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New Hope in Battling Religious Intolerance? June 24, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in lgbt Issues, religion, religion distorted.

The Episcopal Church has thrown its LGBT pupils on a rollercoaster ride of emotion over the past few days. Progressive leaders rejoiced on Tuesday night as the Episcopal delegates at the General Convention rejected what would have been a ban on electing gay bishops. The failed resolution ignored the anti-gay pleas of many in the Anglican Communion and pushed the denomination closer to a schism over LGBT people's place in the church. Unfortunately, just a day after the ban failed to pass, Episcopal delegates essentially reversed its position and demanded bishops "exercise restraint" when selecting gay bishops. Although it technically leaves room to elect gay bishops, most believe it is essentially a moratorium on selecting openly gay candidates.

Despite the disappointing turn of events, gay and lesbian Episcopalians can still be hopeful because of the new presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori. Aside from being the first woman leader of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Jefferts Schori has endorsed same-sex blessings and has encouraged gay and lesbian leadership in the church. Her tolerant views have outraged anti-gay conservatives. Writing for Townhall.com, author Cal Thomas addresses the selection of Bishop Jefferts Schori:

Bishop Schori, a former oceanographer for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, says, “The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings and that’s certainly the great message of Jesus – to include the unincluded.”

This is so outside orthodox Christianity that only biblical illiterates or those who deny the supreme authority of the only book that gives foundation to the faith will accept it.

Thomas' remarks are truly revealing. Not only does he call Bishop Jefferts Schori, the leader of the entire Episcopal Church, a "biblical illiterate", but he does so because she hopes to bring a diverse group of people into the church. I am no biblical scholar, but her message of including the alienated seems to be quite consistent with Jesus Christ's beliefs (whether you consider him God's son or not).

Anti-gay religious leaders have pushed me away from the church and have thrown my beliefs up in the air. Although I believe I am weak for allowing these hate-filled people to affect my faith, it is difficult to hear you are the antithesis of everything their so-called God believes in. Overall, I believe LGBT people of faith will end up being rewarded in the afterlife for believing in God despite intense adversity. As for the fundamentalists intent on pushing LGBT people away from God… I can't imagine it being favorably looked upon.

Fundamentalists have used the Bible to condone slavery, preach against interracial marriage and now to condemn gay and lesbian people of faith. Just as it would now be considered heresy to justify slavery or oppose interracial marriage in God's name, the same will be true with gay and lesbian people in the future. It's a repetitive cycle. We must thank people like Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for recognizing this before it is popular to do so.

Check out The Interfaith Alliance for more information about being an LGBT person of faith.


1. Anonymous - June 24, 2006

Bishop Schori will likely play a tremendous role in whether or not the Anglican community splits with the Episcopal Church, but I am not sure she will play a big role on whether or not to allow gay bishops. She wants to avoid a split and to do that she can’t fully embrace gay people. Sad, but most likely accurate.

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