A.S. Haley: Tyranny in Vestments
March 24, 2014
It is not enough for ECUSA’s bishops and clergy to say that the Church’s traditional definition of marriage is inadequate for “our vastly diverse and pluralistic society.” Not only is that definition no longer serviceable to society at large, but also it should not even be “permitted to influence” what society thinks marriage is!
But if they truly believe what they write, then why do the bishops and clergy join the brief as bishops and clergy of ECUSA, instead of just as private civilians? Bishops and clergy should not seek to impose their religion-based views on secular society, right? Why then tout their titles, if not to pat themselves on the back for being so “broad-minded” as to endorse views at odds with their religion?
Moreover, who gave them permission to speak using the Church’s name and offices, anyway?? It was just last year that the Presiding Bishop and several other bishops brought Title IV charges against the Communion Partner bishops and clergy—the Quincy three and the Fort Worth ten—for filing affidavits in the Quincy case and an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court. The charges were that they misrepresented the polity of the Church, and consisted only of a “minority view” (words which they were forced to acknowledge under duress of more severe punishment).
The official Book of Common Prayer used throughout the Episcopal Church solemnly declares that marriage is “between a man and a woman.” Who are these righteous prelates who betray their ordination vows to profess publicly and without shame or apology a marriage doctrine that is contrary to, and that positively undermines, the only one authorized by Holy Scripture and currently recognized by the whole Church? General Convention supposedly offered experimental rites for same-sex blessings (which it had no authority to offer until the Prayer Book was officially changed). But when did General Convention authorize the Rev. Jennings and her episcopal colleagues to appear with all their trappings and titles to offer their experimental views to aid the secular courts?
I do not ever remember, when I was growing up, any bishops in ECUSA trying to influence courts or legislatures in favor of no-fault divorce. The Church addressed the issue only gradually (including through resolutions adopted over the years at Lambeth Conferences), and no small coterie of clergy organized to promote doctrine contrary to its then teaching. Yes, the Church changed the doctrine with time, but it did so at first very reluctantly—and some (myself included) mark that apostasy as the beginning of the decline of the authority of church in Western society. By relinquishing control of the dissolution of marriage to the State, the Church next will relinquish control of marriage itself to the State. We will reap what earlier generations sowed for us. the rest