Episcopals in South Carolina are at a crossroads over homosexuality—and the end result might be the diocese seceding from the national church. In a recent Reuters story, Rev. Jeffrey Miller of St. Helena Church in Beaufort, SC, said, “The question is not whether we can stay. It is whether they will let us stay and follow what we believe.”
The national church’s position on LGBT issues has evolved significantly since 1991, when the General Convention astated that “physical sexual expression” is only appropriate within a monogamous union of husband and wife. By 2000, the church affirmed “the variety of human relationships in and outside of marriage.” The 2009 Convention approved the ordination of partnered gays and lesbians and gave bishops the choice whether or not to bless same-sex unions.
But South Carolina Bishop Mark J. Lawrence, who has led the state diocese’s move to distance itself from the national church, accused it of preaching a “false gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity… that has suffocated the mission of the Church.” Earlier this month Lawrence was charged with “abandonment”of church doctrine for not reprimanding individual churches that have or are considering secession to the Anglican church. His allies in worry he could soon be deposed as bishop. (Perish the thought!)
Why is it we hear so much about what homophobic clergy are against and little about what they’re for?