Following the Supreme Court’s ruling today in Fulton v. Philadelphia (see coverage from NPR here, and from the Washington Post here), both the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Michael Curry, and the President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, issued statements broadly condemning the ruling.
Bishop Curry writes:
My heart is with my LGBTQ siblings in light of today’s ruling by the Supreme Court in Fulton v. Philadelphia.
For us, the affirmation of equal rights for all people is a moral and religious conviction; it is grounded in the Bible, which declares that all people have been created equally in the image of God.
LGBTQ siblings, we stand with you in this moment, and we continue to affirm that you are — and have always been — a blessing to our church. But above all, you are children of God with the entire human family. The struggle does not end here; the work goes on, and we are committed to the fullness of human equality and to building a just future that is free from discrimination against LGBTQ people.
We are also concerned for the impact of this ruling on the foster care system, in which so many Episcopalians offer shelter and care to vulnerable children, many of whom are LGBTQ themselves. It is important to remember that the New Testament teaches that “religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress. . .” (James 1:27).
President Jennings further notes,
[The Episcopal Church has] struggled for decades to treat LGBTQ+ people with the dignity they deserve and God demands, I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Scholars can debate the broader legal implications of the decision, but as a Christian, I continue to be alarmed by the bigotry that lies at the case’s heart.
Religious liberty is a bedrock of our country and a right cherished by Americans of many faiths. But disguising homophobia as religious freedom, as the plaintiffs in this case have done, is not only a dangerous legal precedent, it is a gross distortion of the teachings of Jesus.
Along with millions of other people of faith, I believe in the equality of LGBTQ+ families because of my faith, not in spite of it. The Bible teaches us to care for the most vulnerable people among us, but today’s ruling could prevent loving, inclusive families in Philadelphia from caring for LGBTQ+ youth as the beloved children of God that they are. It breaks my heart that this campaign of exclusion and discrimination is being waged by my fellow Christians, and I pray for the LGBTQ+ families that will suffer because of it.