Sunday, March 25, 2007

Institute on Religion and Democracy: Episcopal Church "strikes a blow at the institution of marriage."

I picked this off Kendall Harmon's blog. Christian Newswire ( has a quote from Ralph Webb, of IRD's Anglican Action:

"The bishops' March 20 statement strongly suggests that that the Episcopal Church will neither meet the primates' requests nor change the Episcopal Church's direction toward what Episcopal progressives call the 'full inclusion' of gays and lesbians. When the bishops 'proclaim [that] ... gay and lesbian persons, are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church,' do they mean to imply approval for same-sex blessings?

"Additionally, the House talks about the 'full and equal participa[tion]' of not only gays and lesbians, but women. Since women have been ordained as bishops, is the House implying that non-celibate gays and lesbians should be as well?

"The Episcopal Church's current stance on same-sex blessings - that official rites cannot be developed but blessings at the local level can be acceptable pastoral measures if they are permissible in the diocese - not only runs against the teaching of the Anglican Communion, but strikes a blow at the institution of marriage. Any heterosexual blessings outside of the institution of marriage have the same effect, as does the consecration of any bishop or other member of the clergy living in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

"Some progressive Episcopalians also are calling for, and some have committed themselves to, a radical 'fast' from all marriages until gays and lesbians can also be married. So while the Episcopal Church's rite for the sacrament of Holy Matrimony - in which marriage is called a 'bond and covenant [between a man and a woman that] was established by God in creation' - has not changed, some members of the laity and clergy are determined to modify it.

"Which way will the Episcopal Church go? The bishops ended their statement by saying that they 'now determinedly turn' toward the Episcopal Church's mission. From all indications, it looks like a turn away from interdependence within the Anglican Communion, and a turn toward autonomy. Such a turn would allow the Episcopal Church to fulfill its increasingly progressive understanding of both the church's social witness and the gospel - and open the door for eventually changing its definition of Holy Matrimony."

We're trying to destroy the institution of marriage? Really? I'll go get my hammer.

Webb incorrectly makes a leap from us blessing same-sex marriages to blessing relationships outside of marriage. While a number of liberals are OK with relationships outside of marriage, or at least recognize that they happen, that's a long way away from blessing such relationships. Most of the above liberals continue to believe that marriage is the ideal, for same- and opposite-sex couples. In my experience, Christian same-sex couples who want to get married are no different from opposite-sex Christian couples who do the same. Given that, I really don't see how we're trying to destroy the institution of marriage.

But if we are, I'll go get my hammer.

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