Wednesday, December 20, 2006

When the Press "Gets It" ...

A reader forwarded this editorial from The Falls Church Press , published December 14, after two major parishes in the Diocese of Virginia voted to secede from the Episcopal Church. In this secular editorial, the writer "gets it" that the decision of the Virginia parishes is all about homophobia and not the canard of "Biblical inerrancy." As our correspondent asked, "Isn't it sad when the secular press 'gets it' and the church doesn't?"

Editorial: Descent Into The Abyss
From the Falls Church News Press
Thursday, 14 December 2006

Few people in Falls Church, including many who attend the Falls Church Episcopal here, fathom how bad what the church’s leadership is asking its members to vote for this week really is. Balloting of the 2,800 church members will continue through services this Sunday, and it is expected that the vote will be overwhelming in favor of the church’s formal withdrawal from the Episcopal denomination.

This move has been coming since the Episcopal denomination, by wide majority of its bishops nationwide, voted in November 2003 to consecrate the openly-homosexual Rev. Eugene Robinson as a bishop.

Local church leaders have variously confirmed this, emphatically, and also tried to cloud the issue with theological jargon, claiming the denomination has, more generally, drifted from roots they claim are grounded in “Biblical inerrancy.” That is, the claim there is not a single mistake or outdated notion in the Bible. Therefore, since homosexual behavior is condemned in a handful of random Biblical verses here and there, it is anti-Biblical to consecrate a gay bishop. You’d be surprised to see what other things are condemned in different parts of the Bible.

The actions of the Falls Church Episcopal’s leadership, and that of the Truro Church of Fairfax and some others across the U.S., is a mild replay of the same sad history of centuries of division, slaughter, discord and tyranny within Christendom. This week’s action will not trigger another Inquisition, but the mentality is the same.

Rather than affirming a generosity of spirit and Good Samaritan compassion that can embrace and nurture a complex and multi-faceted humanity, in this case, the leaders of the Falls Church Episcopal have chosen to stand against the civil authority of the U.S. Constitution that promises equal rights for all, just as happened in all those pulpits that, in the past, denounced what they called the “un-Godly” acts of freeing slaves, ending segregation, or more recently, ending prohibitions on interracial marriage. Church folk experience such hate, emotionally, as a burning righteous indignation.

If this week’s vote results in the departure of Falls Church Episcopal from the Episcopal denomination, the church will go down in infamy as a regrettable and despised bastion of bigotry, prejudice and hatred.

In order to earn this legacy, the church’s leadership is willing to disenfranchise its members from access to one of the nation’s most historic church structures and histories. On this one issue, of the consecration of an otherwise completely qualified, but gay, bishop in New England, this church’s leadership is descending from the heights of grandiose plans for a major expansion in 2000, to years of development paralysis, to now being expelled from its property by the Diocese of Virginia following this week’s vote and its flock sent wandering.

The power of hate can be so strong.


Blogger Monk-in-Training said...

Don't you wish the power of Love could be just as strong in our lives? :)

Great post.

12/20/2006 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that some people have principles and take their religion and the Bible seriously.

Others, however, preach that anything goes and that nobody has any moral or ethical duty beyond self gratification to be followed by endless cute words.

Did you notice how these tolerant liberals so easily accuse those whose principles they dislike of as being inclined to "division, slaughter, discord and tyranny"?

So much for the idea of nurturing "a complex and multi-faceted humanity."

Good for those churches!

John kactuz

12/20/2006 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

With all due respect to your correspondent, what I have read in world-wide comments about events in TEC since 2003 would seem to indicate that the fracas really IS about differing attitudes toward Scripture and authority. It appears that the confirmation and consecration of Bp. Robinson was merely the last straw in the eyes of those who already felt that much of the church in both the US and the UK had veered off the path.
In the US, it was also easy, after the last decade of growing conservative concerns and strength in the secular political scene, to rouse conservatives in the pews to act where previously they might just have sat.
The split itself happened in the US, but if you read the Reform 'Covenant' and Bp. Wright's response to it (linked elsewhere on this site), I think you'll get a clearer picture of the breadth of concerns, whether they are justified in our eyes or not.

12/20/2006 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Donald W. Fisher said...

To the faithful at Falls Church Episcopal (VA), please get out your Bibles and start reading.

If you believe that Lev. 18:22 LITERALLY makes God-loving and God-fearing homosexuals an abomination and excludes them from the Christian church (and the Christian episcopate), then you must also believe LITERALLY ...

... that you should be put to death if you light a fire in your fireplace on the Sabbath (Ex. 35:2-3).

... that if your son is stubborn or rebellious, overeats and drinks to excess, you must gather the men of the community and stone him to death outside town (Deut. 21:18-21).

... that if you have experienced lust of the eye, you should tear that eye out and throw it away (Matt. 5:29).

... that if someone commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, you must stone both of them to death (Lev. 20:10).

... that you must never play football (Lev. 11:7-8).

... that all males should have been circumcized on the eighth day, including any of your male slaves. All those who are not circumcized should be cut off from the people of God (Gen. 17:10-14).

... that you have God's blessing on owning slaves, as long as they come from a neighboring country, not your own (Lev. 25:44). Watch out, Canadians and Mexicans.

... that you should offer your virgin daughters for the sexual pleasure of any male guest in your home who desires them (Gen. 19:6-8), especially to deter him from seeking sexual pleasures elsewhere.

... that you must kill all homosexual males (Lev. 20:13).

And you therefore cannot believe that Jesus meant it when He said "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (Jn. 12:32).

If considering some of these things has caused you to rethink your understanding of Scripture, let's talk and seek God's blessing together through our Episcopal fellowships. Otherwise, may God find a blessing for you on your chosen path.

Donald W. Fisher

12/21/2006 5:23 AM  

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