Monday, February 19, 2007

Primates Choose Bigotry Over Baptized

Just issued Integrity Press Release:

"The primates of the Anglican Communion have utterly failed to recognize the faith, relationships, and vocations of the gay and lesbian baptized," said Integrity President Susan Russell, responding to the communiqué released today from Dar Es Salaam.

"Let us pray it doesn't take another hundred years for yet-unborn primates to gather for a service of repentance for what the church has done to its gay and lesbian members today, as they repented in Zanzibar yesterday forwhat it did to those the church failed to embrace as full members of theBody of Christ."

The Rev. Michael Hopkins, immediate past President of Integrity had thisreaction: "Jesus weeps, and so do I. If the House of Bishops (or any other body with actual authority in this church) capitulates to these demands and sacrifices gay and lesbian people to the idol of the Instruments of Unity, it will have become the purveyor of an "anti-Gospel" that will (and should) repel many."

Integrity encourages its membership and allies to directly contact their bishops --urging them to reject the demands of the primates. Our leadership will seek an immediate meeting with the Presiding Bishop to express our deep concerns and encourage the Executive Council to insist on the inclusion ofall orders of ministry in the ongoing process of discernment on Anglican Communion issues.

PRESS CONTACTS
The Rev. Susan Russell, President
president@integrityusa.org
714-356-5718 (mobile)
626-583-2741 (office)

Mr. John Gibson,
Director of Communications
jhngb@aol.com
917-518-1120 (mobile)

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Susan. We've all prayed for clarity. I think we have found it.

Janet said...

Many thanks Susan. I await further comments from KSJ and our own Abp Hutchinson. The ball will soon be in our court as we have our General Synod in Winnipeg this June and elect a new primate. Prayers please!
Two positive things out of the conference- the visible and vocal presence of real live gay Anglicans. The media blackout to prevent things from spinning out of control.
Blessings, Janet SSI BC

Anonymous said...

I say chuck the Communion, move MDG funds into domestic social gospel projects (my favorite, the Navajolands Mission), tell the Primates that the HOB cannot consider their homophobic request because of their intrusion into the Provincial boundaries of the Americas, and have ++Katherine convene a meeting of Primates and Moderators of inclusive Churches to offer a new community where people who wish to seek and serve Christ walk the talk.

Anonymous said...

I will contact my bishop. I will encopurage him to support the primates statement. It is about time that a clear voice, unanimous - including PB Schori, has spoken against the errant ways of TEC.

Anonymous said...

perhaps the primates recongnized the aforementioned relationships and found them wanting.

Mike Angell said...

Thank you Susan.

These words come to mind:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient suffrance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Anonymous said...

When I come here and find a garment-rending, teeth-gnashing post like this, I know sanity has prevailed for a change in the Communion. TEC has a choice to make, and it needs to end the mendacity that has characterized its actions the past four years.

Jeffersonian

Timotheos Prologizes said...

It would be well to remember that repentance is supposed to precede and follow Holy Baptism (see BCP pp 302,304).

The call to repentance should not be characterized as bigotry.

RFSJ said...

The PB should call a special session of GC to deal with this. Covenants among the Bishops with Deputies consent are a go-around of our polity. It would be hideously expensive, but perhaps worth it to have the official, can't-argue-with-it, expressed-with-clarity mind of the Church in a few pithy resolutions.

Anonymous said...

This makes me so tired.
If my partner were of the opposite sex, no one would think twice about our "manner of life." We go to church, we tithe, we vote, we pay our bills on time, we walk the dog twice a day, we do all the things our parents did--and in the suburbs, to boot. We have built a life together; we are responsible citizens and active, faithful Christians and Episcopalians.
And it's not enough for them. It will never be enough. In their narcissism, anything that doesn't match them in every single detail is unacceptable.
Lord Jesus, please--tell me why I should bother any more?

Joe Omar Gonzales said...

I have no doubt Jesus is weeping, for 53 years now have I know God, and "We Shall Overcome Someday", hope I am around, to see the end of hate, discrimination of every form. God bless you Susan for all you do, we won't give up, we know God loves us, peace.

Anonymous said...

" generations yet unborn ..."

Susan, I'm glad you have broken with the Reproductive "Choice" gang!

Anglodixie

Bruno said...

"It would be well to remember that repentance is supposed to precede and follow Holy Baptism (see BCP pp 302,304)."

I would assume that it is our own repentance not that of our neighbor we are to be concerned with. When did Chritianity replace Jesus as our "high priest" with bishops as arbiters of all that is holy?
BCP p 303
"Do you renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?"
I do, and with God's grace I will follow him as my savior and Lord"

BCP pp 316-317
" ... I therefore call upon you to consider how Saint Paul exhorts all persons to prepare themselves carefully before eating of that Bread and drinking of that Cup.
For, as the benefit is great, if with penitent hearts and living faith we receive the holy Sacrament, so is the danger great, if we recieve it improperly, not recognizing the Lord's Body. Judge yourselves, therefore, lest you be judged by the Lord. .... And acknowledge your sins before Almighty God, with full puropse of amendment of life, being ready to make restitution for all injuries and wrongs done by you to others; and also being ready to forgive those who have offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven. And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the banquet of that most heavenly Food."

pretty much focuses on our own selves, not the position of the person at the rail with us.

Peace
Bruno

John Gibson said...

Timoteos writes,

"The call to repentance should not be characterized as bigotry. "

And should the call to making one's life a lie be characterized as Godly?

Catherine + said...

Susan, I will be writing my bishop in the Diocese of Oregon to reject the Primates' decision to accept bigotry over the baptized. ++Katharine would not have voted with the majority for such abhorrent discrimination. I will encourage those I know to be of like mind to write our bishop as well.

Regina Matthews said...

Susan, I have been reading your blog and others to which you link since 2003. As a result, I finally decided to return to church following 40 years of rejecting everything associated with Christianity (I was reared Southern Baptist). I was so delighted to find a progressive Christian movement within a mainline church whose liturgy and history beckoned me and which had consecrated a gay bishop! Then came the election of KJS & I thought I was finally "home" so I became and Episcopalian My dear partner gladly joined me, having attended services at All Saints at UT Austin as a undergrad (MANY years ago!).

Now, I don't know what to do. We are New Orleanians (since 1961) and have seen the wonderful good that has been brought about in our beloved but broken City by church groups of all denominations. TEC especially, with its resources, has been able to start work on housing and other larger scale issues. Yet, it is clear to me that the position of the Primates, and perhaps of a majority of Anglicans, is that we really don't belong. Just go away -- that's the message we're getting. Or, just be quiet.

Interesting, is it not, that the prohibition appears to be against consecration of those who are living "openly" -- whether as bishops or just as committed couples, trying to live according to Christian principles. Closets and being hypocrits are permitted, I suppose.

What I guess I just don't "get" is why being in the AC is so important. Every time I step outside my door, I see incredible need. Poverty and despair is all around me, and governmental bungling and waste at all levels is appalling. Why not focus the means of TEC on our domestic needs -- charity begins at home. And why do the Primates continue to overlook the moats in the eyes of their colleagues whose own provinces continue to allow female sexual mutilgation (traditional tribal rites makes that okay, I suppose?!) and continued subjugation of women??

Ah! Is this the real issue? In 1984, feminist theorist Suzanne Pharr published an essay entitled "Homophobia: a Weapon of Sexism." It still is.

Bottom line: I don't know whether we're welcomed in TEC. Our bishop is not supportive. My local church has been, but our rector was just elected as bishop of SW Florida, and I don't know if his personal welcome will hold on the institutional level. Nor do I know whether a new rector will welcome us as he did.

I'm tired. I'm worried about hurricanes and bad levees and incompetent political leaders and violent crime and deplorable schools and a broken judicial system and hungry folks that our Loaves and Fishes truck can't begin to satiate and soaring costs of living and creaky arthritic knees and aging glbt family members and on and on and on.

Tell me, why should I even care what TEC does? Why should I even expend the energy trying to understand? Why should I support this institution? And where is God in all this mess?

The Pilgrim said...

Susan wrote . . .

""Let us pray it doesn't take another hundred years for yet-unborn primates to gather . . ."

Don't you mean "pre-delivered lumps of flesh that could potentially be unborn primates if we do not abort them?"

Sandfleigh said...

Why in God's name was TEC given seven more months to give the same response that has been coming out of GC for the last 15 years?
Excuse me, but listening and delaying is going to cut it any differently than it has been.

Anonymous said...

++Shrori would have agreed if she didnt have assurances the HOB would go along. Its a done deal, and like it or not everyone should simply get used to it.

Ann Marie said...

Susan,

I am a member of Integrity in Canada. I am in the process of writing a letter to our Primate outlining my concerns relating to the paragraphs on TEC in the communique. As well as the concerns I see echoed in "Progressive" blog land, I have serious concerns as to how this will affect our General Synod decisions this summer.

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

Darkrose said...

Regina,

I heard you, because that's pretty much where I am. What's been especially hard has been reading some of the comments here and on other blogs that come close to gloating over recent developments. "The call to repentance should not be characterized as bigotry." " perhaps the primates recongnized the aforementioned relationships and found them wanting." These voices are telling me that I'm not welcome, that wanting to spend the rest of my life with someone is automatically wrong because of her gender. I can't help wondering if this is the face that these commenters want to show to the world, of a Church that slams the door in people's faces.

Kevin B said...

Someone needs to tell Rowan Williams and Peter Akinola to open their eyes!

Several days ago, Rowan stood at Zanzibar, an island at the center of the slave trade in Africa, and talked about how the scars of slavery are still with modern society. “For hundreds and hundreds of years - in fact for thousands of years - people did not see the evil of slavery. Around them human beings were suffering in terrible ways and yet somehow people did not see, even Christians did not see. It is possible to look at another human being and yet not see what their real need is and what their real suffering is.” In his sermon, Rowan used this as an example as proof that peoples’ eyes needed to be opened.

Christians have used the bible and its scripture as justification for slavery, right up to the moment it was made illegal. The use of Christian doctrine that falsely condemns homosexuality is the same doctrine that the prior generation used to condone the practice of buying and selling humans as slaves.

Over the centuries, people who used the Bible to justify terrible things. The Bible has been misused to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan

Rowan challenged us to look for other forms of blindness: “what it is that we now are blind to; who is it now whose suffering we cannot see, cannot understand? In some societies it may be women or old people, it may be children. It may be minorities of one kind or another. It may be that in our wealthy countries - it is the case in our wealthy countries - that we do not see the reality of suffering and injustice in so much of the world. And we may not know for a long time just how many things we have not seen. But at least we can begin to pray ‘Lord, open our eyes’.”

Open your eyes! The Anglican Church was instrumental in ending slavery in Zanzibar. The Anglican Church should be instrumental in ending the religious oppression of gay people. The communiqué issued by the archbishops in Tanzania and Rowan’s statement that homosexuals are not compatible with scripture only continue the suffering and injustice.

It is right in front of you, but you cannot see. Open your eyes.

Fitz said...

Is this the same Susan Russel I just saw speaking on the PBS NewsHour..

Wow....I just happened to watch it and now I run across her Blog??

Neat...

Anonymous said...

I watched your segment on PBS this evening, and I found your message of equality and inclusiveness to be inspiring.

It is refreshing to hear a religious voice that is NOT preaching a message of discrimination and prejudice.

Anonymous said...

John 2007 writes:
What a solid, balanced, and earnest piece by the Primates. I think, while hard for some to accept, this will keep our Church magnetically drawn to Christ and save us from becoming a kind of Christ-less new age cult where everyone can believe what he or she wants.

Support Godly Primates said...

Many people in our church are already considering returning. Apostasy is apostasy. TEC slapped the rest of the Anglican Communion in the face regardless of the outcome and hopefully entire dioceses will not see it necessary to leave TEC to its approval of SIN

How more Episcopal churches do you want to empty??

Magdalene6127 said...

I am reminded of a button I used to wear in my former life as a Roman Catholic, and suggest a slight moderation:

"Ordain/ Marry Our GLBT Sisters and Brothers. Or Stop Baptizing Them"

Peace Susan.

Mags

Anonymous said...

""Ordain/ Marry Our GLBT Sisters and Brothers. Or Stop Baptizing Them"

A Slogan without sense, truly. It trades on the questionable assumption that baptism, a sacramental rite, automatically qualifies someone for priesthood or the episcopate.

Anonymous said...

Dear Regina,

Blessings to you and your partner. I am a centrist-leaning male straight priest. I read your comment and was so saddened by the alienation you feel, especially since at least some portion of my views unintentionally but inevitably contribute to your query, "Is is worth it?"

It is worth it. And part of what makes it worth it is gathering around the altar with sisters and brothers from around the world. Anglicanism is a gift to Christendom. Another part of what is so special is to worship alongside people with whom I would otherwise not be associated.

During the earlier days of women's ordination, Archbishop Runcie was in San Francisco addressing a bunch of clergy. We hit him respectfully but pretty hard on England's refusal to ordain priests. He noted that Episcopalians, and American Christians in general, tended to stake their position using a "rights-based" argument, whereas the Church of England looked at the issue of women's ordination from a perspective of gifts of the Spirit. He noted that as of that time the Church of England was not yet able to affirm the gift of women's ordination to the priesthood. Archbishop Runcie's approach left room for change. That change would soon come, albeit one could fairly question whether England would ordained women if the Episcopal Church had not led the way.


If an argument is based on rights, ie I have the right to marry a person regardless of gender, it leaves little room for discussion. The one who disagrees with the right to marry is vilified as against gays or homophobic. If an argument, however, is based on charism, it appeals to the Church to identify the activity of the Holy Spirit within the Body of Christ.

This draws me closer to my "more inclusive" friends. In my twenty plus years as rector of multiple parishes, I have always had close relationships with gay and lesbian members. They have been my wardens, my confidants, my staff, my friends. I will shout on the highest mountain the holiness of some of these gay parishioners.

Here is what I really want to say to you: stick it out. Most clergy are liberal and very sympathetic, and the few centrists are less liberal but generally very sympathetic to your spiritual journey and the integrity you bring to it. Admittedly there are a few jerks, but they are much rarer than you might imagine.

Some priests may not be ready to bless a same-sex union because we believe ourselves constrained by the broader Church. Some of us view marriage as inherently heterosexual but are very comfortable with alternative notions. The uneasiness of some of us has more to do with reproductive ethics than it does gender.

I know that none of this takes away your pain, it may even annoy you, but I wanted you to hear from someone that some would paint as being on the other side. I am grateful for your membership in the Episcopal Church. I hope you find it a place to grow and thrive. It has been such a place for me since my childhood.

RonF said...

I can't help wondering if this is the face that these commenters want to show to the world, of a Church that slams the door in people's faces.

The Church does not slam it's door in the face of sinners. It talks with them, eats with them, saves them from being stoned. The problem here seems to be quite the opposite. It is that a group of sinners is clinging to their sin; in fact, they are denying that they are sinning. And then they are slamming the door in the face of Jesus and the Church and denying it's transformative love.

Regina said...

In response to the anonymous straight male leaning toward centrist priest:

I do thank you for taking the time to write and for offering some words of comfort. However, I do not think that anything short of full abandonment by TEC of God's gay and lesbian tribe will satisfy the likes of Akinola (witness the new deadline of 9/30/2007 now placed on the ABC for excluding homosexuality from the Church). From his comment, as well as his actions in support of draconian legislation in his own country, Akinola clearly believes the existence of homosexuals in the church is an inherent evil. That is a far greater divide than the issues of ordinations and the blessings of gay relationships.

Based on the postings of others here and on related blogs as well, it is clear to me that a number in TEC share his belief that homosexuality per se is a sin and that only full repentance is acceptable. That position condemns us to a single life of celibacy. That for me is unacceptable. Moreover, I do not believe God has that in God's plan for us. My partner and I have been blessed by God (albeit not TEC), and we have been a blessing as a lesbian couple, both within and without the church. We came, just as we are, because that is how we were made by God.

Interesting, is it not, that Jesus said not a single word about homosexuality. He did say something about divorce. He said DON'T. Yet the church has come round to accept divorce. Others have said much more eloquently than I how the church has also apologized for its role in slavery -- not too long ago supported by Biblical exhortations as well. But for gay and lesbian Christians, there can be no "admission" to the church apart from denying that we are who we are, as made by God? I don't think so.

May I commend to you the writing of Bishop Neil Alexander (Atlanta) "This Far By Grace" -- In this wonderful short volume, Bishop Alexander sets forth a clear Biblical analysis for acceptance of gays and lesbians into the full life of the Church and documents his own journey from exclusion to full inclusion. I do wish he were my bishop . . . .

I also appreciate your rights vs charism distinction, but in light of the apparent power struggle being played out for control of TEC and of the AC itself, I question whether the principal actors opposed to gays and lesbians in the church are willing to listen. Every attempt by ++KJS to commend the comminique to TEC as something from which good can come has resulted in further vitriol from the Akinola faction. If there is willingness on only one side, again, I must question whether this effort is worth it in the long run.

Truly, I want to stay. But if this is Anglicanism, then perhaps I did make an error in becoming Episcopalian and will have to search elsewhere for Christian community. ROM