(I’ve been trying to write this for a week. If it seems disjointed, that’s why.)
Last Monday, the Episcopal bishop of Pittsburgh authorized same-sex blessing ceremonies, and made clear that being gay or lesbian, and in a committed relationship, is no barrier to becoming a priest or deacon in the church.
I’ve written about my struggles with being an LGBTQ person, and reconciling that with belief in a God, before. As an Episcopalian, I’m very happy … and appropriately enough at this time of year, I’m also hugely thankful Bishop Dorsey McConnell has taken this major step toward equality for lesbian and gay people.
And I am hoping other mainline churches will take that step as well, soon.
(I think they will, despite what’s going on out in Lebanon, Pa., where a Methodist pastor was suspended from his ministry for 30 days for performing a same-sex wedding for his own son. It’s becoming more obvious to everyone that being gay is not a “lifestyle choice,” but something you’re born with, like being left-handed or having freckles. Believing in a God means believing He or She makes everything, including gay people.)
But … I’m not quite turning cartwheels yet.
What do I want? Marriage, for one thing. A same-sex “blessing” isn’t a marriage. (Yeah, I know, we can’t actually have a same-sex “marriage” in Pennsylvania, because we’ll make Daryl Metcalfe and Tom Corbett cry.)
So: A same-sex couple’s lifelong commitment is only as important as a motorcycle? Or a farm animal? I don’t know. I guess I was hoping my life was more important than a chicken’s.
(Which reminds me of the old joke about the woman who thought she was a chicken. Her family was going to take her to a psychiatrist, but they needed the eggs.)
McConnell also says he can’t force any church or priest to allow or perform a same-sex blessing. Some Episcopal priests in the Pittsburgh area have already flatly said they will not perform same-sex blessings.
On the one hand, I don’t think anyone should be forced to do anything against his or her will. Certainly, priests and ministers already refuse to marry couples for lots of reasons.
But on the other hand, some of those same priests who are not willing to bless a same-sex couple probably would perform blessing ceremonies for, say, boats, motorcycles and farm animals. (And find me where, in the Bible, Christ calls on us to pray for motorcycles? Hint: It’s in the same place where He condemns homosexuality.)
Certainly some liberal churches, and priests, in the Pittsburgh area will gladly perform these blessing ceremonies. But since others will not, we’ve now created “separate but equal” accommodations for gay and lesbian couples. Where have we heard that before? (Maybe gays and lesbians can use separate water fountains, too?)
So, I’m thankful, but I’ll be even more thankful when I know that, in terms of “blessings,” a gay couple’s family outranks a chicken’s.