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Bishops' stance on same-sex vows

September 17, 2008

Re "Bishops in state oppose Prop. 8," Sept. 11

I was delighted to read that the Episcopal bishops took such a strong stand against Proposition 8. I believe that it is crucial as we approach this important election for people of faith to stand up and oppose this effort to take constitutionally guaranteed rights away from Californians who happen to be gay or lesbian. To do anything less would be to reduce our cherished "liberty and justice for all" to "liberty and justice for some."

Freedom of religion in this great country of ours protects the state from dictating to me, as an Episcopal priest, how I exercise my ministry. It is equally important that freedom from religion protect our Constitution from those who would write their theology into it.

The Rev. Susan

Russell

Pasadena

The writer is the senior associate for parish life at All Saints Episcopal Church.

Six Episcopal bishops opposing Proposition 8 think that homosexual marriage follows the Gospel. They are wrong. There is not a single reference to homosexual behavior in Scripture that does not regard it as sin that brings personal brokenness and estrangement from God.

Do the bishops love lost people so little that they have given up calling sinners to repentance, to being reconciled with God? The bishops' position on this issue is the moral equivalent of affirming alcoholics by providing an open bar.

Russell Paxton

Redlands

Stories about gay marriage often imply that all Christian churches and people have one view on this matter, and that is certainly not the case. In fact, many of us are alarmed at a call to return to biblical standards regarding marriage.

In much of the Bible, the marriage standard is polygamy (with, in addition to multiple wives, a number of concubines). It includes such intriguing prospects as the right to marry the widow of your enemy whom you have just slain and the obligation to marry your brother's widow should he predecease you.

I think most of us can agree that our thinking on marriage has evolved for the better since those times, and continues to evolve as God leads us to understand how to treat each other with true respect.

Serena Beeks

Claremont

As The Times put it, "Episcopal leaders in California believe that acknowledging the rights of homosexuals to marry does follow the Gospel."

Many conservative Episcopalians are not convinced. The national church has been devastated by schisms over homosexuality. In the Diocese of Virginia alone, 11 parishes have seceded from the Episcopal Church and taken their property with them. Yet the church leadership has turned a blind eye to conservatives who do not embrace the homosexual agenda.

The Bible is very explicit with regard to homosexual behavior. The fact that liberal clerics have twisted their interpretation of Holy Scripture to conform to their acceptance of gay marriage does not in any way deter from the original meaning.

Episcopalians in California would do well to consider the cost of following "another gospel" when they go to the polls in November.

Brian Stuckey

Denver

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