Monday, November 5, 2007
Schori to Bigots: Refocus
The Episcopal Church is continuing it's seemingly endless and painful eruption over gays, specifically, Bishop Gene Robinson (pictured), the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire. Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefforts Schori has said that those who focus on homosexuality need to "refocus" and she has threatened to discipline the Bishop of Pittsburgh who is taking steps to take his diocese out of the Episcopal Church. A few dioceses have already left and a few big churches have re-aligned themselves with the churches in Nigeria and Uganda. The Church under Schori has already called a halt to the consecration of gay bishops, or as they put it, 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."
This tactic, of course, represents caving to the small-minded, homo-obsessed bigots who will never be satisfied until Gene Robinson is burned at the stake. Schori is dreaming if she thinks telling the idealogues to "refocus" will have the slightest effect. I was raised Episcopalian and this uproar over gays is nothing new. In 1976, when I was a budding young homosexual living deep in the closet in a small town in the south, a new prayer book was introduced and many people were upset at what seemed to me to be minor changes. At the same time, the General Convention declared that homosexuals are "children of God." You would have thought they had endorsed devil worship. I will never forget a church meeting at our country church, supposedly about the new prayer book, that quickly degenerated when an old man stood up and yelled out "What About The Homos?!" The prayer book merely gave them cover for their anger over gay acceptance.
Episcopalians put on airs about being educated and sophisticated, but when it comes to same sex love, they are no better than the Bible-thumpin' snake handlers. Many people left the Episcopal church over gays and the prayer book in the 70s and "Anglican" churches began to sprout around the south, echoing those white flight segregation "academies" of 10 years before. Most of those churches foundered over the next decade or two.
These same kinds of people are ranting and raving today and threatening, and( in some cases) leaving the church. I say let them. Let them set up their little churches associated with the church in Nigera and Uganda. Good luck. They will face the same fate as those Anglican churches of the 70s. A church based on what it's against instead of what it's for will never flourish in the long run (unless it's called Southern Baptist). Let them go, Bishop Schori. I know it will mean that the Episcopal Church will be smaller and different and less wealthy, but shouldn't a church, of all institutions, stand it's moral ground, even in the face of harsh storms? By compromising its principles, the Episcopal Church is just postponing the inevitable showdown that has been brewing since 1976. I say bring it on, bigots. God can take it.