Saturday, October 24, 2009

LA TIMES EDITORIAL: "Courting Anglicans"

The pope's welcoming of Anglicans disaffected by their church's greater openness only shows how far the gay-rights movement has to go to dispel religious intolerance.

October 24, 2009

This week's announcement that the Roman Catholic Church will welcome disaffected Anglicans en masse is of primary interest to members of the two Christian communions. But this religious realignment is also a reminder to supporters of equality for women and gays and lesbians that they must literally preach to the converted if they are to win believers to their cause.

Pope Benedict XVI has offered the Anglicans a special status within Catholicism that will preserve their traditions and allow married Anglican priests to continue their ministry. Those likely to accept are animated by opposition to innovations including the ordination of an openly gay bishop in the United States, blessings for same-sex couples in Canada and the Church of England's decision to allow female bishops.

Not every dissatisfied Anglican will change churches. Nor will this development drown out voices within the Roman Catholic Church favoring full participation by women and homosexuals. But Benedict's action is part of a formidable religious backlash against gay rights that isn't confined to the pulpit; witness the lobbying by some religious leaders against same-sex civil marriages.

Under the 1st Amendment, churches in this country can't be forced to alter their doctrine or to stop preaching against the supposed immorality of homosexuality. Even so, supporters of gay rights in particular -- many of them Christians -- should try to dispel the notion that belief in God is incompatible with full equality for gays and lesbians.

Now as before the pope's action, Christians can be reminded -- as they have been by both Anglican and Catholic theologians -- that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality and that church leaders, including popes, have changed their thinking over the years about everything from usury to the culpability of Jews for the Crucifixion to the desirability of religious tolerance. You don't have to be Catholic (or Anglican) to realize that society as a whole would be better off if the church's views of women and gays underwent a similar evolution.

And let the people say "AMEN!" ... AND let the people take a minute to write a letter to editor of the Los Angeles Times -- affirming their editorial position and pointing out -- once again -- that those seeking communities of faith proclaiming love, justice, compassion and inclusion can FIND them ... because our welcome mat is open to all!
Click here to send your letter ... and if you want to copy what you send in an email to me, we'll archive 'em for future reference.
PS ... Here's mine:
Dear Editor,

Thank you for your 10/24 editorial “Courting Anglicans” – in particular for the conclusion, “… society as a whole would be better off if the church's views of women and gays underwent a similar evolution.” Ironically, the Vatican’s “courting Anglicans” statement was released just days after the announcement of a Vatican sponsored celebration of the work of Galileo. Maybe it will take the Vatican less than 400 years to “evolve” to the right side of history on gender and sexual orientation equality. We can hope. But AS an Anglican – the kind staying in the Anglican Communion, not the “disaffected” kind – the good news for me and my congregation is that there ARE churches where that evolution has and is happening. The other good news is that those congregations are growing – and the door is open for all who wish to come and be part of an inclusive community to come and experience God’s love.

The Reverend Canon Susan Russell
Pasadena CA


Mark Andrews said...

I'm sure Pope Benedict is waiting with bated breath for the theological opinion of the LA Times editorial board.

The LA Times time would be better spent dealing with California's ongoing fiscal arithmetic problems - you know, the State spending more money than it has, year after year after year after year after year?

I'm a native son if California, born in the Marina District of San Francisco. I lived in the East Bay as a kid ('61 - '71) and on the Monterey Peninsula later on ('91 - '05). I left the state because after 15 years of working for failing software companies and non-profits I was never going to be able to buy even the smallest, sub- atomic approximation of something like a house. You can hate those "red" states all you want, but some how it was still possible for a poor guy like me to buy a first (and probably last) little house for his wife & kid.

Randy Newman may have loved LA, but then Randy didn't have to commute from Lake Havasu City, AZ to work at UCLA, like some folks I know, all for the sake of affordable housing.

Seems to me somebody's got some more justice to do.


Pope Benedict isn't the point.

The point is the LA Times editorial board "gets" rank hypocrisy when they see it ... and so do millions of "unchurched" folks out there longing for spiritual community and staying as far away as they can from "organized religion" because of what they see and read about it in the papers and on the news.

As for me, as an LA native I STILL "love LA" ... traffic and Dodger playoff disappointments and all the other challenges notwithstanding. And today I love LA a little more for having a hometown newspaper that will speak up for those the Pope would leave behind.

Because at the end of the day, isn't the message of this latest ruling from Rome that any of the significant theological differences between "disaffected Anglicans" and the Vatican pale in comparison with their mutual repugnance at the idea of sharing power with women or gays?

Textjunkie said...

I'm saying Amen! to that editorial.

Mitchell said...

I love John Stuart Mill... You know what he would say about this... They the Roman Catholic Church can do what they want to do as long as they don't hurt anyone else.

Granted that you should be trying to change their minds, because they are sick. But what should you do?? I really don't know? Why are you angry about this specfically? You know that the Muslims have much more strick codes when it comes to homosexuality...So?

Mark Andrews said...

Susan, is the "malkuth Yahweh" nothing more & nothing other than "sharing power?" Gee, maybe the 'Panthers were right.

We'll see if those millions of "unchurched" beat a path to your door. There was a great faux ad that came out in the last couple of years with the Presiding Bishop, in a stylish suit, seeming to say "Don't Believe that Crap? Neither do We. Join the Episcopal Church."

The Industrial Left of Christianity has not "discovered" the "original Gospel" of welcome, inclusion, niceness, or whatever other adjectives you care to ad. Its devised its own "gospel" and tacked Jesus name on to it.

"Sharing power?" You live in Pasadena. In a house. Be grateful.

Just Me said...

I don't understand why people are so upset over the Pope's announcement. Does it really matter?

uffda51 said...

Mark, it sounds like you’re more of a “terrible swift sword” guy than a Sermon on the Mount, Great Commandment, Do Unto Others, Good Samaritan kind of a guy. I’m not sure what any of it has to do with the cost of California real estate, but Jesus is the guy who came up with all four of the items just mentioned, not the “Industrial Left,” whoever they may be.

(word verification = stall)

Dr. Alice said...

The Times editorial board doesn't "get" rank hypocrisy, Susan. Nor do they "get" anything else. After Sam Zell got through gutting their ranks, I'm surprised there's anybody still there who can compose a full sentence.

And the "unchurched" are too smart to join the ranks of milk-and-water liberalism churches when they can sleep in on Sundays and get the same spiritual charge by writing a check to the cause of their choice. Try again.


My, my, my ... tell that to the 65 members of our new member class. But then, All Saints gets called a lot of things but "milk and water" isn't one of them. Actually attracting new members not the challenge for us -- it's finding enough space for the mission and ministry of making God's love tangible 24/7.

Just Me said...

In "defense" of All Saints, it's in LA. It's kinda like "birds of a feather" Mark & Dr Alice. I have no doubt that All Saints is doing quite well and will continue to do so.
The "birds of a feather" is the same reason why high-church/conservative/traditional (whatever term is acceptable these days) flourish and will continue to do so in other areas of the country.
Hence why I don't understand what the "progressives" (again, I can't keep track of the proper labels these days) are so up in arms about. Considering the "progressives" and "traditionalists" hate each other so much, I would think a new opportunity for the two to separate from each other would be more appreciated than it has been.

uffda51 said...

As Jim Naughton said, “we are a democratically governed church. We think men and women are equal at the altar, and we respect the dignity of gay and lesbian Christians. If that makes us outcasts, I think that that's a status that we embrace happily.”

Amen to that.

I’m confused by the contention raised by several posters that those of us in favor of the full inclusion of LGBTs are somehow angry with the Vatican’s announcement. I think many of us are bemused by the irony of it. I don't see any anger being expressed.

There are about a gazillion Christian denominations in the U.S. I don’t believe that the size of a denomination is an indicator of the faith commitment of the individual members, nor do I believe that any one denomination has a monopoly on truth.


Exactly. I've been trying to trace the "anger" piece back ... the angriest voices I'VE heard are coming from expatriat Romans (see also Maureen Dowd and her take-no-prisoners piece yesterday). I continue to be of the mind that [a] clarity is a good thing because [b] if folks WANT to make keeping women and gays in their place and agreeing not to question patriachal dogma the highest criterion for communion then [c] I'm glad there's a place for them to go.

However [d] let's not be taking the china and silver with you when you go.

Caminante said...

Gee, Susan, what did you write to get visits such as Mark's and Alice's? Lucky you.

word: misty -- as in misty eyes for a church and world that never was, the church of Ozzie and Harriet, to which some folks want to return

MarkBrunson said...

So, we've got Mark and Alice who have entire universes revolving around them and their disappointments!

They'll never set foot in our doors! OH NO! Still, I'm sure they and those like them will be just as useful as they've ever been. To anyone.

What. A. Loss.

Try again.

Mitchell said...


You want clarity on who gets the silver but not on the existence of God. I like that... Maybe? Or whatever...


Au contraire. I don't need "clarity" about who the silver belongs to. Been there. Got that. Here's a newsflash: Even liberals can get fed up with people taking stuff that doesn't belong to them. And we're pretty much D-O-N-E done.

As for the "existance of God" -- is that at issue here? Maybe you have us confused with another blog.