Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Marriage equality is a religious value, glad to see TEC right in front!

We are about a week away from oral arguments on marriage equality. The amicus briefs are all in and finally, finally the press is noticing that "Christian" is NOT synonymous with anti-equality. From Think Progress:
But even as this wave of anti-LGBT briefs makes its way to the desks of Supreme Court clerks, a number of religious groups are also submitting or signing on to briefs in support of same-sex marriage. The briefs, once cobbled together by a few progressive faith traditions, now brandish the names of thousands of historic Christian leaders and institutions, each voicing positions that challenge old religious views of homosexuality and highlight just how far America’s theological goal posts have shifted on the topic of same-sex marriage.

The largest of these was submitted earlier this year by the President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church.
Yay, TEC!
Originally organized through the work of several Episcopal bishops, it was co-signed by a long list of groups from across the “Judeo-Christian” religious spectrum, such as the United Church of Christ, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Muslims for Progressive Values, as well as pro-LGBT groups operating within Quakerism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, and Lutheranism. Like many left-leaning progressives, the brief argues the Court is primarily tasked with discerning the civil — not religious — definition of marriage, but highlighted the swelling number of Americans whose faith calls them to embrace LGBT rights.
And then (my emphases)
There is, of course, precedent for faith groups endorsing marriage equality with amicus briefs. A similar list of progressive religious groups, also led by Episcopal bishops, crafted a brief affirming same-sex marriage ahead of the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case on California’s Proposition 8, which banned LGBT people from legally marrying in the state from 2008 to 2013. Briefs favoring LGBT couples were also filed in 2013 by the American Jewish Committee and the California Council of Churches.

But if Proposition 8 opened up a trickle of faith-based support for LGBT rights, Obergefell v. Hodges unleashed a veritable flood. The list of signatories in the 2013 brief from Episcopal bishops, for example, totaled a mere 6 pages. By contrast, the bishops’ brief in advance of the 2015 case includes several new organizations and the individual names of more than 1,900 faith leaders, additions that stretch the list of spiritual endorsers to a whopping 117 pages.

Welcome aboard everyone.  Now let's get this done!


JCF said...

Amen and Amen!

8thday said...

Yes, yay that many churches and church leaders are now supporting same-sex marriage. But while reading your obvious cheerleading for the TEC I couldn’t help but think of the recent article about the General Seminary.


It makes one wonder if the Episcopal Church actually practices what it preaches about equality and discrimination.

IT said...

Not gonna argue with you, the GTS issue is scandalous.

dr.primrose said...

I agree that the GTS situation is horrible. But is it really fair to tar "the Episcopal Church" as a whole with this situation?

The GTS situation is one created by the dean and the board of trustees. GTS is a separate institution from TEC and there is not a lot that TEC can immediately do about the situation. General Convention elects some of the GTS board and I fully expect that the GTS situation will be discussed as part of the elections this summer. But that's about it.

But tarring TEC as a whole for the GTS situation is no different from tarring Christianity as a whole because of the antics of Fred Phelps or Ted Haggard or George Alan Rekers.

Or tarring atheists as a whole for the antics of Richard Hawkins or Christopher Higgens or Sam Harris.

It's the logical fallacy of overgeneralization. It's not persuasive.

8thday said...

I agree that one incident does not define an entire church. But in the recent past I have told that TEC uses the term “welcoming and inclusive” as *code* words that they welcome gays, as if they cannot openly say they welcome all. I have read about Trinity Church’s investment in Walmart, the Episcopal Church’s BILLIONS of dollars worth of real estate, its spending of millions and millions of dollars on lawsuits, the embarrassing but enlightening situation at GTS, the revealing sexism of the UTO debate, and the (in my opinion) horrendous handling of the Heather Cook tragedy.

I have been pleased and impressed with the advocacy of the Episcopal Church, along with many other progressive denominations, on matters of queer inclusion within the church. But I do wonder, given the above incidents (and probably many more that I am unaware of) what the real bottom line is for the Episcopal Church. Perhaps I am wrong to lay that at the feet of “the Church”. Maybe it is just a comment on the current leadership. Either way, as a casual observer of religions, my opinion of TEC has shifted dramatically.