Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Rev. Sen. Danforth on the divisions in the Episcopal Church :: USNWR

USNWR: Some of the same social issues have also proved problematic outside of politics, even in the Episcopal Church, which has a long tradition of tolerating a broad range of views. Why has the issue of a gay bishop been so divisive?

Danforth: It's the wedge issue of all wedge issues. But I think what's remarkable is not that some people are terribly upset about this within the church, but how relatively few they are. I'm thinking of the one in San Joaquin [in California], which is a tiny, tiny diocese. Some of the other dioceses that are considering [breaking away] are also very small. So I think most people, when they go to church, they simply go to church. They're not thinking about gays all the time.

USNWR: What did you think about the decision to anoint a gay bishop?

Danforth: Who the bishop of New Hampshire is is not something that's relevant to me, and I think that's the way most people see it.

USNWR: Is there anything that the church should be doing to bring these people back?

Danforth: I think to emphasize that we are traditionally a broad church and this has been our glory. I think a lot of people would say, well, the Episcopal Church is wishy-washy, that it doesn't really stand for anything. I think we stand for a lot. I think we stand for the idea that God cannot be encapsulated in our perceptions or in our views of political issues or social issues. It's saying that God is bigger than all these issues and bigger than any of our factions, and the church is big enough to include everything.
My emphasis. When someone speaks of "the authority of scripture" they are simply saying they are the authority. That's How (not) to Speak of God (recommended reading).

The link comes via dailyepiscopalian who has this to say:
In the current conflict within the Anglican Communion, Episcopalians are sometimes portrayed by those who opposed the Church's stance on women's rights and gay rights as captives of the cultural left. Here we have a former Republican senator, key supporter of Clarence Thomas, and former member of the Bush administration defending that Church against radicals to his right. Danforth is at home in the Episcopal Church. As was Gerald Ford. As is the first President Bush, who recently gave the keynote speech at the kick-off dinner for one of our parishes' capitol campaigns. As is the current President Bush, who invited one of our rectors to give the invocation at his second inauguration.

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