Episcopalians prominent in Huffington Post religion section

Thanks in some measure to the good work of the Church’s Office for Communications, in some measure to relationships with progressive think tanks and in some measure to the talent of some of its members, the Episcopal Church has enjoyed a certain prominence in the recently-launched religion section of the popular Huffington Post Web site.

Among the more recent entries: Diana Butler Bass focuses on a Pew survey of religious attitudes in African to move Western audiences beyond traditional liberal v. conservative stereotypes:

The survey shows that African religion is experiential — not necessarily conservative. In the west, conservative theology is an intellectual movement, it moves from the head. Conservatives start with how one interprets the Bible and then applies that interpretation to various issues. In Africa, by way of contrast, the dominant approach is from the heart and how one senses God’s presence in life and the world around you. In other words, the western rubric of “liberal” and “conservative” have little or nothing to do with African religion — that is, until western missionaries import their church fights into Africa.

Africa is becoming Stage Two of the American political and religious culture wars, a theater for religious imperialists to accomplish overseas what cannot be accomplished at home — like denying women ordination to ministry and putting LGBT people back in closets. For the last two decades, right-wing Christians have been tromping all over Africa trying to appropriate native African experiential faith for their western theological agenda –making Africa a wedge issue — and African Christians spiritual pawns — in their seemingly endless quest to grasp theological power.

Meanwhile, Bishop Gene Robinson takes the Catholic Archbishop for Military Services to task for arguing that simply allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military would somehow dimminish the role of Roman Catholic chaplains:

I wholeheartedly agree with the archbishop that “no restrictions or limitations on the teaching of Catholic morality can be accepted. First Amendment rights regarding the free exercise of religion must be respected.” I would fight to the death for those protections. Fortunately, no such restrictions or limitations would be required after DADT is repealed. Period. To suggest otherwise indicates either ignorance of the proposed legislation or a disingenuousness that is not befitting a clergyman.

The archbishop goes on to say that “unions between individuals of the same gender resembling marriage will not be accepted or blessed by Catholic chaplains.” Of course not. No chaplain is required to marry or bless any relationship against his or her will–just as no such requirement is made of any clergyperson in American society. This is a red herring–a strenuous objection to a problem that does not exist. DADT is not about relationships or marriage. It is about who is allowed to serve their country in the military.

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