Daily Archives: December 9, 2009

Open letter to the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Bishop of Los Angeles

We congratulate you and the people of the Episcopal Church on the electoral process which has led to the election of the Revd Canon Diane Jardine Bruce and the Revd Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool as Suffragan Bishops of the Diocese of Los Angeles. We are aware that the process was carried out with great care and prayer, as will the decisions of Bishops and Standing Committees who consider whether to confirm the elections. We wish the elected candidates all joy in their ministries and assure them of our prayers.

The Anglican and Episcopalian tradition is, at its best, one which celebrates the breadth of human experience and welcomes the many ways in which we, as Christians, try to live out our vocations under God. We are therefore deeply sorry that the reaction from the Church of England to the election of Mary Glasspool has been at best grudging and at worst actively negative.

While it gives us no pleasure to dissociate ourselves from the sentiments expressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, whose wisdom in so many areas we deeply respect, we greatly regret the tone and content of his response, particularly in the context of his failure to make any comment on the seriously oppressive legislation being proposed in Uganda.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Presiding Bishop, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Lisa Fox: Can the Diocese of SC Vote on [Canon Mary] Glasspool?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

A Review of the Records of Waldo, Linder & Thompson, Bishop Candidates in Upper South Carolina

One of the things that I see when talking with slightly-left-of-center and even-more-left-of-center Episcopalians is that they do not yet understand how traditional Episcopalians make their decisions to stay or go. Traditional Episcopalians have, I think we can all grant, taken some huge blows. Every three years, the General Convention makes sure to grind the point home further that on a national level the church has no interest in the values and theology of traditionalists. And every six months or so, we have some national news item that further drives that point home — just last week, for instance, the election of a non-celibate lesbian bishop. The effects of that news are now rippling through TEC, and some traditional Episcopalians will throw up their hands and decide to leave their parish, their diocese, and TEC as a whole. They’ll give up — it was one last blow that did them in.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Diocesan Conventions/Diocesan Councils

Savi Hensman: Liberating the Anglican understanding of sexuality

For some, this is a welcome development. They believe that those electing a bishop should seek the help of the Holy Spirit in choosing the candidate best suited to serve in that area, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, and that the church should strive to embody God’s welcoming love which breaks down barriers and turns strangers into friends.

Others disapprove, but do not regard this as a church-dividing matter, recognising that Christians may remain in fellowship yet hold different beliefs on matters such as divorce and homosexuality. There are some people who disapprove, not because they believe same-sex relationships are wrong, but because they fear that such a move will be divisive at present and that there are other priorities. And there are Christians who are outraged, believing that choosing a lesbian as bishop goes against the Bible and church tradition.

According to Canon Kendall Harmon of South Carolina, a leading ‘conservative’, the election “represents an intransigent embrace of a pattern of life Christians throughout history and the world have rejected as against biblical teaching,” Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, would like Episcopal Church leaders to refuse to endorse Glasspool’s election, warning that choosing her “raises very serious questions” for the province’s “place in the Anglican Communion”, and claiming that “The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”

Yet, insofar as it is possible to know the “mind” of a diverse Communion in which there is no centralised authority, the Episcopal Church leadership has made far more effort to follow this than the leaders of certain other provinces which have not been threatened with exclusion. And the notion that being a partnered lesbian goes against the Bible’s teaching is even more dubious.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Notable and Quotable

“We should never forget the importance of chaplains.”

–Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an interview on the NBC Today show just a moment ago in Afghanistan

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Military / Armed Forces, Religion & Culture, War in Afghanistan

Baltimore Sun: Non-celibate Lesbian bishop-elect finds support as well as controversy

Support for Glasspool among Episcopalians is not universal. The Diocese of South Carolina has begun to withdraw from some national church councils over policy on homosexuality. The Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon, canon theologian of the diocese, said Glasspool’s confirmation, which he considers “a foregone conclusion [among Standing Committees],” is “just going to increase the challenges” for church conservatives.

“What people don’t realize is, this is an evangelistic issue,” he said. “Down here, having ‘Episcopal’ on the sign is a huge net negative for people trying to grow their churches. If we don’t distance ourselves in this diocese, what we have is parishioners who say, ‘I love you, I love this parish, I love God, I love Christ. But I don’t want any part of the Episcopal Church if they’re going to do this.’ ”

Four Episcopal dioceses and several parishes have broken away to form the Anglican Church in North America, a conservative body seeking separate recognition within the Anglican Communion. The Vatican, meanwhile, has announced plans to make it easier for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church.

The Rev. Susan Russell, president of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy group Integrity USA, called such losses “the cost of discipleship.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Mary Glasspool Interviewed by the Baltimore Sun

With respect to the Archbishop of Canterbury, he has a personal relationship with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, and I leave that in their realm. Certainly, I’m not ignorant of issues in the culture and the church, so yes, I can say I anticipated some kind of reaction. You never know what kind of reaction.

I want to be quick to say that personally, I have received hundreds, maybe a thousand at this point, and one negative e-mail among all of them. I’ve received e-mails from all over the world ”“ from an 18-year-old gay man in Auckland, New Zealand, who said how proud and thrilled he was for the church. Episcopalians in the Diocese of Dallas, which is one of our more conservative dioceses, and a married couple, lay people, who wrote and sent their congratulations. A Lesbian couple who are Roman Catholic in England who said they were having such difficulty in their own church and they were so proud that the Episcopal Church was taking leadership in this way, demonstrating not only the reality of who we already are, but the inclusiveness of Jesus’ love for all people.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts

Washington Post–Senate may drop public option

Democratic Senate negotiators struck a tentative agreement Tuesday night to drop the controversial government-run insurance plan from their overhaul of the health-care system, hoping to remove a last major roadblock preventing the bill from moving to a final vote in the chamber.

Under the deal, the government plan preferred by liberals would be replaced with a program that would create several national insurance policies administered by private companies but negotiated by the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees health policies for federal workers. If private firms were unable to deliver acceptable national policies, a government plan would be created.

In addition, people as young as 55 would be permitted to buy into Medicare, the popular federal health program for retirees. And private insurance companies would face stringent new regulations, including a requirement that they spend at least 90 cents of every dollar they collect in premiums on medical services for their customers.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --The 2009 American Health Care Reform Debate, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Senate

Irish Times: Vatican to issue 'strong response' on abuse report

The Vatican will issue a “strong reponse” to the findings of the Murphy report after the pope meets Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Cardinal Seán Brady on Friday, the papal nuncio has said.

The report revealed a catalogue of cover-ups and inaction by senior Church figures in face of serious allegations of abuse. It also revealed Vatican officials refused to deal directly with the commission’s investigators, suggesting they should use official diplomatic channels instead.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, England / UK, Ireland, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

David Brooks: An Innovation Agenda

The American model remains an impressive growth engine, even allowing for the debt-fueled bubble. The U.S. economy grew by 63 percent between 1991 and 2009, compared with 35 percent for France, 22 percent for Germany and 16 percent for Japan over the same period. In 1975, the U.S. accounted for 26.3 percent of world G.D.P. Today, after the rise of the Asian tigers, the U.S. actually accounts for a slightly higher share of world output: 26.7 percent.

The U.S. has its problems, but Americans would be crazy to trade their problems with those of any other large nation.

Moreover, there’s a straightforward way to revive innovation. In an unfairly neglected white paper on the subject, President Obama’s National Economic Council argued that the U.S. should not be in the industrial policy business. Governments that try to pick winners “too often end up wasting resources and stifling rather than promoting innovation.” But there are several things the government can do to improve the economic ecology. If you begin with that framework, you can quickly come up with a bipartisan innovation agenda.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Education, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Barack Obama, Science & Technology, The U.S. Government

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

–Psalm 38:21-22

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

Richard Morrison: Nothing but sex please, we’re vicars . . .

The latest row ”” into which the Archbishop of Canterbury has stumbled like a blind man into a bog ”” is over the “lesbian bishop” elected by the American Episcopal Church (the equivalent of the Church of England). According to Ruth Gledhill, The Times’s reliable Religion Correspondent, this single appointment places the future of the entire Anglican Communion “in jeopardy”. Such is the froth of hysteria about sexuality in the upper echelons of the Church that this astonishing claim seems quite plausible.

I’m not a theologian. I may be overlooking something in the recorded sayings of Jesus Christ. But as far as I can recall, the founder of the Church said nothing whatsoever about sexuality ”” either his own or anyone else’s. We don’t know whether he was gay or straight; celibate, monogamous or promiscuous. Nor what he expected his followers to be ”” if he expected anything. Mercifully, perhaps, the gospel writers ”” compiling their chronicles 30 years or more after Christ’s death ”” lacked the ruthless digging skills and insatiable prurience of today’s biographers. Had Kitty Kelley rather than St Mark been around in 1st-century Judaea, the story might have been racier. But as things stand, there is no justification in the pronouncements of Christ for anyone in the Church to pontificate (I use the word advisedly) about harmless activities that go on in private between consenting adults ”” even if some of those adults are the Church’s own clerics.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

Rights and religion clash in court

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from a Christian student group that had been denied recognition by a public law school in California for excluding homosexuals and nonbelievers. The case pits anti-discrimination principles against religious freedom.

The group, the Christian Legal Society, says it welcomes all students to participate in its activities. But it does not allow students to become voting members or to assume leadership positions unless they affirm what the group calls orthodox Christian beliefs and disavow “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle.” Such a lifestyle, the group says, includes “sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”

The law school, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, part of the University of California, allows some 60 recognized student groups to use meeting space, bulletin boards and the like so long as they agree to a policy that forbids discrimination on various grounds, including religion and sexual orientation. The school withdrew recognition from the Christian group after it refused to comply with the policy.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture

Senate panel in N.J. approves Same Sex Marriage bill

The battle over same-sex marriage in New Jersey headed toward a legislative showdown Monday night, when a bill that would allow such unions narrowly cleared a key legislative committee and was set for a vote by the full State Senate.

The 7-to-6 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee — which came after years of efforts by gay rights advocates and a day of emotionally charged testimony by dozens of supporters and opponents of the bill — was the first time any legislative body in the state had ever approved a gay marriage bill. The approval brought cheers from hundreds of supporters who crammed the State House committee room.

But the measure faces an uphill fight when it is put up for a vote on Thursday before the full Senate, where even supporters concede that they do not yet have the 21 votes needed to pass it. If it does pass, it will go to the Assembly, where passage is considered more likely.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Sexuality, State Government

Archbishop of Canterbury Frowns on LA's Non-Celibate Lesbian Bishop

It was an uncommonly sharp rebuke from the 59-year-old Welshman, a liberal who has struggled in recent years to keep the Anglican Communion from fraying hopelessly over the support of thousands of Americans for the consecration of gay bishops.

The controversy was touched off in 2003, when the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay priest, was consecrated as bishop of New Hampshire.

Glasspool, 55, a canon in the Episcopalian Diocese of Maryland who has been in a lesbian relationship for two decades, was elected Saturday during the Los Angeles diocese’s annual convention in Riverside.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Archbishop of Canterbury, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles