Saturday, February 11, 2012

Katharine Jefferts Schori's Abandonment of Traditional Sexual Morality

By Sarah Frances Ives
Special to Virtueonline
February 10, 2012

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori seeks to change the Episcopal Church into multi-faith centers practicing blended spiritualities.

To accomplish this, in her book The Heartbeat of God (Skylight Paths Publishing, 2011), she espouses new interpretations of the Bible, dismisses traditional law on sexual practices, and advocates the end of what she calls the "veneer of righteousness." (pp198). She offers the lofty claim that we will be at "home" if we do this.

Of course if we take away our witness of the Jewish law as well as Christian testimony, we will be in human chaos and nothingness. Let us carefully re-trace her thinking in a context of scholarly research.

Jefferts Schori's Claims
Jefferts Schori does not want a mature, interior righteousness that Jesus fulfills in human hearts but instead a new world where traditional Christian understandings are abandoned. In this book with its many stereotypes and half-truths, one stands out in particular: she misrepresents the role of women in Jewish society. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes, "In Jesus' day, there were no jobs or economic possibilities for poor women without male relatives-except, of course, for 'the oldest profession.'"(pp32) She concludes that the Jewish society was one in which the "widow was kept poor by a religious and political system of exploitation." (pp33) Jefferts Schori presents a skewed perspective on women as forced to sell themselves in prostitution.

What is particularly startling about this pronouncement is that she offers no academic support for her idea. Indeed, I can find no scholar who supports this vision of a society forcing all poor women without male relatives into prostitution. the rest


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