An Episcopal priest is protesting his church’s ban on same-sex marriages by refusing to perform any marriages.
“We are called to join the fast that our homosexual brothers and sisters in Christ have had to observe all their lives,” said the Rev. Robert Hirschfeld, rector of Grace Episcopal Church.
Several members of the congregation say they support Hirschfeld’s move, which he announced in his Sunday sermon. Others said they were concerned that that the move might add to the polarization of an issue that has already divided Episcopals.
Erica Winter, of Northampton, said working for social justice often involves giving up something.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this,” Nina Scott, a congregant from Amherst, said. “It’s a step that needs to be taken.”
Two priest associates at Grace Church, the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and the Rev. Burton Whiteside, also said they won’t perform marriages.
“I am convinced that when gays and lesbians are baptized, they become full members of the body of Christ,” said Bullitt-Jonas. “They are not partial members or conditional members or second-class members.”
The Episcopal church, the American version of the Anglican church, is having its own internal struggles with the gay marriage issue.
In religious terms, and especially with the Anglican denominations, marriage is a joining by God. Two people profess their love before God and the community at the altar. Because it is a rite that directly involves God’s power with the people, it’s a Sacrament, the holiest of rituals. It is given the status of Sacrament due to the blessing of the union and subsequent blessing of creation (children) bestowed upon the couple.
Gay marriage cannot be Sacramental because it cannot be creative. In addition, while it may include “lovemaking”, as there is no divine purpose between the two individuals, they enter into it knowing that the act is purely an expression of lust and a desire to experience worldly pleasure. As the lovemaking is carnal and expresses without the touch of the Divine, it cannot be consecrated as Marriage.
In fact, before I start getting the “you hate gays!” emails, this particular prohibition applies to contraception, out-of-wedlock sex, and masturbation.
Hubris is defined as Excessive pride displayed by a character and often taking the form of a boastful comparison of the self to the divine, the gods, or other higher powers–often also resulting in harsh punishment. When you get to the point you start doing things because you think you know better than God, you’ve reached a point of hubris.
Rev. Hirschfeld has banned all marriages to make a political point within his church. Unfortunately, what he has done is taken his ideas and placed them above the Sacrament, telling God what Marriage should be. And as such, he’s taken one giant leap into the pride zone, making himself out to be the religious authority.
If men and women are to be married in his church, what he is doing is now barring a Sacrament from the people even though the people are living within the strictures of their faith, something the homosexual couples were not doing. As such, he’s denying Sacraments to the faithful for no sound reason, and he should be stripped of his office. A priest is to be a point of communication between the faithful and God, and he’s purposefully denying the faithful access to God. Arrogance unbound!
Bear in mind that this particular issue is a religious issue, not a secular issue. It’s my opinion that the State should have no business in marriage, as marriage is a Sacrament. My suggestion to fix this is to make all civil ceremonies “unions” so as not to confuse the Sacramentality of Marriage with a civil recognition of couplehood. So people should go and get “union” licenses, gay or straight, and be joined in a civil ceremony to start their union. If they want the divine blessing, then they should get it from a Church.