Kalamazoo Episcopalians Step Up

Timothy Kincaid

November 3rd, 2009

episcopalToo often I am frustrated by Christendom turning over its name, image, and perceived doctrine over to the most conservative of its sects.

We all know that the faith encompasses a broad range of views ranging from devotion to literal translations of specific texts to general application of spiritual principles, from rigid conservative lifestyles to social religion, from a faith of love for all to a faith of hatred toward others. Yet when it comes to matters of social policy, especially that which involves the rights of gay folks, it seemed that the only Christian perspective presented for a long time was that of rejection, oppression, and condemnation.

But in recent years that appears to be changing. Mainline Christians are beginning to stand up and say that anti-gay activism is not a part of their belief structure and that, indeed, their faith demands that they treat gay people the way they want to be treated.

We have seen that with the United Church of Christ commercials (that were deemed too “controversial” for network television). We have seen it in the large number of diverse churches lending their name to oppose Proposition 8. We have increasingly seen it in local debates and discussions around the nation in which the neighborhood Methodist or Lutheran pastor shows up to balance out the anti-gay pastor who is trying to act as the spokesman for God.

And now we see it in the Episcopalians in Kalamazoo, MI. When the local Catholic Bishop endorsed keeping discrimination legal in the city, they knew they had to do something. So they raised the money and ran a full page color ad in the Kalamazoo Gazette on Sunday.

Check it out on the Towleroad site, here.

I especially like the message that the Kalamazoo Episcopalians sent to their neighbors: that they do not support gays in spite of their faith but because of it.

As Christians we believe that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is wrong. The Episcopal Church has taken a strong stand against discrimination of all kinds including discrimination against our gay and transgender sisters and brothers.

So Christians in Kalamazoo, go vote yes on Ordinance 1856. Not only because its the right thing to do, but because it is the Christian thing to do as well.


November 3rd, 2009

Sorry, but you can be against anti-gay discrimination and also be against forcing people to associate with gays against their will. But I guess coercion is Christian too, right?

And yes, I support repealing ALL anti-discrimination laws that apply to private parties.


November 3rd, 2009

None of these laws force people to be friends with gays against their will, but if you want to rent, hire, or provide services to the general public, it isn’t an unacceptable burden to do so without discrimination.

Coercion is part of living in any society. We all have to bend our individual wills in order to get along with each other and maintain the peace. If people don’t like it, they always have the option to withdraw from society and form a gated commune.

I am always amazed how individualism has become almost pathological nowadays.


November 3rd, 2009

There is now clear evidence that the religious left, which has always been there, is becoming more visible and outspoken. Pew research showed clearly that Catholics as a group are more supportive of gay marriage than other major religious groups, and overall support some form of same sex-unions. The same research shows that US Catholics just don’t see homosexuality as a moral issue. In Maine, the local bishop’s active support for Prop 1 has angered many local Catholics and created a backlash against him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kalamazoo action also backfires.

Either way, good for the Episcopalians.

Richard W. Fitch

November 3rd, 2009

The American Episcopalians are comfortably to left on many social issues. Just in the past few days, a new bishop was elected to the diocese of Minn. who is in a long-term gay relationship. This is in stark contrast to the World-Wide Anglican Communion where some third-world primates shunned the American Presiding Bishop because of her gender and because of her personal support (and official support) for LGBT equality both in the EC-USA and civil law. The recent ploy by the Vatican to attract conservative(reactionary) Anglicans may or may not yield large conversions, but it does give them another option. Perhaps more religious bodies will come to realize the moral imperative of supporting civil equality without the sense of endorsing what their private faith systems deem as sin.

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