AL Episcopal Bishop Nixes Same-Sex Rites, Even Though He Voted For Them

An Episcopal bishop in Alabama has banned priests in his diocese from blessing same-sex unions, even though he voted in favor of such rites at the Episcopalian National Convention earlier this month.

“Theology is an ongoing revelation,” Bishop John McKee Sloan told The Birmingham News. “It’s influenced by context. There are parts of the country that are more conservative and traditional, and there are parts of the country that are more liberal. In Alabama, it would be divisive within the Episcopal Church. We are deeply conflicted about this. I’d like for us to work through and pray about it.”

Sloan did indicate the blessing of same-sex unions may be allowed eventually, but “I don’t have a timetable in mind.”

Brad Lamonte of Integrity, a Episcopal group promoting LGBT equality within the church, is baffled by Sloan’s stance. “He worked on the committee that developed the rite. It’s bizarre that he’s not allowing it in Alabama.”

It’d almost be better if Sloan was against a liturgy for gay unions—at least then he’d be standing up for his beliefs. This is just cowardice.

Photo: St. Michael’s Parish

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  • Global Traveler

    “It’s influenced by context. There are parts of the country that are more conservative and traditional, and there are parts of the country that are more liberal.”

    That’s the same argument that was used to try to prevent interracial marriage. “We’re going to cater to the bigots and the lowest common denominator in our society, instead of simply doing what’s right and expecting people to raise themselves up. Let’s dumb down the entire institution.”

    I can guarantee you that these same bigots would rail to the heavens if a large contingent of muslims moved into their area and Sharia law was implemented because “It’s influenced by context.” (disclaimer: I’m not anti-muslim. I’m just using that as an example because it’s the one that is the most relevant at the moment.”)


  • T. Mikel

    The man shoulod be defrocked! The blessing of same sex unions has been approved by the entire Church and as a bishop he is required to support Church doctrine. What a false prophet!

  • Michael

    Why is it those who love to proclaim what a sin same-sex marriage is don’t seem too concern about the deadly sin of gluttony?

  • Dennis

    What a Jerk!!

  • EmmaMTF

    I was gonna say something about how this bishop is a good guy for voting -for- gay rights, even if it’s not within his faith to support them (a relatively decent thing to do – not depriving rights even if you don’t/can’t approve of them), but he just turned out to be another douche :/

  • Hyhybt

    @T. Mikel: When something is officially declared optional at the local bishop’s discretion, how does it make sense to say he should be defrocked for exercising that, even if you’d rather he’d gone the other way?

  • John T

    Is it just me, but I wonder when he is going to come out. Closet gay conservatives are always the biggest bashers.

  • GreatGatsby2011

    “In Alabama, it would be divisive within the Episcopal Church.”

    Translation: “It would hurt our bottom line.”

    Violating human rights and spurning basic human compassion for the sake of the almighty dollar. How very Christ-like of him.

    I bet his mother is so very proud of him.

  • Daez

    This just goes to show that you can not get behind any cult. Even the cults that claim to have your best interest in mind are really only worried about worshiping the all might dollar. Religious figures in every religion should be sentenced to prison time for the abuse of human rights and the exploitation of weak minded people.

  • Richard Ford

    Maybe I’m just playing devil’s advocate (particularly given the special meaning that phrase may take on here), but I find Bishop McKee’s approach to be actions to be a poignant reflection of his inner conflict. They give the appearance of being inconsistent and hypocritical.
    However, I do think he is acting thoughtfully and in good conscience, in the best interest of his constituents–namely, Episcopal Alabamans–as he understands the social context which he and they live in. Perhaps he is right–the flock isn’t quite ready for this to be dumped on them all at once. Perhaps considerable harm, even violence, could ensue now which might be mitigated in time.
    Then again, perhaps he is wrong. In any event, he is not a jerk, certainly not a coward, and he should not be defrocked, as some above have proclaimed. Anyone they might find to replace him down there would almost certainly be a step backward.
    What he should have done, or could have done, would be to have spoken with priests under his authority and explained the issues his concerns–the dangers or pitfalls of not looking before they leap. Rather than decreeing an across-the-board prohibition, he could have instructed the priests to weigh all the factors carefully and use their best judgment as to whether officiating gay unions would be best for the particular people involved.
    So many gay people are quick to condemn in the strongest terms anyone who doesn’t back their cause 1000%. Rants, raised fists and all. Dealing with the complexities of reality, REALITY, ought to be within the scope of our operating principles, and it seems to me that Bishop McKee is well equipped for that task, albeit from a different perspective. I am not praising him, but I’m not ready to burn him at the stake. He is cautiously forward-looking and does not deserve our cruel mockery.

  • Global Traveler

    Richard Ford–

    You’ve posited a well thought out, cogent argument, and you should be applauded for the time it took to formulate such.

    However, at least from my reading, you’re suggesting that we should be willing to accept the little morsels that are doled out to us in small, tiny, incremental little steps. That works for evolution which occurs over the course of eons. In the meantime, those of us who have to live our lives, want to get on with our lives.

    To suggest that we should just be willing to wait for the neanderthals to come around is disingenuous. I want to marry my boyfriend. Should I just wait until these troglodytes are ready for such a thing (which by the way, has zero effect on them).

    I’ll apologize in advance if I’ve misinterpreted your intent.

  • Richard Ford

    @Global Traveler: Thank you for your response.
    My remarks were intended primarily to address the specific case of Bishop McKee as an individual, a clergyman in Alabama. My point was that, if we acknowledge that one has a right to be a clergymen in Alabama, then our concern is what can reasonably be expected of such a person? I viewed McKee’s actions as more pondered and well intended than the majority of Queerty bloggers. Of course, I may be wrong, and I admitted as much in my statements, but I regarded my observation as worth registering.
    If you wish to broaden the scope of the discussion, yes, I believe you should fight with every fiber of your being for your right to marry, if you are so inclined. And hooray for you, but don’t expect everyone to fall in line today.
    I would only warn that the “all or nothing” mentality, to whatever extent it may be noble, is nonetheless idealistic, and those who cherish it are destined for disappointments. Which is no reason to lay down your arms, but the notion that “if I can’t have everything I don’t want even a morsel” is quixotic at best.

  • Global Traveler

    I agree with everything that you posted (even if I had to look up “quixotic” ;) )

    I understand that not everyone lives in a major urban center, and that there are differing reasonable expectations for different parts of the country. I’m from the south (North Carolina) and there is much to love about it, but there is also much that makes me hang my head in shame. Most notably the recent landslide by which Amendment One passed.

    The gay rights movement has made incredible strides over a relatively short span, and it seems as though now the momentum is on our side, and that things are at a tipping point. Some people are just going to have to be pushed over. I don’t expect everyone to embrace me. Nor do I want that. I simply want people who are total strangers to remain thus, and stay the hell out of my life.

    I get frustrated at some of the posts I read on these boards. People have an alarming tendency to go off topic, and the personal attacks regarding someone’s personal appearance diminish even the otherwise best worded arguments.

    I know that the “all or nothing” mindset is idealistic, and I hope that I’m more of a pragmatist than that. However, I do think that we need the idealists out there….in many ways showing us the way. I have a feeling that I’m preaching to the choir here, but thanks for giving me the chance to do that.

  • Richard Ford

    Traveler: I’m an oldie (but goodie), and I suspect you’re not. Your values are very solid, and we need more like you in the trenches. Whoever it is out there you’ve got your sights set on to marry is damn lucky. -RF

  • Hyhybt

    I get the idea he sees it this way: right now, a large number, perhaps even most, of the membership of his diocese would object to allowing these blessings, and perhaps would leave entirely. Which, if everyone’s views were totally fixed, I’d say fine and dandy; let them go.

    But people’s views *aren’t* totally fixed. Not only that, but we tend gradually to adopt views consistent with those of the people we’re around a lot and listen to. Given the option of continuing as long as necessary a gentler tug in the right direction, or a great big yank that’s likely to break the rope, which is better in the long run? Especially when those who leave are likely to join conservative congregations, where they’re being pulled the other way?

    I’m NOT saying he’s right, or that he’s wrong, in making the choice he has. Only that it doesn’t really make sense to claim either is automatically irrational, unreasonable, cowardly, etc.

  • Global Traveler

    Good Lord. What is this world coming to? People making, thoughtful, considerate comments without insulting the other posters….am I on the right web site?

    Thanks for the discussion.
    And thanks for the compliment, Richard. But I suspect I’m at least your age. (I’m 51)

  • Richard Ford

    Traveler: A mere tot you are. I’ll be 66 in September. Hope we get a chance to exchange viewpoints again in the near future (and that the trend toward kinder, gentler, more insightful–and yes, even quixotic–comments from the Queerty gang continues)! :)

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