "NP") that get one barred from the site, so much as the manner in which one expresses things and the attitude adopted in saying it. Lest it seem that I am laying into you again, let me add that the posts I have seen from you recently on "progressive" or neutral sites, seem far more gently worded of late. Talking down to folks or looking down one's nose at them - attitudes of which I myself am certainly not guiltless - are not always the best approach to the exchange of ideas. Thanks for your gentler approach, by the way - far easier on my blood pressure.

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  9. ...it is the promotion of perversion by Changing Attitude which will drive many people away from the Church of England....

    Just more of the usual anti-gay scapegoating.

    Neither Changing Attitudes nor Integrity promotes "perversion." Rather, these organizations have been working to end the exclusion and oppression of God's LGBT children. Faced with the kind of animosity and contempt expressed in Brian F's post, they will continue their work, and God will continue to bless them with success. Sadly, there seem to be many, many Christians who won't stay in a church that welcomes LGBT people as full participants in the Life of Christ. This is their loss.

    Brian F., I found it interesting that you used harsh rhetoric here that you don't use when you post at Susan Russell's blog... because you figured you could get away with it here and not there? ... or are you just under less self-control due to increasing anger?

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  10. BrianF, nobody with any real knowledge of either statistics or sociology is claiming that the Episcopal church is declining for the reasons you've mentioned: "pluralism" can mean anything and nothing, as can "immorality". Your church had a healthy rate of growth while virtually indifferent to segregation in the south and still tied to the British Empire for missionary support.

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  11. Mark,

    Are you fine with Brian calling homosexuality a perversion? There's quite a difference between calling someone a sinner and a pervert. And in the realm of "sins," same-sexuality didn't even rank in the top ten thou-shalt-nots transmitted through Moses.

    Robroy,

    Thank you for expanding your comments. I believe you are confusing "bigotry" with "discrimination." That said, I haven't heard much clamor from straight priests wanting to shack up rather than marry their life partners. Of course, it's illegal for opposite-sex couples to live together outside of marriage in my state (Virginia), so I may be out of touch on the issue. Perhaps others can share more on the topic, but - I'm doubtful this is a problem. Is it anything but the most frivolous discrimination when a "class" of people cannot do something that holds no appeal? Do you feel the pinch of discrimination when you can't use the Ladies' in a restaurant? Of course not, and my example is just as odd as yours.

    You might also be interested in knowing that the closest acronym for "homosexualism" is "homosexuality." When you tell heterosexual people who support the LGBT community they are practicing "homosexualism," it is just plain inaccurate. I won't even get into the issue of discrimination against female priests.

    Mark, I am pretty saddened by these comments.

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  12. Lynn...no I am not. I quite often allow comments that are way out of line knowing that it will be picked up. But Brian and Robroy are near using up their time.

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  13. Mark, thank you for your very gracious response to a preitty snippy question. It was a bad day to hear such a label - or shall I say, worse than usual.

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  14. Let me try to redeem myself. Lynn brings up female clergy. Recall the "Philadelphia Eleven" were "irregularly" ordained as priests in Philadelphia, PA by two retired and one resigned bishop in 1974. Is there anyone who thinks that women's ordination would not have happened, perhaps a few years delayed? But the manner which it was done set up ill feelings that carried on even today contributing in part to the formation of the ACNA. In contrast, look at the other provinces. Look at England and Australia with respect to women bishops. They are doing things by the book and much less strife is resulting.

    And now we have the ordination of homosexual clergy. Instead of learning "to do things right." We have establishing facts on the ground strategy carried out to the nth degree.

    My point above alludes to how to do things right. Many people, both conservative and liberal voiced strong objections to Kevin Thew Forrester's personal revisions to the prayer book, something that Episcopalians hold dear.

    What I saying is that the proper way to proceed (or to have proceeded) is to alter the prayer book to include same sex marriages. This, I believe and Mark+ can correct me, would require action by two successive General conventions. Then and only then, should the denomination ordain practicing homosexuals - and only those in newly revised "Christian marriages."

    Of course, it is all water under the bridge. Can the current leadership repent and turn back the clock and "do things right"? No. The success of the ACNA, already starting out with an average attendance about a 10th of the TEC, owes much to the bitterness the leadership of the TEC has engendered by its heavy handedness.

    I hope this clarifies what I was trying to say and people find it not offensive. It is easy to get exasperated as we all know.

    My verification word is "sivell" which is the way we Texans often spell civil.

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  15. Robroy,
    I, for one, am appreciative of the civil and respectful tone of your latest post, and your apparent willingness to engage in serious discussion about this issue. I hope we all here can respond accordingly. I commit myself to that.

    On the issue of marriage, the problem I see with your argument is that it assumes that the validity of a Christian marriage is determined by the occurence of an ecclesial ritual. However, marriage is a sacrament in which the people getting married are the "celebrants." The ecclesial ritual is secondary to that basic fact. The Scriptural model for this is the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden: God brings Eve to Adam, Adam accepts her as "bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh," and they are "married". There is no ceremony, no "priest," no witnesses: just the original couple and God, and it is God who does the joining. In the New Testament, Jesus assumes this when he declares, "What God has joined together, let no one put assunder." So, a valid marriage is what God--not the Church--has joined. This is why a non-Christian marriage is as real and valid as a Christian one, and why there have always been cases in the life of the Church when couples were considered married without benefit of a church ceremony ("common law" marriages). I'm also reminded of the fact that during the era of slavery in the United States, when many slaves were denied "legal" marriages, couples simply "jumped the broom" before a gathering of members of their community. Surely, those slave couples were as married as their Christian slave-owners who had denied them the "church weddings" they themselves had enjoyed.

    You seem, for the sake of argument, to have accepted the possibility that there could be valid same-sex marriage. If there can be, this means that God accepts and blesses such unions... and if this is the case, then the Church's failure to have done so, so far, is a failure to do as God wants. All of this being the case, it seems to me that gay and lesbian Christian couples have done the only thing they could do: faced with the Church's refusal to recognize their relationships, they have entered into God-made partnerships without the Church's blessing. Now, if a bishop looks at such a partnership and sees it as a valid Christian marriage (the sacramental joining of two people committed to lifelong faithfulness and exclusivity), there can be no barrier to allowing a member of that married pair to receive ordination to holy orders. In short, whether the Church as a whole officially recognizes them or not, we already have "same-sex marriages," and the condition for ordination has been met.

    And, of course, we have many "practicing homosexuals"(*) now ordained, including one bishop (and it's not as if +Gene is the world's first "gay bishop"; he's simply the first open-and-honest one!). So, you are right, it is water under the bridge... and I don't think our leadership have anything to "repent" for. They have done the right thing.

    (*) I think someone else already pointed this out, but a common lesbian-gay response to "practicing homosexual" is to say, "I don't need to practice anymore; I'm quite good at it." ;-)

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  16. After passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which forbade slavery in the USA, African-Americans were subject to legal and illegal harassment for the next 90 years. Along the way, discrimination was legalized in the form of “separate, but equal.”

    Was the trajectory toward full inclusion? I think not. Indeed, Brown v. Board of Education was re-argued, a very rare occurrence suggesting that outcome we have was no sure thing.

    Inclusion can never be presumed. It seldom occurs organically and almost never because the excluders no longer think it’s a good idea. There is nothing inevitable about the arc of justice.

    I can’t imagine what the “right way” to extended civil rights other than overturning the existing order. The oppressed can never find an oppressor willing to bargain in good faith. Let me be clear. Even though he was elected by the majority of voters, some still challenge the legitimacy of President Obama. So much for the “right way” to do things. (Yes, not all challenge the legitimacy, but an unseemly number seem to) If the ordination of women had come about the “right way,” would there have been greater acceptance? Perhaps, but to what degree? A wise friend once told me, “The ‘Isms are related to each other (racism, sexism, fascism, anti-Semitism).

    So, absent radical action, would African-Americans have advanced in any degree? (I’m prepared to leave aside the issue of just how much advance has occurred) I’m not so sure. Likewise, I am not prepared to believe that TEC would have women priests today, absent some form of direct action. Nor, can I believe that their acceptance would not be a cause of disunity.

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  17. "promotion of perversion"?

    Brian F, do you remotely consider that to be civil discourse? The perversion here is in one who takes a Gospel of love and turns it into judgment against his fellows.

    No wonder I'm an atheist.

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  18. Robroy wrote:
    In contrast, look at the other provinces. Look at England and Australia with respect to women bishops. They are doing things by the book and much less strife is resulting.

    This appears to be the case in Australia, in those provinces that have decided to allow ordination of women to the presbterate and episcopate.

    However, I don't think it is correct to say that there is "less strife" in England over consecration of female bishops. What I have read indicates a great deal of tension, since there are still a substantial number of English Anglicans who reject the ordination of women, have alternative episcopal oversight, and are concerned about how the ordination of female bishops will affect them... for example, they won't recognize the orders of male priests ordained by a female bishop, etc.

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  19. IT
    much as I normally agree with you -that's a non sequitur.

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  20. Point of Order writes, "Likewise, I am not prepared to believe that TEC would have women priests today, absent some form of direct action."
    Martin Luther King, Jr and the other civil rights workers were successful precisely because the worked within the law. Certainly, with 20/20 hindsight, it obvious to me that women's ordination would have happened regardless. (Again, look at England and Australia.) But POL's prophetic vision and "the ends justifies the means" philosophy are responsible for the mess that we find ourselves.

    WilliamK, these issues are certainly contentious anywhere, but there is no ACNA in England or Australia. There are not over 50 lawsuits. There hasn't been more bishops deposed than in the history of the church (or now we "accepting resignations" never proffered to avoid inconvenient trials).

    Gene Robinson recently predicted the end of churches that don't accept gays (by which, I assume, he means doesn't bless homosexuality). I know numbers. The losses are accelerating. I predict more "establishing facts on the ground" which will quicken the acceleration (i.e., negative third derivative for those who remember their Calculus). I see the numbers for the TEC to be equivalent to the Unitarians (membership of 500,000) in less than a decade and won't stop there. The buildings that the denomination is clinging to are quickly becoming millstones around the necks of dioceses (look at Connecticut).

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