While people who share my perspective are in a minority within the Episcopal Church, and while many have simply become silent in the face of such overwhelming numbers on the other side of these difficult issues, the Episcopal Church is far from monochrome. And so it is essential that church leaders – and the church’s own news service – honestly recognize this diversity when they respond to an event such as the Supreme Court’s ruling. To fail to do so is, effectively, to “un-church” a theological minority and to treat them as though they do not exist.
In other words: Go gently in victory – and in defeat.
Here is my own commitment:
- I will recognize and honor the presence of brothers and sisters within my own diocese who conscientiously disagree with me.
- I will do all that I can to be in relationship with them, and to seek honest and open conversation. That includes creating diocesan policies that honor their consciences as well as my own.
- I will recognize that I might be wrong, and will continue to search the Scriptures.
And I urge my fellow leaders in the Episcopal Church – and the Episcopal News Service – to make a similar undertaking:
- Recognize that there are faithful brothers and sisters in your diocese, in your parish, and in your ecclesisial institutions, who do not agree with you – even if they are silent. Recognize and celebrate their presence. Never speak or act as though they do not exist.
- Do all that you can to be in relationship with them. Talk with them. Make sure that their consciences are honored.
- Recognize that you might be wrong. Continue to search the Scriptures.
The ENS article of July 1 and many statements issued immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling profoundly disturbed me. They felt at best dismissive and at worst triumphalist.
I’m grateful to Bishop Little for speaking out.