Posted by Kendall Harmon

...what he's saying, in effect, is that he's not going to allow his House of Bishops to effect a nifty U-turn that forces oppressed Christians abroad either to change their minds overnight about an "abomination", as they see it, or to leave the Anglican Communion when they crave its moral support.

That's a perfectly sensible approach, in so far as it goes. But Archbishop Welby's attempt to reconcile it with his surprisingly passionate defence of LGBT Christians is not convincing: we're supposed to believe that "consultation" will enable the C of E to arrive at the "right" decision about blessing homosexual marriages, whatever that might be. (There's no question, yet, of gay weddings in C of E churches, which are forbidden by the new law.)

Moreover, it means that the Archbishop of Canterbury will not say whether gay marriage is morally wrong. When Moreton asks him about the Anglican priest in Lincolnshire who's just married his boyfriend, he replies: “It’s best if I do not comment on that". It's a matter for the Bishop of Lincoln.

Really?

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted April 22, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The marriage of canon Jeremy Pemberton and Laurence Cunnington, the first gay clergy wedding in England, looks like a decisive test of strength within the Church of England between liberals and conservatives. But it may just shift the trenches a few hundred yards. The tangles of employment law and church law make it almost impossible for either side to get all they want.

It looks as if it should be easy for the bishop of Lincoln, in whose diocese the canon works, to discipline Pemberton if he wants to. But Pemberton is not in fact a vicar. He is a hospital chaplain, which means he is employed by the local NHS trust. They are not going to sack him for contracting a perfectly legal marriage. The bishop has no power to get him sacked even if he wanted to.

But this is the Church of England; things are seldom simple....

Read it all (my emphasis).

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4 Comments
Posted April 14, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A priest has become the first in Britain to defy the Church of England’s ban on gay clergy marrying.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton, 58, a divorced hospital chaplain, wed his long-term partner Laurence Cunnington, 51, on Saturday afternoon.

Campaigners expressed delight that the couple had taken advantage of Britain’s newly-introduced gay marriage laws and urged bishops to “bless” their partnership. They predict he will be the first of many gay clergy to marry.

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Anglican hospital chaplain has become what is believed to be the first member of the clergy in Britain to have a gay marriage.

Canon Jeremy Pemberton is a chaplain at Lincoln Hospital and has Permission to Officiate and leads occasional services in Nottinghamshire.

Read it all.

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Posted April 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The archbishop of Canterbury, under fire for appearing to link expanded gay rights in the United States to violence against Christians in Africa, said on Thursday that he is advocating for a slow and deliberative response to same-sex marriage, mindful of the global implications.

“I think we need to be aware of the realities on the ground, in our own countries and around the world, and to take those into account when we’re moving forward,” the archbishop, Justin Welby, told reporters in Oklahoma City, where he was meeting with the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church and attending a conference on violence.

“It doesn’t mean you necessarily do something other than you feel is the right thing to do,” he said, “but you’re aware of the need perhaps to do it in a different way.”

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...changing its employment policies to contradict the entire Christian tradition’s understanding of sin and obedience, vice and virtue where human sexuality is concerned would not be, as the letter’s writers and signers seem to imagine, an embrace of an “agree to disagree” accommodation between Christians who differ on “narrow doctrinal matters.” Such a change would be a capitulation by one side, and a victory by the other, on a question that goes to the heart of what it means to be a Christian organization. World Vision got the message loud and clear from many supporters that they would no longer consider it a Christian organization if it really undertook this capitulation.

The signers of the Whitworth “Response” claim with equal clarity—when they want to be clear—that the Christian thing to do would be toss out the Great Tradition wherever it rests on “a few passages in the Bible” that “have been historically misconstrued.” So again, why do they pretend that a victory for their principle, and a defeat for their adversaries’ principle that they revile, is a sweetly reasonable coming-together-across-differences?

Read it all.



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0 Comments
Posted April 11, 2014 at 12:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England has submitted its response to the Government's consultation document on the future of civil partnership. The 12 week consultation period opened in January and closes next Thursday (17 April).

Read it all.

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Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishops in South Sudan have confirmed the Archbishop of Canterbury's warning that Christians in their country face a violent reaction if the Church of England permits same-sex marriage and blessings.

Archbishop Welby gave his warning during a phone-in on LBC radio last Friday. Asked why the Church of England could not permit clergy to bless same-sex relationships, he said: "The impact of that on Christians in countries far from here, like South Sudan, like Nigeria, and other places, would be absolutely catastrophic."

Read it all.

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Posted April 11, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As many congregations have already split within mainline Protestantism, Northern Seminary professor Scot McKnight said that in 25 years, he suspects evangelical churches will be split on the issue.

“What has happened is that the same-sex marriage/same-sex legitimacy has become the focal point or scapegoat of the culture wars,” McKnight said. “It is Bible, theology and politics all rolled into one big monster.”

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

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3 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In Silicon Valley, where personal quirks and even antisocial personalities are tolerated as long as you are building new products and making money, a socially conservative viewpoint may be one trait you have to keep to yourself.
--The opener of a front page article from Friday saying so much more than the author thinks

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2 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Those pressing for change therefore need seriously to attend to these complex realities and questions even though they are not as obvious and pressing for most English Anglicans in their parishes as they are for bishops whose ministry connects them with the wider church. Those of us upholding the current teaching and discipline similarly have seriously to address the complex realities and questions we face here and now with the introduction of same-sex marriage and ask those in other parts of the Communion to understand our context as we seek to understand theirs. If we can honestly and humbly acknowledge and wrestle with these challenges then the forthcoming facilitated conversations could, rather than being a belligerent stand-off, still become fruitful dialogues where we might discern together what it means for us to love God and to love our neighbours, both near and distant.

Read it all from Fulcrum.

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1 Comments
Posted April 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians are being killed in Africa as a consequence of liberal attitudes towards homosexuality in the United States and Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury suggested on Friday.

Speaking on LBC radio about his opposition to same-sex marriage, he said: "I've stood by gravesides in Africa of a group of Christians who had been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America."

This is the first time that Archbishop Welby has publicly voiced his fears for Christians overseas as a key factor in the Bishops' opposition to same-sex marriage and the blessing of gay couples in church. "The problem we face is that everything we say here goes round the world, for reasons of history and media and all that. And so we don't make policy on the hoof," he said on Friday.

Read it all.

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Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Church in New Zealand could be split up over a debate on whether to bless same sex relationships and allow the ordination of gay priests at its General Synod next month.

A commission, chaired by former Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand, has come up with ten possible options, including a total ban, universal acceptance, or even splitting the church.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Calls for...[Brendan Eich's] ouster were premised on the notion that all support for Proposition 8 was hateful, and that a CEO should be judged not just by his or her conduct in the professional realm, but also by political causes he or she supports as a private citizen.

If that attitude spreads, it will damage our society.

Consider an issue like abortion, which divides the country in a particularly intense way, with opponents earnestly regarding it as the murder of an innocent baby and many abortion-rights supporters earnestly believing that a fetus is not a human life, and that outlawing it is a horrific assault on a woman's bodily autonomy. The political debate over abortion is likely to continue long past all of our deaths. Would American society be better off if stakeholders in various corporations began to investigate leadership's political activities on abortion and to lobby for the termination of anyone who took what they regard to be the immoral, damaging position?

It isn't difficult to see the wisdom in inculcating the norm that the political and the professional are separate realms, for following it makes so many people and institutions better off in a diverse, pluralistic society. The contrary approach would certainly have a chilling effect on political speech and civic participation, as does Mozilla's behavior toward Eich.

Its implications are particularly worrisome because whatever you think of gay marriage, the general practice of punishing people in business for bygone political donations is most likely to entrench powerful interests and weaken the ability of the powerless to challenge the status quo. There is very likely hypocrisy at work too. Does anyone doubt that had a business fired a CEO six years ago for making a political donation against Prop 8, liberals silent during this controversy (or supportive of the resignation) would've argued that contributions have nothing to do with a CEO's ability to do his job? They'd have called that firing an illiberal outrage, but today they're averse to vocally disagreeing with allies.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted April 5, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said the Church of England accepting gay marriage could be "catastrophic" for Christians in other parts of the world.

The Most Rev Justin Welby told LBC that hundreds of Christians in Africa had been killed by people who associated Christianity with homosexuality.

He warned the same could happen if the Church of England backed gay unions.

Same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales last week, but is not supported by the Church.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyMediaReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told LBC that the Church of England embracing same sex marriage could lead to the persecution and murder of Christians elsewhere in the world.

Reverend Justin Welby made history by being the first Archbishop of Canterbury to take calls from the public in an hour long appearance on LBC.

One of the calls he recieved was from Kes in Charlton, a member of the clergy herself, who urged Reverend Welby to allow members of the church to be left to their own conscience on the subject of gay marriage and carry out ceremonies.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

4 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Justin spent an hour answering questions on LBC's radio phone-in this morning, tackling topics ranging from same-sex marriage to the nature of God.

Listen again to the full programme... [via youtube] there.


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0 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The long-awaited report of the Ma Whea? Commission into the question of same-gender blessings and ordinations has been released.

The report, which is the fruit of 15 months’ work by five eminent New Zealand citizens, lists 10 options to inform the General Synod debate at Waitangi next month.

The options range from a more conservative statement about who can be blessed and ordained (ie a firmer statement than the canons now prescribe) through various degrees of change and liberalisation.

The options are:

Option A: Affirming Traditional Understanding

Option B: Preserving Present Circumstances

Option C: Bishops to Determine What Equals Right Relationships

Option D: Delegate to Diocesan Synods/Te Runanganui Power to Determine Right Relationships

Option E: Adopt a New Understanding

Option F: The Anglican Church Having Two Views

Option G: Dual Episcopacy

Option H: Planned Dismembering

Option I: Anglican Church to Add a New Rite of Blessing by Priests of Those in a Same Sex Relationship.

Option J: Adopt a Two Year Period of Focussed Discussion within Church Communities with a View to Making a Decision in (say) 2016

Read it all and follow the links to the whole report.

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1 Comments
Posted April 4, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I had hoped that Church of England liturgy would come to include provisions for church blessing of civil partnerships. I fear that the precipitate and profoundly undemocratic way in which the Marriage Bill was hustled into law has set obstacles in the way of persuasive change. The Church of England will now have extreme difficulty in relating to the law on marriage.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted April 1, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church's real problem, however, is not the hypocrisy of closeted prelates. It's that so many priests are perfectly content to solemnise homosexual marriages in church and will indeed be "creative" in finding ways to do so.

How will Archbishop Justin Welby respond? "I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being," he told the Guardian in best Rev J C Flannel mode. Uh-huh. Oh, and there will be "structured conversations" to help resolve the problem.

Here's my prediction. As of today, pro-gay clergy will begin to unpick Cameron's "triple lock" banning parishes from holding gay weddings; during the next Parliament it will cease to exist. Priests who want to marry same-sex couples, or indeed marry their own gay lovers, will just do it. Anglo-Catholic and Evangelical parishes that reject the whole notion won't be forced to host such ceremonies, but both these wings of the C of E are moving in a liberal direction, and in the long run demographic change will finish the job.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted March 31, 2014 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled that the Church of England will mount no more resistance to gay marriage among churchgoers.

Gay marriage will be legalised from Saturday with dozens of ceremonies planned around the country for one minute past midnight. This passing of the legislation caused deep rifts within the church.

"I think the church has reacted by fully accepting that it's the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being." Justin Welby told the Guardian.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 11:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Bishop Alan Wilson]...said: “I’ve blessed lots of things, I once blessed a bucket of cement in India, it seems to me very difficult to say that you can’t bless this.

“But the official line which I have to be loyal to in my working practice is that you can pray with people pastorally but you mustn’t use the ‘b’ word.

“That technically is very interesting because if the Church of England produced a liturgy for blessing a civil partnership, for example, there would be an official line on how to do this.”

On the question of equal marriage, he said everybody has a “very basic human right” to order their life and their family and their household in a way that goes with their conscience and their faith.

Read it all (subscription required).

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0 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 6:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gay clergy should follow their conscience and defy the Church of England’s restrictions on same-sex marriage, a prominent bishop has said as the most radical change ever made to the legal definition of marriage in Britain comes into force.

The Rt Rev Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, said priests should be “creative” to get around restrictions on blessings for same-sex couples and that gay clergy who wish to marry should do so in defiance of the official line.

He also claimed that several current serving bishops are themselves in gay partnerships, and urged them to publicly acknowledge their status for the sake of “honesty and truthfulness” and even consider marrying.

Read it all.

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4 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken frankly about the legalisation of same-sex marriage during the launch of the St Edmundsbury and Ipswich Diocese centenary celebrations in Bury.

Taking a question on the legislation which saw the first same-sex weddings in England and Wales held today, The Most Rev Justin Welby said: “Parliament has spoken very clearly and we accept that”

The head of the Church of England added: “The church does look very bad on this issue to many people in this country particularly younger people and we’re mugs if we think anything else. We need to be really blunt about that.”

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted March 30, 2014 at 5:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, has congratulated same-sex couples who will be getting married from... [Saturday 29 march 2014] and assured them of his prayers.

Bishop Nicholas said:

“Tomorrow, the first same-sex civil marriages will take place in this country. This is a new reality being undertaken by people who wish their relationships to have a formal status which embodies a commitment to them being faithful, loving and lifelong. These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society. I therefore congratulate those who are getting married, assure them of my prayers, and wish them well in all that lies ahead.”

Read it all.

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2 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More important, perhaps, is this reason to listen to the arguments we are having, even if they often outstrip the legislative reality: the contending voices in this debate, including the many thoughtful church-state scholars who have spoken out on each side, are not really arguing about the effects of these laws. Arguably, they are not even debating their possible effects. The real debate is over the logic of their opponents’ positions.

Here, both sides have a point. Whether you call these laws “Gay Jim Crow” or not, the logic of legislative accommodations for individuals, let alone businesses, that object on religious grounds to the application of antidiscrimination laws does indeed pose a serious threat to our civil-rights laws, which are the foundation of a just, egalitarian modern society. It’s tough to have a regime of civil rights when every such law carries the footnote “unless you really mind.” It’s tougher still when those accommodations are triggered by an assertion of “sincere” religious objections, which courts are rightly reluctant to second-guess.

On the other side, the logic of a regime of robust egalitarianism, vigorously backed by law, leaves little room for conscientious religious objection. It tells individuals who want to engage in public and commercial life but have serious religious objections to the new settlement, “Of course there is room for you. Speak, if you must. But don’t act.” (Sometimes, as the Elane Photography case suggests, that distinction is hard to make.) And it tells them that as long as the law’s commands forbid some conduct without actively discriminating against religion, those commands are absolute. The title of law-and-religion scholar Steven D. Smith’s new book, The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom, may be premature. Nonetheless, he is right to worry that “traditional religion and contemporary secular egalitarianism are at some deep level fundamentally incompatible.”

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The guidance shows that under the new legislation:
• Same sex couples will be able to get married in England and Wales and those marriages will be recognised in law (subject to meeting legal requirements).
• Same sex married couples will be treated in the same way as opposite sex married couples in most circumstances.
• Religious organisations can choose to opt in to conduct marriages for same sex couples. But no one can compel the organisations or their officials to participate in religious marriages of same sex couples if they do not wish to do so. Religious freedom is specifically protected under human rights law.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 7:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): What the Church of England’s policy is on priests entering a same-sex marriage; and what guidance has been given on what would happen to a priest who did so.

Sir Tony Baldry: Clergy and ordinands remain free to enter into civil partnerships. The House of Bishops in its pastoral guidance distributed on 15 February said that it was not willing for those in same-sex marriages to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry—deacon, clergy or bishops—and that

“it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same-sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives”.

As with any alleged instance of misconduct, each case would have to be considered individually by the local diocesan bishop.

Read it all.

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Posted March 28, 2014 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World Vision U.S., an evangelical Christian charity known for asking donors to sponsor a hungry child, set off an uproar when it announced this week that it would hire Christians in same-sex marriages.

The charity, the nation’s 10th largest, is based in Washington State, where same-sex marriage is legal, and said it intended to present a symbol of “unity” for Christians in an era when controversy over homosexuality is splintering the church.

Instead of the unity it sought, World Vision’s move was swiftly denounced by some prominent evangelical leaders as a “disaster” and a devil-inspired betrayal of biblical morality. Christians proclaimed online that they had canceled their child sponsorships. Less than 48 hours later, World Vision reversed course, calling the decision “a mistake” and pleading for forgiveness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

3 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Labour MP is to challenge the Church of England to say whether it would defrock a priest for marrying a same-sex partner.

Ben Bradshaw has accused the Church of "trying to have its cake and eat it" by accepting same-sex marriage for its members, but not for its clergy.

The ex-cabinet minister said priests needed to know where they stood.

Read it all.

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3 Comments
Posted March 27, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"The main reason for the state to be involved with marriage is children," says Prof David Paton, an industrial economics lecturer at the University of Nottingham and a supporter of the Coalition for Marriage, a group arguing that traditional marriage is beneficial to society and would be undermined by a definitional change. "It seems reasonable for the state to treat the one type of relationship from which children can directly result in a different way to others, and this is the basis for marriage laws," says Paton.

Not all marriages will result in children, he concedes, and also suggests that issues such as pension rules or inheritance may require the state to recognise alternative relationships in different ways.

But the same-sex marriage law is not about this, he says. "It's about changing the very definition of marriage to encompass other types of relationships that are inherently different. That is both unnecessary and carries the risk of weakening the legal structure designed to encourage the attachment of children to their natural mother and father."

Read it all.


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2 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Bishop Michael McKee has suspended the Rev. Bill McElvaney for performing a high-profile same-sex wedding in Dallas on March 1, 2014. News of the suspension was revealed in a message from McElvaney on the website of Northaven United Methodist Church, a congregation that was once led by the 85-year-old retired McElvaney.

In the posted message, McElvaney said he received a letter March 7 from Bishop Michael McKee informing him that the Rev. Camille Gaston, the district superintendent in the area, had filed a complaint against him. McElvaney reports that his clergy responsibilities had been suspended for 90 days.

Read it all.



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Posted March 24, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[TEC minister The Rev. Deon]...Johnson is one of at least three Livingston County clergy members who committed to performing same-sex marriages pending the outcome of the federal case.

He joins the Revs. Yvonne Schumacher Strejcek of the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton Township and Lynn Martin of Community Congregational United Church of Christ in Pinckney in agreeing to perform ceremonies, according to an Equality Michigan database.

Across county lines, there are several clergy in the Ann Arbor and Lansing areas who also agreed to perform same-sex weddings. Clergy in Dexter, Wixom, Waterford, Farmington Hills and Livonia, also plan to conduct ceremonies.

Johnson said same-sex marriage was discussed within the Episcopal Church decades before the issue reached the courts.

The church in 2009, spurred by growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, approved a ceremony that recognizes the unions within the church, regardless of legal recognition.

Read it all.

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Posted March 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Picture the scene: the Bishop's post is being opened, and among the invitations, job applications, and clerical outfitters' catalogues are three troubling pieces of correspondence.

The first is from the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, informing the Bishop that an ordinand in training, who is in the process of looking for a title post in the diocese, has entered into a same-sex marriage.

The second is a letter of complaint from a group of parishioners that the Vicar of X has just used the form of service for prayer and dedication after a civil marriage from Common Worship: Pastoral Services to bless a same-sex marriage in church.

Read it all.

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Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Gay clergy have this week been describing the ramifications of the pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage, issued by the House of Bishops last month. Bishops have begun meeting gay clergy, at least five of whom are reported to be planning to marry.

The Vicar of St Mary with All Souls', Kilburn, and St James's, West Hampstead, the Revd Andrew Cain, said on Tuesday that speaking publicly about his plans to marry his partner of 14 years ( News, 21 February) had resulted in an "uncomfortable" meeting with his bishop, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, on Wednesday last week.

"It was very uncomfortable for both of us," he said. "He was with HR, and I was with a union rep. That would not be normal for a meeting between a bishop and a priest. I could not honestly say it was particularly pastoral. It was awkward."

Read it all.

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5 Comments
Posted March 21, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Banning marriage blessings for gay couples could be “illegal” and we will fight for equality.

This is the message from two Camden vicars who have vowed to defy a Church of England ban on blessing gay marriages and open their churches to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, ahead of the first same-sex weddings in the UK next week.

In what could become a test case, the Rev Anne Stevens, of St Pancras New Church, in Euston, and Father Andrew Cain, of St James’s in West Hampstead and St Mary’s in Kilburn, will campaign for the law to be changed.

Read it all.

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Posted March 20, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

New Zealand Anglicanism shifted from a firmly-held “marriage cannot be dissolved” to “a couple when getting married should intend to stay together”. ALL references to Marriage-is-like-Christ-and-His-church imagery were completely removed from the three different rites available for getting married in the 1989 New Zealand Prayer Book. Even the Church of England’s own Common Worship rite has removed all but the tiniest single vestigial allusion (quoted above) to what was clearly once a dominant biblical paradigm for marriage.

What once again is clear when those who say the debates are not sourced in prejudice about homosexuality, but are about integrity to scripture and tradition, is that whilst a sea change has occurred in the understanding of marriage, they have only begun to register an issue when the direction heads towards committed same-sex couples.

In the discussion about whether gender difference is essential to marriage it is clear where the inner logic of the trajectory of Christian marriage changes leads, and that the Church of England bishops’ statement is on the wrong side of that trajectory.

Read it all.

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3 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The head bishop of the United Methodist Church in New York on Monday committed to ending church trials in his region for ministers who perform same sex-marriages, essentially freeing them to conduct a ceremony still prohibited under his denomination’s laws.

As the first sitting United Methodist bishop to publicly make such a pledge, Bishop Martin D. McLee instantly became a leading figure in a decades-old movement within the United Methodist Church, the country’s second-largest Protestant denomination, to extend equal recognition and rights to gay and lesbian members. Though Bishop McLee said that he hoped his approach would heal the church’s deep divisions over homosexuality, more conservative Methodists warned that his actions would push the denomination closer to an irrevocable split.

Read it all.

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3 Comments
Posted March 14, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Throughout the rest of the book, Robinson seeks to convince the reader of the need for legal gay marriage in all fifty states and at the federal level. Chapters with titles such as “Why Marriage Now?” “Don’t Children Need a Mother and a Father?” and “What Would Jesus Do?” attempt to counter commonly heard objections to homosexual unions. Robinson concludes the book with his final chapter, “God Believes in Love,” where he makes the case that God’s bountiful love puts no restrictions upon the gender of those expressing their love for one another.

God Believes in Love is a deeply personal story told with conviction, but it comes up short in a number of areas. The most glaring is the undercurrent of self-centeredness which arises from time to time in its narrative. As in all divorce stories told by the uninjured party, Robinson’s is one in which everyone concerned has benefitted greatly from the break up. His wife was freed from a relationship with a man who couldn’t love her in a truly marital way. His daughters benefitted from a happier father, and they built a new and wonderful relationship with their new stepdad, Mark. Above all, Robinson was able to be “true to himself,” the highest in our current table of virtues. But one wonders how his ex-wife and daughters remember those difficult years when Robinson decided to disassemble their family (the children were four and eight years old).

While Robinson served as a bishop in the Episcopal Church, he surprisingly uses far more secular arguments than theological ones.

Read it all.

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3 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The focus on analysis has led to (or perhaps is because of?) paralysis among church leaders with traditional beliefs. Typically, there is no urgency. Marriage has been redefined with huge implications for the spiritual and moral health of the nation, and yet many otherwise biblically orthodox clergy are not sure there is a problem – especially since the Bishops have at least for the moment appeared to hold the line. There is little prayer, because of the influence of secularism which teaches us to rely on our management techniques rather than on God, because of the upsetting nature of the topic, and because of a lack of understanding about spiritual realities. “Oh yes, I will pray in general for the nation”, I have been told, “but not specifically about gay marriage”. There is no courage. Clergy tell me privately that they believe in what the Bible says about sex, but their priority is for hassle-free pastoral care, for unity in the congregation, and ultimately for their own livelihood. As a result there is a lack of good teaching in the congregations on this topic, and no action at local or national levels or support for others taking such action.

Of course not all churches in England have capitulated. Many are wanting to stand firm – and this brings division. The church is now irredeemably divided over homosexuality. The Gospel should be truth lived out in experience, but today ‘my story’ is ranged against propositional truth and right principles. Churches which should be based on the Word and oriented towards their communities are now choosing ‘community’ over against the Word. ‘Witness’ seen as cutting the cost of discipleship to get people into church is increasingly opposed to bearing witness to Christ at any cost. Words such as sin, the need for repentance and transformation are now applied more to people who do not approve of same gender sexual relationships, than to people in those relationships.

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The sad reality is that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Although it is reported that only one bishop voted against the guidance, it is also being claimed that a significant number, even a majority, are not personally happy with it. The reactions to the guidance make clear just how extensive the divisions are in the wider church and thus how difficult the environment for the facilitated conversations is going to be. They also perhaps highlight two areas where the conversations need to focus their attention but which were largely unaddressed by the Pilling Report:

(1) What doctrine of marriage should the Church have and how should it then bear faithful witness to that in ordering its own life and in mission in a wider society which recognises same-sex marriage? and

(2) What is to be done, what new church structures may be needed, so that those who find themselves unable to accept the conclusions on the doctrine of marriage and its practical implications can faithfully bear witness to their understanding of marriage without undermining the mind of the majority or condemning the Church of England to continuing destructive conflict over this issue?

Read it all and Pt I is here.

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Posted March 11, 2014 at 6:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Well, you could knock me down with a feather duster. The Pope is looking into the subject of gay marriage. According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Holy Father said to him that "rather than quickly condemn them, let's just ask the questions as to why that has appealed to certain people". OK, it's hardly a new Vatican policy. But language matters. And in the week of the first anniversary of Francis's appointment as pope, it is worth recognising how far the language has come.

But things are going to change even faster for the Church of England over the next few weeks. With gay marriage becoming a legal reality on 29 March, it is certain that a number of clergy will be looking to get hitched, in direct defiance of the wishes of their bishops who have vaguely warned of disciplinary action if they do. But the truth is that the bishops can actually do very little about it. The following is slightly nerdish stuff, but for the likes of north London vicar Reverend Andrew Cain, now preparing for his nuptials, it is crucial. Writing on my Facebook page last night, the Bishop of Buckingham explained the clergy discipline measure:

"Its Section 7 lays down that matters of doctrine and worship are not justiciable under the measure, but must be tried under the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Measure 1963. Insomniacs may remember that around 10 years ago there was a proposal to have a Clergy Discipline Measure type measure for doctrine and worship cases but it failed. The legal trail leads from here to section 39 of the EJM63. The maximum penalty it lays down for a first offence is a rude letter telling you not to do it again – which hopefully people getting married won't."

Of course, the bishops could pretend that clergy getting married is not a matter of doctrine, but this would be a bit of a problem given that they have been going round telling everyone that it is.

Read it all.

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7 Comments
Posted March 11, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indiana’s law banning same-sex marriages and the recognition of such unions legally performed in other states is the latest to come under attack in federal court.

Four Indiana same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana challenging the state law, hoping to catch a recent wave of successful challenges to similar state laws.

Two of the couples — Melissa Love and Erin Brock of Jeffersonville, and Michael Drury and Lane Stumler of New Albany — want to get married in Indiana.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted March 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his most recent column, Douthat strives to reframe the current debate about anti-gay discrimination (and even segregation) into one about sincere believers being brutally trampled by gay rights activists eager to bury religious freedom. It’s a failed effort, but a useful failure nonetheless. Arizona’s anti-gay bill may be dead, but several more are alive and kicking, and Douthat neatly anticipates the many straw men, euphemisms, and verbal chicanery anti-gay forces will deploy to make their case.

In fact, Douthat’s column is such an effective piece of homophobic apologia that I expect many red state politicians to borrow from its playbook in the coming months and years. To make their job easier, I’ve laid out the most effective means of disguising raw hatred as religious liberty and rounding discrimination down to “dissent.” If you’re thinking about introducing an anti-gay discrimination bill to your own state’s legislature, you should pay close attention.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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Posted March 4, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has described the House of Bishops' pastoral statement on same-sex marriage, which he signed a fortnight ago, as "Anglican fudge".

The Bishops have also been challenged over the accuracy of their guidance, issued on 15 February. In it, they reiterated the ban on same-sex marriages in church, and stated that clergy may not enter into gay marriages... Several priests have publicly declared their intention to defy the Bishops.

Dr Sentamu, speaking at a meeting of Jewish and Christian students in Durham in the middle of last week, said that the Church of England's position was that "a clergy person has a right, an expectation, to live within the teaching of the Church, but for lay people and others they should be welcomed into the Church.

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A same-sex wedding is the ceremonial blessing of behavior the Bible condemns. Affirmation of homosexual practice is intrinsic to... [same-sex] nuptials. There is no need to ask the history of the couple or their reasons for marrying in order to figure out whether or not the marriage is one that God would approve. In contrast, while two heterosexuals wishing to marry may or may not be obeying God’s commands, the institution itself is one that God has affirmed.

Hypocritical Christians are those who forget that they are sinners in need of a savior. Apart from God’s grace we would be damned, and we are hypocrites if we refuse to call others from their sin to experience that same grace. To profit by helping others celebrate their sin, thereby perpetuating the illusion that homosexual behavior is not sin, would be hypocritical for any Christian, be he butcher, baker, or candlestick maker.

Read it all.

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3 Comments
Posted February 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Of course the C of E finds itself in a tricky position where it is being forced to run to keep up with secular law and given its historic stance on homosexuality counterbalanced against an explicit call to accept those in same-sex relationships as far as possible within that framework, there is some tightrope walking going on to find the via media middle ground. Such an approach easily leads to misinterpretation, claims of contradiction and denouncements from those on the ends of the spectrum of views.

The statement has been described as a dog’s breakfast and a master class in doublespeak, but reading it carefully – unless I am missing something obvious – it does appear to be coherent within the parameters of C of E law. Some of the interpretations in the media have been less than helpful implying that the statement is saying that private blessings (effectively informal endorsements) in the form of ‘special’ prayers should be made available following civil partnerships and same-sex weddings, yet the actual wording makes it clear that clergy are not told to offer formal private blessings although some undoubtedly will.

Read it all.


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Posted February 23, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On St Valentine's Day last Friday, the Revd Andrew Cain got engaged to his partner, Stephen Foreshew.

The following day, he saw the House of Bishops statement (reproduced in full below), which repeated the ban on blessings in church for same-sex unions, and ruled out same-sex marriage for clergy or for anyone seeking to be ordained.

Mr Cain's marriage plans remain unchanged, he said on Tuesday. "I have always believed in equal marriage; so it would seem very odd, as someone who supports it, not to take advantage of it.

"I am aware of clergy wanting to get married who now feel unable to do so, and have been very upset about that. They are saying 'Why should I now stay in the Church?" And I am saying 'You have to stay, and you have to get married, because it is our equal right to do so; and if we believe in it, then we should do it.'"

Read it all.

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0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An East Barnet vicar says his parish is preparing to challenge Church of England leaders after they reiterated their ban on blessing same-sex couples.

The House of Bishops, which governs practice in Anglican churches across England, earlier this month rejected recommendations that it lifts its ban on blessing gay couples.

But the parish of St Mary’s Church in East Barnet says it plans to lodge a protest against the decision and write a formal letter once its members have met later this month.

Read it all.

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Posted February 20, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali responded that "homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture".

He said he hoped the Church of England would "step back from the path" it had set itself on "so the Church of Uganda will be able to maintain communion with our own Mother Church".

Archbishop Ntagali said the Church of Uganda had been encouraged that the country's parliament had amended the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to remove the death penalty, and make other provisions of the bill less severe - all amendments which he said the Church had recommended..

"The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing," said Archbishop Ntagali.

Read it all and note carefully the accompanying comments of BBC religious affairs reporter John McManus.


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0 Comments
Posted February 1, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England’s bishops have finally reached agreement on homosexuality – by saying that they might never be able to agree.

They emerged from a frank, day-long meeting behind closed doors, discussing their response to radical proposals to offer wedding-style blessing services for gay couples, and admitted they are deeply divided over the issues and are likely to remain so for years to come.

Read it all.

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Posted January 30, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Eastside Catholic prides itself on teaching acceptance. At the end of Crusader Way, by the school’s entrance, banners hang celebrating “relationships” and exhorting passers-by to “remember to take care of each other.” Students use a sign-language gesture to remind one another of the school’s emphasis on unconditional love.

But now the school is unexpectedly grappling with how it defines both love and acceptance. Last month, a well-regarded vice principal was forced to leave his job as soon as administrators became aware that he had married a man; in the weeks since, the suburban Seattle school has been roiled, first by protests in support of the vice principal, and then by the resignations of those who sought his departure. The chairman of the school’s board resigned last month, and on Tuesday, Eastside, a middle and high school with about 900 students, announced the resignation of its president.

The ouster of Mr. Z, as the former vice principal, Mark Zmuda, is known, comes amid a wave of firings and forced resignations of gay men and lesbians from Roman Catholic institutions across the country, in most cases prompted not directly by the employees’ sexuality, but by their decisions to marry as same-sex marriage becomes legal in an increasing number of states.

Read it all.

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Posted January 23, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Four bishops and a retired civil servant shut away in a palace, talking about human sexuality — it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. But the resulting Pilling Report is, in spite of 200 pages’ worth of double entendres, neither funny nor enlightening.

It has been clear ever since the Lambeth conference in 1998, which contained the ponderous resolution that ‘we commit ourselves to listen to the experience of homosexual persons’, that the Anglican church’s position has been to agree not to agree on the issue. From the Jeffrey John affair to the debate over gay marriage, the church has handled the question like a whoopee cushion at a vicar’s tea party — with a mixture of bemusement and embarrassment.

Having spent many months interviewing everyone from the Society of Ordained Scientists to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Sir Joseph Pilling’s report comes up with the less than profound conclusion that the issue requires the church to have a ‘facilitated conversation’.

Read it all.

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Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said a local Catholic school's requirement that the vice principal quit after it learned of his same-sex marriage was not discriminatory but held to church teaching and the school's Catholic mission.
According to a statement from Eastside Catholic School in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish, Vice Principal Mark Zmuda resigned in mid-December during a meeting with school officials "for violating his signed agreement to abide by Catholic Church teachings."

Read it all.

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Posted January 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United Methodist Church has formally charged another clergyman for presiding at the same-sex wedding of his son.

The Rev. Thomas Ogletree will be tried March 10 for violating church law against officiating at gay unions, his spokeswoman, Dorothee Benz, announced Friday. It's the second high-profile United Methodist trial in recent months over same-sex relationships. In December, pastor Frank Schaefer of central Pennsylvania was defrocked after he officiated at his son's gay wedding. The church considers homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Ogletree is a theologian, a former Yale Divinity School dean and a retired elder in the church's New York district, or Annual Conference. Some clergy had filed a complaint after his son's 2012 wedding announcement appeared in The New York Times.

Read it all.

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Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Three below zero on a Minnesota morning, and the Rev. Oliver White stomps the snow off his boots as he enters the stucco edifice of Clark Memorial United Church of Christ to lead worship. He peels off an overcoat to reveal the kente-cloth vestments his wife made for him, which match the kufi hat he wears.

On this Sunday midway between Christmas and New Year’s Day, he sees a congregation thinned by both vacation and weather. Perhaps 50 people fill the pews, yet in their modest number resides a startling range: a lesbian couple with their son; a 98-year-old man who still shovels his own sidewalk; the black and white relatives of a biracial baby about to be baptized.

“Good morning, and let’s have the church say, ‘Amen,’ “ Mr. White, 71, begins, standing in the aisle rather than at the pulpit. Hearing the desultory response, he chides: “That was only half the church. Again?” The voices now rise, and he adds his own emphatic “Amen!”

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Posted January 12, 2014 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was an expensive media spectacle. A United Methodist pastor had presided at the marriage ceremony of his gay son and his partner, and several years later was brought before a jury of his peers to answer for his disobedience to the laws of the United Methodist Church. As the broader society wrestled with the legality of same-sex marriage, the teachings and the means of addressing conflict in the UMC were put on display, to the satisfaction of some and the horror of others.

The question of the value of public church trials has been under the microscope in recent weeks in the wake of Frank Schaefer’s trial, conviction, and defrocking; the decision by the Council of Bishops to ask two of their own to file formal charges against Bishop Melvin Talbert for his presiding at a celebration of marriage service for two gay men in Alabama; and the increasing number of United Methodist clergy who are ignoring the UM Book of Discipline’s provisions forbidding UM clergy from participating in services celebrating the union of gay couples. There have been calls by church leaders and advocates for a moratorium on church trials related to gay marriage. And today, an advocacy group working to end “heterosexist policies and practices” in the UMC issued a statement expressing their opposition to such a moratorium, suggesting that a moratorium would allow the church to ignore same-sex concerns rather than moving to repeal what they believe are “discriminatory laws.”

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Posted January 10, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is no surprise, then, that people whose belief systems are a muddle of Casey’s sweet-mystery-of-life passage and Modern Family bridle at the strict sexual morality of the monotheistic religions. This is exacerbated by traditional Christianity’s refusal either to conform to the spirit of the age or to go away and be quiet. The erosion of the state’s role in upholding public morality both foreshadowed and led to the cultural rejection of religion’s right to judge the morality or immorality of certain acts.

Evangelicals still loudly proclaim that one should “wait until marriage,” even if that command is largely honored in the breach. The Catholic Church has not relaxed its prohibition on contraception, even if many of its adherents ignore its teaching or even loudly oppose it. Both Evangelicals and Catholics (and those members of mainline churches who hold to traditionalist norms) grapple with the culture on multiple fronts—praying outside abortion clinics, attending the March for Life, objecting to FDA approval of abortifacients, decrying pornography, etc. In short, they have remained a thorn in the side of an ever-more-permissive culture for over forty years. (Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, and Islam also adhere to strict moral norms regarding sexual behavior, but attract less attention because of their status as minority religions.)

This cultural attitude has led to religious liberty’s current embattled position.

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Posted January 9, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Stephanie and Robin came to see Episcopal priest Ali Lufkin, they were not thinking about arranging a commitment ceremony. They simply wanted Lufkin to help them work through the difficulties that their very different backgrounds and histories brought to their relationship.

Stephanie had been married to a man and raised three children. Robin had struggled for years with living out her sexual orientation while belonging to a religious community that disapproved of it. “We wanted to draw wise people around us,” Stephanie said, “who might help us to see what we might not be able to see.”

Eventually, however, the two decided they wanted a covenant ceremony, and this led to a new set of questions: What would the ceremony look like? What would their vows say? How did they each interpret the meaning of a covenantal relationship? How would friends and family respond to their relationship and this public witness to it? There wasn’t a script already written for them.

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I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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Posted January 8, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an interview with the Italian bishops' newspaper Avvenire published today, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta Charles J. Scicluna said that when he met Pope Francis on Dec. 12, he expressed his concern to the Pope about the proposed law. “The Pope showed his sadness at this development, especially on the question of adoption.”

He added: “I told him that the promoters [of the bill] quote his words: ‘If a person is gay and seek the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge?’ but they don’t quote his words from 2010 when he was still Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires. The Pope repeated the phrase of his letter of 2010: ‘It's an anthropological regression.’"

In 2010, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio called same-sex 'marriage' an "anti-value and an anthropological regression." In a conversation with Rabbi Abraham Skorka published in the book “On Heaven and Earth”, he said same-sex 'marriage' is a weakening of the institution of marriage, an institution that has existed for thousands of years and is “forged according to nature and anthropology.”

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Posted January 4, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rob Bell has suggested Christians put too much emphasis on hell. Do you agree?
Absolutely not. Most don't even talk about it.

Do you think the church has lost the same-sex-marriage fight?
I'm going to pass on that. I don't know.

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Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch it all.

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Posted December 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....and among traditional Christians, precisely who doesn’t take that passage seriously when it comes to talking about the reality of sin in this fallen world? Catholics? The Eastern Orthodox? Most of the world’s Lutherans and Anglicans? Pentecostal believers (the fastest growing flock in worldwide Christianity)?

Pretty quickly, CNN sets this up as a rather typical battle between a country-fried preacher (or two) and a real biblical scholar. Yes, that is ONE biblical scholar, from one seminary.

Read it all.

What Terry doesn't say is that the MOST revealing thing about the article is that CNN believes their own statement about their own article (“best, fairest, article on Christians and homosexuality you’ll ever read. Fact.”) when it so clearly is at odds with the truth--KSH.

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Posted December 21, 2013 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...while we need to acknowledge the things Robertson got wrong, we do not need to pretend that his dismissal from A&E had mainly to do with any of those three things. The A&E network does not have a track record of concern about remarks that are sexually explicit or pastorally insensitive. And I suspect that A&E would not have pulled the plug if this were merely a matter of his remarks about growing up in Louisiana. None of these by themselves caused the offense that has led to the current uproar.

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Posted December 21, 2013 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About half of Schaefer’s former church left since news of the wedding became public this spring, a combination of supporters struggling with the turmoil and critics.

“What should be a neutral setting right now — a church — is not, it’s a hostile place,” said Jon Boger, whose complaint about Schaefer set the case off. “But time heals everything, right?”

Liam Casey, a Zion member, said he had hoped Schaefer would find a way to stay.

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Posted December 21, 2013 at 7:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Baroness Warsi, the faith minister, has signalled that she is not satisfied that laws introducing same-sex marriage contain enough protections for religious groups.

The former Conservative Party chairman said she could not support the Government bill during votes in the Lords because of “reservations” about how clauses designed to prevent faith groups being sued for refusing to perform gay weddings would work in practice.

She raised the prospect of smaller churches, mosques and temples which are linked to local community centres, finding themselves in a legal grey area when same-sex marriage becomes possible from March next year.

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Posted December 13, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nicolle Martin, an attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop, said the judge's order puts Phillips in an impossible position of going against his Christian faith.

"He can't violate his conscience in order to collect a paycheck," she said. "If Jack can't make wedding cakes, he can't continue to support his family. And in order to make wedding cakes, Jack must violate his belief system. That is a reprehensible choice. It is antithetical to everything America stands for."

The Civil Rights Commission is expected to certify the judge's order next week. Phillips can appeal the judge's order, and Martin said they're considering their next steps.

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Posted December 12, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A report commissioned by the Church of England published last month recommended that members of the clergy should be allowed to offer blessings to same-sex couples.

The Church said the report was for discussion and was "not a new policy statement". The report did not propose offering "formal" ceremonies.
Religious division

The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Muslim Council of Great Britain and the Network of Sikh Organisations have opposed plans to allow...[same-sex] marriage.

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Posted December 12, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

the bishops may also want to consider the significant omissions of fact in the PR's revision of Anglican history since 1998:

that the issue dominated the 1998 Conference because of the threatened actions of the North American churches;
that Resolution I.10 was approved by a vast majority of bishops and continues to be held as normative by virtually all the churches of the Global South;
that the primary ground of the resolution was fidelity to Scripture, and several additional resolutions affirmed this point;
that the North American churches followed through on their threat with the consecration of Gene Robinson despite repeated warnings from various Instruments; and the more "collegial" atmosphere at Lambeth 2008 was purchased at the expense of 280 bishops being absent from Lambeth 2008.
It is astonishing that the PR in fact lacks any reference to The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada.

The Church of England's bishops may wish to consider these omissions of fact, and, by contrast, the recitation of the actual history of the failure of the Instruments of Communion to discipline the North American churches that repeatedly breached Lambeth Resolution 1.10 (1998) in the last 15 years - a recitation which can be found in the October 26 Nairobi Communique and in other communications from Global South Anglican leaders.

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Posted December 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church of England is on the brink of appointing its first gay bishop.

The Dean of St Albans, Dr Jeffrey John, came within one vote of being recommended as the new Bishop of Exeter, The Times has learnt. The successful candidate to succeed the Right Rev Michael Langrish is to be announced soon.

This is thought to be the first time that Dr John has made the shortlist for a diocesan post, although he has been longlisted several times. It means that he is back on the “list” of candidates for bishoprics. Senior insiders believe that it is only a matter of time before he gets a diocesan post, with the money being on the liberal-catholic diocese of Europe.

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Posted December 10, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report of the House of Bishops Working Group on Human Sexuality, chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, has prompted a wide range of response and criticism.

Among those who welcomed the report were groups that lobby for greater acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the Church.

The Revd Benny Hazlehurst, the secretary of the Accepting Evangelicals group, issued a statement: "We welcome this clear recognition of diversity in biblical understanding and commend the report to the whole Church. We also welcome these small steps towards church services for same-sex couples."

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Posted December 6, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In particular, in the light of the Dissenting Statement, we express the following concerns about aspects of the Report:
Although the church’s teaching is upheld, its theological and biblical basis is not clearly articulated and there appears to be a willingness to separate teaching and practice in a way which threatens incoherence and charges of hypocrisy.

The emphasis on the qualities of a relationship without clear reference to the gift of marriage fails to do justice to Scripture and tradition in relation to both sexual same-sex relationships and heterosexual cohabitation (para 148).

The recommendation “to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship in a public service” and to leave the form of this to the discretion of the parish priest risks undermining the unity of the church’s teaching and practice and our ecclesiology.
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Posted December 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The report is by the church’s Working Group on Sexuality chaired by Sir Joseph Pilling, a retired civil servant, whose resumé includes leading the challenging Northern Ireland Office. There was every indication that release of the report was accelerated because leaks had begun to appear in the media and on weblogs. One blogger posted a summary of the report’s main conclusions two weeks ago, which turned out to be largely correct.

The Pilling Report takes a stance very similar to a policy recently approved in the Church of Scotland. It does not recommend centrally approved services to celebrate same-sex unions but it paves the way for clergy to arrange services in their parishes. It recommends, further, that in the next two years the Church undertake comprehensive facilitated conversations.

The language of the report is careful and tentative. That is not how the media saw it, however, and immediately the headlines said the Church of England was poised to bless same-sex marriage. The report speaks of the need for “pastoral accommodation.” Nor indeed does it speak of “blessing” gay marriages, even though this is the preferred term by the media.

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Posted December 3, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are concerned that the media is already focussing on the proposal in recommendations 16 and 17 for permitting public services “to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship”, including potentially same-sex civil marriages. The CEEC’s St Matthias Day Statement of 2012, which we submitted in evidence to the Pilling Group, sets out clearly why we believe this would mark a departure from biblical truth and Anglican teaching. It concludes by stating that “Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships or affirming or blessing sexual activity outside marriage is contrary to God’s word. When a church does either of these things it therefore becomes difficult to recognise it as part of the visible Church of Christ”. The fact that such recommendations can be made is, we believe, a surface sign that there are deeper and more serious flaws in the report as a whole.

It is clear that the Church of England is going to face difficult discussions and decisions about human sexuality in the coming year. We look to our bishops, individually and corporately, to be faithful to Scripture, to continue upholding the practice of the Anglican Communion as set out in Lambeth I.10, and to encourage all their clergy and people to do the same.

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Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In our submission to the Review Group we said the need for a radical change in Christian attitudes towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people is now urgent. We asked whether the members of the review group are going to advocate that the Church of England recognises the reality of the presence of LGB&T people in the Church or whether they are going to maintain the present culture of secrecy, denial of reality, suppression of identity and the unhealthy attitudes in which many LGB&T Christians remain trapped.

This report does not herald radical change and does not therefore fulfil the expectations of Changing Attitude. There are no practical proposals which will begin to dismantle the present culture of secrecy, denial of reality, suppression of identity and the maintenance of unhealthy attitudes. The group has met people and listened and the unhealthy attitudes remain unchanged as the report demonstrates....

Changing Attitude is disappointed that the Report deals so superficially with transgender (198) and intersex people (197) despite having received a submission from the Sibyls. Changing Attitude England and other LGB&T Christian organizations also identified the need to address transgender and intersex experience and expectations in our submissions. The reality of transgender and intersex experience is directly relevant to the question asked in paragraphs 195/6 – are human beings sexually dimorphic, and in paragraphs 199/200 – is sexual attraction fixed and immutable.

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Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My first reaction to seeing the Pilling Report was disbelief that in the twenty first century any church could put out a report on human sexuality written by a group that appears to have consisted of 8 men and 2 women and expect it to be taken as a serious contribution to the subject....

The notion that marriage is the only way that sexually active people express themselves is surely just one of many strands in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, aimed at the ability to control knowledge of the paternity of children. Its predominance has come about in cultural settings and for cultural reasons that do not always have a great deal to do with faith or with the teachings of Jesus or interpretation of the whole spectrum of biblical, rabbinic and apocryphal texts.

The report, then, is interesting for two reasons. It is the first time that such a report by a Church of England working party contains an open acknowledgement that, where there is a massive shift in social perception such that a practice or set of practices that were previously not acceptable have come to be seen not only as acceptable, but as desirable, then this can leave the church with a problem if it does not listen and engage.


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Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
We note that the Pilling Report has been released and we recognize the substantial amount of work that has gone into the consultation and writing of the report.

We can state at this stage that we stand with the historic, orthodox faith in its Anglican expression, under the authority of Scripture, to which the Book of Common Prayer, the Thirty Nine Articles and the Ordinal bear witness. We affirm the teaching of the Church of England that the appropriate context for a sexual relationship is only in a lifelong, faithful marriage between a man and a woman. This teaching will continue to be true, and is endorsed by the large majority of Christian churches historically and globally, as confirmed by the Nairobi Commitment of GAFCON 2013.

The summary of the Report that has been released suggests that a number of conclusions on the way forward have already been drawn, and that a programme of “facilitated conversations” will enable people with different views on sexuality to remain in the church together. The impression is given that a matter on which Scripture and tradition give clear theological and ethical direction is open to compromise by negotiation. However we would like to take time to study the document in detail before giving a full response.


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Posted November 29, 2013 at 1:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Church needs to decide. If sex outside of the marriage of a man and woman is sinful, then the Church should support, commend and hold up as a clear example of discipleship those who despite being same-sex attracted refuse to let their bodies sin in this way. Alternatively if the Church thinks that some forms of sex outside of the marriage of a man and a woman are not sinful then it should have the courage of its convictions and tell those of us who have made the choices we have that we are wrong and misunderstand God’s call on out life. But the one thing it cannot do is fudge the issue and permit both contradictory positions at once. That is an utter theological nonsense.

Read it all.

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1 Comments
Posted November 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Since this local character exists in variety of conviction, I find it reasonable that this variety should be allowed to express itself in local practice, by allowing the decision of whether or not to use this rite to be made by each pastor, in his or her own parish. This "local option" will allow each rector or priest-in-charge to minister pastorally according to his or her commitments and conscience, while putting none under constraint or duress.

Having said this, I must also be clear, both as your bishop and from my own place in this spectrum of belief, that I have serious reservations concerning the theology and intention of the rite, for reasons I have specified in an assessment that appears below. I know that at least a few of the clergy inclined to use this rite share some of my concerns about it; I also know they see it as a way of offering public recognition and pastoral support to same-sex couples in whom qualities of mutual devotion and fidelity, care and nurture, and faithful participation in the life of the Church are clearly visible. It is out of respect for their local pastoral authority, as well as out of my own pastoral regard for the free conscience of all who are under their care, that I will allow the use of this rite according to the guidelines that also appear below.

As for the somewhat related matter of ordained ministry, I believe the principal determining factor in regard to my role as ordinary rests in my discernment, in concert with the Church, as to whether God is calling any given individual to Holy Orders. Therefore, I will not alter the non-discrimination policy begun under Bishop Price; an individual's being in a committed same-sex partnership will not, in and of itself, be a barrier either to ordination or call in this diocese.

Read it all.

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Posted November 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Speaking to a group of reporters after the trial ended, he said he was surprised he walked out of the trial with the title of “Rev.”

“I gave them every excuse in the book to defrock me immediately but that did not happen,” he said. “I am still wondering what it means. I told them clearly that I can no longer be a silent supporter but now I feel I have to an outspoken advocate for all lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people.”

The 30-day suspension seems to be “time for me to change my mind,” he said. “I am here to tell you, I will not change my mind. I am what I am.”

Read it all.

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Posted November 23, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

a new survey has found that same-sex weddings differ in distinct ways from heterosexual nuptials, and that gay and lesbian couples also vary significantly from each other.

The survey, produced by Community Marketing & Insights, a gay research company, and The Gay Wedding Institute, questioned 916 same-sex couples in the United States who are married (57 percent), in a domestic partnership (19 percent), engaged (18 percent) or in a civil union (5 percent).

The survey found religious leaders officiated at just one in four same-sex marriages, and that only 12 percent of ceremonies were held in religious spaces.

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Posted November 20, 2013 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United Methodist Church’s division over homosexuality grew heated Friday (Nov. 15), as the denomination’s Council of Bishops called for charging retired Bishop Melvin Talbert with presiding at the Oct. 26 wedding of two men, which the church forbids.

The council asked its president, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, and Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett of the North Alabama Conference, to file a complaint accusing Talbert of undermining the ministry of a colleague and conducting a ceremony to celebrate the wedding of a same-gender couple at Covenant Community United Church of Christ in Center Point, Ala.

Talbert, who served as bishop of the San Francisco area, ignored a request not to perform the ceremony. He has said in the past that the church’s position on homosexuality “is wrong and evil … it no longer calls for our obedience.”

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Posted November 18, 2013 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican Archbishop of Perth has rejected for the second time a motion by his church synod to formally recognise same-sex relationships.

Earlier this month, the synod voted two-thirds majority in favour of legal acknowledgement of the civil unions of gay people.

...Archbishop Herft says he cannot assent to the motion.

"What we have in the Diocese of course is a number of people in same-sex relationships amongst the clergy and amongst the laity and we have always said that people of all forms of sexuality and orientation are welcome," he said.

"I think that's what the synod was trying to do was to express hospitality but what this particular resolution does is asks me, in the first instance, to recognise diversity within the diocese of Perth, both in our sexual identities and in our theologies of human sexuality, that's the first part and I mean that's a fact; there is a diversity within the diocese of Perth, both in our sexual identities and in our theologies....

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Posted October 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Was ..[this] event the first step in the unraveling of the United Methodist Church, or was it (as some attendees at the wedding suggested) no big deal?

Within the broader culture this probably isn’t a big deal in the face of more and more states legalizing gay marriage. The writing is pretty much on the wall that the legal distinctions between homosexuality and heterosexuality are eroding, and that a secular society can embrace the belief that all people are invited to the table and can share in the benefits of covenanted, mutual monogamy.

But the issues involved for our church are more troubling for Bishop Talbert’s actions raise more questions than simply whether gay folks can marry. The issues are many: the radical differences in culture between the various regions of the country (let alone the world); the nature of the vows clergy make and the covenant between them and the church; the lack of trust between members of the Council of Bishops, which permeates the larger church; our belief in a system of governance based on corporate discernment and how we respond when a minority believes that that actions of the majority are unjust. In off-the-record conversations with a few bishops I’ve heard concern and predictions that the divisions are too great, and that the covenant that they hold with one another is broken. For some the notion of a retired bishop challenging the practice of ministry of an active bishop in her episcopal area and defying her authority raises issues about the place and status of retired bishops and the need for term episcopacy like that of the Central Conferences.

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Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai‘i on Saturday voted to encourage the state Legislature to pass marriage equality, the largest denomination to announce its support of an issue that has divided people of faith.

A resolution was approved by acclamation of the 180 Episcopalians who attended the diocese's annual convention at the Cathedral of St. Andrew, including 44 clergy. The diocese has 40 worshipping sites and about 9,000 parishioners statewide.

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Posted October 27, 2013 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The United Methodist Church’s highest court gathers for its semiannual meeting in Baltimore on Wednesday, as the denomination confronts a growing movement of defiant clergy members opposed to church doctrine on gays and unwilling to back down.

They include:

The Rev. Steve Heiss, of Binghamton, N.Y. Heiss must promise by Thursday (Oct. 24), that he will never again preside at a same-sex wedding or face a church trial that could lead to his loss of clergy credentials. He said he will refuse.
The Rev. Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, Pa. He will be tried Nov. 18-19 for officiating at the 2007 same-sex wedding of his son.
The Rev. Gordon Hutchings of Tacoma, Wash. He faces a complaint for presiding at a same-sex marriage in his state.
The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy of New York. She faces a complaint of being a practicing lesbian.

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Posted October 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For these two United Methodist men, the only thing missing from their love story is a holy ceremony officiated and blessed by a United Methodist pastor in the presence of their family and friends in Birmingham, Ala.

That day will come on Oct. 26, and retired United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert will officiate at their wedding.

[Joe] Openshaw, [Bobby] Prince and [Bishop Melvin] Talbert are publicly defying the denomination’s law book, which states marriage is only between a man and a woman and that no ordained United Methodist elder can officiate at a same-sex union.

They do this knowing the consequences.

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Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than 30 United Methodist pastors from Eastern Pennsylvania have agreed to jointly officiate a same-sex marriage next month, an unprecedented showing of solidarity for an embattled colleague that could lead to their ouster from the pulpit.

The colleague is the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who faces a Nov. 18 church trial in Chester County for officiating at the 2007 marriage between his son and another man.

Schaefer's fellow pastors call that an act of love, not a prosecutable offense. They gathered Thursday at a Philadelphia church and, after more than two hours, agreed to preside as a group at a same-sex marriage, a step they hope jolts the larger church.

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Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Marriage equality advocates have spoken out after Sydney Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies labelled the prospect of same-sex couples marrying as “unholy matrimony”.

Archbishop Davies (pictured) also referred to “so-called gay marriage” as contrary to God’s law during his first presidential address to the Sydney synod, while warning of consequences for the entire country if Australia “slipped further and further away from the tenets of scriptural authority and biblical morality”. Davies, 62, was elected as Sydney’s new Anglican Archbishop in August.

“Specious arguments for ‘marriage equality’ and ‘equal opportunity’ have become the mantra of many, without any serious engagement with the nature of marriage,” the Archbishop said.

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Posted October 18, 2013 at 5:44 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishops says he will now carefully consider his position....if you take the first part of the resolution - it says the diocese 'recognises diversity within the diocese of Perth, both in our sexual identities and our theologies of human sexuality'.

"What I said last time is that I thought that this was theologically flawed. I am speaking to you as a human person made in the image of God. I don't see you or engage with you on the basis of your sexual identity.

"The other big issue for me, with the royal commission [into child abuse] clearly attentive to how we use language and words, what this resolution says is that I must formally accept people with an open ended recognition of diverse theologies on sexual identity.

"I think we have to be very careful there...."

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Posted October 9, 2013 at 6:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The church synod voted by a two-thirds majority to call for legal acknowledgment of civil unions between people of the same sex.

Rector of Darlington-Bellevue Anglican parish, the Reverend Chris Bedding, presented the motion to the synod.

"We presented a motion saying that the Anglican Church and the Diocese of Perth would like to acknowledge that legal recognition of same-sex relations can coexist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman," he said.

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Posted October 8, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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Posted October 3, 2013 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
We welcome all support for family life and we’re pleased that this initiative includes both married couples and those in civil partnerships.” - See more at: http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5144/archbishops-statement-on-marriage-tax-breaks#sthash.qFxb8bCl.dpuf


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Posted September 30, 2013 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rulings on recent actions by United Methodist annual (regional) conferences regarding church law on homosexuality issues will be considered by the denomination’s top court this fall.

Those decisions of law by bishops are among the 17 docket items on the United Methodist Judicial Council’s agenda when it meets Oct. 23-26 at the Sheraton City Center in Baltimore. No oral hearings are scheduled for this meeting.

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Posted September 26, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Episcopal Church in West Virginia will bless same sex unions, Bishop Michie Klusmeyer announced Saturday.

Klusmeyer said he gave the issue much thought and prayer before making the decision, which he announced in Flatwoods at a three-day convention of the Diocese of West Virginia.

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Posted September 23, 2013 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You may remember a little over a week ago on BreakPoint, John Stonestreet gave you his reaction to an outrageous ruling by the New Mexico Supreme Court; a ruling that John said, “eviscerates” religious freedom.

Now “eviscerates” is a strong word. Unfortunately, John was 100 percent right to use it....

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Posted September 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Robert Ingersoll and his partner, Curt Freed, were longtime customers of Barronelle Stutzman, a florist in Richland, Wash. After voters in the state approved same-sex marriage in December 2012, Messrs. Ingersoll and Freed decided to tie the knot, and called their florist. "There was never a question she'd be the one to do our flowers," Mr. Ingersoll told the Tri-City Herald. But Ms. Stutzman declined, citing her Christian beliefs about marriage.

"You have to make a stand somewhere in your life on what you believe and what you don't believe," Ms. Stutzman told Christian Broadcasting Network. For acting on her religious beliefs, Ms. Stutzman has been sued twice: once by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and once by the American Civil Liberties Union.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Voters were assured that legalizing gay marriage wouldn't undermine religious freedom—after all, the public was assured that religious institutions would be free to act as they always had. But what about religious individuals? The effects of this new legal regime on private citizens have largely been ignored.

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Posted September 20, 2013 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rachel Knowles is getting married next month.

It’s the final stretch before the Phoenix resident’s big day. Knowles and her fiancee, Rebecca Reeder, met with the photographer on Friday. The flowers will be peach and cream roses to match their wedding colors. The music will be a mix of ’80s hits....

The wedding will be a first for the Rev. Doug Bland of Community Christian Church in Tempe. He has never officiated a ceremony for a same-sex couple.

“They’ve chosen to call it a wedding even though it’s not in the eyes of the state,” Bland said. “They want to use the language of wedding rather than a union ceremony because ... their relationship is a public commitment to each other.”

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Posted September 17, 2013 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christians have become more tolerant of pre-marital sex, homosexuality, and abortion over the past 30 years, as society becomes more liberal, the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey suggests.

The 30th BSA survey, published on Tuesday by NatCen Social Research, is based on detailed interviews with a representative sample of 3000 people in 2012. Such interviews have been carried out since 1983, examining public views on society, politics, and morality.

When the first BSA survey was published in 1983, 28 per cent of those surveyed thought that sex outside marriage was "always" or "mostly" wrong, and 42 per cent thought it "not wrong at all". In 2012, only 11 per cent of those surveyed thought that pre-marital sex was "always" or "mostly" wrong, and 65 per cent thought it was "not wrong at all".

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Posted September 13, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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