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?)
(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.