Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A049 aftermath: the Indianapolis statement, and a bit of irony

Twelve Bishops are dismayed at the passage of the liturgy for blessing same sex couples and have released "The Indianapolis Statement" disagreeing.  The arguments are the old, familiar ones saying that sex is only for men-women (and presumably, requires the Missionary position.)

The most annoying statment?
We are committed to the gay and lesbian Christians who are members of our dioceses. Our Baptismal Covenant pledges us to “respect the dignity of every human being” (BCP, p. 305), and we will continue to journey with them as together we seek to follow Jesus.
Bishops, with all due respect, you cannot be committed to someone whom you view as a pathology (despite modern science), and to whom you would deny the essential human needs of companionship and love, including, yes, physical love--but not limited to that (any more than your own marriages are only "about" sex!)   You see us as driven by sexual expression, fail to acknowledge that is only a small aspect of our complete personhood, and are so clueless that you consider LGBT incapable of keeping vows. The only thing you offer the LGBT people in your dioceses is a bleak future of rejection, self-loathing and loneliness.   Thanks, but no thanks.

The irony? The Bishops insist that
The liturgy entitled “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” is for all practical purposes same-sex marriage. It includes all of the essential elements found in a marriage rite: vows, an exchange of rings, a pronouncement, and a blessing.
although officials of TEC are adamant that it's not a marriage:
[T]he liturgy includes many of the elements of a marriage rite, said the Rev. Ruth Meyers, a liturgist who oversaw the development of the same-sex blessing over the last three years as chairwoman of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. 
“There are a lot of similarities,” she said in an interview. “The couple give their consent to being joined in lifelong commitment, they exchange vows. There’s the possibility of exchanging rings, or, for couples who have been together for some time and already have rings, to have their rings blessed. There is a blessing over the couple. 
“But we’re clear at this point that this is not a marriage,” she said, “because the Episcopal Church is not in agreement in its understanding of marriage.” (NY Times)
The service is not considered a marriage ceremony, media affairs representative Nancy Davidge said. "We have authorized a blessing, and a blessing is different than a marriage," she said. "A blessing is a theological response to a monogamous, committed relationship." Marriage requires the additional involvement of civil authorities, and many states do not allow gays to marry. (CNN)
And of course, gay couples themselves are WELL aware that this is not marriage, but is separate, and clearly not equal.  Which doesn't mean it's not a welcome step, just that it's not the last one.

So the conservatives are angry because they think it's marriage, and the progressives are frustrated that it's not.  

I find that ironic.


JCF said...

"Bishops, with all due respect, you cannot be committed to someone whom you view as a pathology"

Anymore than you can define an essential, involuntary and immutable aspect of my character AS "sin", yet claim to "love" me! [Contra "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin"]

No, we're not at marriage equality in TEC yet. But we're a step closer. TBTG!

Counterlight said...

I actually agree with the bishops. This IS marriage by another name. Maybe we should embrace this for what it is and quit trying to distance ourselves from same sex marriage for the sake of political expediency.

I also agree with IT. This statement is motivated by groundless prejudices on the part of people who see gays and lesbians as nothing but a series of "pathological" sex acts.

Grandmère Mimi said...

The usual suspects signed the statement. When I think that +Michael Smith came in second in the vote for bishop in the Diocese of Louisiana...

Brother David said...

It is also reported that the delegation from South Carolina read a statement condemning the passage as the entire delegation walked out save one lay and one clergy delegate, signifying that they were merely protesting and not withdrawing from convention.

IT said...

I was a little surprised that the South Carolina walkout didn't get more blog commentary, but then I realized that it was just SC doing what everyone expects, and really nothing about which comment was necessary. I love the fact their dramatic walkout was mostly ignored. Except by conservatives on twitter.