I write this pastoral letter to you, the clergy and laity of the Diocese of Maryland, because you will be voting on November 6 on a number of issues of great significance for the future of our state. In particular, there are are three referenda on the ballot that have caused much controversy as we are inundated with ads on television, radio, and the internet - all seeking to direct our attention to one point of view or another.
In the coming weeks, you may see, read or hear me interviewed in the media about certain issues that our church or diocese has spoken about in convention resolutions or pastoral letters from your bishops. In all of these matters, I want to assure you that The Episcopal Church considers what and who you vote for in an election to be an act of your personal choice, an expression of your responsibilities as a faithful child of God as well as an informed citizen of the state. We have too much respect for you and your conscience to tell you how you should vote; that to us would be an abuse of power that does not honor the way of Jesus.
Instead, I consider the role of bishop in public issues to be that of reminding the church and the public at large of our Christian tradition of 2,000 years of moral and ethical reflection on matters of social concern. In our Anglican way of moral reasoning, we make use of the resources of Holy Scripture, tradition and human reason, and bring them to bear upon the difficult issues of the day. It is in the spirit of continuing a dialogue with you - not silencing, excommunicating or closing off conversation with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ - that I present this pastoral letter as a communication from me to you, as chief pastor of a diocese seeking to shepherd his flock.
Read it all.
Posted October 24, 2012 at 5:00 am
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