Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Progressive Support for Episcopal Church Gay Marriage Ceremony By Attacking Christian Traditionalist

Right Wing Watch attacks Michael Youssef, the head of Leading the Way Ministries, with this blaring headline "Religious Right Leader: Episcopal Church No Longer Christian Because It Supports Gay-Rights".
As a conservative watcher of right wing watch lets see what Youssef said in part;

Episcopal Church: Christian?
Based on everything I am currently reading and what I experienced firsthand in that Church in the past, my answer to this question is a forceful, "No!"
Perhaps the last nail in the coffin of that once-vibrant Christian church came as no surprise to many of us when M. Thomas Shaw, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, kicked off the new year of 2011 by performing a lesbian marriage ceremony at St. Paul's cathedral in Boston. Two "priestesses" of the church -- Katherine Hancock Ragsdale (dean and president of Episcopal Divinity School, no less) and Mally Lloyd (canon to the Ordinary at St. Paul's) -- were united in homosexual bliss in the presence of 400 guests. The whole debate of homosexuality has deteriorated into an emotional argument on equality with total disregard to God's created order that marriage should be between one man and one
Taken from that point of view and in relation to scripture then yes, everything he points out in that paragraph is opposed to St.Paul and the Hebrew Bible's teachings in relation to this moral issue. Thus, using pure logic he is correct-the Episcopal Church as figured in these actions is not Christian.
Nowhere does Youseff make an attack on "gay rights"-he does not deny gays civil unions, access to education, health care etc-Right Wing Watch is being dishonest in their rant which on moral issues is the lowest of the low.
I addressed this matter from my own observations some time ago which, being pertinent to the matter at hand I reproduce below;
Being of a conservative nature I found the Presbyterian church amicable. I liked the simplicity of surrounds, of ceremony, of vestments. I liked the plain spoken "person in the street" congregation and the lack of structure-no Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals etc, and the democratic nature of church decision making.
The basic Protestant emphasis on The Word as the guiding light for person and church without any appeal to or direction from ecclesiastical hierarchy fitted, again, a conservative nature.

However, I reached a point where all this basicness, to coin a word,
was, I found, rather boring. As  Giovanni Guareschi  put it in 'The Little World Of Don Camillo'  "Even the eye needs some satisfaction, and in matters of religion its the same as with a doctor, there's a lot to be said for personal sympathies and moral impressions!"

So as an happy alternative I started attending the Episcopalian church. Here there was color, an uplifting ceremonial and, since the hierarchy of the church never entered into any aspect of my personal life, I was more than happy to disregard that aspect of the church structure
But, sadly I find it impossible to continue in the congregation.

I was impressed with the Cardinal from Washington D.C. who,when questioned on television about the Catholic church attitude to more or less advised that that was a line in the sand they had to adhere to.Otherwise they had no reason to exist as a faith if in effect their doctrine was so malleable on matters of life and death that it could change with the political/cultural ethos of the moment. His answer on DADT which he advised was a political question, I found less convincing however.

But he is absolutely right the church has to have some basic,bottom line premise. For the Episcopalian hierarchy to accept women at all levels is grand,although in matters of church leadership I personally would prefer to attend a church with a male pastor-only because in matters of ceremonial e.g. funerals/weddings "the eye needs something to look at " and the ear needs gravitas-but that's just my point of view-and I am entitled to "shop around" of course.

The Episcopalian church is in turmoil and in danger of splitting apart
On the other hand I can't accept having male or female homosexuals as Pastors/Bishops etc. I would have absolutely nothing against them as individuals in any shape or fashion, and like many families I have gay relatives whom I love and admire, but I wouldn't support them for ordination, a matter which is clearly against biblical injunction. On which subject I would feel confident that Catholics would concur. Again, if we accept the lead of the Episcopalian church on this then there is absolutely no end to having any variation in "lifestyle" acceptable for any position,nor matter of faith which is not malleable. 

So it's back to the rather plain trappings of Presbyterian worship again-unless I move to England where the Anglicans have not gone down the Episcopalian path, at least for now. Why not the Catholic church? To much color I'm afraid, too much structure and there are a few doctrinal positions which are not for me e.g. transubstantiation and letting priests marry. I think it no accident that all the many troubles the Catholic church has experienced lately stem from the lack of that particular option for their clergy.

At the end of the day the important thing is that one's faith is exercised and we are fortunate, I believe, in having a number of options where one can do that. At the end of the day unless a faith has a bedrock of immovable core structure amicable to its founding values it is "salt that has lost its saltiness and should be cast aside"

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