It's embarrassing, isn't it?
Liz Cheney, daughter of former VP Dick Cheney is running for nomination as the Republican (of course) Senator in the State of Wyoming. Her sister, Mary, is a lesbian who married her beloved Heather Poe in 2012. They have two children.
Last Saturday night, on Fox News, Liz made an appearance, saying that she believed “in the traditional definition of marriage,” prompting Mary’s spouse, Heather, to comment on Facebook. Then Mary reposted Poe’s remarks, prefacing with, “Liz – this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree – you’re just wrong – and on the wrong side of history.”
Then, the Cheney parents decided to weigh in with this statement:
“This is an issue we have dealt with privately for many years, and we are pained to see it become public. Since it has, one thing should be clear. Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage. She has also always treated her sister and her sister’s family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done. Compassion is called for, even when there is disagreement about such a fundamental matter and Liz’s many kindnesses shouldn’t be used to distort her position.”They should have stopped after the first sentence.
They should definitely not have included that last sentence.
'Compassion is called for'? What curious language. Like Mary and Heather and their two children are 'poor things' - charity cases - to be pitied and treated as pathetic wounded, deformed creatures?
It reminded me of the "family feud" going on in the church. That's church with a small 'c'.
a Methodist minister, Fred Schaefer, was tried by an ecclesiastical court of 13 for presiding at the marriage of his gay son and his beloved (Schaefer and his wife have four children, three of whom are gay). He was found guilty on two charges: “conducting a ceremony that celebrates same-sex unions” and “disobedience to order and discipline of the Methodist Church.”
The jury told Schaefer that he was suspended for 30 days, and said that he must decide whether he can embrace church rules — or, if not, leave the Methodist ministry.
Such compassion, eh? Not to mention generosity.
Schaefer's pastoral assistant at the Zion UMC in Lebanon, PA, preached last Sunday to about 60 congregants, many with tears streaming down their cheeks. “We are a family. Families have struggles. We aren’t the first church to hurt, and we won’t be the last.”
He's right, of course. Two wrongs have never made a right, but I suppose there is some truth to the saying that misery does love company.
The Episcopal Church's present official stance from last General Convention, can be found in the language of the resolution in which we allowed trial use of the Supplemental Liturgical texts on the Blessing of the Covenants made between two people of the same gender.
The term used in that resolution is "generous pastoral response".
I know, I know. They meant well. It's clearly a far sight better than the position of the Methodist Church and eons ahead of the Roman Catholic Church.
That resolution allowed us to take a step forward in the journey to heed the prophetic biblical call to "love mercy, do justice and walk humbly with God."
Yes, the movement toward Marriage Equality is gaining surprising momentum. In those dioceses where there is no Marriage Equality, it allows churches to provide for some recognition of the sacramental nature of the covenants made between two people of the same gender.
In those dioceses that are in those states where there is Marriage Equality, the Supplemental Liturgical Rites allow us to recognize the sacramental nature of that legal civil right for LGBT people, EVEN THOUGH our marriage canons only allow the institutional church to bestow its blessing on the marriage of two people of opposite gender.
Hence, the "generosity" of that "generous pastoral response." I mean, we ARE slip-sliding around our own canon law, right?
I have to tell you I find it odious when I'm not embarrassed by it.
Since when does the church allow the state - or anyone else, for that matter - to dictate or define the sacraments of the church? The law is the law. The sacraments are the sacraments.
Either it's a marriage or it's not.
Either it's equality or it's not.
What part of 'marriage equality' doesn't the church understand?
State by state, it will happen in these "united states". Predictions are that Marriage Equality will be the law of the land in the next five years. I'm optimistic enough to believe that it will happen, surely within the next decade.
There are two parts to my question about marriage and equality. The first is canon law. I believe we are going to have to think seriously about changing our marriage canons so that they will reflect the equality of civil marriage laws.
My personal opinion is that both ought to be offered as viable options for all people - all people - who wish to be married.
My beloved (and most chaste spouse) of 38 years and I were legally married on August 9, 2013 in the First State of Delaware. We thought and prayed long and hard about where to be married.
We - not our covenant - have been "blessed" in the context of our family and our Massachusetts home by the man who was then our rector 28 years ago. He felt he could not, with ecclesiastical integrity, bless us in the church or even simply bless our covenant. And so it was that the "blessing" was done in the context of a house blessing (kitchen, bathroom, etc.) where he also blessed our family and us.
It was as compassionate and generous he could be, at that time.
Then, when we were living in NJ, Domestic Partnership came to that state and we immediately signed up. At City Hall. The next day. Nine years ago. On July 14, 2004. The receptionist, a member of my congregation, looked up from her desk, smiled and deadpanned, "I guess you're not here for a Yard Sale Permit."
We giggled but we might as well have been. We signed some forms and off we went.
Then, Civil Unions came to NJ. We checked with our lawyer who advised us that, between the Domestic Partnership and our wills and other legal papers, we really needed to do nothing more. He said, "You're covered for now - at least in the State of NJ. Marriage Equality is coming. You don't have to crawl to the altar on your knees, begging for justice."
Our friend, Bea, an Irish lass and one of 10 children who had left the convent seven years earlier and has a license as a Justice of the Peace, signed our marriage license, said a prayer, and then toasted us with orange juice. Some of the folks in the diner raised their cups of coffee and glasses of juice.
Our children (and children in law) include a CPA, a nurse in an inner city Methadone clinic, an architect, a VP for Development of a major university, an electrician who also moonlights as a graphic artist, a PhD psychologist who runs a community service agency for incarcerated women and their children, a professional stained glass artist, and a Montessori teacher in a school in an inner city in NJ. Our profoundly developmentally delayed adopted daughter works in a bank, sorting coins.
As far as we know, all of them - and our five grandchildren - are heterosexual. I know. We want the best for our children but they can't help it, really. It's just the way God made them.
We believe the covenant of our marriage to be a sacrament. We believe it to be an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace which has blessed us and, we think, our children, our neighborhood, our schools and yes, even the church, for the last 38 years.
As much as we love our little church in the ocean block of Rehoboth Beach, DE and our wonderful rector, we are not sure if we will ever have our marriage blessed by - and in - the institutional church.
Perhaps, one day, if the church changes the marriage canons, we might. We might.
We know the covenant of our marriage is recognized by the state and federal government. We know "the church" - gathered haphazardly as it was that morning of August 9th - recognized and blessed the covenant of our marriage. We know our covenant of marriage is not only legal but a living sacrament.
Perhaps, one day - after the marriage canons are truly equal - we'll extend a little "generous pastoral response" ourselves and allow it.
I trust the Schaefer family and the Cheney family and all the millions of other families with LGBT members who seek marriage equality - as well as the church families of all our respective churches in all our various denominations - will also, one day, find that same forgiveness.
It's really the only compassionate, generous thing to do.
Otherwise, I think Jesus gets embarrassed.