Ban on Gay Episcopal Bishops – over?


This issue is one that is particularly close to my heart, since my stepfather and maternal grandfather were both Episcopal priests.  My Mom has always been 100% invested in the Church, and when openly gay priest Gene Robinson was ordained as Bishop in 2003, she looked on with great pride at the progress her Church had made.

The backlash from that ordination was extreme, and intense.  Her own parish chose to leave the diocese in order to protect it from having to comply with the new gay-friendly policies.  In fact, my mother (the perpetual front-row worshiper), got up, gathered her kids, and stormed out mid-sermon not long after that.  She told the priest that God made her daughter gay and if he didn’t like it, he should take it up with God, not with the people of the Church, and she never went back.

Now, my mom does not make waves, but she sure did that day, and she lost her community and her faith in the Episcopal church right about the same time.  I will never forgive the church for ostracizing her, both personally and spiritually.

Soon after Gene was ordained, the Episcopal church split, and four diocese officially left the church (along with many local parishes across the country and around the world) and in 2006, they decided to put a “moratorium” on the ordination of gay officials in the church.  Salt in the wound, if you ask me, but looks like that all might change…

On Monday, at the Episcopal Bishop’s Convocation, the Bishops voted to open any ministry positions to openly gay and lesbian men and women.   It’s not intended to repeal the moratorium, they say, which seems odd to me because that’s precisely what it does, but whatever they want to call it, they’ve decided to try and play nice.

Recently, I had the chance to watch the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So,” a critical and evaluative film about the current state of LGB rights in Christianity. I strongly recommend the film to anyone interested in the issue.  I watched it in class and was punched in the gut when they showed footage of Gene’s ordination and the violent and angry backlash that followed.  It was like seeing what happened to my mom up on a big screen.  Then, amazingly, the film showed all the good and wonderful people in the church who stood up for him, who celebrated with him and loved him all the more for his bravery.  I wrestled with a lot of sorrow and regret that my mom was unable to find a community to celebrate with her, rather than ostracize her.

Hopefully things will work out in her lifetime,  so that she has the chance to reconnect with her Church. I’m not holding my breath, though.

2 Responses to “Ban on Gay Episcopal Bishops – over?”

  1. *hugs* for you and for your mom.

  2. I thought about you and your mom when I heard this on NPR. I hope your mom can begin making a reconciliation with her church.

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