This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Defying (new) Convention

"It is no longer acceptable to impose western cultural questions and approaches on our societies. We absolutely reserve the right to make these choices and decisions, now and forever, on our own terms and in our own way."
"At present, we do not hear our concerns and approach in either side of this very strained discussion. Our understanding of marriage appears to be quite different from the dominating society and both sides of this discussion within it."
Indigenous bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada

"I don't know how we can move forward on this, or make a change, if we can't all feel that we're moving together. And if some people say we need a little more time, then I hear them."
Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate, Anglican Church of Canada

"What is different is this is a canonical change so, theologically, the church's understanding of what marriage is."
"And that's a huge ethical, theological understanding which some people wrestle with."
Meghan Kilty, communications director, Anglican Church of Canada
Julia C. Smith Photography / Via juliacsmith.com

The American counterpart of the Anglican Church of Canada, the Episcopal Church, last year voted to authorize gay weddings in its houses of worship. Other countries such as South Africa and Brazil have agreed that they too are prepared in their Anglican communions, to give full consideration to the idea of accepting gay marriage. And, for the most part, the Anglican Church of Canada appeared prepared to forge ahead.

The church's governing body has announced a vote on same-sex marriage to take place in July, while acknowledging that the support needed to alter its rules of inclusivity may not be adequate to the task. Bishop Geoff Peddle suggested on a local radio show in eastern Newfoundland that the resistance to the formalization of the Church's acceptance of gay marriage emanates from aboriginal bishops.

He was not, he said, singling out one group of bishops, but empathizing with all points of view whether they came from indigenous or members in the gay and lesbian community, but all must be given equal opportunity to have their positions considered. Indigenous bishops Adam Halkett in Saskatchewan, Lydia Mamakwa in northern Ontario and Mark MacDonald, the national indigenous bishop, led the statement speaking of "very strained" internal debate.

At the same time the indigenous bishops while speaking of "a dangerously complex cross-cultural discussion", emphasizes the acceptance of gay and lesbians as "brothers, sisters, children and elders". They simply separate that acceptance from the insistence that gay marriage formalized in the Anglican Church represents an expression that mirrors indigenous cultural values.

"There is no place for hatred and separation in indigenous communities and, especially, in indigenous Christian communities", they stressed.

In that, simply because they balk at the imposition of what has become the norm in non-aboriginal communities of gay marriage acceptance, does not diminish their right to refuse that same acceptance in the same manner. Their acceptance of gays and lesbians as equals does not equate with giving them equal rights to the sacrament of marriage, reserved for heterosexual couples.


While disagreement on the issue is present within their own communities and their elders the discussions become confused with deciphering past practices within their communities as a result of "the widespread and deep destruction of our history and traditions by colonial occupation", emphasizes their collective position statement. When all else fails, the fall-back of reaching backwards toward historical resentment of cultural interference and wrong-doing of colonialists is always useful.

Two-thirds support is required from each of the church's main groups; bishops, clergy and laity, over a period of three years and two meetings. The resolution is set for the July agenda when the General Synod, the Anglican Church of Canada's governing party gathers in Toronto. Ironically, the country that federally led the way to acceptance of gay marriage as one of the first to do so, sees the United States, which was a relative laggard, preceding them in the Episcopal Church.


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