Friday, February 21, 2014

Arizona Discrimination Bill a "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" says Arizona Bishop

Arizona Bishop Kirk Smith issued a strong rebuke to Arizona legislators in his weekly "epistle" taking on just-passed bill literally legislating discrimination against LGBT people in Arizona.

Co-authored with Cathedral Dean Troy Mendez, Smith wrote:
Who among us doesn't want to support religious freedom? This argument seems to be the tactic of some arch-conservative lawmakers, who have convinced our Arizona legislators that it is fine to deny people basic human rights under the guise of religious freedom. Lawmakers in other states and members of both political parties have been astute enough to see what bills like this really are – a wolf in sheep's clothing that masks discrimination under a [veneer] of piety. Arizona, however, with its propensity for making itself into the political laughing-stock of the nation, has been duped once again. One can only pray that our Governor will, as the Arizona Republic said this morning, “get out her veto pen."
Read the rest here ... and give thanks for bishops willing to step up, speak the truth in love and challenge the forces that would undo the progress this nation has made toward making "liberty and justice for all" not just a pledge we make but a reality we live.

Monday, February 17, 2014

From the latest episode of "As the Anglican World Turns"

CofE Bishops, strugglingly manfully (gender specificity intentional) to play both ends against the middle whilst avoiding at all costs doing anything remotely resembling prophetic leadership on anything remotely relevant to being the church in the world in the 21st century, came to this decision on the looming legalization of same-sex marriages in the UK:

"Services of blessing should not be provided. Clergy should respond pastorally and sensitively in other ways," said theguidance from the House of Bishops.

Because nothing says "love you neighbor as yourself" like throwing your gay and lesbian neighbors under the double decker bus.

In other news, 25 years after the ordination of the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion the CofE is still "working on a process" for equality for women in the church while protecting the orthodites from girl cooties.

Stay tuned for future episodes of "As the Anglican World Turns" --  wherein we Yanks are reminded why the tea in the Boston Harbor was the smartest thing we ever did.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Time for thank you notes to Kansas, kids!

If you missed an episode of The Arc of History Bending Toward Justice, there was an effort to bend the arc backwards in Kansas last week when the Kansas House of Representatives passed what was quite a shockingly discriminatory bill ... which you can read about here.

The good news is [a] the Kansas Senate is reportedly poised to reject the bill (let's hope!) and [b] the Episcopal bishops in Kansas stepped up big time in opposition.
From the statement issued by the Bishops of Kansas and Western Kansas:

"This proposed legislation is reminiscent of the worst laws that permitted discrimination against people on the basis of color, sex or nation of origin. The intent of this bill is an affront to the beliefs of all Kansans who support equal treatment under the law for every human being," wrote the Right Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas, and the Right Rev. Michael P. Milliken, Bishop of Western Kansas. "Kansas history is filled with examples of standing up for the expansion of rights – in our abolitionist, free state roots; as the first state in the country to elect a woman to a political office; and as a place identified with contributing to the end of school desegregation. We have a high calling to provide equality and equal opportunity to everyone."
So here's what happens when bishops step up like that ... they get mail. And (trust me) a lot of it will be hateful, hurtful and ugly enough to give Jesus a sick headache. So our job -- yours and mine -- is to make sure we step up ... like the bishops did ... and send them a note of thanks for their witness.

Doesn't have to be long. Doesn't have to be complicated. Just have to write it and hit "send." (Here's mine:)
Dear Bishop Wolfe/Milliken,

Just taking a minute to write and add my voice to those offering grateful thanks for your willingness to speak up and speak out against the draconian anti-gay legislation recently pending in Kansas. Your strong, prophetic stand makes me proud to be an Episcopalian and is truly an outward and visible sign of our baptismal promises to strive for justice and to respect the dignity of every human being. God bless you in your work and witness.

See? Easy. So go. Do it now.

Bishop Wolfe --

Bishop Millken --

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014: A Tale of Two Anniversaries.

Ed & Hope: Forty-three years ago today a kid from south Georgia married the gorgeous love of his life on his 23rd birthday. Together they raised two amazing children and made the journey from south Georgia to Southern California -- via Mississippi. Their mutual commitment to love, justice and compassion has called them into leadership on issues of justice and inclusion and their inspiration has been a key component of sustaining the work for full inclusion for LGBT people in the Episcopal Church and beyond.  They have touched countless lives through the incarnational witness their lives have given to the inclusive love of God made manifest in their individual careers as healers and hope-givers and in their marriage as an icon of that love.

Jason & Tim: Ten years ago today, Jason writes, "We woke up at 4:00 AM to drive to San Francisco and seize what we thought might be our one and only opportunity to get married. With our families and friends attending in person and by phone, we said our (weepy) vows surrounding by dozens of other couples who also just wanted a chance to have their love recognized. The state invalidated the SF marriages six months later and it wasn't until 2008 that we had a chance to make it legit, but we still think of this one as our 'real' wedding." Today they are raising two amazing boys -- a nine year old and a five month old -- and have chosen to live their lives publicly as a witness to the family values of unconditional love, commitment and mutual respect. Their witness has touched countless lives offering hope to LGBT people by showing that the dream of a life of love, marriage and family is attainable -- and offering healing to those who continue to "evolve" in the process of overcoming the toxic narratives of internalized bias against LGBT people.

Two couples. Two families. Two marriages. Two anniversaries. Utterly unique. Stunningly similar.

At the 2000 General Convention of the Episcopal Church we adopted Resolution D039, which reads in part:
Resolved, That we acknowledge that while the issues of human sexuality are not yet resolved, there are currently couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in marriage and couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in other life-long committed relationships; and be it further
Resolved, That we expect such relationships will be characterized by fidelity, monogamy, mutual affection and respect, careful, honest communication, and the holy love which enables those in such relationships to see in each other the image of God.
Fourteen years later, the world around us has changed dramatically. The states embracing marriage equality are growing by leaps and bounds as the arguments supporting the relegation of same-sex marriages to second-class status are growing hollower day by day.

What has NOT changed -- dramatically or otherwise -- are the standards we in the Episcopal Church expect those marriages to be characterized by. Fidelity. Monogamy. Mutual Affection and Respect. Careful Honest Communication. Holy Love.

What we need are more marriages like that. Marriages that stand the test of time. Marriages like Ed and Hope. Like Jason and Tim. And like all those others we hope we'll be hearing from and about as the Task Force for the Study of Marriage continues to do its work in the weeks and months ahead.

But for now ... here's to love. Here's to marriage. Here's to Ed & Hope and to Jason & Tim -- and to all others who celebrate the love that brought them and keeps them together. Here's to the source of that love -- the God who is the source of all love and the ground of all being. And -- while we're at it -- here's to Valentine's Day. (I'll have the dark chocolate, please!)

Thursday, February 13, 2014


A federal judge ruled Virginia's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional late Thursday.
From the ruling:
The Court finds Va. Const. Art. I, § 15-A, Va. Code §§ 20-45.2, 20-45.3, and any other Virginia law that bars same-sex marriage or prohibits Virginia's recognition of lawful same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions unconstitutional. These laws deny Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen wrote that the constitutional right to equality should apply to all, including same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses. "Our Constitution declares that 'all men' are created equal. Surely this means all of us," wrote Allen, an Eastern District of Virginia judge in Norfolk. "While ever vigilant for the wisdom that can come from the voices of our voting public, our courts have never long tolerated the perpetuation of laws rooted in unlawful prejudice. One of the judiciary's noblest endeavors is to scrutinize law that emerge from such roots."Allen stayed her order to allow an appeal, meaning nothing immediately changes for same-sex couples in the state.

Read the rest in the Huffington Post.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Update from the Equality Front

One of the gifts of sabbatical time is keeping up with the news -- and this morning it's kinda hard to keep up with the "Breaking News" breaking on the equality front!

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, striking down part of the state ban in a ruling that included this great quote:
"Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons," wrote Heyburn, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush.
Read more here.

In a FB post, Lambda Legal's Jon Davidson reports: The 9th Circuit just granted our motion to expedite argument of our Nevada marriage equality case and ordered that the appeal be calendered for oral argument "as soon as possible."...

AND ... from the Church of England Synod this headline:

"Welby tells Church refusing gay blessings will be viewed like racism" (and no -- that was not The Onion -- it was The Telegraph!)

Juxtaposed against the news of protests in Russia and presecution in Africa it's both an inspiration and a challenge to hold in tension how far we've come -- and how far we have yet to go -- before the full humanity and equality of LGBT people is affirmed, protected and celebrated. La lucha continua!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Update from Sabbatical Land

So today is day two of month two of my sabbatical leave. My last day at All Saints was January 9 ... and so I thought today -- February 10 -- might be a good day to do a little "so how's it going?" blog.

I've written some along the way. About what a gift it was to have the time to do justice to the process of organizing and passing on to Louise's family a boatload of books, pictures and family memorabilia that she had accumulated down through the years. I know it would be a source of deep delight to her that those outward and visible signs of her family history have been so appreciated and gratefully received by her Brooks/Mason family members.

And about how we can work together to rise to Gay Jennings' challenge to all of us to challenge homophobia in the church and in the world -- and to start by "repudiating contemporary efforts to expand its outreach"... including doing our homework on the agendas and alliances of organizations that come looking to us for support.

I've also cleaned out closets, made multiple trips to the thrift store to donate excess accumulated "stuff" and spent a good deal of time very productively transforming a rarely used second bedroom into what has turned into a cozy home office/study. (pictured at right with Optional Labrador Retriever Accessory Package)

We've seen a boatload of movies ... are almost caught up for Oscar Night on March 2nd. Spent a couple of evenings going through and organizing old family photos. Seen some theater ("Peter and the Star Catcher") and some live music ("Mary Chapin Carpenter with the L.A. Phil") ... and read several novels.

I've been sleeping until I woke up. Getting dressed when I feel like it in WHAT I feel like. And finding that the gift of time to pray, rest, meditate and reflect without the pressure to get to the next thing is pretty extraordinary indeed. And I have started to shift gears a little getting ducks in a row to work on the narrative history project I have in my head -- a chronicle of the Episcopal/Anglican Inclusion Wars from my ringside seat. So far it's just timelines and the beginning of a photo archive ... but it's starting to take shape.

One month down; two to go. The month ahead has some travel in it: east to the Episcopal Urban Caucus Assembly in New York and visiting some friends after. Also ahead is a long beach weekend of R&R with Lori and another trip east at the end of March to DC for the Planned Parenthood National Meeting and then Baltimore for a meeting of the Task Force for the Study of Marriage -- working on our Blue Book Report due Advent One 2014. Tick Tock!

Yesterday we found our way to All Saints for the 5pm Contemplative Eucharist -- a service with as few words as possible, lots of music and meditation time and a lovely oasis of quiet, peace and stillness. It was "sabbatificating" to come in the side door, slide into a pew with Lori and get to just "be" in that sacred space.

When it's time to go back to work I haven't any doubt I'll be ready -- I love what I do and where I do it too much to be "done" -- but at the one-month-in-with-two-months-to-go point I can truly say ... in response to the "so how's it going?" question -- it's going just SWELL!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Go, Canada!

If you watch Rachel Maddow you know she sometimes has a "best new thing in the world" segment at the end of her show.

This is MY "best new thing in the world" for the day ... Olympic commercial from the Canadian Institutue of Diversity and Inclusion. ENJOY!

Because you can't make this stuff up ...

Dear La Canada Lady who knocked on my car window in the TraderJoe's parking lot while I was trying to listen to the end of the NPR report on the role of American Evangelicals in fueling homophobia in Russia,

No, I actually was not in the mood to hear about who is "really behind Obamacare" or why your pastor thinks it's an attack on religious freedom. And I'm sorry you didn't like my bumper sticker but I'm pretty sure Jesus didn't like it when you flipped me off before going into Petco. Seriously.

But I am sure I couldn't make this stuff up. And I'm not convinced there isn't a connection between what happened in La Canada and what's happening in Russia. Just sayin'.

I Still "Heart" Obamacare