23 June 2015


All over the Western Hemisphere, bishops and deputies are traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah. When it convenes, General Convention is the largest legislative body on the planet. Every three years, when it convenes, it has way too much on its agenda. It legislates canon law, comments on issues de jure, creates commissions, budgets, offices and officers; sets agendas, and establishes relationships. Getting all or even most of that done in a 10 day session is exhausting. Bishops routinely schedule vacation time after convention. Most clergy and lay deputies are not so fortunate, having to recover while working.

This year, unfortunately, one of the items on the agenda is the "Anglican Covenant." It should not be there, because General Convention had a perfect opportunity to deal with it three years ago. It failed to do its job, so here we are. Three years ago, it was crystal clear that the Covenant was a disaster, that it was unworkable, and that it was targeted on North American and Northern churches generally. England had already rejected it, proving, were proof needed, that British common sense lives in the dioceses, not Church House or Canterbury.

So why is it on the agenda now? Cowardice is one possible explanation, those who made the committee decision to pass, "moderte" langage to the floor, (most votes in GC are straight line up or down on committee language. It has to be that way, or the convention would never adjourn.) were afraid to, "let yes be yes and no be no" as Scripture teaches. They were afraid that relationships with Central African churches, already stressed, would deteriorate.

As so often happens when fear rules, the worst one can imagine happens anyway. Bullies and that is precisely what CafCon is, a collection of bullies, are not satisfied by moderate responses. Nigerian bullies are busily dumping their own bishops for the singular failure of not supporting their kill-the-gays law. In doing so, they actually refer to that law as part of their doctrine and dogma. Maintaining good relations with those people in charge is like maintaining good relations with ISL. Except ISL may be a touch more honorable.

So now the convention cannot duck the marriage equality issue any longer. States have made marriage equality the law in their jurisdictions, and the Supreme Court will likely do the same thing nationally while the convention meets. To my amusement, the button being distributed by marriage equality supporters says, "Let your yes be yes, and your no be no." Some of the same people who acted with such crave actions three years ago have been sighted with those buttons.

A resolution to stop the madness and finally say, "no!" is before the convention. Unfortunately, its principal sponsor is ill and has been forced to ask for a replacement. I hope that does not doom the resolution. Fear may win again. But, perhaps finally, the passage of marriage equality will siffen some backs. That is what I pray for these evenings.

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