While my wife and I were going through our pre-marriage counseling sessions with the very nice pastor that married us, we came across a couple of sticking points. The pertinent issues were not between us and our pastor directly, and they weren’t between my future wife and me. It was a story that our pastor told us about an openly gay man who attended a church in this pastor’s care. The openly gay man wanted to partake in one of the sacred sacraments of the Church: Communion. He wanted to commune with his God. Pastor Bob, in his words, was “forced” to withhold communion from this otherwise faithful member of the equally sinful flock. As members of humanity, we are all sinful in God’s eyes. There is not one of us who has ever been worthy of entering paradise. It is through mercy, by the grace of God, and Jesus that we all will, though.
I’m sure we all recall 2003 as the year that Anglican Church in America (known as the Episcopal Church) was fractured beyond repair. That is the year Gene Robinson was elected to be New Hampshire’s first openly gay bishop. He won the contentious election, began serving in 2004, and is probably still serving his community, likely to their benign ignorance or open acceptance of his orientation. Needless to say, the Episcopal Church is still rattling just as many cages as ever, and the ascent of Gene Robinson has proven to mean very little, except perhaps, to Gene Robinson.
At its base, the purpose of religion is to provide a pathway to salvation. It has become a rubric for moral living, too, but morality is a personal issue that has many different definitions and degrees. The Bible itself is fairly ambiguous on the subject of morality. Moses delivered the divine laws of God from Mount Sinai, and one of these few important principals was number 6: “thou shalt not kill.” But, in the very same book comes the dictum “an eye for an eye.” Many people, King Hammurabi not the least, have used this phrase as a justification for capitol punishment. Later, in the New Testament, this is only further convoluted by scripture in Matthew, which states “judge not, lest ye be judged.” Since we are all sinners, who can punish someone else for sinning?
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