Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Union and a Church

I share in Ed Brayton's well-wishes for Gene Robinson, whose story as a gay Christian pastor featured prominently in the film For the Bible Tells Me So:

Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, was joined in a civil union to his longtime partner Mark Andrew last weekend. That was 5 years to the day after he was elected to his position, which was accompanied by lies and threats from the anti-gay crowd. Congratulations to Gene and Mark.
I share that, but ... here it comes ... I want to state clearly that I have no expectation that the Episcopal Church either will or should recognize this union. I don't claim to know the basis of the Episcopal Church's distinctive theology, but if it rests on the Bible and on the Bible's supposed authority as the revelation of god him/her/itself, I would both expect and wish that the Episcopal Church continue to refuse to honor gay unions.

I say this because, first, I don't care very much at all what the Episcopal Church has to say about human pair bonding; and because, second, I don't know why any thinking person should care about the Episcopal Church's view of human pair bonding; and because, third, supposing we take a moment to pretend to care what the Episcopal Church thinks about human pair bonding, I say it's better to be intellectually honest than not to be. The Bible condemns homosexuality, so if their creed is based on the Bible, then I see no reason for them to pretend gay unions are morally fine. Go with the book of fables, hate what it hates. Go to town. Go nuts. Crank it up to 11. Sing it from the rooftops.

If, on the other hand, the Episcopal Church decides to create and promulgate a new creed that dares to defy books of ancient fables when those books defy common decency, good sense, an evidence-based or experience-based view of human affairs, or the like, then that's a conversation worth entertaining.

That, too, I do not expect. And I'm not sleeping uneasily in its absence.

In short, the Episcopal Church is of extremely little interest or concern. But I am happy for Gene Robinson and his new domestic partner. In contrast to the Episcopal Church, they matter. And I am happy for them.

1 comment:

Laura said...

But if you say "The Bible condemns homosexuality, so if their creed is based on the Bible, then I see no reason for them to pretend gay unions are morally fine," then conversely, based on that logic, could the sentence read, "The Bible condones slavery, concubines, stonings, so if their creed is based on the Bible, then I see no reason for them to pretend slavery, concubines, stonings are morally wrong."?

I say, let inroads pave the way for more open mindedness, even if it happens in a religious milieu.