For further information contact:
Louise Brooks, Communication Director
Integrity USA -- 626.993.4605
You'll want to click here to listen to the interview and hear Jim be his usual faithful, on-message-for-Jesus self, but if you need to save that treat for a little later, here's the core message we all would do well to internalize:
I think for Episcopalians, what we need to do in the wake of this announcement is to continue going out there and saying, look, we do offer very traditional liturgy, beautiful music, a style of worship that many people like. But we are a democratically governed church. We think men and women are equal at the altar, and we respect the dignity of gay and lesbian Christians. If that makes us outcasts, I think that that's a status that we embrace happily. So if what we're talking about here are people offering alternatives, I think Episcopalians offer that alternative to their Catholic brothers and sisters.
And (I would add) to ANYONE seeking a community of faith committed to traditional values of love, compassion, peace, justice and equality.
LOS ANGELES, CA--Integrity applauds the passage today of the groundbreaking legislation making it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
"Since 1988 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church as been on record supporting legislation protecting all Americans from hate motivated violence," said Integrity President David Norgard. "And so we rejoice today with all who have worked so long and so hard to move this legislation forward. Our prayers are particularly with Judy and Dennis Shepard and their family, who turned the tragedy of the death of their son Matthew into advocacy on behalf of all those vulnerable to hate crimes because of their sexual orientation or gender identity."
In her 2007 letter in support of the bill passed by the Senate today, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori included this quote from former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold: "The fact that Matthew was an Episcopalian makes our grief no more sharp, but it does give us a particular responsibility to stand with gays and lesbians, to decry all forms of violence against them - from verbal to physical, and to encourage the dialogue that can, with God's help, lead to new appreciation for their presence in the life of our church, and the broader community."
Integrity is grateful for the work and witness of ALL those who have stood with the most vulnerable down through the years -- and is committed to continue that advocacy as we follow the Lord who called us always to remember that it is in service to "the least of these" that we live out our call to seek and serve Christ in all persons.
CONTACT: Louise Brooks
Director of Communications
So, friends--what do you think? Have you written your own manifesto? Does this resonate with you?A Manifesto! The Time Has Come!
I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. 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. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is "an abomination to God," about how homosexuality is a "chosen lifestyle," or about how through prayer and "spiritual counseling" homosexual persons can be "cured." Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate "reparative therapy," as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. 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. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality "deviant." I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that "we love the sinner but hate the sin." That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement. I will no longer temper my understanding of truth in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons with what it assumes is "high-sounding, pious rhetoric." The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me. I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer. The world has moved on, leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust to new knowledge or a new consciousness lost in a sea of their own irrelevance. They no longer talk to anyone but themselves. 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. An old civil rights song proclaimed that the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!" Time waits for no one.
I will particularly ignore those members of my own Episcopal 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 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.
In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by "fair-minded" channels that seek to give "both sides" of this issue "equal time." I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people. There is no way that justice for homosexual people can be compromised any longer.
I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak with embarrassing ineptitude. I will no longer be respectful of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who seems to believe that rude behavior, intolerance and even killing prejudice is somehow acceptable, so long as it comes from third-world religious leaders, who more than anything else reveal in themselves the price that colonial oppression has required of the minds and hearts of so many of our world's population. I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side, nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it. I will dismiss as unworthy of any more of my attention the wild, false and uninformed opinions of such would-be religious leaders as Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Albert Mohler, and Robert Duncan. My country and my church have both already spent too much time, energy and money trying to accommodate these backward points of view when they are no longer even tolerable.
I make these statements because it is time to move on. The battle is over. The victory has been won. There is no reasonable doubt as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be. Homosexual people will be accepted as equal, full human beings, who have a legitimate claim on every right that both church and society have to offer any of us. Homosexual marriages will become legal, recognized by the state and pronounced holy by the church. "Don't ask, don't tell" will be dismantled as the policy of our armed forces. We will and we must learn that equality of citizenship is not something that should ever be submitted to a referendum. Equality under and before the law is a solemn promise conveyed to all our citizens in the Constitution itself. Can any of us imagine having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue, whether segregation should be dismantled, whether voting privileges should be offered to women? The time has come for politicians to stop hiding behind unjust laws that they themselves helped to enact, and to abandon that convenient shield of demanding a vote on the rights of full citizenship because they do not understand the difference between a constitutional democracy, which this nation has, and a "mobocracy," which this nation rejected when it adopted its constitution. We do not put the civil rights of a minority to the vote of a plebiscite.
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.
The battle in both our culture and our church to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished. A new consciousness has arisen. A decision has quite clearly been made. Inequality for gay and lesbian people is no longer a debatable issue in either church or state. Therefore, I will from this moment on refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice by engaging it. I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer. From this moment on, I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia. I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.
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 do not converse with people who think that Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans as punishment for the sin of being the birthplace of Ellen DeGeneres or that the terrorists hit the United Sates on 9/11 because we tolerated homosexual people, abortions, feminism or the American Civil Liberties Union. I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day. Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize, but do public penance for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.
Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: "New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth." I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it. I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.
This is my manifesto and my creed. I proclaim it today. I invite others to join me in this public declaration. I believe that such a public outpouring will help cleanse both the church and this nation of its own distorting past. It will restore integrity and honor to both church and state. It will signal that a new day has dawned and we are ready not just to embrace it, but also to rejoice in it and to celebrate it.
– John Shelby Spong
Another View: Episcopal church has no clear doctrine on same-sex marriage
President Barack Obama has nominated a Minnesota policewoman to become the first openly gay person to serve as a U.S. marshal.
Sharon Lubinski is an assistant chief in the Minneapolis Police Department, where she has worked for 20 years.
On Sunday October 11th 2009, Josh Blackwood, chair of the stakeholders council for Integrity
Mr Blackwood could not join the march as he was due over at the rally site for check-in. Mr Blackwood participated along with Neil Houghton, VP for Local Affairs for Integrity
While in attendance at the stage area, Mr Blackwood and Mr Houghton both had the opportunity to meet and briefly talk to Judy Shephard, whose son Matthew was the victim of a hate crime that took his life. "I heard a rumor that you are an Episcopalian" Blackwood said to Mrs Shephard, who replied "yes, and so was Matt. My parents allowed us to choose and I did so at 15 and we did the same for our kids and Matt also made that choice.
During the course of the day, Mr Blackwood also met with several other people of note including Dustin Lance Black, Martina Navratilova, Fr Geoff Farrow, Lt Dan Choi, Cynthia Nixon, Kate Clinton and many others.
The highlight came when Mr Blackwood had the to meet Urvashi Vaid, the Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation. On behalf of Integrity, Mr Blackwood thanked Ms Vaid and Arcus for their continued support of Integrity and its work to which Ms Vaid responded, "we are glad to support Integrity and its work in the Episcopal Church.
For photos you can go to http://www.edowpride.com/EDOW_Pride/My_Albums/Pages/National_Equality_March.html
About 150-259 people symbolically marched on the Hawaii State Capitol for equal rights for all citizens’ especially gay lesbian bisexual and transgender citizens. This was sponsored by Pride-Alliance Hawaii, a group dedicated to coordinating the efforts of all gay and civil rights groups in the islands in order to coordinate and strengthen our responses and political action. We did this March in unity with the March on Washington. We had participants/planners/workers/volunteers and attendees from Integrity, Dignity, The UCC, The civil rights commission, military activists against don’t ask, don’t tell, ACLU, Family Equality Coalition of Hawaii, a large group of students from the Universities of Hawaii, a great group of high school kids who are out and we had entertainment by Blazing Saddles, a gay line dancing club, and some Melissa Ethridge covers done by a local artist. You can see a picture of someone holding a Jesus Loves Equal Rights for Everybody sign with the official Episcopal Integrity T-Shirt for the March on Washington in the article in the link below. Thanks be to God for the blessings of this day. We had Episcopal GLBTQ members, allies, clergy and lay ministers focusing on equal rights for gay people come to the march and we are so grateful for their time and effort to help out and bear witness. We also have three proposed resolutions of the Diocese of Hawaii website for our convention in late October. Please feel free to check those out as well.
The link to the morning paper’s story is: http://bit.ly/2oikBu