Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bishop Spong's Manifesto

This is cathartic. It is Bishop John Shelby Spong's Manifesto. Some of my favorite sentences:

I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility.
He is just warming up...
I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness by pretending that there is some middle ground between prejudice and oppression. There isn't. Justice postponed is justice denied. That can be a resting place no longer for anyone.
Thank you! There is no middle ground any more than there is 3/5 of a person. Those who advocate for a so-called "middle ground" that continues to keep unjust rules in our ecclesiastical rule books or unjust laws in our civil governments are chicken shits who hide behind privilege.
I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal [or Presbyterian] Church who seek to break away from this body to form a "new church," claiming that this new and bigoted instrument alone now represents the Anglican [or Reformed] Communion. Such a new ecclesiastical body is designed to allow these pathetic human beings, who are so deeply locked into a world that no longer exists, to form a community in which they can continue to hate gay people, distort gay people with their hopeless rhetoric and to be part of a religious fellowship in which they can continue to feel justified in their homophobic prejudices for the rest of their tortured lives. Church unity can never be a virtue that is preserved by allowing injustice, oppression and psychological tyranny to go unchallenged.
I added the red lettered "Presbyterian" and "Reformed" to make it personal. Personalize it by adding the name of your favorite sect.
I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts of gay and lesbian people in the life of the church. No one should ever again be forced to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.
We'll get you gay hitched for Jesus right here, right now.
I have been part of this debate for years, but things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me. I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either. I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy by casting demons out of the epileptic person; I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection.
I wonder if I should still debate with those who think Cain and Abel played with dinos?
This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration.
I am with you, Bishop. That was fun. Read the whole thing. More Light Presbyterians has linked to it as well.

The point I take away from this exercise is that there is no argument. There is no debate. There are no "sides." There is no middle way between "extremes." There is justice and there is injustice.

To suggest that there is argument, debate, sides, middle ground, extremes, etc. is to give credence to oppression and to affirm that treating people like second-class citizens is a reasonable position.

We need more people to follow the lead of Bishop Spong and speak clearly. This clear speech is what is required to penetrate the fog of homophobic propaganda and the hand wringing of the weak-kneed who unwittingly corroborate with it.

Here is some more inspiration: