June 2, 2009
So I was sweating at the gym reading when I glanced at the television to see Dick Cheney at the national Press Club offering his support for same–sex marriage but insisting that it is a state rather than a federal issue. Good for him. It is a shame he was not that brave when he was in power.
The same day brings news that the House of Bishops has appointed a theology committee to examine same sex relationships but the chair, someone I have known and respected for along time, Henry Parsley, Bishop of Alabama, refuses to let anyone know who is serving on the committee. See http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/bishops/secret_theology_committee_stud.html
I was unaware of this committee before Episcopal Café picked up their report from the General Convention Blue Book available here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/gc2009_106480_ENG_HTM.htm It seems that they are die to report in 2011. I pray they will not try and use that as a delaying tactic for moving forward on something that the Church has been discussing for more than thirty years. The Presiding Bishop has declared publicly that she does not support revisiting B033 (the resolution that appears to support a moratorium on the consecration of GLBT bishops) in favor of a positive statement as to where we are now. She has not, to my knowledge, said anything about who will generate that statement or what form it might take. Please God, will some Bishop be brave and forthright and honest and take a public lead on moving us forward in this area. My plea is not unmindful of some potential or perceived cost to such clarity for the bishop who expresses it, but any move to hide behind some idea such as ‘we have a double top secret committee who will report in 2011 and we should wait until then’ will not fly in the trenches.
Why, oh why, do we need to shoot ourselves in the foot like this? The end result of all these machinations –both civil and ecclesial-- will be gay marriage recognized by every state with some clergy exercising their current and canonically enshrined right to decline to officiate at any wedding for any reason. The interim is tiresome and painful, especially for those being told by their church that they are ‘Ok, but not quite Ok’. It may be that I will have shuffled off this mortal coil by the time this vision is realized but I look forward to the day when such dislike of the different is over. Trouble is, it will attach itself to someone or something else. If the former clam-like Vice-President can proclaim that freedom in this area is a good thing how long can it take?