Posts Tagged ‘marriage’
Posted: 07/10/2012 8:03 pm Updated: 07/10/2012 11:43 pm
Sixteen years after first allowing gays and lesbians to become priests and nine years after electing its first gay bishop, the Episcopal Church on Tuesday became the largest Christian denomination in the U.S. to offer religious blessings to same-sex couples.
The monumental decision, approved by a thick margin at the church’s triennial General Convention in Indianapolis, means that priests in the 1.9 million-member church can officiate blessings to same-sex couples who are in long-term relationships beginning in December.
The church’s House of Deputies voted 171 to 41, with nine people saying they were divided, to support a same-sex blessings liturgy that will be used during a three-year trial before the church meets again and decides if it should be permanent. The deputies’ vote was done in two parts, with lay members approving the blessings by 78 percent and clergy members approving by 76 percent.
The vote followed Monday’s decision by the church’s House of Bishops supporting the measure by a 111 to 41, with three abstentions. Both groups have to approve new legislation.
Some Episcopal bishops currently allow same-sex blessings in their dioceses, but many have said they will not allow them unless the church has an official liturgy — the words exchanged between a couple and a priest during the ceremony.
The new liturgy will not be mandatory. Bishops who do not approve of same-sex relationships will be allowed to bar its use in their dioceses. Priests who choose to not perform same-sex ceremonies will not face discipline.
The liturgy does not represent a religious marriage — the church defines marriage as being between a man and a woman — though some clergy in states that allow civil marriage officiate secular marriages in their churches.
During debate on Tuesday, many members of the church spoke in favor of same-sex blessings, while fewer spoke against them.
Religious freedom doesn’t protect polygamy, B.C. court says in landmark case
VANCOUVER The harms that polygamy inflicts on women and children outweigh any claims to religious freedom, a B.C. judge said Wednesday in a landmark case that is almost certainly destined for the Supreme Court of Canada.
Chief Justice Robert Bauman of the B.C. Supreme Court concluded Canada’s 121-year-old polygamy law is valid as long as it isn’t used to prosecute child brides, and he suggests it should be interpreted that way.
“This case is essentially about harm. … This includes harm to women, to children, to society and to the institution of monogamous marriage,” wrote Bauman.
“Polygamy’s harm to society includes the critical fact that a great many of its individual harms are not specific to any particular religious, cultural or regional context. They can be generalized and expected to occur wherever polygamy exists.”
Bauman accepted evidence that polygamy inherently leads to a long list of harms, including physical and sexual abuse, child brides, the subjugation of women, and the expulsion of young men who have no women left to marry.
Bauman’s decision isn’t binding, although the case is expected to end up at the Supreme Court of Canada, which would have the final say on Canada’s polygamy law.
More than two decades of controversy surrounding the isolated religious commune of Bountiful, B.C., where residents follow a fundamentalist form of Mormonism that believes polygamy is required to attain the highest level of heaven.
May 9, 2011 | By Sarah Posner | Religion Dispatches
Over at Episcopal Cafe, Jim Naughton wonders whether the big tent rather broadly known as “progressive Christianity” has collapsed, after Sojourners’ rejection of the Believe Out Loud ad. “Lefties” like himself, Naughton writes in retrospect, were wrong to let Sojourners founder Jim Wallis become “the embodiment of the Progressive Christianity in the eyes of the Obama administration and the Washington media, despite the fact that he wasn’t necessarily progressive on issues like abortion and LGBT rights.”
But now, Wallis as de facto leader is no longer “tenable,” Naughton contends. “The big tent collapsed this weekend, and it was Sojourners who yanked out the tent poles. Someone needs to alert official Washington that Jim Wallis and his minions no longer speak for us–if they ever did.”
Naughton raises an important point: whether Wallis actually represents a movement that could be described as the religious left is highly doubtful. First, Wallis himself has rejected the “religious left” label. Moreover, many who would consider themselves on the religious left reject Wallis as their leader.
Still, though, Wallis’ knack for self-promotion, combined with a lack of imagination on the part of both politicians and the media, has led to Wallis being viewed as one of the preeminent figures on the not-right-hand end of the Christian spectrum. After all, he is against poverty (although who isn’t?) and his campaign to fast in order to pressure Congress to not to cut programs to the poor attracted the support of New York Times foodie Mark Bittman. He’s calling on the Obama administration to end the war in Afghanistan, a stance that would put him in the same camp as Code Pink or the editorial board of the Nation.
As Presbyterian Pastor Katie Mulligan notes, though, writing in response to Sojourners’ rejection of the ad: “It is entirely possible to do good work in the world and at the same time contribute to the ongoing bigotry and oppression of queer folk.”
It’s odd, then, that with the wide range of lefty religious voices on economic and foreign policy issues, as well as gender and sexuality issues, that Wallis has managed to win the attention of official Washington. When it comes to gender and sexuality, Wallis is downright conservative. These issues make him nervous. He describes addressing these issues as a distraction from his anti-poverty agenda, while many on the left, including the religious left, consider them essential issues, not distractions.