Saturday, July 29, 2006

My Interpretation of B033

The text of B033 committed our Bishops and Standing Committees [the people who have the power to approve Episcopal elections] to "exercise restraint" in consenting to the election of any bishop whose "manner of life" might "present a challenge to the wider church." It was quite clear to me, from all that I heard and read about that vote: When they said "manner of life," what they really meant was "you queers."

When I read of that resolution’s passage on the morning of June 21, my reactions were all over the map -- but mostly profound hurt and over-the-top anger.

When our Presiding Bishop and PB-Elect went to the House of Deputies to plead for the Deputies to approve this resolution, they begged that this was what was necessary to assure our church would have "a place at the table" within the discussions of the larger Anglican Communion.

But I wonder: Why is it that our church in the U.S. was so careful to couch its language and actions so as not to offend the bullies in Africa and Asia and even within the U.S. ... but doesn't mind using language in that resolution that cuts its gay/lesbian members to the quick? For -- make no mistake -- we all "got it." We heard the message loud and clear: it's only the gay people that our church wants to single-out as an exception or (as the resolution put it) "a challenge to the wider church."

People can -- and some Deputies & Bishops have -- tried to whitewash B033 to say it doesn't single-out gay people. But we heard the message loud and clear: we are the only ones that will be sacrificed. Our church had already voted to elect a woman as primate, whereas most of the Anglican churches don't recognize the validity of female bishops. And within minutes after passing B033, our church consented to the election of a bishop who has been twice divorced and thrice married. People who denude the environment with their SUVs can be bishops. People who wear cotton/polyester blends can be bishops. Apparently, their "manner of life" does not pose a sufficient challenge to the Anglican Communion. But queers do. I got it. The only ones our church will reject are those who are or may be gay.

Beyond my initial anger, this also got me to wondering: Why the hell does our church baptize people, supposedly marking us as Christ's own forever ... if it's then going to reserve the right -- once those babies grow up enough to recognize their sexual orientation -- to say, "Oops! All the others are going to be afforded the full ministry of the Church. But you're not worthy to receive all the sacraments of our church"??

Anger? Yeah, I got anger.


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