Bishop Scarfe writes on disagreement and common purpose

The Right Rev. Alan Scarfe writing in the Des Moines Register,

Of course, we are not of one mind in this. Not all my own clergy or congregations agree with my position in celebrating this opportunity for same-gender couples.


But is there not a beauty in this situation? Faith communities that cannot and will not welcome or embrace these marriages have that freedom in this state and nation, even while others that do coexist beside them peacefully and lawfully. When a bishop in Southern Africa learned of the Iowa ruling, he sent me a note asking me its implications. He was concerned that we might be seen as going against the constitution now if we disallowed such marriages. He found it rather admirable that there was no such pressure upon religious institutions, and that there was a specific exemption for religious institutions to pursue their consciences.

I find myself considering, as a growing number have had to in recent times, the vital nature of jobs and resources to feed the married family, peace across our global communities to keep us safe in our extended families or a fair sharing of the world’s goods, education and health resources to provide for all people. In seeking these things the clock is ticking, calling us to action as one, even as we disagree on marriage. These efforts, too, are how we reflect the commandment of our God to love one another as God loves us.

Read it all here.

Category : The Lead

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5 Comments
  1. Paul Woodrum

    It’s good to know that an Episcopal bishop finds beauty in his church’s freedom to oppress part of its members even as the state moves to free them.

  2. David C. Wacaster+

    Actually, I found Bishop Scarfe’s comments to be positive. He correctly identifies that there is a lot of disagreement in TEC & American society in general about same-sex marriage. I was pleased that he views marriage equality in IA as a positive step.

    My disappointment with his remarks lies in the fact that he did not do more to make the distinction between civil marriage and sacred marriage. Sacred marriage may in fact be between one man and one woman but that is a separate debate. Civil marriage is a legal contract, entered into by two individuals and recognized by the state. The gender of the two individuals is and should be immaterial in the eyes of secular law.

  3. tgflux

    Wait—what?

    From the bishop’s remarks published here, Paul, I got exactly the opposite impression:

    my position in celebrating this opportunity for same-gender couples.

    That is, Bishop Scarfe is in FAVOR of marriage equality, isn’t he? “Celebrating”?

    …then I read the whole piece, and was just left confused. Cafe mods, some clarification?

    JC Fisher

  4. Not such a celebration for those who stand waiting for the church to see that they are already blessed. I found this article dismissive and rage inducing. I hope Scarfe was quoted incorrectly or is he just another heterosexual for whom since it does not affect him — really does not get it?

  5. John B. Chilton

    Woah, please.

    My sense is that several of the commenters are misinterpreting Scarfe.

    I’ll take some blame for the choice of paragraphs I quoted (at the time I thought my choice left it clear enough where Scarfe stands), but some of the commenters need to own up that they may not have clicked to read it all.

    He writes (yes, it’s an op-ed, he’s not misquote) “For every faith community, marriage exists not only to protect but to reveal the deeper connection of God’s love for us. It is precisely as such that it is as important an institution to same-gender couples as it is to heterosexual couples in those same faith communities.”

    My interpretation is he saying in that second sentence that marriage should be available to same-gender couples for reason as it is for heterosexual couples. NOT for the usual procreation argument of the right, but b/c of the argument in the first sentence: “For every faith community, marriage exists not only to protect but to reveal the deeper connection of God’s love for us.”

    Are commenters objecting to the statement “Faith communities that cannot and will not welcome or embrace these marriages have that freedom in this state and nation, even while others that do coexist beside them peacefully and lawfully.”

    First, it intimates where he stands — with a faith community that (is working towards) the embrace of same sex marriages. Second, he is saying it is desirable to live in a country where the state can’t tell a faith community it can’t embrace same-sex marriage. (Even though we know there are faith communities that want to use the law to impose their prejudices on others.)

    If you have forgotten what side Scarfe is on read,

    http://www.episcopalcafe.com/lead/bishops/bishop_scarfe_on_the_iowa_ruli.html

    Also click on the “Alan Scarfe” Tag in the post above.

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