New York resolves

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The Diocese of New York, meeting in convention, passed resolutions on marriage equality and on Occupy Wall Street.


On marriage equality clergy ask to be allowed to act as agents of the state in all marriages:

[ 7 ] RESOLVED, That, the 235th Convention of the Diocese of New York

urges the 77th General Convention to revise the current Canons of The

Episcopal Church with regard to marriage, to provide for the marriage of

same-gender couples in those jurisdictions that have or will have civil

marriage for same-gender couples; and be it further

[ 8 ] RESOLVED, That the Diocese of New York urge General Convention

diligently to continue the work called for in its Resolution C056, to

“collect and develop theological and liturgical resources” for the

blessing for same-gender couples;, and be it further

[ 9 ] RESOLVED, That the Diocese of New York, in light of its continued

support of faithful and committed same-gender couples, including the

support for civil marriage equality by the 232nd Convention of the

Diocese and our Diocesan Bishop and other leaders, encourages the Bishop

to interpret Resolution C056 of the 76th General Convention (“bishops,

particularly those in dioceses within civil jurisdictions where

same-gender marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal,

may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of

this Church”) to mean that clergy throughout the Diocese are permitted

(but not required) to sign marriage licenses and officiate at marriages

for couples legally eligible for marriage in the State of New York.

The Rev. Canon Susan Russell comments at An Inch at a Time:

The fact that the Episcopal Diocese of New York stepped up today on marriage equality is good news not just for gay and lesbian Episcopalians but for everyone tired of having bigotry masquerade as Christianity on issues of LGBT equality.

On Occupy Wall Street:

An Occupy Resolution adopted by the Episcopal Diocese of New York on January 14, 2011

RESOLVED: In response to the Bishop’s Address, the 235th Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York joins in affirming:

[1] that the Occupy movement has shed light on the challenges we face as both citizens and followers of Jesus Christ;

[2] that unfettered capitalism has resulted in unacceptable inequities within the fabric of our society;

[3] that non-violent protests and direct actions of the Occupy movement, including actions of conscientious civil disobedience, have a time honored place in the formation and growth of a more civil society;

[4] that, in contrast, protests and direct actions that are mindfully designed to provoke confrontation and violence are to be discouraged in any social or political movement;

[5] that in all cases, we call upon law enforcement to respond to any protest and any direct action with restraint and respect for the safety and human dignity of protestors, and in respect of the rights of a free press to witness and record such events;

[6] that we affirm those members of each order of ministry in the Episcopal Church – laity, deacons, priests, and bishops – as well as some parishes – who have made decisions, based on their local circumstances, abilities, and resources, to open their hearts and doors in support of local Occupations;

[7] and that we encourage all members and institutions of the Diocese to prayerfully consider their own level of interest, engagement, or support of the Occupy movement; acknowledging that some will choose to engage, and some will not.

submitted by The Rev. Wm. Blake Rider, Rector

Christ Episcopal Church

Poughkeepsie, New York

Explanation

For over a year, since the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia in December of 2010, the world has watched the rise, in country after country, of social and political movements calling attention to inequities within the basic economic, civic, and in some cases political systems of each country. In the United States, this phenomenon has become known as the Occupy Movement – once centered upon Occupy Wall Street – but now widely spread across the country. Each county within the bounds of the Diocese of New York has experienced some manifestation of the Occupy Movement.

The Movement has been characterized by conversation and debate in its General Assemblies, in rallies, the Occupy camps, protests, and direct actions. Many individuals within the Diocese of New York – lay and ordained – and many parishes – have engaged the conversation regarding the economic inequities that have been highlighted by the Occupy Movement, and considered their response, if any.

The intent of this resolution is:

• to acknowledge the (presumed) broad consensus that inequities in our social, economic, and political life do exist

• to acknowledge that the rights of protest, peaceful assembly, and a free press are worthy of our unqualified support

• to acknowledge that civil disobedience likewise holds an honored place within our society – when accompanied by the conscientious decision to accept the civil consequences of one’s actions

• to call upon law enforcement to always plan, strategize, and perform their duties with an aim to bring no harm to participants in any protest or direction action, much less to those who are merely standing as witnesses or as members of the press

• to affirm those members of the Diocese and parishes who after prayerful reflection and due consideration have decided to stand with the Occupy Movement

• and to acknowledge that after the same prayerful reflection and due consideration, some members of the Diocese and parishes will hold the contrary position, and not be in support of the Occupy Movement.

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E Sinkula
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E Sinkula

I would have a respectful conversation with you James if you would give me a chance? If you had questions about why I believe why I do, and would not berate me or treat me as though I cannot be your brother in Christ if I understand the scriptures differently on this important issue then I would be happy to chat.

Eric

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Jim Naughton
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Jim Naughton

I would be interested in hearing people's thoughts about when it is okay to use a word like bigotry or homophobia.

I don't think everyone who opposes marriage equality is homophobic or bigoted. (Although I am interested to know what activities--if any-- such folks are involved in to make sure that all Americans are treated equally under the law.)

I do think that everyone who believes consensual sexual activity between two adults of the same gender should be punishable by imprisonment or death is a bigot.

Obviously, those aren't exhaustive criteria, just few thoughts.

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Murdoch Matthew
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Murdoch Matthew

It would be fun to turn the projections of James P-M back on him, but he doesn't quite use "ideology as a weapon" -- more as a fortress to protect himself from evidence-based understanding of the world.

How many factual errors in the traditional narrative would he have to recognize before questioning details of his ideology? The earth is not flat, the sky is not a dome from which is hung star-lanterns, living creatures are not separate creations but developments of a common life (people and carrots have a common ancestor), the world didn't end in the generations of Jesus and Paul, and male/female are not separate estates but developments along a continuum. The scriptures offer values, not facts, but applying the values must be based on experience, not dogma.

Even in scripture, the writers of Leviticus and Romans don't disparage homosexuality, a concept foreign to them, but disapprove a certain unmanly act. Nowadays we recognize the existence of same-sex relationships and orientations, which may be expressed in many ways (not always physically). As recently as 1980, less than half of gay men in a survey engaged in the icky behavior that Paul disparages in his letter to the Romans. So the strictures of Leviticus didn't apply to half the gay community. I'm sure Mr. P-M isn't interested in such fine distinctions; Paul and Leviticus probably wouldn't have approved if matters had been explained to them. It may be that the Holy Spirit used their culture-bound views to block a clear condemnation of a natural, productive phenomenon.

Nevertheless we now have the experience of a significant percentage of the human race exploring same-sex attraction, finding it liberating and productive, pairing off happily, and making contributions to the whole society. We see how the former attempt to enforce the tradition's silence on sexuality led to circumscribed and warped lives for many individuals and did great damage to the ones they loved, and attempted to love.

Mr. P-M is free to ignore evidence, or to follow only the authorities who confirm his prejudices, but when he attempts to impose his uninformed views on people who know differently from their own experience, he comes close to exhibiting "bigotry." And if he isn't "homophobic," whence cometh his discomfort at other people living their lives freely and quite apart from him?

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James Pirrung-Mikolajczyk
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James Pirrung-Mikolajczyk

In response to Rev. Russell's stance on LGBT issues: as long as words like "bigotry" and "homophobe" are used, there will never, ever be any fruitful dialogue with traditional Christians who doubt the sacred compatibility between homosexuality and salvation. My question is this: do liberals really want dialogue or to use their ideology as a weapon?

Respectfully,

James Pirrung-Mikolajczyk

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Jim Guthrie
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Jim Guthrie

I see by an AP story this week that some churches are providing overnight space for Occupy people. I don't see the TEC represented in the story.

From an Associated Press Story:

"On Monday, the metal barricades surrounding Zuccotti Park were removed for the first time since the November raid. But protesters still can't set up tents to camp overnight.

Their current home is the West-Park Presbyterian Church, a 100-year-old house of worship that badly needs renovation. Occupy organizers see the cracks in the ceiling as an opportunity to repay the favor by helping to fix the place up.

About 70 Occupiers are staying there and about 30 or so at Park Slope United Methodist Church in Brooklyn.

Nobody is allowed to stay in the church during the day. At night, the place is patrolled by an Occupy security team led by Marine Corps Sgt. Halo Showzah, 27, an Iraq War veteran from the Bronx. "

---- end AP quote ----

Cheers,

Jim Guthrie

Brooklyn, NY

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