Now that the U.S. Supreme court has passed the gay marriage law, many religious bodies are speaking out against the ruling. One denomination, however, feels that gay marriage should be accepted in church. On Wednesday, the Episcopal Church announced it’s approval of gay marriage. This would be the second time the Episcopal Church made history for the LGBTQ community, according to USA Today. Twelve years ago the church was the first proclaimed Christian denomination to elect an openly gay bishop. The question standing is, does the Episcopal Church’s acceptance of homosexuality threaten it’s Christian identity?
According to the cores beliefs and doctrines of the Episcopal Church, the answer is yes. One of the main sources of guidance for Episcopalians is The Bible, which forbids homosexuality, considering it sexually immorality. The book of Leviticus in particular, has some strong words to say about homosexual acts.
“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
The church went against it’s own core beliefs by approving of gay marriage, but were they wrong to allow gay leaders in their church? According to the same faith doctrine, no, Christians are required to love and accept all of God’s people. The Bible does not mention leaving out the homosexuals, therefore, allowing a gay man into the organization is not a sin, but according to the Bible’s laws, God will not be as lenient. The book of Leviticus, chapter 20, verse 13, reveals God’s punishment for the sin of homosexuality.
“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must both be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”
In defense of the Episcopal Church, their accepted of homosexuality and gay marriage does fit into their “Five Marks of Misson.” The fourth mark states that the mission of the Episcopal Church is “to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation.” Therefore, support and compassion for an oppressed people, like homosexuals in America, means that the Episcopal Church is living it’s mission. However, it does appear that the church’s mission is to be something other than Christian.
While some theologians would say that Episcopalians should be able to keep their Christian identity because God wants Christians to be accepting; according to The Bible, God also wants followers to be exclusive. In the book Proverbs, there is a scripture about choosing friends wisely.
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
Because of the laws in The Bible, Christians from different denominations cannot always be friends. It appears that sometimes acceptance and love must occur from a distance in order to truly follow the laws of God. It can be expected that the homosexuality yay-sayers of the Episcopal Church will be losing some friends in the Christian population.
[Image via Christ Church of Berlin]