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INDIANAPOLIS, IN: Bishops go Transgender at GC2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN: Bishops go Transgender at GC2012

By David W. Virtue in Indianapolis
July 8, 2012

The Episcopal Church is on the brink of modifying its stand on human sexuality that will make it the first denomination in history to publicly recognize a small group of men and women who have had a sex change operation as eligible for ordained ministry.

An array of liberal and revisionist Episcopal bishops spoke up on Resolution D002 arguing that no person shall be denied access to the discernment process for any ministry, lay or ordained, in this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise provided by these Canons. No right to licensing, ordination, or election is hereby established.

Only two orthodox bishops, Mark Lawrence of South Carolina and Bill Love of Albany expressed any disapproval.

Speaking against the resolution, Lawrence said the [church] had entered into a time of "individualized Eros."

"With such a wide variety of self-perceptions and understandings we might be condemning ourselves to freedom, a freedom to self-define with no kinds of norms. The whole argument of transgenderism goes contrary to the gay lesbian debate. We are abandoning all forms of givenness. Marriage is a given of creation. Abandoning all givens is an idol that will break us. Such confusion does not protect people.

Speaking in favor of the resolution, Ian Douglas Bishop of Connecticut said his daughter understood the difference between sexuality and gender identity. "Gender is who a person is and sexuality is with whom we have a relationship," he said. Douglas urged its passage.

Gene Robinson, the homogenital Bishop of New Hampshire said, "We only ask ourselves to enact nondiscriminatory policies that we ask of the culture." He urged bishops to see the movie Out of the box the story of five members of the church who are part of this stigmatized group of transgendered people. He urged passage of the resolution.

California Bishop Mark Andrus said he found the guiding principle in Scripture, specifically 1 Samuel, "in reviewing the sons of Jesse, 'Surely this is the one', God said no. Mortals judge by human appearance God judges the heart."

Bishop Chester Talton of the faux Diocese of San Joaquin said he had recently ordained a transgendered person in the diocese who was "wonderfully received. This person (a woman) went through the process without any regard for her gender...she possessed the necessary qualities", he said.

Albany Bishop William Love asked the HOB what was the definition of "expression". Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori replied, "It is how a person lives in the world...this is how this is 'expressed'".

Love: "If this were to pass living in a same gender relationship would be acceptable?"

Jefferts Schori, "It only speaks about the individual. The resolution passed."

A similar resolution D019 argued no one shall be denied rights, status or access to an equal place in the life, worship, and governance of this Church because of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or and expression, disabilities or age, except as otherwise specified by Canons.

Bishop W. Andrew Waldo, Upper South Carolina, spoke against the motion saying that most people in his diocese had a poor understanding of what transgender means. "The definition of this expression of this sexuality is all over the map. We need more discussion in our congregations."

Prince Singh Bishop of Rochester said he has with two identities. "When I am in India, people think I am an American. When I am in the US they think I am from somewhere else. I support this resolution whole heatedly."

Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire said, "I am still learning about this...we are on a huge learning curve. Transgender is a large umbrella. Gender identity the particular identity of what I am is not a physical manifestation. Whether a person chooses it through clothing or other means... many are born into a body that is not their gender identity."

"Not all chose to have changes made in their physical bodies. Such gender identity and gender expression should not stand in way of life of governance of this church," concluded Robinson.

Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina spoke against the resolution arguing that marriage (between a man and a woman) is the only given in creation. "[Transgenderism] is an idol that will break us. The whole range of transgenderism goes contrary to the gay and lesbian debate. We are abandoning all forms of givenness."

Mark Andrus, Bishop of California, told Bishop Waldo that the confusion is why it should be approved. The resolution passed.


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