Thursday, November 19, 2015

Worshipers as consumers


In 2009, when Roman Catholic priest Alberto CutiƩ sought to marry his girlfriend, he left the Church and became an Episcopal priest. He has since married and now serves as Rector of St. Benedict's Episcopal Church in Plantation, Florida. I am not a huge fan of religion but accept the fact that there are people, even LGBT people, who are devout worshipers.

Thursday's editorial in the New York Times titled “Stung by Edict on Gays, Mormons Leave Church” makes a good point. These people are probably not leaving to become atheists. Many of these folks are LGBTs who have persisted in identifying as Mormons. They have done so even as their church financed Proposition 8. They have done so while disregarding the routine disparagement of LGBT people. The times piece concludes:
[Quoting Kate Kendell in RNS] “It is impossible for me to be a part of a religion that would attack its own members and punish them by denying their children involvement in the church.”

Ms. Kendell, her wife and their three children have no shortage of options when it comes to places of worship. A growing number of churches of various denominations have come to embrace all people.
As an aside what I find most horrific about the Mormon policy is that they expect children of gay parents to renounce their parents' union when they turn 18 as a condition of entry into the church. That is tantamount to renouncing one's parents. The thought of some kid in a room with a group of men telling those men what they want to hear about the teen's evil parents makes me nauseous.

Silly me. I thought that houses of worship were supposed to strengthen families. Does that include these renunciations? Ugh!

The Times makes a good point. Why should gays, and the families of gays, continue to suffer at the hands of their house of worship? For example, Episcopalians are “liturgical” Protestants and have many things in common with the Catholic Church. According to Fr. Thomas Ryan, “ … they uphold and proclaim the Catholic and Apostolic faith, based on the same creeds and scripture, and interpreted in the light of Christian tradition, scholarship, and reason. They recognize seven sacraments (the same sacraments as the Catholic Church) and hold roughly the same moral values as Catholics with a few exceptions.” One of those exceptions is the acceptance of LGBT people and same-sex marriage.

Houses of worship can only exist with the financial support of adherents. Its time, I think, for some people to stop complaining and do what these Mormons are doing. They have reasonable options.

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