Monday, January 15, 2007

Paul Woodrum: "Because it is Right"

The Episcopal Majority brings us an essay by the Rev. Paul Woodrum:

...This is what I long for in our present leadership when it comes to discrimination against women and LGBT people: for the Presiding Bishop and other bishops to say simply that we will not tolerate any more discrimination and bigotry and challenge the church to live into this, not because it is politic or impolitic, acceptable to some but not to others, but because it is right. No more of this namby pamby hiding behind commissions, committees, conventions and policy directives. No more tolerating seasons, years, decades or centuries of waiting for justice.

Heaven knows Bishops Akinola and Iker and Duncan and their ilk are not shy about making pronouncements that are wrong, immoral, and unjust. Presiding Bishop Browning called for no more outcasts but took six of his nine years to begin to live into that himself where gay people were concerned. Presiding Bishop Griswold was genetically too nuanced to make a direct statement. It's a new day. I hope we will hear loud and clear the old prophetic call for justice to run down like rivers and integrity like an everlasting stream. Shalom. Shalom.
Notice the reference to "discrimination against women and LGBT people." In light of the ugly attacks on our Presiding Bishop, and the Panel of Reference's recent approval of the Diocese of Forth Worth's rejection of women priests, this is how we need to begin framing the postion that we oppose.

The situation in Fort Worth can no longer be ignored, as can be seen by the picture painted by Katie Sherrod and Fort Worth Via Media. For the Panel of Reference to approve such clear gender discrimination suggests that that they either limited their consultations to those who were willing to whitewash the situation, or they actually believe that there is some validity to declaring certain members of our Church second class citizens in God's Kingdom. Regardless of the reasons, their decision is unacceptable.

It appears some within the Anglican Communion do not understand the situation as some of us within the Episcopal Church see it. It does not matter what the Primates do. It does not matter what Dr. Williams says. Because, regardless of the consequences, discrimination based on race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, is always wrong, and contrary to the Good News of God made known to us through Jesus Christ.

In the words of Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning, "in this Church there will be no outcasts." Let those who desire to once again put in place a human hierarchy of being do what they must. We will not be swayed by threats of exclusion or punishment. We will not repent, because we believe, with no equivocation, that we have not only done nothing requiring such repentance, but that we are championing God's vision of the Kingdom. We will continue to stand against discrimination and bigotry because it is the right thing to do.


UPDATE: Just in case anyone was wondering, the list of specific discriminations was drawn from the Canons of the Episcopal Church; Title III, Canon 1, section 2:

No person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons.

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