A series of essays towards General Convention in 2003
As an Orthodox, Gay Christian I am seriously concerned about where the church is headed as it approaches General Convention 2003.
Like many in the church I would hate to see
it torn apart with rancorous debate over sexuality. I value highly my conservative
brothers and sisters as children of God. However, I strongly support the
need for the church to bless its Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
and Transgender children who choose to live in loving, monogamous relationships.
What concerns me most is how
the church decides to bless GLBT relationships.
Growing up Episcopalian, I learned in confirmation class that the church has seven sacraments. Baptism, Reconciliation, Unction, Eucharist, Ordination, Confirmation, and Marriage are the sacraments of the church. Over the church’s history, some have been expanded. Marriage was eventually expanded to include African Americans in a post slavery United States. Ordination was expanded recently to include women. Why can we not expand the sacrament of marriage again to include gay people? Since gay people have an equal claim on the pastoral ministry of the church (according to General Convention) why wouldn’t this include marriage?
Unions are extremely theologically ambiguous. What is a union? What would it mean for two people to be “united” instead of “married”? If authorized, would unions be a sacrament? To say that marriage is for straight people and unions are for gays would be to make gay people sacramentally separate and therefore unequal in the eyes of the church. To create unions for gay people would be to create a doctrine and theology of “separate but equal”. If unions are to be a sacrament, then why not use the sacrament we already have, marriage?
If unions are not to be a sacrament, then what
is the point of having unions anyway? We would tear
the church apart for a rite that would not be a sacrament, would be optional
in all dioceses, and would be in a book that is something other than the
Book of Common Prayer. I would hate to see my gay
and lesbian brothers and sisters marginalized in that way.
As special as we gay people are, we do not deserve our own sacrament. We certainly do not deserve to be marginalized by something that is less than a sacrament. Sacraments are something available for all of God’s children. The assertion that marriage is strictly heterosexual is absolute ballocks! For the church to make a Rite of Union available to only gay people would not only make a “special group” out of GLBT people, but it would also tell the world that the church is willing to grant special rites for any group who asked for them.
The church has the reason, tradition, and scripture to support marriage. It also has the theology to support expanding the sacrament to include its gay children.
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