WELL … SOME OF THEM
For those of you who haven’t been following our coverage of the great South Carolina Episcopalian “schism,” you can read the latest by CLICKING HERE.
As far as we’re concerned it’s a silly story … one in which a handful aggressively pro- or anti-gay agitators have effectively hijacked the narrative on both sides.
So far most of the drama has centered around the breakaway Lowcountry Episcopal Diocese (a conservative denomination officially known as “The Episcopal Church of South Carolina”) and its battle with the liberal national Episcopal Church.
The Lowcountry Diocese is upset at the national church for forcing it to accept its progressive views on gay marriage and the ordination of gay and female clergy. And so it seceded from the national church … prompting an ongoing legal battle.
Now the South Carolina Diocese that oversees the Midlands and Upstate regions of the Palmetto State is making waves – announcing its decision to permit individual congregations to determine whether they wish to bless homosexual unions. Obviously such blessings do not include gay marriage – which remains illegal in South Carolina.
Clergy in the Diocese don’t have to perform the ritual if they don’t want to …
The Bishop issuing this ruling – the Rt. Rev. W. Andrew Waldo – seems to think he has taken some courageous, principled and Biblically sound position.
We disagree … on all counts. Working backward, Waldo is not following any doctrine we’re familiar with … he’s also “pulling a Pilate” by washing his hands of a contentious issue (ostensibly so as not to upset anyone).
Isn’t there some passage of Scripture in which the followers of Jesus Christ are exhorted to either answer “yes, yes” or “no, no?” And instructed that anything beyond such definitive answers is “of the devil” and will result in “condemnation?”
Actually there are two such passages (Matthew 5:37 and James 5:12).
However on one key point we agree with Waldo: He is absolutely correct in his contention that decisions of this nature are best left to individual congregations.
Like it or not, religion is a marketplace – except instead of products and profits it features sacraments and tithes. In both instances, though, numbers matter – and congregations will either gain or lose members (and their money) based on how they address the burning issues of the day.
And this is one issue churches must address – because at the end of the day marriage is a Biblical institution, not a government one.
In fact as we have repeated ad nauseam government has no business sanctioning or banning any form of marriage – gay or straight. That should be up to individual churches. Period. End of story.
No really … that’s the end of the story.