"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

General Synod – 2013

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The General Synod just voted, passed by a 2/3 majority in each of the three houses (bishops, clergy, laity) to bring forward a motion at the 2016 synod to amend the marriage canon to include same-sex marriages.

It turns out that it was all about marriage after all (after we heard repeatedly at the Edmonton synod that this was nothing to do with marriage).  Bp Moxley seems to get that the whole blessing/marriage distinction is not based in any sort of theology.

Bishop Sue Moxley, diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, expressed support for the motion. “There’s an interesting dynamic: that people can get their head around blessing a couple but not get their head around marriage,” she said. “For me, that doesn’t make sense because for me a blessing is what a wedding in a church is about.” […]

Which is what I’ve been writing since the beginning.  The whole blessing/marriage split was created before it was civilly legal for same-sex marriage.  After that change, there was no real distinction remaining.  The church part of a marriage (distinct from the civil, legal part) is imparting a sacramental blessing.  Without the blessing, there is no sacramental marriage. 

The resolution also set out that the 2016 motion include:

  • “demonstrates broad consultation in its preparation;
  • explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration;
  • confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience; and
  • provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.”

I’m a bit speechless.  This will be deftly dealt with I’m sure, but seeing as the Solemn Declaration starts with a statement about being in unity of belief with all other churches in communion, that second bullet is not something I could write.

Even more startling, is how the church will confirm immunity on dissenting clergy, seeing as how the church has absolutely no legal sway over either the courts or the human rights tribunals.  The argument it falls under religious freedom provisions has not been tested in the courts (and indeed on the SCC reference case sent up by the Paul Martin Liberals, the SCC said that question could not be answered until it was tested by the courts).  The protection afforded now – when the church says no as a body – will be lost when it become licit under the canons.  There will be nothing stopping a court or HRC from deciding that the denomination as a whole as accepted this, meaning the remaining clergy have no basis to disagree (even with an escape clause).

I wonder who will support the legal bills when those challenges start?

I’ll write more later…


Written by sameo416

July 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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