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Pro-Gay Episcopal Priest Chosen to Replace Louie Giglio for Inauguration Benediction

The Rev. Luis León, an Episcopal priest whose church is near the White House, will deliver the benediction at the inauguration of Barack Obama, CNN reports:

LeonThe Rev. Luis León told CNN on Tuesday the White House and the Presidential Inaugural Committee invited him last week to deliver the closing prayer at the 57th Presidential Inauguration.

León pastors Saint John's Church, an Episcopal parish just across Lafayette Park from the White House, dubbed the "Church of the Presidents."

"I found out last week," he told CNN in an interview on Tuesday.

A source close to the inaugural committee confirmed León would be delivering the benediction and said a formal announcement would be coming later in the week.

The Obamas are frequent worshipers at León's church. Leon also delivered the invocation at George W. Bush's inauguration in 2005.

The HuffPost adds:

León's own parish is known for welcoming openly gay members. The church, which has openly gay, non-celibate priests and has had a gay bishop, announced this summer that it would bless same-sex partnerships and ordain transgender priests. This month, the Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church, announced that it would also begin same-sex marriage ceremonies.


NOM Chair John Eastman Blasts Episcopal Church for Allowing Gay Marriages: VIDEO

Eastman

Reacting to the National Cathedral's decision to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies, NOM Chair John Eastman calls the Episcopal Church "cavalier" and compares it to living Constitutionalists who choose to interpret the Constitution in a dynamic manner.

The step that [the National Cathedral] has taken ... is directly in violation of international Anglican law and the Book of Common Prayer. So they can do this if they want but redefining marriage to be something it was never understood to be is going to have dramatic consequences both in this country and in their church...They should realize that their own doctrine says this is not proper. "

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, NPR has a major interview with retired gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson.

Continue reading "NOM Chair John Eastman Blasts Episcopal Church for Allowing Gay Marriages: VIDEO" »


Jon Stewart Interviews Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson: VIDEO

Robinson_stewart

Jon Stewart and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson discuss the Supreme Court's consideration of same-sex marriage, the "religious hunger" to find a way forward on the issue, Jesus and gay people, Robinson's coming out, Sodom and Gomorrah, sodomy in Washington, and the history of marriage.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jon Stewart Interviews Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson: VIDEO" »


Key Episcopal Church Committee Approves Same-Sex Marriage Liturgy

EpiscopalAs expected, the Episcopal Church's General Convention's central prayer committee today approved of a resolution that would construct a liturgy to bless same-sex marriages, though there are still provisions for individual priests who object to marriage equality.

"No bishop, priest, deacon or lay person should be coerced or penalized in any manner, nor suffer any canonical disabilities, as a result of his or her conscientious objection to or support for the 77th General Convention’s action with regard to the Blessing of Same-Sex Relationships," reads an amendment attached to the proposal, according to MSNBC.

According to the press release, leaders within the church are aware they will have to hammer out an agreement down the road. "This is clearly a work in process, and there is a place in that process for all Episcopalians, whether or not they agree with the action we are taking today," it said.

More from MSNBC:

In the proposed rites, each person would make a vow to the other, exchange rings and be declared "bound to one another in a holy covenant, as long as they both shall live." The resolution also asks that the liturgy be approved for provisional use starting the first week of Advent -- beginning on Dec. 2, 2012 -- and calls for a review process before the next General Convention in 2015. Congregations and clergy wishing to use the liturgy would need the permission of their bishops.

In states that currently allow same-sex civil marriage, such as Maryland and New York, Episcopalians may already bless same-sex marriages, but there is no formal church-wide liturgy. Commitment ceremonies for gay couples are allowed elsewhere in the church at the discretion of the local bishop.

The vote will now go to the House of Bishops and then the House of Deputies, a body that is open to lay people as well as clergy.

On a related note, the House of Bishops approved a resolution this weekend allowing transgender men and women to become ministers. That too goes forward for a final vote.


Episcopals For Marriage Equality In Washington

Picture 21As the Washington State Senate voted in favor of marriage equality on Wednesday, it had the vocal support of a senior member of the Episcopal clergy.

Earlier this week, the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, VIII Bishop of Olympia, posted the following to his blog:

It is expected that our Washington state legislators will very soon, perhaps even tomorrow begin floor deliberations on HB2516 & SB6239 with the Senate to begin.  Passage of these bills or a version of them would make same sex marriage law in our state.   Our Episcopal Church, after a long discussion about this over the years is poised to do roughly the same this summer at our General Convention.

While I am careful about wading into our legislator’s business, I would say this is the church’s business too.  I have a asked by many about my feelings on it, and I have decided to share them.  The ideas are not new,  I have shared them openly in the walk-abouts before becoming your bishop and in many venues before and since.

Christianity has held, when considering relationships of all sorts, but especially in relation to two people in marriage, fidelity to be our value.   Fidelity is the value in most all our sacraments and also in our life as Christians.

It seems to me we have held our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in a “catch-22″.  We say they cannot live up to our value because they cannot be married, or even blessed in their union.  While many of them have begged for this, it is still not possible.    What they ask of us, the church and the government, is to put boundaries around their relationship, to hold them in the same regard and with the same respect, which would also mean that we expect the same from them.  They are not asking for special treatment.  They are asking for equal treatment.   They are asking to be accountable, as a couple, in community.  To me, this is a conservative proposal.  I am for it, and I hope we will finally make way for this to happen, not only in our society, but also in our church.

Faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel

As SeattlePi points out, allowing gay clergy to serve and straight clergy give voice to such opinions has cost the Episcopals buildings, lands, membership and money in the last decade. And it's still costing them -- one irate commentator on the Bishop's blog promises to ditch the church if marriage equality is enshrined in Washington law, as now looks likely.

As Andy reported, many Washington clerics are already plotting to reverse equality, should equality come. It's good to know the Rt. Rev.'s around to balance the scale.


Gay Bishop Gene Robinson's Message is 'Love Free or Die': VIDEOS

Robinson

Check out these extremely moving clips from Love Free or Die, the new documentary about gay New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson which is premiering this week at Sundance.

LovefreeordieIn one clip, he gives a sermon to fellow clergy and volunteers on Gay Pride day before handing out water to marchers in the parade.

Says Robinson in the clip: "...it is a very holy thing that you do when you offer that cup of water. You are representing the community of Christians, and Jews, and Muslims who are 95% the source of all the oppression we LGBT people have experienced in our lives. And so when you offer a cup of water bearing the name of Christ as it says in our gospel today, you are the oppressor offering a cup of water to the oppressed. They get it. They get the act of compassion. My question is, do you get it? Do you realize the important thing that you do by giving a cup of water to those people out there who have been hurt by us, and continue to be hurt by us?"

In another clip, an incident (which I covered here in 2008) in which Robinson is heckled because he is gay by a man at an alternative service Robinson was giving at the Anglican Lambeth conference, is captured on film.

Very, very powerful stuff.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Bishop Gene Robinson's Message is 'Love Free or Die': VIDEOS" »


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