Sunday, January 15, 2012

Abhorring a Vacuum

The U. S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops has sponsored a
promoting traditional marriage and warning of the growing threat to religious freedom created by the state’s insistence that same-sex marriage be treated as equivalent to traditional marriage for all purposes. The letter itself is sensible in downplaying the possibility that ministers will be forced to perform same-sex marriages. That is not a realistic possibility. The real threat is interference through so-called “civil rights” laws with churches’ secular activities of all kinds:
Religious marriage counselors would be denied their professional accreditation for refusing to provide counseling in support of same-sex "married" relationships. Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married employees would be required by law to extend those benefits to same-sex "spouses. "Religious employers would also face lawsuits for taking any adverse employment action—no matter how modest—against an employee for the public act of obtaining a civil "marriage" with a member of the same sex. This is not idle speculation, as these sorts of situations have already come to pass.
It’s good to see churches being able to come together across denominational lines for joint actions such as this. The UCCB press release says:
Signatories include leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, and Pentecostal communities in the United States. Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was one of the four signing Catholic bishops.
Anglican? What are the Anglicans doing signing this? Everyone knows that the Episcopal Church doesn’t support anything that isn’t endorsed by the New York Times editorial board, the Socialist Party of America, or preferably both. At the moment they still officially believe in traditional marriage, but that’s with a nudge and a wink.

Looks like the Catholics didn’t bother with TEC. The “Anglican” signature on the letter is that of the Most Rev. Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of North America.

This should not be taken as tantamount to “recognition”by the Roman Catholic Church or anything like that, but is a promising development nonetheless. Because there’s a vacancy in the Orthodox Christian team. There’s only 8 players in place on the diamond, only 10 defenders on the gridiron, only 4 cagers on the parquet floor; nobody is occupying the position of “Anglicanism”. There’s no official voice emanating from TEC speaking for orthodox Christianity as it has been understood, well, forever. So long as ACNA can stay united it can be sucked up by that vacuum -- which is good, because that can make it, for orthodox Christians, the true voice of Anglicanism in North America.

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