Friday, May 26, 2006

Episcopal bishops join opposition to marriage amendment on Capitol Hill

by John Johnson
Friday, May 26, 2006

Bishop Larry Maze of Arkansas and retired New Jersey Bishop Joe Morris Doss, now living in Louisiana, joined a diverse spectrum of clergy and religious leaders on Capitol Hill May 22 to speak against passage of the so-called “Federal Marriage Amendment” (FMA).

The bishops are part of “Clergy for Fairness,” a coalition of religious leaders working to oppose passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage. The Senate is scheduled to debate the measure during the week of June 5. Maze and Doss participated in a news conference and lobby day in Washington to express their opposition to the amendment and to ask their senators in Washington to oppose the proposal. Their participation was part of a full day of activities and a national petition effort organized by the Clergy for Fairness coalition.

“Marriage is a theological matter of first importance for the church,” Doss said during a press conference in the Dirksen Senate office building. “It raises some of the most fundamental, complex, and vexing issues of theology… Such issues demand the church’s most careful and profound deliberation, and that is to take place in our parishes, councils, seminaries, publications, and places of theological reflection. It is to take place within national and international units of each denomination and in ecumenical dialogue."

Read it all here and give thanks for bishops willing to offer this prophetic voice!


Eric Swensson said...

Hi Susan; I've seen your side's use of "prophetic" over the last few years, but could I ask you for your general definition and why you applied it here? Thanks.

more martha than mary said...

I had that same question, Eric.

revsusan said...

General definition comes from Abraham Heschel: "The job of the prophet is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." In "Seminary 101" we explored how to balance those two calls -- the pastoral (nurturing the faithful and comforting the afflicted) and the prophetic (challenging oppressive systems and speaking truth to power on behalf of the marginalized).

Why I applied it here: It is long past time for people of faith who believe in the full inclusion of all the baptized in the Body of Christ AND in equal protection for all Americans under the Constitution to speak out against this so-called "Protection of Marriage" initiative which does nothing to protect marriage and everything to perpetuate marginalization.

And let me be clear: I'm all FOR defending marriage ... have written my own Defense of Marriage platform posted on this blog and aired on Air America. But I believe in defending and protecting the VALUES that make up a marriage, not discriminating against the partners seeking to live out those values in their lives and relationships.

Hope that helps clarify.

Catherine + said...

I don't think it gets any more crystal clear than that, Susan.

Laura said...

What bothers me about your defination of a prophet is that there is no reference to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or Father God Almighty. The Holy Spirit is the leading of any phrophesies,(that are of God) they will lead and direct all people to the Risen Christ, and they will confirm what God has already laid down as Truth. It really has nothing to do with "(challenging oppressive systems and speaking truth to power on behalf of the marginalized)." That may still be apart of your mission, and even the church's mission, but it is not prophetic.

Eric Swensson said...

Susan, you cleared it up. Your use of prophetic is entirely different from the the biblical. it's not a word from the Lord, rather it is political. That's what I thought.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with being political.

Peace and all good.

revsusan said...

laura ... were the prophets of the Hebrew Scripture less prophets because they didn't speak in Trinitarian language?

eric ... help me understand where Heschel's definition of prophetic conflicts with, oh, say Nathan confronting David or even Jesus pushing the temple authorities on healing on the sabbath? And I guess I confused by the either/or of "word from the Lord" and "political" -- isn't it the case that most "words from the Lord" have political implications?