Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baker proposes new recipe

A very interesting article here by James A. Baker III. That's right, James Baker the national and international US politician.

Interesting because he is distressed at the thought of TEC melting down through further division and dwindling through further loss of membership.

Interesting because he calls on TEC leadership to stop litigating property disputes.

Interesting, most of all, because he puts forward a proposal to stop the fighting within TEC (and, implied, within North American Anglo-Episcopalianism) which would see the church being truly inclusive, that is, of both points of view on homosexuality.

Could it work?

Surely it could work better than what is currently happening!


Kurt said...

I really don’t see any utility to what Baker is promoting. It’s just more of the type of propaganda “spin” that many American conservatives love so much.

We already have a “welcome all” and a “local option” practice in the Episcopal Church. No parish or diocese in TEC is required, or forced, to call gay clergy (or, women clergy, for that matter). It is perfectly possible for a local parish, even in a diocese which is open to gay clergy and women clergy, to choose a straight, male priest as their Rector. (It’s not usually possible, however, for liberal parishes in a conservative diocese closed to gay or women clergy to call gay people or women as Rectors.) As for “gracious restraint”, that euphemism for discriminating against gay people is over. Get used to it.

And, as long as breakaway congregations--or, rather, parts of congregations--try to walk off with properties which do not belong to them, legal action will continue to be taken against them.

Kurt Hill

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Kurt
I have noticed that Baker's proposal has received short shrift from some conservative observers. I think he was making his proposal as a person who loves his church rather than as a strong supporter of one side or another.

Are bishops in TEC required to ordain women?

If so, could one be sure that, in time, bishops would be required to ordain gay and lesbian candidates?

Kurt said...

To my knowledge, Peter, no bishop in The Episcopal Church is required to ordain ANYONE. What many Episcopalians are pushing for is that a diocese could not refuse a local congregation's request for a female (or gay, I suppose) priest to serve in their parish.

Kurt Hill
In B'klyn, NY

Peter Carrell said...

That is helpful to know, Kurt.
From somewhere I had formed the impression that one reason for some of the dioceses seeking to leave TEC (San Joaquin etc) was their bishops being concerned at the pressure coming on them to ordain against their conscience ... but they may have (so to speak) jumped ship before being made to walk the plank ...

Kurt said...

My understanding of the situation in places such as San Joaquin is that they were being pressured to allow female clergy to serve in these dioceses. I cannot conceive of any bishop in our Church being forced to ordain anyone against his/her will. Now, I can conceive of moral pressure on a diocese to select a bishop who will at least not oppose women clergy operating in that diocese. Not quite the same thing as pressuring someone to ordain against conscience.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Anonymous said...

Kurt is right, as far as it goes -- Baker's "solution" is for people to continue on as with the past six years, doing as they please.

Of course, note that Kurt also wants to hamstring orthodox bishops by forcing them to accept non-celibate gay rectors in the diocese, which as Kurt knows, get to vote on a new bishop. So he actually wishes to *further constrain* orthodoxy -- the traditional beliefs of bishops to guard the faith and unity of their dioceses. Typical.

And of course, as we all know, no bishop-elect who opposed WO is going to receive consents by the HOB to his consecration, just as ten years from now, no bishop-elect who opposes gay unions as sinful and disordered will receive consents from that HOB, either.

So -- as is typical with progressive activists, they don't want constraint *for their actions* but once they have the power, they will restrain the traditionalists' actions.