By David W. Virtue
The president of The Episcopal Church's unofficial pansexual advocacy organization, Integrity, is livid over secrecy surrounding a study group working on the theology of same-gender relationships.
The Rev. Susan Russell said in a June 2 statement that keeping the names of the theologians secret was "the height of absurdity and insult." She said that secrecy makes the project "suspect, disingenuous and dishonest."
Russell said that a secret study "sends a horrific message to gay and lesbian people -- both inside and outside the church" and is "utterly contrary to our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being.
She cited Resolution A167 from the 2006 meeting of General Convention, which reiterated the church's 1997 apology to "its members who are gay or lesbian, and to lesbians and gay men outside the Church, for years of rejection and maltreatment by the Church."
Undaunted, Bishop Henry Parsley, (Alabama) chair of the House of Bishops Theology Committee, fired back saying, "We believe that for a season the work can best be accomplished by allowing the panel to work in confidence. This supports the full collegiality and academic freedom of the theologians and provides the space they need for the deep dialogue and reflection that is taking place among them."
He concluded by saying that it has always been the committee's intention to publish the names of the panel when the work reaches the appropriate stage.
Parsley was forced to go public after two advocacy groups called for the theology committee to make the names public and to explain why more study of the issue was needed.
A committee of the House of Bishops Theology requested the study, which is described as "designed to reflect a full spectrum of views and to be a contribution to the Listening Process of the Anglican Communion, as well as to the discussion of this subject in our province." The report calls the study "a long-term, multi-step project" designed to be completed in 2011.
However, the names of those on the committee were not included calling forth outrage from Russell and Meyers, though Meyers did so in gentler tones.
Parsley was forced to put out a fuller statement saying that the panel of theologians "very intentionally represents a robust range of views on the subject and includes gay and lesbian persons."
He also said it is the committee's intention to publish the names of the panel when the work has reached the appropriate stage.
"This project is designed to articulate theologically a full range of views on the matter of same sex relationships in the church's life and to foster better understanding and respectful discernment among us. It will also be a contribution to the listening process of the larger Communion. It has several stages and is scheduled to be complete by early 2011. We are grateful to the distinguished theologians for their generous service to the church."
Parsley concluded saying that any member of the church who wishes to address the panel should send comments to the Theology Committee. "We will see that these are communicated to the theologians to enrich their reflection and dialogue."
It seems to be me she is screaming for the sake of merely screaming ..... The Theology committee is loaded with left-leaning representation, who afterall - set up this to discuss the
"robust range of views on the subject and includes gay and lesbian persons."
If a Theology committee needs to have a sub committee to understand Biblical Authority on this matter, she has nothing to worry about .....