Friday, January 15, 2016

Unwilling suspension of belief!

Oh come on Church of England, I thought you guys were cool. I mean, relatively. The bar is pretty low for religious organizations. I'm talking about the Anglican Communion's decision yesterday to suspend the U. S. Episcopal Church for not hating gay people hard enough.
" people, am I right guys?"
-Justin Welby,
Archbishop of Canterbury
What? Did you think I was kidding?
Wait, the what has a problem with whom over gays and suspended the-huh? Yeah, I should explain. First let's start with Henry VIII and the fiery passion he felt deep in his comically oversized codpiece for Anne Boleyn, his not wife. Cranky over Pope Clement's refusal to grant an annulment on the grounds that he found Anne Boleyn hotter than Catherine of Aragon, Henry went and started his own Church, put himself in charge and married Boleyn. Blamo, Church of England. Oh, and then he got tired of her and had her executed.

The Episcopal Church is to Church of
England as Stargate Atlantis is to
Stargate SG-1. Analogy!
Jump ahead to the American Revolution when church leaders weren't so down with swearing loyalty to King George III when everybody just spent the better part of a decade killing his troops. They broke off and started calling themselves the Episcopal Church which basically means that bishops are in charge, instead of a Pope or some horny king. Similar Church of England spin-offs, called Anglican Churches, popped up around the world, each headed by their own Primate-yeah, Primate, and now they all mostly get along.

"More liberal than the people who
brought you the Inquisition..."
The Church of England and Anglican churches in general seem a little more liberal than the Catholic Church they broke away from, even allowing priests to marry and more recently the ordination of women. I guess when your parent organization exists because a ginger serial Queen murder with a festering leg wound and a willingness to risk excommunication for himself and his subjects (kind of a big deal back in the sixteenth century) for papal dispensation to bone anyone he chooses, it's hard to enforce celibacy with a straight face.

Anyway, the Episcopal Church elected an openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, in 2003 and last year voted to perform same-sex weddings, going too far for some I guess. Which is weird because again, Henry murdered two wives. Just straight up murdered them.
-England's puffiest,
murder-iest king
Pictured: the full force
of Anglican condemnation.
Which brings us to the big meeting this week where Anglican leaders decided that they can no longer stand all this gayness. They decided that the U.S. Church will be barred from decision making in the wider communion for three years-sort an institutional finger waggle rather than a punishment with the force of law. The Anglican Communion is kind of nonhierarchical, I mean, that was the whole point of breaking away in the first place, so there's not a whole to else they can to to the Episcopal Church short of taking them off the mailing list.  

Yeah, they're still
really weird about it.
So big deal, who cares, right? Lots of people care, churchy or not. As a secular Vulcantologist, I have exactly zero stake in the decision, but I think it's a dick move, especially coming at a time when attitudes are shifting and same-sex marriage is becoming increasingly accepted. Even the Catholic Church has lightened up on the gay thing, so what's their problem anyway? Huh? Oh, I said the Catholic Church has lightened up about it. Give'em another two hundred years and we'll be good.

This decision seems like a bunch of feet-dragging conservatives conveniently forgetting that quitting the Anglican Communion is comprised of breakaway churches who were sick of having marriage rules dictated to them. Like, leaving and starting your own church is as easy as checking the 'unsubscribe me' box on an email you're tired of moving to the trash bin, so maybe the organization as a whole could try getting along?
"Seriously, give the word, we'll break off and do our own thing.
We have our own collars and flag and even our own communion wafers."
-Michael Curry, head of the Episcopal Church
*(might not be an actual quote)

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