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Thursday, May 21, 2009

A little inspiration from Mark Twain

I've been thinking about this for a while, but I'm just now putting thoughts to paper . . . or, urm . . .whatever.

For years and years and years and years (almost 35 now), the folks in Integrity have rested the arguments for full inclusion of LGBT people on the radical Biblical notion of 'justice'.

For the past decade or so, the folks on the Right - oh, their names have been Legion: EURRR (Episcopalians United for Renewal. . .Oh, I can't remember now), FiFNA (Forward in Faith North America), The AAC (American Anglican Council), etc. have rested their counter arguments with anything they can, but mainly it's been the twin horns of the thoroughly un-Anglican idea of Sola Scriptura and the unfortunate Anglican history of Schism.

So, fast forward to General Convention, July 5-18, 2009 in Anaheim, CA. The baptismal water is already starting to bubble, pop and hiss, and the steam is starting to rise.

As I noted in an earlier post, 27% of all 110 diocese in TEC and 37% of her members are directly affected by the issue of Marriage Equality in the 15 states which have some form of legal parity for LGBT people.

Appropriately so, the folks on the Left have added to the call for justice, now urging pastoral care for our sisters and brothers of God's Rainbow Tribe, including our straight allies.

But, there's a wee problem: The threat that 'the Anglican Sky is falling' and we're all doomed to schism well, just hasn't happened. Yes, I know. Some have left and others have left but they really don't want to so they make up interesting names and titles and claim to be THE Anglican presence in the dioceses they've left.

And, obviously, in the face of the progress we've made in 15 states thus far, with a New England sweep and more victories being predicted in the North East Corridor, the old 'Sola Scriptura' argument hasn't gotten them their desired results (if it ever did).

So, the new re-framing of the argument from the Right - at least as I have been listening and reading through the rising steam of anxiety on HOB/D - include these two points: (are you ready?)

(1) polygamy

(2) canonically forced participation in blessing LGBT covenants.

Yup. I am not making this up.

The argument given for polygamy had to do with an embarrassing display of ignorance about what it means to be bisexual and what it means to be a transgender person. I won't offer an example of their argument because (1) you can figure it out and (2) well, it's embarrassing.

The argument based on canonically forced participation goes something like this:

"Let me go a step further. Let's say that the canons are amended to allow the use of the existing marriage service for same-sex couples (one of the resolutions proposed to the next GC.) If the bishop of a Diocese were to give a pastoral directive to his or her clergy that they may not perform same-sex blessings, this pastoral directive would be illegal. How can a bishop take away authority that the national canons give to a priest?"

Oh, what's that smell, you ask? That would be the acrid odor of anxiety.

And, the arguments we should use against those two positions? Are you kidding me?

Well, our brother, Tobias Haller, BSG, has made some wonderful cogent points on his blog, In A Godward Direction. If you haven't read his book "Reasonable and Holy", please do.

However, I'm no Tobias Haller. I'm just not that bright or learned. For my money, laughter would be a good place to start.

To that end, I offer the following. Now, as preface, some of you know that, when I get really upset and angry, I can have a real potty mouth. I'm neither upset nor angry. I mean, not unless there's a serious argument on the horizon from the Right that would cause some real concern.

Seeing none, I think the only counter argument can be found if one were of a mind to head on over to YouTube and google: The GayClic Collab Against Homophobia.

This being a family blog and all, I won't put a direct link to it, but you'll understand it when you see the video.

The fact that young people have put this together gives me great hope. One of our young Integrity volunteers has already found the music and put it on his iPod and promises to play it for us whenever these arguments come to the floor of General Convention. And, I have no doubt that they will.

We may not make the progress we hope for at General Convention, but at least we'll be able to tolerate the insanity and thinly veiled homophobia and resulting high-drama anxiety with a wee bit of levity.

I don't expect any singing from the Right side of the aisle.

I take Mark Twain at his word.


Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Hey, Elizabeth. Thanks for the plug and for pointing to this great song! It renews my hope that Truth and Youth are on our side.
Peace to you, and hope, and joy, even in the midst of pain and struggle. A luta continua...

PseudoPiskie said...

Well. Whew. That's blunt. Don't think I'll link to it either. But glad you mentioned it.

IT said...

This post comes up twice (once above, once below the birthday greetings to Mark); you may want to check your role to see if you posted a draft.

As for the rest of it, yes indeed.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks, IT. It's fixed.

IT said...

oops I meant "roll" as in "blogroll" but role leads to all sorts of ideas....

Mary Sue said...

I really love that my mere existence as a celibate bisexual breaks the brains of so many people. It's kind of fun!

Jim said...

I love the song.

In statistics, where I have made a living from time to time (darn job market) there is a term of art -- the laugh test. That is, if we report that 82% of all wives are men, the immediate reaction is to laugh. So that stat would fail the laugh test.

So let's try this. If two women love each other and wish to announce their commitment to each other and receive a blessing in church, they are attacking men and women who also love each other. That fails the laugh test. If the church grants their request, it will be required to bless arraignments between trios, harems and inter-species couples. That fails the laugh test. If the church permits those women to request a blessing, then priests will automatically loose their ability to use their judgment and discernment in responding to the requests. That fails the laugh test.

The best way to deal with the "arguments" of the homophobes is to expose them to daylight and laughter.


Kirkepiscatoid said...

Elizabeth, as long as you're quoting my neighbor from down the road in Hannibal, have you ever read my favorite of his works, Letters from the Earth?

The premise is Satan is kicked out for "a celestial day" and he writes letters describing this strange human thing called "religion."

It was written in 1909, but a lot sure still rings true in 2009...

it's margaret said...

still laughing!!!

my word thingy is hoacoric.... I think that is a type of laugh that leaves one gasping for air...

MarkBrunson said...

I've begun to wonder, quite seriously, if they make these arguments because of their own understanding of marriage.

Perhaps, they really need some sort of threat to make them faithful, to keep them from going out and having sex with everything with a body temperature. I don't see this as a result of heterosexuality - nor does it seem to be a result of "heterosexual privilege" - but rather these "orthodox" believers and their own woundedness and dysfunction.

At the very least, it is frightening what they might do if strictures were removed from them. It's patently obvious from their comments that they have no concept of sexual continence outside of force of law or other threat!

Jane Priest said...

Have to remind myself of that Twain quote all the time in this business.

Can't get the song out of my head. Love it!