Friday, September 07, 2007

Retract, dude! Retract.

Guess I underestimated the Episcopal House of Bishops when I wrote about this last time. I was (justifiably, I think) disappointed with Bishop Kathleen Jefferts Schori for her statements recommending that Episcopalians acquiesce to the ultimatum set by the Anglican Communion (in brief: if you don't stop ordaining gay priests and performing gay marriages by September 30th, 2007, you can't fully participate in the Church). In reading my post again, the condemnations of Bishop Schori seem a little harsh. I reread her statement and I understand why she gave it, since the decision regarding a response to the Anglican primates isn't entirely hers, and she was trying to reconcile all kinds of factions in her church.

But still: what you want from a progressive leader at a moment like that is affirmation, not equivocation. i.e. "Gay and lesbian Christians are welcome in our church, and that's our interpretation of Jesus's teachings. We will do everything we can to make sure they remain welcome, and though we recognize this constitutes a minority opinion amongst the Anglican Communion, we will try to persuade the primates that we can preserve the integrity of the church without taking the drastic measures they've suggested." Bam, simple as that.

Regardless, the good news is that it looks like the Episcopal House of Bishops is not going to respond to the primates' request, even following the House of Bishops' September 20th meeting in New Orleans. It would be nice for the HoB meeting to produce a statement asserting the rights of Episcopal parishes to ordain gay priests and marry gay couples, but the truth is that the existence of those rights is more important than asserting them. If declining to respond allows the Episcopal church to continue its work and remain within the Anglican Communion (at least until the next ultimatum), then that's probably better for all concerned -- especially if, as one would hope, avoiding a schism would bring the Anglican Communion as a whole closer to tolerating gay congregants.

Anyway. Episcopal House of Bishops: more badass than I thought.

(title ref)

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