Same-Sex Measures within the Episcopal Church
The bible is one of the oldest moral standards for our civilizations. Yet, the bible's interpretation through its translations has been in debate for centuries. Recent events within the Episcopal Church have once again created the stir of moral standards. After three decades of discerning, dialoguing, and debating, the Episcopal Church is inching closer to a decision that could end years of frustration on the part of gays and lesbians and their supports, while stroking the anxiety and anger of traditionalists and conservatives (Skidmore, 2003).
The question of blessing the committed, lifelong relationships of two people of any gender--outside of holy matrimony--surfaced at the General Convention this past August. The bible and teachings has traditionally held that holy matrimony was the bind of one man and one woman. The vehicle this time around is a resolution from the Diocese of California directing the Standing Commission of Liturgy and Music to "prepare a rite or rites" for the Book of Occasional Services that supports "couples living in life-long committed relationships of mutuality and fidelity outside the relationship of marriage" (Skidmore, 2003).
For many church progressives, including those who have spoken out most strongly for gay and lesbian interests, the church in 2000 showed it was not yet ready to embrace same-sex blessings. Yet, the work of groups like the New Commandment Task Force and other reconciliation movements have changed the climate and the time now seems right to take the final step.
This past spring the bishops heard, discussed and received--but did not adopt--the House of Bishops Theology Committee's report, "The Gift of Sexuality: A theological Perspective" (Skidmore, 2003). The 11-page report--less than a fifth of the length of the bishops' 1994 Pastoral Teaching on Human Sexuality--was commended by conservatives but received stinging criticism from...