Tuesday, June 30, 2009

IntegriTV Reports on Bishops Looking Beyond B033

President Bonnie Anderson has announced that there will be a special order "committee of the whole" discussion of B033 in the House of Deputies. Here are just a few of the bishops committed to working together to end the B033 "Season of Discrimination" against the LGBT baptized.

House of Deputies may convene unusual sessions on Resolution B033

By Mary Frances Schjonberg, June 30, 2009

[Episcopal News Service] The House of Deputies will be asked to consider meeting in two unusual sessions early in the 76th meeting of the General Convention to discuss Resolution B033 passed by the last convention.

"The purpose of this discussion will be to exchange information and viewpoints among the deputies, and to inform Legislative Committee #8 World Mission, to which committee all the resolutions relative to B033 have been assigned," House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson wrote in a June 29 letter to deputies and first alternate deputies.

Anderson wrote that she believes the House of Deputies "will benefit by having an opportunity to discuss B033 apart from the context of legislative procedure" and noted that "many deputies have indicated their longing to discuss B033 together as a house."

In 2006, deputies had 30 minutes on the convention's last legislative day to debate B033, which called upon standing committees and bishops with jurisdiction to "exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate to the episcopate whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion," which was generally assumed to pertain mainly to homosexual priests living openly in committed relationships.

If the house accepts the proposal, the committee of the whole sessions will take place July 9 and 10, prior to when the world mission committee will hold its open hearing on proposed resolutions to rescind or supersede B033.

Read the rest here.

From the LGBT Pride Event at the White House yesterday

Words to live by the week before General Convention:

It is but lost labor that we haste to rise up early,

And so late take rest, and eat the bread of anxiety.

[New Zealand Night Prayers]

FAQs: B033

As we move toward Anaheim and General Convention 2009, I'm getting more and more questions about "where does Inegrity stand on [fill in the blank]"

The following are from the FAQ sheet we came up with, responding to actual questions from real people in provincial meetings all around the church. Hope they'll be helpful!

Part 1 of 3...

Doesn't B033 automatically expire at the start of General Convention 2009?

According to a recent opinion by the Chancellor to the President of the House of Deputies:

A Resolution adopted by one General Convention remains the position of the General Convention until it (1) expires by its own terms, (2) is revoked by a subsequent act of a General Convention, or (3) is superseded by General Convention's adoption of something clearly contrary to the prior enactment even if the prior act is not explicitly revoked. A General Convention cannot bind a future General Convention, a future General Convention can always change what a prior General Convention has done.

Therefore, Resolution B033, since it did not contain language stating when it will expire, remains the position of General Convention until General Convention revokes it, adopts something contrary to it so as to supersede it, or in some way determines that it is contrary to a Church rule of a higher order such as the Constitution or Canons and is therefore null and void or of no effect.

Has B033 actually been a factor in preventing LGBT candidates from being elected to the episcopate?

Absolutely. According to an April 2, 2009 ENS feature:

"The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York has told a newly formed bishop search committee that they are expected to 'honor the mind of the Episcopal Church regarding acceptable candidates for the episcopate as expressed through the General Convention.' The Standing Committee said in a posting on the diocese's bishop search website that the requirement referred to Resolution B033, passed by the Episcopal Church's General Convention in June 2006."

Until we move beyond B033, qualified candidates for the episcopate who are LGBT are being prevented from even being considered, much less elected.

There are a lot of resolutions about B033— which one does Integrity favor?

The one that will pass.

At this point, as with every General Convention, a variety of resolutions have been submitted with different approaches to the same goal: moving beyond B033. What is important is that General Convention 2009 acknowledges we have outlived “the season” we were told we needed B033 for and that we need to enforce our nondiscrimination canons when it comes to ordination.

We’ll be tracking legislation as it moves through committee and making decisions with our allies "on the ground" in Anaheim about what our legislative strategy is based on how those resolutions come forward to the floor.

My bishop says that the House Bishops won't rescind B033, so isn't working to move beyond it seems a waste of effort?

The resolutions regarding B033 will be starting in the House of Deputies so we are looking for "the senior house" to take the lead on this issue – which is usually how progress on social justice issues have happened in the Episcopal Church throughout the decades. If Integrity and our allies had waited for the House of Bishops to say they were ready to move forward on LGBT inclusion we would never have gotten started. It’s taken us 33 years to get this far and no effort to continue to move the church forward is wasted.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ménage à Trois - Blessing Same Sex Unions

The Countdown to Anaheim Continues:

The Rev. Howard Anderson, rector of St. Matthews Parish, Pacific Palisades, CA talks about the powerful witness of same sex couples who want their relationships blessed by the church. He calls it: the Ménage à Trois.

PRIDE Reception @ The White House Today

[via press release]

President Honors History Of Modern
LGBT Civil Rights Movement With
Historic Reception At White House Today

Gay rights leaders and advocates will be attending a reception this afternoon with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

The reception is being held to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots, an event that many attribute to be the birth of the Gay Civil Rights Movement.

[stay tuned for further details ...]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

TEN DAYS TO GO: "General Convention: Then & Now"

Here's the "launch" segment for IntegriTV ... 10 Days and Counting on our March to Anaheim!

Why we still need Pride Parades

Thanks to Ann Fontaine for the link to this wonderful reflection on Sans Fig Leaf by Gene Breshears. It's entitled:

Love Conquers

While I was growing up the adults in my life (and the books they had me read, the movies they let me watch, etc) taught me many lessons:

* love conquers all
* might does not make right
* it is better to eat cheap soup with someone you love than a lavish meal with people who hate you
* it's better to lose doing the right thing than to win by cutting corners
* you can be anything you want if you work hard enough
* be proud of living in the land of the free
* treat others the way you wish to be treated and you will be blessed
* you have to let other people live their lives as the wish if you expect to live yours as you wish
* love, forgiveness, and compassion are better than distrust, blame, and rejection

I could go on and on. Some might consider those cliches or simply trite, but I really believed them all. And the people who taught me those lessons all claimed they believed, too.

Ironically, the people who had been most emphatic about those lessons were the same ones who ignored all of them when they found out I was gay. And some of them figured it out before I did. I was getting beat up while being called f*ggot and c*cks*cker and the like before I knew what those words were. In grade school "sissy" and "pansy" were the preferred insults, but the others snuck in there, too.

They told me that my love was wrong and would destroy me, rather than conquer anything. They told me I should marry a girl whether there were sparks or not and go through the motions. They told me if I had to love men, I should do it in secret. They told me that it didn't matter how long I looked or how hard I worked, I would never find a man who would fulfill me, and I would never be accepted. They told me that it was unAmerican and selfish to choose a life outside their idea of correctness. They told me that I must respect their beliefs and their relationships, but it was evil of me to expect them to respect mine. They told me that living my life as I chose ruined theirs, somehow. They told me that all the bad things that they and people like them did to me was my own fault, and I shouldn't expect understanding and acceptance.

Society tells those things so relentlessly, that for part of our lives we believe them. I foolishly tried to fit in, to hide my true self. I tried to be someone I wasn't. I tried to find a middle ground, where I only appeared that way to some people, but others knew. But eventually we all realise that a life built on lies, even really clever ones with grains of truth in them, can never withstand the ups and downs of real life. It's like the illusionary food in fairy tales--it doesn't nourish, it doesn't sustain, and it will eventually kill us.

They keep telling us that our love is wrong, and anything bad that happens is our fault. Never mind that much of the bad that happens is caused by their insistence that we're wrong, and the something crazy lengths they will go to prove it. Even as their assertions become less acceptable to society at large, they keep saying it. They've reframed some of the statements a little over time. As we have slowly won more people over to the idea of letting us live and let live, they've grudgingly reconciled themselves to allowing us a few crumbs here and there, but they seem to get even more defensive, the more crumbs we get.

Despite all the bad things that have been said and done, I still think those original lessons were true. And all the bad stuff is just bad stuff. Love conquored all that bad stuff. No matter how hard people tried to convince me I didn't deserve happiness, that I would never find love, that I and people like me were sick and depraved and dangerous, I'm happy to call the sweetest, kindest man you will ever know my husband.

Before Michael and I ever met, I spent a wonderful eight years with another sweet, loving man. A man who promised to love me for the rest of his life. And he did. I would have liked to have more time together--I wish he hadn't died, but the time we had was full of love and happiness. During the years when my family refused to even meet the man I loved, so that I was forced to stay away from family gatherings, we never had a bad holiday. Even during the years when money was tight, when we lived in a tiny apartment (the whole thing smaller than my current living room), our very old car was held together by bailing wire and hope, we had each other, and that silly saying about cheap soup with someone you love was proved again and again.

I wanted to live my life openly instead of hiding in fear and pretending to be something I wasn't. I wanted to be with someone I loved and who loved me back. I wanted to have talented and interesting friends who liked me for myself, and not what I could give them. I wanted to spend days laughing with those friends, writing, creating, reading, and just living a good and full life.

They told me I couldn't, and that it was wrong to even try.

They were wrong. Because I have all those things, and the reality of them has turned out to be even more wonderful than the dreams of my youth ever imagined. Life is good. It isn't perfect, but it's good. Despite the naysayers and the oppressors.

But just because my life is good doesn't mean I'm content. They keep saying all those hateful untrue things. They say them to their own children, even though some of those children are gay, just like me. Maybe they don't realize the damage they are doing. Maybe they really can't see the utter illogic and hypocrasy of their stands. Maybe they just can't see that they aren't giving love half the credit it deserves.

But ignorance is not a sufficient excuse. It's not okay that gay kids are still thrown out of their homes. It's not okay that gay people are still beaten to death. It's not okay that they deny us our rights. It's not okay that they try to deny love and happiness for the generations coming up. It's not okay that they're still trying to kill our dreams.

That's why we still need Pride Parades and Festivals and Protests and all the rest. That's why those of us who have survived the bad stuff and found our place in the world have to live our lives openly.

Yes, love conquers all. But you can't conquer anything by timidly hiding in a closet.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

40 Years Later, Still Second-Class Americans

Frank Rich reflects on Stonewall in Sunday's NYTimes

LIKE all students caught up in the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960s, I was riveted by the violent confrontations between the police and protestors in Selma, 1965, and Chicago, 1968. But I never heard about the several days of riots that rocked Greenwich Village after the police raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in the wee hours of June 28, 1969 — 40 years ago today.

Then again, I didn’t know a single person, student or teacher, male or female, in my entire Ivy League university who was openly identified as gay. And though my friends and I were obsessed with every iteration of the era’s political tumult, we somehow missed the Stonewall story. Not hard to do, really. The Times — which would not even permit the use of the word gay until 1987 — covered the riots in tiny, bowdlerized articles, one of them but three paragraphs long, buried successively on pages 33, 22 and 19.

But if we had read them, would we have cared? It was typical of my generation, like others before and after, that the issue of gay civil rights wasn’t on our radar screen. Not least because gay people, fearful of harassment, violence and arrest, were often forced into the shadows. As David Carter writes in his book “Stonewall,” at the end of the 1960s homosexual sex was still illegal in every state but Illinois. It was a crime punishable by castration in seven states. No laws — federal, state or local — protected gay people from being denied jobs or housing. If a homosexual character appeared in a movie, his life ended with either murder or suicide.

The younger gay men — and scattered women — who acted up at the Stonewall on those early summer nights in 1969 had little in common with their contemporaries in the front-page political movements of the time. They often lived on the streets, having been thrown out of their blue-collar homes by their families before they finished high school. They migrated to the Village because they’d heard it was one American neighborhood where it was safe to be who they were.

Stonewall “wasn’t a 1960s student riot,” wrote one of them, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, in a poignant handwritten flier on display at the New York Public Library in the exhibition “1969: The Year of Gay Liberation.” They had “no nice dorms for sleeping,” “no school cafeteria for certain food” and “no affluent parents” to send checks. They had no powerful allies of any kind, no rights, no future. But they were brave. They risked their necks to prove, as Lanigan-Schmidt put it, that “the mystery of history” could happen “in the least likely of places.”

After the gay liberation movement was born at Stonewall, this strand of history advanced haltingly until the 1980s. It took AIDS and the new wave of gay activism it engendered to fully awaken many, including me, to the gay people all around them. But that tardy and still embryonic national awareness did not save the lives of those whose abridged rights made them even more vulnerable during a rampaging plague.

On Monday, President Obama will commemorate Stonewall with an East Room reception for gay leaders. Some of the invitees have been fiercely critical of what they see as his failure, thus far, to redeem his promise to be a “fierce advocate” for their still unfulfilled cause. The rancor increased this month, after the Department of Justice filed a brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the most ignominious civil rights betrayal under the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton.

The Obama White House has said that the Justice Department action was merely a bureaucratic speed bump on the way to repealing DOMA — which hardly mitigates the brief’s denigration of same-sex marriage, now legal in six states after many hard-fought battles. The White House has also asserted that its Stonewall ceremony was “long planned” — even though it sure looks like damage control. News of the event trickled out publicly only last Monday, after dozens of aggrieved, heavy-hitting gay donors dropped out of a Democratic National Committee fund-raiser with a top ticket of $30,400.

In conversations with gay activists on both coasts last week, I heard several theories as to why Obama has seemed alternately clumsy and foot-dragging in honoring his campaign commitments to dismantle DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The most charitable take had it that he was following a deliberate strategy, given his habit of pursuing his goals through long-term game plans. After all, he’s only five months into his term and must first juggle two wars, the cratered economy, health care and Iran. Some speculated that the president is fearful of crossing preachers, especially black preachers, who are adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage. Still others said that the president was tone-deaf on the issue because his inner White House circle lacks any known gay people.

But the most prevalent theory is that Obama, surrounded by Clinton White House alumni with painful memories, doesn’t want to risk gay issues upending his presidency, as they did his predecessor’s in 1993. After having promised to lift the ban on gays in the military, Clinton beat a hasty retreat into Don’t Ask once Congress and the Pentagon rebelled. This early pratfall became a lasting symbol of his chaotic management style — and a precursor to another fiasco, Hillarycare, that Obama is also working hard not to emulate.

But 2009 is not then, and if the current administration really is worried that it could repeat Clinton’s history on Don’t Ask, that’s ludicrous. Clinton failed less because of the policy’s substance than his fumbling of the politics. Even in 1992 a majority of the country (57 percent) supported an end to the military ban on gays. But Clinton blundered into the issue with no strategy at all and little or no advance consultation with the Joint Chiefs and Congress. That’s never been Obama’s way.

The cultural climate is far different today, besides. Now, roughly 75 percent of Americans support an end to Don’t Ask, and gay issues are no longer a third rail in American politics. Gay civil rights history is moving faster in the country, including on the once-theoretical front of same-sex marriage, than it is in Washington. If the country needs any Defense of Marriage Act at this point, it would be to defend heterosexual marriage from the right-wing “family values” trinity of Sanford, Ensign and Vitter.

But full gay citizenship is far from complete. “There’s a perception in Washington that you can throw little bits of partial equality to gay people and that gay people will be satisfied with that,” said Dustin Lance Black, the screenwriter who won an Oscar for “Milk,” last year’s movie about Harvey Milk, the pioneering gay civil rights politician of the 1970s. Such “crumbs,” Black added, cannot substitute for “full and equal rights in all matters of civil law in all 50 states.”

As anger at White House missteps boiled over this month, the president abruptly staged a ceremony to offer some crumbs. The pretext was the signing of an executive memorandum bestowing benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees. But some of those benefits were already in force, and the most important of them all, health care, was not included because it is forbidden by DOMA.

One gay leader invited to the Oval Office that day was Jennifer Chrisler of the Family Equality Council, an advocacy organization for gay families based in Massachusetts. She showed a photo of her 7-year-old twin sons, Tom and Tim, to Obama. The president cooed. “I told him they’re following in Sasha’s footsteps, entering the second grade,” she recounted to me last week. “It was a very human exchange between two parents.”

Chrisler seized the moment to appeal to the president on behalf of her boys. “The worst thing you can experience as parents is to feel your children are discriminated against,” she told him. “Imagine if you have to explain every day who your parents are and that they’re as real as every family is.” Chrisler said that she and her children “want a president who will make that go away,” adding, “I believe in his heart he wants that to happen, his political mistakes notwithstanding.”

No president possesses that magic wand, but Obama’s inaction on gay civil rights is striking. So is his utterly uncharacteristic inarticulateness. The Justice Department brief defending DOMA has spoken louder for this president than any of his own words on the subject. Chrisler noted that he has given major speeches on race, on abortion and to the Muslim world. “People are waiting for that passionate speech from him on equal rights,” she said, “and the time is now.”

Action would be even better. It’s a press cliché that “gay supporters” are disappointed with Obama, but we should all be. Gay Americans aren’t just another political special interest group. They are Americans who are actively discriminated against by federal laws. If the president is to properly honor the memory of Stonewall, he should get up to speed on what happened there 40 years ago, when courageous kids who had nothing, not even a public acknowledgment of their existence, stood up to make history happen in the least likely of places.
[from Walking With Integrity]

IntegriTV, Integrity's video presence in Anaheim will launch on Sunday, June 28th -- 10 days ahead of the start of General Convention 2009 -- with the 10 part "MARCHING TO ANAHEIM" series promoting Integrity's ministry and message.
Watch for it daily here

"For the last 10 days of Integrity's march to Anaheim, we're reprising that theme with different content added daily, offering reflections from bishops and lay leaders, from pastors and people in the pews," said Louise Brooks, Integrity's Director of Communications.

Once the convention begins, Integrity fans from around the globe will have a front row seat to the happenings from July 7-18, in Anaheim with IntegriTV's brand-new daily news & information program produced especially for broadcast on the Integrity website.

Each day, IntegriTV will feature timely news stories and unique interviews on subjects of particular interest to equality advocates within the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. You'll want to stay tuned to IntegriTV because no where else will you find the General Convention reports specifically addressing your interests and concerns.

A passionate team of Integrity volunteers will be on the floor, in the halls and around every corner at convention working to educate attendees and encourage support for "all the sacraments for all the baptized." IntegriTV is just one of several channels created by Integrity to provide real-time updates to folks at the convention and back home. Social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook will also keep fans updated, as well as the regular Integrity blog. Of course, there will still be the occasional old-fashioned email update as well.

"We are thrilled that these enthusiastic volunteers are committing their time and God-given talents to the issue of equality in our church. They are bringing diverse skills to General Convention which will enable us to reach people on so many different fronts," said the Rev. Susan Russell, IntegrityUSA President.

"Who would have thought even a year ago we'd have such amazing technology at our fingertips to draw people even closer to the cause for equality? IntegriTV is yet another opportunity for us to deliver substantive information directly to you and introduce you to key players who are shaping issues within the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion."

To make life just a little simpler, all you have to do to keep up with Integrity at General Convention is go to the one-stop portal at:
There you can view the daily IntegriTV show, became a Facebook fan, follow along on Twitter and read the Walking With Integrity blog.

Friday, June 26, 2009


In my "inbox" this morning (from several different sources ... thank you ALL!) was this great point/counterpoint exchange published earlier this month in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Counterfeit brand
Public Forum Letter -- 06/08/2009 [source link]

I recently read an article about brand counterfeiting -- when someone makes something that looks like a well-known brand and sells it as that brand. One of the brands mentioned was New Balance shoes. This is a big problem for New Balance, as it is for many other manufacturers. New Balance makes a quality product, and it has worked hard to create its reputation. When someone sells inferior shoes under its brand it damages that reputation. No one would complain if these people made and marketed their shoes as their own brand. The problem occurs when they try to pass their shoes off as New Balance shoes.

Now, there's another type of brand counterfeiting going on. There's a brand called marriage. This brand has been defined from the beginning as being between a man and a woman. But there are some people who want to create something else and call it marriage. No one would complain if these people would make and market their relationships as their own brand. The problem occurs when they try to pass off their relationships as marriage.

Homosexual relationships are not marriage. Call them what you want, but don't counterfeit the existing brand.

Steve Jones
South Jordan


Worthwhile knockoffs
Public Forum Letter -- 06/17/2009 [source link]

Steve Jones argues that homosexual relationships imitate "the existing brand" of marriage in the same way that counterfeit shoes imitate the New Balance brand name ("Counterfeit brand," Forum, June 9). Jones claims that since the beginning of time the marriage brand has been defined as being between two humans of opposite sex, and that it is unacceptable to change it to mean something different.

If Jones is a Mormon, Joseph Smith created a new brand of religion by breaking away from the standard faiths. Is the LDS Church "counterfeit"?

If Jones is patriotic, the brave men and women of the Revolution created a new brand of country by separating from England. Is the United States "counterfeit"?

Does Jones value the respect and dignity of every human being? We need to expand the terms "respect" and "dignity" to include same-sex couples.

Change in society and culture is vital to our world. Homosexual marriage is not counterfeit, and it does not make traditional marriage any less meaningful. I am proud that my birth father is gay, and the love between him and his partner is not fake or counterfeit. It should not be compared to a knockoff pair of sneakers.

Helena R. Duncan
Cottonwood Heights

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I grew up in a family where pride was problematic.

Maybe it was because my mom was from Minnesota where “getting too big for your britches” is still a felony, not just a misdemeanor.

Or maybe it was my dad’s New England practicality and down-to-earthedness that didn’t leave much room for what he called “blowing your own horn.”

Whatever the cause, it’s taken me a good long while to get to the place where I recognize that there are indeed times and places where a modicum of pride is not only acceptable but appropriate. And this is one of those times.

But let’s start with The Gospel According to Merriam-Webster:

PRIDE: the quality or state of being proud:
a: inordinate self-esteem : conceit
b: a reasonable or justifiable self-respect
c: delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship

While “a” is NOT what I’m talking about, I have experienced plenty of both “b & c” in response to the All Saints vestry’s June 2nd resolution declaring: “that the sacramental right of marriage is available to all couples, but that the clergy of All Saints Church will not sign civil marriage certificates so long as the right to marry is denied to same-sex couples.”

Here are a couple of examples. The first one is a comment on the blog I wrote the day after the vestry resolution taking All Saints out of the civil marriage business:

Dear Rev. Russell,
Every time I hear anything about All Saints Pasadena, I feel proud to be a Christian (which can be hard sometimes considering some of what goes on in the name of Christ). This resolution is one more of those things. I don't know how it is possible that I can feel so connected to a church when I haven't even been in the building, but I imagine it might have something to do with the Holy Spirit. Thank you, thank all of you, so much. I hope that you wonderful people at All Saints know what a blessing you are to so many.
Signed: Katie B

And the second is from an interview I gave to one of the reporters who called for background about the story: Every time I think I couldn’t be more proud to be part of All Saints Church, something like this vestry resolution happens and I’m reminded all over again what a privilege it is to be part of a congregation that has prophetic witness in its DNA.

That’s right: I’m proud. It is pride that includes reasonable and justifiable gratitude for leadership that actually leads – that is committed to being a head light and not a tail light on the issue of marriage equality. It is pride that arouses both delight and elation at the privilege of putting faith in action in a way that makes God’s love tangible 24/7. And it is pride that goes not before “a fall” but goes after a step forward on that arc of history we keep being told bends toward justice.

Attorney General Steps Up on Hate Crimes Legislation

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stepped up his call for the passage of federal hate crimes legislation Thursday, arguing that the federal government needs to address a rising tide of criminal activity fueled by bias and bigotry.

Holder made his remarks during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is considering the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The bill would allow the Justice Department to provide assistance to state and local authorities in the prosecution of hate crimes while also expanding federal protection against hate crimes to cover disability, gender and sexual orientation.

"Hate crimes victimize not only individuals but entire communities," Holder said.

"Perpetrators of hate crimes seek to deny the humanity that we all share, regardless of the color of our skin, the God to whom we pray or the person who we choose to love. ...," he said. "The time is now to provide justice to victims of bias-motivated violence and to redouble our efforts to protect our communities from violence based on bigotry and prejudice."

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage

Let's talk about the sanctity of marriage, shall we?

You wanna start with the Governor of South Carolina who was AWOL in Argentina over Father's Day weekend with his mistress? Or with the Senator from Nevada who just copped to an extra-marital affair? Or how about with the reality show parents-of-eight whose impending prime time divorce was bigger news on the morning shows today than the unrest in Iran or a soon-to-be new Supreme Court Justice?

We don't have to look past the latest "breaking news" to get the message that the sanctity of marriage truly is under assault. And so -- since marriage is such a crucial cornerstone in the foundation of society -- I'm thinking it's time to call in reinforcements! CLEARLY the heterosexuals need some help.
And we're here to give it to them!
If a picture is worth 1000 words, then these should be good for 40,000 or so ...

These are couples who responded to my "APB" for wedding photos for a video project we're working on for General Convention ... couples who have promised to love, honor and cherish 'til death do them part ... couples who are living their lives in commitment to each other and within the context of their faith communities. There are clergy among them. Lay leaders. I spied a Daughter of the King. General Convention Deputies. Members of the Altar Guild. Senior Wardens. People in the Pew.

Their faces glow with the sanctity of the vows they have taken. Love. Honor. Cherish.

They are asking their church to now live up to its 33 year old promise of "full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance and pastoral concern and care of the Church" by moving ahead in Anaheim with rites for the blessing of these marriages.

So let's talk about the sanctity of marriage -- here and when we get to Anaheim. And when we do, let's keep these faces in front of us. And let's challenge our church to do the right thing as we gather in (eeeek!) just 16 days for our 76th General Convention.

Because the sanctity of marriage IS something worth both celebrating and preserving. The sanctity of EVERYBODY'S marriage.


MORE from "you couldn't make this up" land:

From the Los Angeles Times report:

South Carolina's wandering governor, Mark Sanford, said today he had an affair with an Argentine woman and that was why he disappeared without telling anyone he went to South America.

"The bottom line is this: I've been unfaithful to my wife," he said. "I've developed a relationship with a dear dear friend from Argentina."

Speaking at a nationally televised news conference, Sanford apologized to his wife, his four boys, his family and the people of South Carolina for his disappearance and for leaving his staff and family to make up excuses for his absence. Sanford's staff had insisted at one point that he was off hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

Sanford has been a colorful figure on the South Carolina political scene. He once put a spending clock outside his office to illustrate how quickly a proposed budget would spend state money. He also brought pigs to the House chamber to protest pork he said lawmakers had put in a budget.

Still, Sanford has been a well-respected governor, head of the Republican Governors Assn. and a strong conservative among those who are potential 2012 GOP presidential aspirants.

The presidential sweepstakes has been less than charitable to Republicans so far. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal saw his stock drop after a disastrous television appearance; Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been embroiled in feuds with her state legislators and with late-night talk-show host David Letterman; Nevada Sen. John Ensign admitted he had an extramarital affair; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was forced to back step after he used the word "racist" to describe Sonia Sotomayor, a nominee for the Supreme Court.

Sandford's disclosure comes the same month that another Republican, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, revealed that he also had had an extramarital affair.


So THESE are the "traditional values" bunch???? Oy vey!

Meanwhile, in New York ...

This from The Advocate.com:

New York governor David Paterson placed the marriage equality bill at the top of the list of items for senators to consider in a special session called for Wednesday, reports the New York Daily News. However, the fate of the bill remains anything but certain as chaos continues to reign in the chamber, where a protracted leadership struggle has upended business since June 8.

On Tuesday afternoon, the special senate called by the governor broke down as Democrats and Republicans, who include one Democratic defector, held separate sessions -- at the same time. Different sets of bills were voted on, according to The New York Times, with each side claiming the other voted yes to its proposals by not voicing its opposition.

By Wednesday morning, there were no indications that the two sides had resolved their differences, or that the day's special session would proceed more smoothly. Sources tell Advocate.com that amidst this scenario, if a same-sex marriage bill were to be passed, its legitimacy would almost surely face a legal challenge.

You can't make this stuff up

Well, considering that the source is David Virtue, maybe that's not the most accurate headline for this piece, but nevertheless ... here's what Katie Sherrod is reporting over at Desert's Child:

Rumors abound that Ft. Worth Bishop Jack Leo Iker's long term goal is to take his diocese to Rome. Not true. Numerous sources have told VOL that he is deeply committed to the new North American Anglican Province and he will work with his fellow bishops over the thorny issue of women's ordination.

A number of his Ft. Worth priests were recently seen at the Anglican Use conference in Houston. He has told them that if they want to go to Rome, they can do so, but they can't take their property with them.

Imagine that. One hardly does know where to begin to count the ways this is the height of absurdity ... or maybe we really are through the looking glass altogether!

Here comes ENDA!


Representative Barney Frank, joined by Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis, introduced an inclusive version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would extend the existing federal law prohibiting employment discrimination to protect people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


Call your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to cosponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Dial the Capital Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be directly connected to your Representative.

(If you don’t know who your representative is you can find out here.)

Tell them:

I am a constituent and I would like you to please tell Representative _______ that I would like him/her to become a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. ENDA would ban discrimination against all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the workplace. Can you tell me whether or not Representative _______ has cosponsored the bill?

Go. Do it. Now. Really. Just call.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Here's Another One ...

Integrity Eucharist Procession: 1997

Ghosts of General Conventions Past

So I just hooked up a scanner in my office and rather than doing something actually productive with it, decided to scan these old clippings from GC.1997. (And now, back to work! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"New U.S. Anglicans launch, to ban women, gays as bishops"


*Who Would Jesus Ban?
[As reported by Cathy Grossman in today's USA Today:]

Hundreds of formerly Episcopal parishes are meeting this week to unify as a new national church: the Anglican Church in North America.

Organizers, led by former Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert Duncan, expect 300 delegates, including 50 bishops, in Bedford, Texas, for a three-day gathering that begins Monday.

The group is scheduled to adopt church laws that will exclude women and homosexuals as bishops. It also is expected to elect and install Duncan as archbishop.

The new group, which says it represents 100,000 believers, calls itself a province, echoing the language of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the third largest Christian denomination. The Anglican Communion is a loosely governed collection of 38 regional and national churches, including the 2.1-million-member U.S. branch, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Canada. However, it may take years for the new group to be recognized as a member of the Communion.


Great launch -- doncha think? When the headline is about who's being banned from what?

Happy Summer ...

... Happy Father's Day!

[Here's a little "slice of what summer looks like" in my neck of the woods:]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church

by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
Audio for this story will be available Sunday at approx. 12:00 p.m. ET

[NPR source link] Weekend Edition Sunday, June 21, 2009 · Martyn Minns recalls the moment he knew he had to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was 2005. He was rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., and he was talking with a young family who told him they could no longer attend a church that accepted gay bishops or diverged from what they called Orthodox Christianity.

"As I looked at them, I realized that I had a decision to make," he says. "Either I moved with them into a rather uncertain future, or I lost the heart of the congregation. So for me it was a matter of, 'Do I want the church of the future, or the church of the past?' "

Soon after that, Minns' church bolted from the American Episcopal Church and aligned itself with the conservative archbishop of the Anglican province of Nigeria. Now he and other church leaders representing more than 700 congregations, four dioceses and up to 100,000 churchgoers are meeting in Bedford, Texas. They hope to form a new Anglican province in the U.S. — one that would rival the Episcopal Church.

Mainline Church Irked, Not Worried

The Rev. Ryan Reed of St. Vincent's Cathedral, which is hosting the Bedford conference, says conservatives have tried to stay in the "big tent" of Anglicanism.

"The problem," Reed says, "is in the last 30 years, the boundaries of that tent, or those views, have expanded so far that you can find leadership in the Episcopal Church that is radically not Christian in terms of their understanding of the cross, the Resurrection, the uniqueness of Christ, the authority of Scripture."

Reed says the Episcopal Church is following culture, not the Bible. When it ordained a gay bishop in 2003, he says, the conservatives finally decided to offer an alternative. That view irks — but does not worry — leaders in the mainline church.

"The folks that are gathering in Texas represent a small, conservative fringe within the Episcopal Church," says Susan Russell, a minister at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, Calif., and a leader in the church's gay rights movement.

"Their goal has been to vote the American Episcopal Church off the Anglican island," she says. "They failed at that over and over again, and now they're trying to re-create a new province in their own image."

Breakaway Province Unlikely To Be Recognized

Russell believes they won't succeed this time, either. For one thing, she says, they would probably need the approval of two-thirds of the 38 Anglican leaders around the world to create a separate Anglican province in the United States. Currently, only a handful of those leaders have signed on publicly. Plus, she says, leaders of the breakaway faction would need the recognition of the archbishop of Canterbury — and that hasn't happened.

"It would be as if Sarah Palin were to take a small, but vocal, percentage of very conservative Republicans and decide that they were going to create a parallel United States without having the White House at the center," Russell says.

George Pitcher, an Anglican priest at St. Bride's Anglican Church in London and religion editor at the Daily Telegraph, agrees. He says the communion welcomes conservative views.

But, he says, "when they want to say this is the one true way, and we want to impose it on all Anglicans, then it's at that stage that the broadly tolerant Anglican Communion says, 'Well that's not the way we do things.' "

Conservative Churches Growing

In the past, a number of conservative groups have left the worldwide communion over things like women's ordination or the prayer book. And they've shrunk into virtual irrelevance.

But this time, it might be different, says religion historian David L. Holmes at the College of William and Mary. He says the American conservatives have the backing of many leaders in Africa and South America, who represent more than half of all Anglicans worldwide.

Moreover, Holmes says, the Episcopal Church has shrunk 40 percent in little more than a generation, whereas these conservative churches are growing.

"My sense would be if the Episcopal Church continued to lose members in a striking way, and this new group kept gaining members, it would be a new ballgame," he says.

Minns says he is not expecting the conservatives will succeed overnight.

"I think it will take a while," he says. "These things normally do. These provinces take sometimes decades to be recognized, so we're not holding our breath on that."

But Minns does believe time, demographics and theology are on their side.

Vintage "West Wing" - The Bible Lesson ...

... worth a "summer rerun!"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Logo for All Saints Church, Pasadena's "Team Anaheim"

More info as it comes available, but we've got a logo, a slew of volunteers and a booth reserved in the Exhibit Hall (stop by and say hey!) We're looking forward to welcoming our "Big Fat Episcopal Family" to our neck of the woods for General Convention 2009! Tick Tock!

A Not QUITE Midsummer Night's Dream

So I dreamt that I was on a talk show. The subject was -- big surprise -- marriage equality. And I was "up against" a male pastor-type who was giving the "but the Bible says" argument.

The host turned to me and said, "Reverend Russell, isn't it true that the Bible condemns homosexuality?"

And I -- in my dream -- said,

"What is true is that you can find passages in the Bible that condemn some homosexual practices -- and it is true that some people interpret those to say that God condemns homosexuals."

"What is also true is that you can find passages in the Bible that tell slaves to obey their masters -- and it is true that those passages have been interpreted by some to say that God supports slavery."

"But what this conversation today is about is not who interprets the Bible how, but whether 51% of the electorate has the right to take rights away from other Californians because of how they read the Bible. What if in the next election 51% of the voters were convinced to vote to re-institute slavery because "the Bible says ..." Is that the kind of California you want to live in?

And then I woke up.

Yes, I need to get out more. But -- for the record -- I think it's a pretty good argument.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Louie Crew: "Over the Line" or "Right on Target"???

You be the judge:

Louie just posted this "open letter" (regarding the House of Bishops' "secret committee") to his blog ... and is already taking hits on some listservs for having gone "over the line." What think we???

An Open Letter to Bishop Henry Parsley from Two Named 'Louie Crew'

Bishop Parsley,

In 1911, when his son Erman was only six, the local Klan came in the dark to the home of my grandfather and demanded:

"Louie, it is time for you to do your civic duty."

Louie stood them down while Erman watched from behind a window, frightened by the torches and the hoods.

Then to Erman's amazemenet, Louie called out the name of every hooded man. Erman thought his father had magical skills, not realizing that as president of the local bank, his father had loaned the money used to buy most of the
buggies and horses of the vigilantes.

"John! Gary! James! Henry!......" Louie called to the panel before him; "you know that you are up to no Christian good when you have to hide your face to
do it."


+Henry, Bishop of Alabama, Ernest and I still pay taxes on Louie's property in Coosa County. You know that you are up to no Christian good when you have to hide the identity of the special panel that you have appointed to study us secretly.

Nor do you treat all parties equally. This week the MISSIONER, published by Nashotah House, identified The Rev. Daniel Westberg, a professor at Nashotah House, as a member of the secret panel and Dr. Ellen Charry, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, as the panel's chair. (See page 3 of the current issue)

The writer had sufficient knowledge to characterize the theologyical position of each member of the secret panel.

Why does one of our most conservative seminaries have access to information that you have denied to all who have requested it, including those of us who share fiscal responsbility with you at General Convention?

End the duplicity. Take the hoods off all members of the committee. Let there be transparency and decency.

I have been baptized.

Louie Crew, L1 Newark

In case you missed Keith yesterday:

HRC's Joe Salomonese comments on Obama's action extending (some) federal benefits to LGBT employees:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


Watch out, Maine ...

... here they come!

[AP source link] PORTLAND, Maine – Gay marriage foes in Maine have hired the public relations firm that led the successful Proposition 8 proposal to overturn same-sex marriage in California, while supporters have turned to a legislative aide who led a successful campaign to retain Maine's gay rights law.

Schubert Flint Public Affairs will provide guidance to the campaign to repeal Maine's gay marriage law, just as it did during the Proposition 8 campaign in California.

Meanwhile, Maine Freedom to Marry has hired Jesse Connolly, who's taking a leave of absence as chief of staff to House Speaker Hannah Pingree. Connolly, of South Portland, led Maine Won't Discriminate's successful 2005 campaign to keep the state's gay rights law.

Connolly said his political action committee has no specific fundraising goal but is preparing for a high-profile and costly campaign. There will be direct mail and media advertising, but there will also be plenty of one-on-one conversations with voters, he said.

"This is going to be a campaign that a lot of folks are going to try to say has national implications," Connolly said.

Maine was the fifth state to approve gay marriages when Gov. John Baldacci signed the legislation on May 6. New Hampshire later followed suit, so all New England states except Rhode Island now permit same-sex couples to marry. Iowa also allows it.

In Maine, the law goes into effect in September unless, before then, opponents collect the signatures of at least 55,087 registered voters. If so, the law will be put on hold pending a statewide referendum that could be held as early as Election Day in November.

Marc Mutty, spokesman for Stand For Marriage Maine and for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, said petition-gathering is under way with volunteers and paid workers. They're getting a boost from the diocese, which is allowing signature-gathering at churches.

As for Schubert Flint, the California firm will serve as a consultant but won't play as big a role as it did in the California initiative, Mutty said.

In California, Schubert Flint helped to overturn a court ruling allowing gay marriage. The initiative, which amended the state constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman, passed with 52 percent of the vote.

Jeff Flint from Schubert Flint said his firm will provide some overall strategic advice and campaign management in Maine but won't be sending staff.

"The campaign is not about Schubert Flint. It's about the definition of marriage in Maine," he said. "Certainly it appears to us that the majority of people, notwithstanding what the Legislature and the governor did, support the traditional definition of marriage and want it to stay that way."

Connolly said the grass roots campaign that pressed for Maine's law is ready to get back to work to uphold the decision of the Legislature and governor. "No matter who they bring in to run the campaign, we feel we're in a strong position to uphold this law," he said.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This missed Flag Day by 2, but still ...

Schwarzenegger says Proposition 8 may violate U.S. Constitution

As reported in today's L.A. Times ...

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today told a federal court in San Francisco that the state does not dispute that Proposition 8 may violate the federal Constitution and called for quick action to resolve the legality of the ant-gay measure law.

“Plaintiffs’ complaint presents important constitutional questions that require and warrant judicial determination," the governor said in a written response to a federal challenge of the anti-gay marriage ballot measure.

" In a constitutional democracy, it is the role of the courts to determine and resolve such questions. … The administration encourages the court to resolve the merits of this action expeditiously.”

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has scheduled a July 2 hearing on arguments whether Proposition 8 should be blocked pending a trial on its constitutionality.

The state has opposed an injunction on the grounds that it could create legal chaos if the measure is eventually upheld. The federal lawsuit was filed shortly before the California Supreme Court rejected challenges to the measure on state constitutional grounds. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown has argued that Proposition 8 violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

He also argued unsuccessfully in state court that the measure violated the California Constitution.

"We are extremely pleased Gov. Schwarzenegger does not dispute the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 and agrees that swift action is needed to ensure that every person is treated equally under the law,” said Chad Griffin, president of a group formed to back the federal challenge.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

You don't get much more "from the diverse center" than Durango, Colorado!

I spent several summer vacations in Durango, and delight in my memories of them. AND I delight in these words from the monthly newsletter from St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Durango ... and their rector, Andrew Cooley -- who is also a Deputy to General Convention:

A sacrament is an affirmation that we can see God’s action and presence in the lives of God’s people. I suspect most of us would agree that it is appropriate to baptize and confirm persons who are gay or lesbian. I would point out that the church (including St. Mark’s) has been blessed by the ministry of gay and lesbian persons who serve (or served) the church as lectors, Sunday school teachers, music ministers, Eucharistic Visitors, vestry members and priests. Yes, priests.

I can name priests who have served St. Mark’s – who have acknowledged (some privately to me) that they are gay or lesbian – who served with great distinction and respect, and faithfully administered the sacraments of the church. I have come to believe that God can use a qualified gay or lesbian person to offer the ministry the church needs from its bishops. I find Bishop Gene Robinson – who I’ve known personally for over ten years – to be a godly person who is well suited to be a Bishop. I can name other priests who might also be called to be a Bishop who are gay or lesbian. The church would be blessed to see them called forward to serve as Bishops. I am also satisfied that we can see God’s loving presence manifested in the lifelong, committed relationships of gay or lesbian couples.

I have run out of reasons to deny gay and lesbian persons the full participation in the life and ministry of the church that is available to me and the majority of us. I had previously been persuaded (and thus my positive vote for the moratorium three years ago) that sacrifice was necessary from all of us for the sake of preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion. The sacrifice some were being asked to make was unequal, but might have been worth the benefit.

I have now come to see that the benefit of waiting doesn’t seem so obvious and the burden seems too great to put on our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. I cannot see Jesus withholding God’s grace in these sacraments, and for me (and the church) to be a part of withholding them feels like an injustice.
Read the rest here ... and do give thanks for the work and witness of those who continue to be open to having their hearts, minds and votes changed on the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments!

Why I Now Support Gay Marriage

Here's why we keep at it: if Tom Suozzi can change his mind, so can your neighbor, your convention deputation, your bishop or your president!

Why I Now Support Gay Marriage
By TOM SUOZZI -- Mineola, N.Y. [source link]

WHEN I ran in the Democratic primary for governor against Eliot Spitzer in 2006, I vocally supported civil unions for same-sex couples but did not endorse equal marriage. I understood the need to provide equal rights for gays and lesbians, but as a practicing Catholic, I also felt that the state should not infringe on religious institutions’ right to view marriage in accordance with their own traditions. I thought civil unions for same-sex couples would address my concerns regarding both equality and religious liberty.

I was wrong.

I have listened to many well-reasoned and well-intentioned arguments both for and against same-sex marriage. And as I talked to gays and lesbians and heard their stories of pain, discrimination and love, my platitudes about civil unions began to ring hollow. I have struggled to find the solution that best serves the common good.

I now support same-sex marriage. This is a subject of great debate before the New York State Legislature (although the legislators there are a little distracted right now), and I hope that same-sex civil marriage will be approved within the month.

Under current New York State law, same-sex couples are deprived of access to the employment benefits, life and health insurance and inheritance laws that heterosexual couples have. If the state were to institute civil unions for same-sex couples, that discrimination would end, but we’d still be creating a separate and unequal system.

Civil unions for both heterosexual and same-sex couples would be an equal system, but this compromise appears unlikely at the current time. Few heterosexual couples would give up their current civil marriage for a civil union. While some states would recognize civil unions for all, others would not, causing legal problems for New York couples. Advocates of same-sex marriage don’t seem in favor of such a compromise either.

According to the last census, there are an estimated 50,000 households headed by same-sex couples in New York, many who were married in other states. Those marriages are recognized by New York courts as valid. As a result, we have same-sex marriage for some in New York (albeit performed out of state) and no marriage at all for other same-sex couples.

Any change in the New York law can, and must, balance equality while making sure that religious institutions remain free to choose whether to marry same-sex couples. By following the example of Connecticut and Vermont, which included protections for religious institutions when they recently legalized same-sex marriage, we can ensure that churches are not forced to consecrate marriages they do not endorse. This will require a strong liberty clause allowing religious institutions to opt out of solemnizing same-sex marriage, which also applies to the provision of services and programs at religiously affiliated institutions.

Many civil marriages are not considered “holy matrimony” by religious institutions because they do not conform to the rules of the religious institution. Those marriages have not challenged religious liberty. We must see that civil marriage, which has always been separate from religious marriage, will remain so.

But most important, gays and lesbians have suffered too long from legal discrimination, social marginalization and even violence. They are entitled to clear recognition of their equal status as citizens of a country that is founded on the principle that we are all inherently worthy. By delivering a clear message that same-sex couples can no longer be treated as separate and unequal in New York, we will also reduce discrimination in everyday life. We will all be better for that.

Equal civil marriage should, and likely will, pass because of the public’s growing unwillingness to sustain inequality. Society will also be strengthened as more people take responsibility for one another in marriage. I now encourage others who oppose gay marriage to re-examine the reasons they do so, and to consider changing their minds too.

Tom Suozzi is the Nassau County executive.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

All Saints Church @ the White House today ...

Slide show of photos of Ed Bacon and other faith activists at the White House protesting torture (AKA "putting their faith into action.") Thanks to ASC parishioners Rachel and Herby Niles for these great "on location" shots!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The ghosts of birthdays past ...

This is me -- 54 years ago today on my first birthday.

Gotta love the hair. (Or lack thereof!)

As you can see, I was groomed from a VERY early age to make the most of a birthday ... what's not to like about a day that's "all about you" AND involves cake?

And so I'm thinking tonight -- after a lovely day of lots of nice emails and phone calls from friends and family and a lovely dinner out with my sweetie AND a piece of cake -- of some of the ghosts of birthdays past.

But the one I'm going to write about -- briefly, as it's getting late and tomorrow is most decidedly NOT "all about me" -- is the one that was six years ago today: my 49th birthday ... the one that I spent in Chicago with Michael Hopkins and the House of Bishops' Theology Committee.

It seemed they had embarked on a theological study of same sex relationships (stop me if you've heard that one before) and had -- up until that point -- not actually talked to or with any live-in-captivity actual homo people. When that fact was pointed out ... and yes, I do recall that there was some jumping up and down involved in some quarters ... Michael and I received an invitation to come -- on June 10, 2003 -- to meet with them for 90 minutes at Seabury Western Theological Seminary.

And so there I was. With Michael. On my 49th birthday. On a day that was ABSOLUTELY not "all about me" ... and didn't even involve any cake. Elizabeth Kaeton would file this one under "The Things We Do For Jesus" ... and she would be exactly right.

We did what we were asked to do. We came. We met. And then we left and went downtown for what I remember as a quite excellent steak dinner -- and flew back to our respective "day jobs" -- wondering if "showing up" had been worth it.

Well, here's a clue: Six years later, that same Theology Committee is now engaged in ANOTHER "study" of the theology of same sex relationships, but this one they've farmed out to the "closeted sub-committee" you'll have read about if you follow this blog. And -- you guessed it -- neither Michael nor I ... nor any other bona fide, card carrying, live-in-captivity actual homo people are part of that process. That we know about. And yet it's touted to be part of "the listening process" we've heard so much about.

Well, here's a news flash. I wasn't born yesterday. (See photographic evidence above as case in point.) We have officially been there, done that and gotten the t-shirt and it is long past time to stop studying same sex unions and start celebrating them.

Here endeth the birthday rant. Think I'll go have another bite of that cake before I head to bed! G'night, all!

These are a few of my favorite ...


"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." -- Desmond Tutu

“All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.” -- Adlai E. Stevenson

"I'm so glad Mary didn't wait for the formulation of a Doctrine of the Incarnation before she said 'Yes' to God." -- Ed Bacon

“Justice is the corporate face of God’s love.” – John Hines

“Faith is what you’re willing to die for. Dogma is what you’re willing to kill for.” – Robert Shahan

“History belongs to the intercessors, who believe the future into being.” – Walter Wink

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Nothing changes the past. Everything changes the future.” – Joan Chittister

It was an eclectic day ...

Today was a real "Heinz 57" kind of day.

It's a birthday for me, so I enjoyed lots of good wishes and nice notes from fun people from all over different parts of my life. (Thanks, everybody!) And I still have dinner out with my sweetie to look forward to.

There was the regular kind of stuff like conference calls, communication meetings, finishing up details for EfM graduation and a memorial service on Saturday and -- oh yeah -- editing scripts for YouTube segments for IntegriTV.

Then Oprah re-ran Ed Bacon's "gay is a gift from God" segment on her TV show today so I spent some time answering phone calls and emails about THAT all over again. (Note to Oprah: A "heads up" next time would be nice! Thanks!)

And then I started an archelogical dig through old General Convention files ... looking for one particular piece I never DID find ... but found some other treasures instead.

  • How about this ENS archives piece from the LAST time General Convention met in Anaheim -- 1985!
  • Or this piece from Soulforce when they showed up in Denver to picket us?
  • But best of all were the pictures ... so here's my birthday present to YOU all ... a little walk down Memory Lane of the Ghosts of General Conventions past ... starting with the All Saints, Pasadena booth in the 1985 Anaheim Convention Center Exhibit Hall:

  • Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    All Saints Church Rector Involved In Anti-Torture White House Event

    As reported in Pasadena Now:

    The rector of All Saints Church in Pasadena will be involved in an anti-torture gathering in front of the White House on Thursday, according to a news release issued by the church.

    Rev. Ed Bacon, who heads the church as rector, will stand with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) with dozens of other religious leaders from all over the United States, according to the news release issued Tuesday.

    Bacon and other members of NRCAT are devoted to ending U.S.-sanctioned torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishments against people.

    “I am going to Washington to thank the president for taking unequivocally strong moral measures against torture in the first months of his presidency,” said Bacon. “His decision to release the CIA memos, his plans to close Guantanamo Bay prison, and the executive order banning torture all send a message that torture is wrong, illegal, and immoral without exception. His actions signal that the president seeks to return the United States to the rule of law and to restore the U.S.’s moral stature in the global community.”

    Following the White House event, Bacon and other invited religious leaders will meet with senior members of President Barack Obama’s administration to deliver a letter urging him to establish a fact-finding commission to investigate U.S. cases of torture that have happened since September 11, 2001.

    “Now, we U.S. citizens must support him in making sure that torture is ended indeed and work together to establish safeguards to ensure that U.S.-sponsored torture never happens again,” Bacon said. “A Commission of Inquiry is the only guarantee of a future without torture.”

    Katie Sherrod's "Behind the Screen"

    In case you missed these words of wisdom from Katie Sherrod's blog "Desert's Child":

    During the 1890’s Dr. M. Carey Thomas, later president of Bryn Mawr College, asked to attend a class at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine in Baltimore. No woman had ever before been permitted to attend the lectures, and Dr. Thomas was granted her request only on condition that she sit behind a screen so as not to offend and distract the male students.

    In 1893, Florence Bascom was the first woman to to receive a PhD from Johns Hopkins. However, she too had to sit behind a screen so the male students would not know she was there and be offended or distracted.

    British-born Charlotte Angas Scott (1858-1931) was pivotal in the development of mathematics education in the United States. She was among the first faculty members at Bryn Mawr College and the school's first head mathematics teacher. Scott was awarded a scholarship to Hitchin College (now Girton College, the women's division of Cambridge University). She and the other women in her class were all required to sit behind a screen that separated them from the male students and obscured their view of the blackboard. Women also were not permitted to be at the commencement exercises.

    But that was all so long ago. Right? Well, requiring women students to sit behind a screen or even out in a hallway at schools, universities and seminaries continued in some schools in the U.S. right up until the early to mid part of the last century. The people in charge did not want the male students to be offended or distracted.

    African Americans endured even worse indignities as white America enacted laws designed to keep them "in their place" so they could not offend the sensibilities of white people. That's what segregation and then the Jim Crow laws were all about.

    Even recognized heroes were not immune to the insults. In 1971, after a 40-year career in baseball, Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the first Negro League Player voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    But Baseball Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn announced that Paige would be the first member of a Negro wing of the Hall of Fame. Sports writers exploded, saying that having a "Negro wing" was perpetuating the bad old separate-and-NOT-equal days of segregation. Outrage grew, and Kuhn finally convinced the board of the Hall of Fame that putting Paige in a separate corridor was a really bad idea. So Paige's plaque and those of other "Negro" players were put with all the rest.

    It seems that any time those on the margins seek to be included, those in charge have moved to include them only after making sure the sensibilities of people like themselves [historically straight white men] are not offended.

    That is what is happening in the Episcopal Church right now with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters in Christ. After years of steady pressure, the church is slowly making moves to include them, but only if they will in essence sit behind a screen so as not to offend any of the people already inside the room.

    That's why Gene Robinson was not invited to Lambeth, although the Archbishop of Canterbury did offer to let him speak in an exhibit hall of the Marketplace . . .

    That is what B033 was and is all about -- making sure that the presence of LGBT Episcopalians in our church won't offend anyone anywhere who is made the slightest bit uncomfortable by their presence.

    And that is why the closeted panel that is studying same sex relationships wants to keep itself secret "for a season." We apparently even have to study LGBT folk from behind a screen.

    Someday our children will read of this time in our history and be just as amazed and outraged as you were when you read the first paragraph of this blog.

    I hope some of those children will still be in the Episcopal Church.

    Monday, June 08, 2009

    Let's hear it for family values!

    Keepers at Germany's Bremerhaven zoo couldn't get two penguin parents to take care of their egg, so they're trying an experiment — they gave the egg to a gay male penguin couple.

    The biological parents "always rolled the egg out of their nest, they kicked it out again and again," zoo veterinarian Joachim Schoene said.

    "Then we made the decision not to give it up and instead try to give it two fathers."

    So far, the experiment has been a success. The two foster dads incubated the egg for 30 days until it hatched and have continued to care for the newborn chick. Read the rest here ... and then bookmark this story for the next time someone tries the "but it just isn't natural" argument.

    Two male Humboldt penguins guard the entrance to their cave in the zoological park in Bremerhaven, here they are foster dads to a six-week-old penguin chick. (Focke Strangmann/Associated Press)

    L.A. Pride News!

    14 June 2009 @ 10:30am

    March in Gay Pride in L.A. this Sunday!

    Join Episcopalians from throughout the Diocese of Los Angeles as they join with California Faith for Equality and march with interfaith justice allies in the CSW Parade in West Hollywood this Sunday.

    Meet at the corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega Boulevards at 10:30 am. for the interfaith service and get parade assembly information. (Organizers say there will be a Double-Decker bus in the unit so those with mobility challenges can participate!)

    Episcopal information and contact person is Biff Baker: Cell 949-310-2041.
    For more information from California Faith for Equality, contact Kerry Chaplain at kerry@cafaithforequality.org


    Integrity Eucharist 2009

    This year, Integrity's triennial celebration of God's inclusive love brings together two historic "firsts:"

    Bishop Barbara Harris (the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion) will preach and Bishop Gene Robinson (the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion) will celebrate at the service on Friday, July 10th at 6:30 p.m. in the Pacific Ballroom of the Anaheim Hilton.

    The service is open to all: bishops, deputies and visitors to the Episcopal Church's General Convention -- as well as to ecumenical and interfaith guests.

    Music will be provided by the fabulous choirs of All Saints Church, Pasadena
    under the direction of the extraordinary James Walker.

    The service will be followed by a reception hosted by the All Saints, Beverly Hills Gay & Lesbian Fellowship.

    Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to experience the ministry of two of the Episcopal Church's historic justice leaders in a service designed to embody the full inclusion of all the baptized in all the sacraments.

    Sunday, June 07, 2009

    Happy Anniversaries, Bishop Robinson!

    June 7th.

    June 7th.

    I kept thinking all day it was a date begging to be remembered for something. June 6th is both D-Day and my niece Jennifer's birthday but the 7th ... hmmm ... the bell just wasn't ringing: but I kept thinking ... isn't that something, too? What am I forgetting?

    And then ... over Moo Shu Pork with my sweetie at the end of a LOOOONG Sunday at work in All Saints Church Fields of the Lord ... I remembered: It's a "double annniversary for +Gene!

    SIX years ago today -- June 7, 2003 -- the then New Hampshire Canon to the Ordinary was elected Bishop of New Hampshire ...

    And one year ago today -- June 7, 2008 -- +Gene and Mark started officially living "happily ever after" as their civil union was blessed in the same church where he'd been elected Bishop of New Hampshire five years ago -- to the day.

    So ... late in the day though this comes... best wishes for many, MANY years more ... to both +Gene and Mark ... as we celebrate with them the blessing of their love, their leadership and their example: MAZEL TOV x 2!!

    Saturday, June 06, 2009

    Another beautiful day in the neighborhood ...

    ... AKA Ordination of Deacons Day @ St. John's, Los Angeles!

    Q & A


    . Does anybody -- ANYBODY -- actually think that if we'd waited until the House of Bishops "finished doing the theology" on women's ordination before we started ordaining women that we'd have any ordained women YET in The Episcopal Church?

    A. (PSSST! It's a rhetorical question.)