Thursday, January 18, 2007

One Step Forward, One Step Back

Listening to NPR this morning on the way to work, i heard a blurb about a church in Virginia, that, following the Episcopal Church's blessing its first openly gay Bishop, decided to leave the Episcopal Church and join the more conservative Church of Nigeria. The WaPo has the story:


Today, St. Stephen's is divided, with congregants fighting over who gets to use the Victorian-style church, why the Episcopal sign out front was taken down, and who was allowed to cast ballots Dec. 17, the day the majority of St. Stephen's congregants voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Church of Nigeria. Eight other Virginia churches took the same step last month, seeking more conservative leadership. Even the 10 a.m. Thursday healing service, long a tradition at St. Stephen's, is now held in separate locations -- at the same time. ...

Parts of the story are really sad. It is upsetting that folks would strongly enough that gay folks ought not be clergy folks that they would sever a centuries old relationship over it. But there is one sliver of good in the story. The folks in this little Church in Heathsville are not very far from Richmond, the old capital of the confederacy. The conventional history says that this is the most racist part of our country. This is overly simplistic, and it is not fair to think of a city or region in those terms but i am nonetheless struck by the irony of this church in the cradle of the old confederacy choosing to place their community under the religious direction of a Black Nigerian Bishop, Peter Akinola. I suppose this means that just as we are moving backwards and forwards on gay rights, we are moving steadily forward, at least in this example, on race relations. That ideology trumps race, is a reassuring sign, regardless of what we think about the ideologies in question.


At 1/22/2007 , Blogger BZ said...

It's Pim Fortuyn in reverse!


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