19 June 2006

Life & Death.

The lack of outrage over the Episcopal Church's affiliation with the Religious Coaslition for Reproductive Choice has been surprizing to me. I spoke this morning with a General Convention delegate who said that, in that crowd, it just doesn't rise to the level of controversy - and this despite my own attempt to get the ball rolling. However, as one of our local clergy told me, for her this is an even deeper problem than the sexuality issues.
For some perspective, here's an article written by Fr. Shay Gaillard for the Diocese of South Carolina's newspaper, the Jubilate Deo:
“A Matter of Life and Death”
The Rev'd Shay Gaillard

In a recent conversation with Georgetown Deanery clergy, Bishop Salmon referred to the current clash over truth in our culture and in our church as “a matter of life and death.” Those words have echoed in my head and heart ever since that day. I immediately drew the connection between Bishop Salmon’s grave words and how true they are for the defenseless in this culture, particularly the unborn. Of all of the groups that are under assault to be judged and marginalized by this relativistic culture, the unborn are least able to organize and speak up for themselves. And yet in 2004 nearly 1.3 million abortions were performed in the United States; each one a tragedy for the Christian who affirms that all of life is a gift from God.
As our church plunges ever closer to the General Convention that will determine the fate of the Episcopal Church, is it not amazing that there is little to no talk of the rights of the unborn? We care for so many minorities. It is just another sign that we have abandoned the Biblical worldview. Remember the words of the Psalmist, “for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” (Psalm 139:13). The divine “knitting” that occurs in the womb is just one of the many reasons that no one should take a life from the womb except the Author of life.
On the 12th of January, the Executive Committee of the Episcopal Church vote to formalize the relationship between ECUSA and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. This move effectively made the Episcopal Church a partner in abortion and promoting abortion rights.
This move not only contradicted the General Convention’s stated position on abortion (1994), but it did so without the “process” many seem to value when it is convenient. A former priest in this Diocese, The Rev’d. Patrick Allen protested this move on the floor of the Diocesan Convention of the Diocese of Tennessee. Since then, several Dioceses have passed resolutions concerning this unusual, irregular, and immoral affiliation.
I urge my friends and colleagues in the Diocese of South Carolina not to forget the unborn in your prayers and your teaching; I urge our deputies to General Convention to speak out and vote against any further movement away from Biblical truth; and I urge the Diocese of South Carolina to act in its next Diocesan Convention to disassociate itself fully from this decision of the Executive Committee. The sexuality debate has consumed the church for many years now. Abortion is every bit as serious a symptom of the same illness that we saw manifested at General Convention 2003. A Biblical worldview demands that we are balanced in our defense of truth and consistent in our love for the “least of these.”
Fr. Gaillard is newly parish priest at St. Peter's & St. John's (Charleston), father of my goddaughter, and connoisseur of fine art and cheesy comestibles.


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