Southern California already had its hands full with an invasion of giant squid when another squishy invertebrate washed ashore. At the Episcopal Church's conference in Anaheim, California, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, wrapped his amoral tentacles around a proposal to allow more gay bishops.
Williams (pictured) kicked off the convention with a deplorable speech urging the American church to, once again, abandon their gay friends and family members. His sole mission was to hold together the worldwide Anglican Communion and appease conservatives, even at the expense of the denomination's decency and dignity.
"I hope and pray there won't be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart," sniveled the feckless Williams.
Williams should understand that a church that uses bigotry as the glue that binds is not worth saving. Furthermore, his obsession with church growth has led to the embrace of sordid tyrants like Nigerian Archbishop, Peter J. Akinola, who is associated with shady activities, if not outright atrocities in Africa.
Fortunately, the American bishops made history and voted 104-30, with 2 abstentions, in favor of the pro-gay measure. The homophobes, of course, offered a heaping helping of hysterics and histrionics. It seems they just can't find spiritual fulfillment without stepping on the dreams and aspirations of other people.
"It is breaking my heart to see the church destroy itself," whined Bishop William Love of Albany, clearly betraying his family name.
Don't you just adore how these divisive souls carelessly wield the wrecking ball yet always accuse other people of division and destruction? Without gay people to kick around, these troglodytes might have nothing better to do than focus on God. What fun would that be?
Now that the Episcopal Church has made a bold decision, one wonders if it can survive. The denomination of two million members decreased six percent between 2003-2007 and the recession has affected its finances.
It seems they are banking on the radical idea that a church can expand by promoting "inclusivity." I hope that they are proven correct, but I have my doubts. It is no secret that the fastest growing churches have branded themselves as bastions of intellectual stagnation and social intolerance. The slogan for such places might read: "America may have changed, but you don't have to."
This version of Christianity thrives because fearful people want security and justice in an insecure and unjust world. Many of these believers view God as an angry vigilante who smites people they personally detest. On good days, the deity is a rabbit's foot who doles out luck and small miracles, such as sunny weather at the beach or a raise at work.
Central to this belief system are velvet rope values, where one's superiority complex is vindicated by an exclusive church membership or inclusion in the Rapture. In this religious scheme, Jesus is the hero who forgives one for holding such mean-spirited and self-centered beliefs.
This cosmic avenger/lucky charm model of Christianity has been wildly successful in creating marketable mega-churches. Yet, it has been even more accomplished in driving people away in droves from all religion, because they view it as intolerant and retrograde.
The Episcopal Church and other progressive denominations have to answer a serious question: Is there a significant market for an enlightened, modern Christianity that focuses on loving, rather than loathing one's neighbors?
Put another way, will the masses still find religion necessary once religion is decoupled from being exclusionary? I think that Europe, once the heartland of Christianity, proves that America may not forever remain a nation of the faithful.
The burden on progressive churches is not to prove that there are millions of Christians who are tolerant and merciful. We already know this to be true. What they must show is that the "inclusiveness" brand can attract a significant number of new followers and transform the entire religion.
The battle in the Episcopal Church is largely over, with moral evolution triumphing over mindless evil. With this newfound clarity, the Episcopal Church has an opportunity to fundamentally shift America away from dreary fundamentalism. It can cast aside the tyrannical and puritanical by offering a new Christianity for the 21st Century.
My advice to the Episcopal Church is to move forward with confidence and the evangelical fervor to match that of its conservative counterparts. If the progressive wing backs off and gets squishy, like Rowan Williams, it is sure to get squished. The future of religion in America now rests in their hands. Let's pray they are up to the challenge.
The Episcopal Church is in shambles. So is every other mainline church in America. You can't have your proverbial cake and eat it too. You can't affirm homosexuality as well as allowing many within a denomination to not affirm homosexuality. The two positions can not exist. Mainline denominations are imploding. The Archbishop of Canterbury is a wimp. He should affirm homosexuality and allow the cards to fall where they may. He wants to appease all groups therby appeasing no one. I am not a church historian but I think those who espouse homosexuality should have left these dying dinosaurs of religion a long time ago and formed their own denominations (aka The Metropolitan Church). It is not worth the time and energy to try and change a masuoleum (the mainline church). And by the way Wayne....you continue to make sensationalistic statements. Back these statements with documenation. Then you will have more substance to your words.
posted by JayJay, at
7/22/2009 6:43 AM
As I count myself as being one of the six per cent who left the Episcopal Church in the 2003-2007 period, I still view the Episcopal Church fondly as one of the brands of Christianity that has mostly welcomed gay people to its fold (do I need to back up this statement?). And, yes, they had to talk the "gay" issue to death for the past 20 years (they love talking, hoping to get to what Quakers call consensus). I think the church finally arrived at the conclusion that there would never be total agreement on the choice of formally granting equal status (i.e. civil rights) for its gay congregants, the right thing to do, or continuing to negate it, while appearing gay friendly to some of us. And, the crux of the matter, as Wayne so aptly puts it: "Is there a significant market for an enlightened, modern Christianity that focuses on loving, rather than loathing one's neighbors?" is what is at stake. Someone please tell me what documentation is needed to pose such a sensational (and extraordinary) question? I reread Wayne's column several times looking for sensationalistic statements that needed backing up. I have yet to find one. Perhaps, JayJay, you need to quit making sensationalistic accusations yourself without quoting chapter and verse as backup. If you want documentation on Wayne's assertions, read his two published books. You'll find plenty of documentation in both.
posted by richard schillen, at
7/22/2009 8:15 AM
Its a shame, at one time Rowan Williams was very progressive on gay clergy and gay rights before he became Archbishop of the worldwide Anglican communion. Amazing how they change once they are elevated to the highest position of authority, just like Obama did when he ran for the highest office. Both need to grow a back bone. However, Anglicanism is on the decline and that's a good thing as are most major cults. Long may that continue.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
7/22/2009 9:08 AM
You continue to make accusations of "sensationalism" without documenting what part of my work was sensationalized. Typical right wing tactic - repeat a lie or a smear often enough and hope people believe it. What you do is traffic in innuendo - which is much easier than presenting real facts.
Jay Jay - this is the last post you will ever make on this site without presenting evidence. If charge sensationalism, you must present the evidence. Otherwise, we can only assume you are a dishonest shill with an agenda.
Finally, gay people belong in all denominations. You fail to recognize that anti-gay religions are what are doing grave harm to religion in general. Christianity is essentially gone (except for tourist traps) in its birthplace, the middle east, and disappearing in Western Europe. It is losing ground in America. This is because of intolerant people with anti-gay obsessions such as yourself.
Smart, thinking, rational people do not share your obsessions and need to put down others to feel good about themselves.
posted by Wayne Besen, at
7/22/2009 9:22 AM
Wayne, well said. The reason why these shills post on gay sites is simply because they are desperate. They have no audience and they know deep down they're losing the cultural war. They post on a lot of other gay sites with the same mantras and very predictable. These are very sick, mentally ill people who have a lot of unresolved sexual issues and conflicts, unhappy people at best. I'm glad you're banning them, other sites don't.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
7/22/2009 9:27 AM
Although Williams is a brilliant scholar (I've read a number of his books), as Wayne said, in order to prevent a schism (which seems inevitable now) he kowtowed to the faux "christian" exclusionists and will go down on the wrong side of history. Religious historian Phyllis Tickle wrote a book showing that Christianity goes through a major crisis/re-organization about every 500 years. The last one was the Reformation and the next one is now! The Episcopal Church will emerge perhaps a bit leaner, but with greater moral authority. I think quality is better than quantity anyway. I know several Episcopal priests, and the drop out rate has pretty much leveled off since the 70s and 80s. They also have told me that more progressive/liberal Christians from other denominations have joined, some gay, many not. This 'shambles' could ultimately have a silver lining for the EC. BTW, Williams is also a hypocrite, at some big church convention last summer in the UK, he had private Eucharist service for the large glbt contingent that was there. I didn't see that mentioned anywhere in the MSM.
posted by gary, at
7/22/2009 9:54 AM
Gary, Williams is indeed a hypocrite just like many politicians, they kow tow to this and that to get elected at the expense of others, those others being the LGBT community. We're the last group they can throw under the bus and get away with it. Its all going to fire back on him and every other hypocrite and bigot out there, truth will find a way, it always does eventually. Schism is a good thing, it freed Europe from papal domination and so too will the Episcopalian branch of anglicanism, the deadwood will wither and die as it already is. England has probably the lowest church attendance of any western European nation, another good thing. These are desperate times for organized cults and that's why we're seeing the likes of Williams and the rottweiler in the Vaatican in a constant state of paranoia, they're losing and they know it.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
7/22/2009 11:39 AM
Religion is not about being or doing good. It pretends to be about that, but it's really about religious Narcissism. The ability of being able to look at outside groups as "the other" is a main component of its existence. As we all know, most religions have no problem declaring gays and lesbians to be "outside the fold." The result is pseudo self-esteem combined with the arrogance and blindness that accompanies a God-complex. Ironically, if you're looking for truth or simple goodness, religion is one of the last places you should bother with; you'll simply be wasting your time. Discrimination is not a by-product of faith; it is a main component of it.
posted by Chris L., at
7/22/2009 8:33 PM
I have to disagree with *some* of what Chris said. SOME churches are about doing good. Our local Episcopal church runs a daily soup kitchen, provides groceries to a number of families who cant make it on food stamps, found and furnished an affordable apartment for a homeless mother and her 3 children and runs a city camp for inner city kids in the summertime. All churches are not created equal. When my father's father died in the 1920s when he was a young child, leaving a wife and 6 kids, the only ones who helped her was the local presbyterian church who regularly brought food baskets. Since they were catholic, my father went to the local roman catholic church for help and the priest slammed the door in his face. He hated them and never went back to church for the rest of his life.
posted by gary, at
7/23/2009 9:32 AM
Gary, you are right. Some churches actually try to walk their talk. That's terrible what happened to your dad when he went to the Catholic Church for help. I'm glad that Presbyterian Church helped your family.
I tend to think of the Episcopalians as one of the more prgressive and truly most Christians of all the various denominations. I attend services every now and again and have always been given a very warm welcome--no prosletyzing, either. I feel that the EC is sincere in wanting to help and affirm gay people.
The EC,IMO, needs to leave the worldwide Anglican communion and leave all the haters and wishy-washy idiots in England and elsewhere behind.
BTW I am glad you laid down the law to Jay Jay. If he cannot give supporting evidence/documentation for his statements, he needs to STFU until he can.
posted by Merlyn, at
7/23/2009 10:20 AM
Joey7777, any LGBTQ who votes Rethuglican IS either stupid or greedy. I have yet to see anything gay-positive out of those people. Many LGBTQ tend to vote ther wallets when voting Rethuglican but then these are people who don't give a damn about their LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Don't insult our intelligence by trying to put noble motives on a move which at best is self-centered and self-serving.
posted by Merlyn, at
7/25/2009 1:45 PM
Joey7777, if gay republicans are supposed to be smart, can you tell me why they continue to support a party that has NEVER authored, co-authored or sponsored one piece of LGBT equality legislation and why is it that the leader of the Log Cabin group never gets to have his say at any of their conventions? I never heard the word "gay" mentioned once in a positive light during McCain/Palin campaign. If its now calling itself a party of "inclusiveness", according to Michael Steele and Eric Cantor, why does it not support full equality for its gay voters? I don't call that smart at all.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
7/28/2009 8:19 AM