Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tick Tock Equality

Countdown to SCOTUS Oral Arguments

On Tuesday, April 28th the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on four marriage equality cases -- with a decision due in June that could end discrimination against marriage equality for same-sex couples across the nation. For those of us who have been in trenches on the battle for marriage equality it's a huge and long-awaited step -- with every reason for optimism and no room for complacency.

The best summary of what could/might/may happen is from my brilliant friend Jon Davidson with Lambda Legal. You can read that here.

Folks have been camping out outside the Court for a week to secure one of the seats in the visitor gallery to be a witness to history. Pundits have been prognosticating, doomsayers have been doomsaying and marriage equality is back in the news cycle.

I wrote over on the Huffington Post about the collateral damage that happens to LGBT people as a result of the "ongoing indignity of having our deepest, holiest, most precious loves and relationships debated and dissected in the public arena as "an issue" -- as if that in itself wasn't deeply dehumanizing and as if it was not profoundly personal." Yes, there's collateral damage in the struggle. It's the price we pay for progress.

And as we move toward April 28 and look beyond to Decision Day in June #Unite4Marriage has organized a weekend of Prayer for Marriage Equality (April 25-26) -- and All Saints Church participated with prayers in church and pictures outside. Check those out here. 

Tuesday there are #Unite4Marriage events all over the country -- including a noonday Eucharist at All Saints. Info on that here.

Hundreds have signed our "Stand with the Episcopal Church for Marriage Equality" statement (not too late to sign yourself right here)  and the op-ed in today's NYT -- It’s Not Gay Marriage vs. the Church Anymore -- includes these important words of wisdom:
"The faith traditions supporting marriage equality are telling the court that religions, like American families, are diverse. An increasing number of Bible-based faith communities have an inclusive attitude toward gay families and marriages. For years, Americans harbored hurtful stereotypes about gay people as anti-family; the same-sex marriage movement has helped rebut those inaccurate notions. Today, some progressives harbor inaccurate stereotypes about religious people as anti-gay and intolerant. The Episcopalians, Unitarians, Presbyterians and many other faiths are falsifying those stereotypes. Just as American religion is changing, so, too, are the ranks of those who are pushing for equality."
I love this because it makes the point that the work we are doing is bigger than simply securing equal protection for the marriages of same-sex couples -- as important as that work is. The work we are doing is breaking through the stereotypes and toxic narratives that have convinced so many people that the church is narrow, judgmental and irrelevant -- and have kept so many from even considering Christianity as an option because they thought they knew enough about Christians not to want to be one.

On Tuesday, April 28th the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on four marriage equality cases -- with a decision due in June that could end discrimination against marriage equality for same-sex couples across the nation. For those of us who have been in trenches on the battle for marriage equality it's a huge and long-awaited step -- with every reason for optimism and no room for complacency. But plenty of room for deep gratitude for the privilege of being part of this historic struggle to make liberty and justice not just a pledge we make but a reality we live as we put our faith into action.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Marriage Matters" -- Clergy Conference 2015 in Dio L.A.

Every year the Diocese of Los Angeles has a Spring Clergy Conference. It's meant to be a time of both continuing education and fellowship with clergy colleagues throughout this large, diverse diocese of over 140 congregations that stretches from Santa Maria to Needles to south Orange County.

This year the theme of the conference is "Marriage Matters" -- and our keynote speaker is Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether. From the conference design team:
"Marriage is both a sacred covenant and a civil contract. Whether we’re preparing a couple for marriage, counseling a couple in a troubled marriage or answering questions about where the Episcopal Church stands on marriage equality -- whether we serve a mission or parish, urban or rural, large or small – marriage is an issue that we all “touch” as clergy.

Over the last three years the Task Force for the Study of Marriage – convened by the 2012 General Convention – has been working on its charge "to identify and explore biblical, theological, historical, liturgical, and canonical dimensions of marriage” and to “address the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of same-sex couples in states that authorize such.”

The Task Force framed its work with the question “What does the Episcopal Church have to say to today's world as to what makes a marriage Christian and holy?” And that is the question we want to consider together at this year’s clergy conference.

We are honored to have as our keynote speaker Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether. Rosemary Radford Ruether is arguably an embodiment of the theological vocation well lived. Her scope is awesome, her writing compelling, her commitment to a livable planet unceasing. The impact of her work can be found in so many fields and hearts that she fairly defines the term "scholar activist," teaching and mentoring generations of appreciative colleagues. Dr. Radford Ruether will help us ground our reflections in and exploration of theology, marriage and family in the 21st century.

This year’s conference will also include expanded opportunities for interaction and consultation with workshop and breakout sessions focused on a wide range of marriage matters, including:
* Pre-marital Counseling Best Practices; * Navigating Life as a Clergy Couple; * Challenges & Opportunities of Interfaith Couples; * Same-sex Marriage: What’s Next in the Church and the Courts.

We will also have one breakout session for further conversation with Dr. Ruether and the opportunity to consult with a representative from CPG (Clergy Pension Group) on benefits and beneficiaries.
Another facet of the pre-conference preparation was recruiting a number of colleagues to write reflections on the seven essays that make up the Blue Book Report from the Task Force on the Study of Marriage. You can check those out here as timely reflections [a] just days before the SCOTUS marriage equality oral arguments and [b] just weeks before General Convention 2015.

Proud of my diocese for providing space, time and context for us to engage in these conversations together. Looking forward to the conference -- May 3-5 in San Pedro. (Film at eleven!)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A comment on comments

As noted in the right column about half way down the page:
"Strongly held perspectives are appreciated. Ad hominem attacks will be deleted. When in doubt, revisit page 305 of the BCP and if what you're typing doesn't meet the "respect the dignity" clause of the Baptismal Covenant then save us both some time and energy and don't hit "send."
That said, please note that since I'm the one who moderates the comments on my blog, I consider comments calling me and other supporters of marriage equality "members of a hateful mob" to fall outside the bounds of [a] the Baptismal Covenant as well as [b] my comment posting guidelines so [c] they will be deleted.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stand with the Episcopal Church for Marriage Equality

The Episcopal Church has been firmly and unequivocally on record in support of civil marriage equality since July 2012 when its 77th General Convention adopted Resolution D018 entitled "End Discrimination Against Same-Sex Marriage."

On April 28, 2015 when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on four marriage equality cases, the Episcopal Church will be standing with nearly 2000 clergy and faith leaders who signed the amicus brief which began with these words: "Brief for amici curiae President of the House of Deputies of the Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Bishops of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee."

"No religion's belief or practice should be allowed to restrict the rights of people to marry and receive equal protection under the law," said the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies when the brief was filed. “It is long past time to end any kind of discrimination against God’s children in this country.”

We stand for equal protection that equally protects all Americans. We stand for an end to discrimination against the marriages of same-sex couples and for a Protect Marriage Movement that protects ALL marriages.. We stand with the Episcopal Church for marriage equality.

Sign on here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My two word argument for Hillary in 2016

My late wife Louise put this on the top of the bookshelf in the living room when Hillary conceded to Obama in the 2008 primary -- and said it was going to stay there until we needed it in 2016. And it's been there ever since.

And for those who will argue (and they will) that Hillary is too old, too conservative, too liberal, too unelectable, too Wall Street, too hawkish, too much whatever or not enough something else here's my two word argument for why we get behind her. And those two words are: Supreme Court.

Need a three word argument? Okay -- here it is: Supreme Freaking Court.

In 2016, four of the nine justices will be aged 80, 80, 78 and 74. If we don't want to condemn this country to a Court that will take away women's reproductive freedom, threaten civil and voting rights and continue to empower corporations over citizens -- not to even mention undermine LGBTQ equality -- then we suck it up, put on our big girl/boy panties and support the ticket. (Or that thing you hear go bump in the night may just be Louise. Wouldn't put it past her!)


Monday, April 13, 2015

Wedding Cake Question

So if selling a wedding cake makes you a participant in "gay marriage"
does selling a gun make you a participant in armed robbery?

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Eastertide Day Three Round-up

When I was a day school chaplain all our students knew that Easter wasn't just a day -- it was a season. A 50 day season. It was a point I reinforced over and over -- telling them Chaplain Susan didn't do 40 days of Lent to do just ONE day of Easter -- so we were going to celebrate all fifty of them!

So Happy Day Three of Eastertide!

If you're interested in what Easter looked like for us at All Saints Church, you can check out  these pics over on flickr.

And if you want to hear a groundbreaking Easter sermon, check out "A New and Fuller Life" by my rector, Ed Bacon: “The risen Jesus has gone back to work, dismantling the very crucifying system that crucified him. Alleluia, Alleluia!”

Finally, on this third day of Eastertide, I commend this excellent interview with Diarmaid MacCullough -- one of the foremost scholars of Christianity of our generation -- who offers from across the pond a brilliant critique of what Ed talks about in his sermon: "the dangerously narrow "pot-bound" version of Christianity that is far too narrow to convey the energy -- much less the truth  -- of  Jesus."

“His fame has given him a platform to write about contemporary Christianity, and he’s very much taken this on. I would say he’s become quite a prophetic voice for Anglicans.” -- Judith Maltby

Read it all here.