Sunday, June 15, 2008

Episcopal and Presbyterian Churches Bless Same Sex Unions and Ordain Partnered Gay Clergy

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article today on church denominations and same-sex marriage. It reports regarding local churches:
Churches supportive of gay and lesbian rights, meanwhile, find themselves in difficult positions as a result being part of national or international denominations that have stricter rules on marriage than local churches might prefer.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Episcopal Church, for example, now prohibit using the marriage rite reserved for straight couples for same-sex marriages. Separate - and, some say, unequal - rites are set aside for gays and lesbians.

There is a chart:
How Faith traditions stand on sex, marriage, clery Christian denominations have greatly varying degrees of how they view the role of gays and lesbians in the church. Several say sexual activity is permissible only for those in heterosexual marriages. But the United Church of Christ performs the same rite of marriage for straight and gay couples. Here is a sampling of beliefs among some denominations.
The chart has columns: "Celibacy required for gays, lesbians","Bless same-sex unions", "Perform same-sex marriages" ad "Ordain partnered gay clergy".
According to the Chronicle research, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church do not require celibacy, do bless same-sex unions and do ordain partnered gay clery. I knew that was being done on a local basis, but, I thought this was being done against the denominations policy.

In the article it says regarding the Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus:
Andrus is suggesting that all couples go to county clerks' offices or have a purely civil ceremony elsewhere. As a second step, Andrus is advising that they return to the church for a blessing. Andrus is recommending that all couples - regardless of sexual orientation - use one of the three rites approved for same-sex blessings. (my emphasis)
The reporter doesn't seem to realize those blessings are not approved by The Episcopal Church denomination but only the local California Diocese. I wonder if he even read Bishop Andrus' Pastoral Letter Regarding Same Sex Marriage. Maybe he doesn't understand the difference between a "Diocesan Convention" and the "General Convention".

Well, I do really like this quote from Andrus that he uses to end of the article:
"We seek to intently follow Christ, but we don't contain Christ," Andrus said. "Christ transcends the boundaries of the church. ... It's not a surprise to me that the culture is going to manifest Christ in a way that summons the church to new realities. I really welcome that. I think that's the way it's meant to be." (my emphasis)


The Underground Pewster said...

That last quotation, when read in the context of the reporter's chart showing that TEC and the Presbyterian Church "do not require celibacy, do bless same-sex unions," makes me wonder if the public thinks the Churches are leading the laity to this end, but the shepherd Andrus sheepishly admits in your final quotation that culture is leading the Church to a new reality (just what is a new reality?).
To say the very least, the Chronicle Religion writer should be turned over to the Religionistas at Get Religion .

Perpetua said...

Hi Anglican Pewster,

Yes, the church leaders think they are being led by the culture and the culture thinks they are being led by the church. In reality both the culture and the church are being led by a small, motivated and highly organized group of gay activists.

The mis-impressions created by this article are part of that propaganda spiral. Now the people who read it think that both the Presbyterian Church and the Episcopal Church already have these policies which are actually still in contention.