ON THE ALTAR OF CHANGE

By NORMAN M. COVERT

My “Right Wing Extremist” friends and neighbors admit (tongue in cheek) to some naiveté, being mere knaves or babes in the wood for doubting the efficacy of social engineering in Maryland State House deliberations.

Maryland State House, Annapolis (Official photo)

Is this the time to recall “an effete corps of impudent snobs,” words of wisdom from the disgraced former Vice President Spiro Agnew?

Former Vice President Spiro Agnew chastising Vietnam War activists 1969.

Mr. Agnew was castigating the anti-war crowd in October 1969, but his stinging words may adequately describe leaders of today’s political perversion. The world is being turned upside down by those empowered to be the watchdogs of right and wrong.
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Consider the notion that our back fence intercourse is insufficient to explain the collection of bedfellows, who have emerged in support of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s homosexual “marriage” bill.

(At this writing the Maryland Senate’s version of the legislation was expected to be sent to the floor from committee for probable vote and easy passage. The only holdup would have been successful addition of amendments. That would have required it to be returned to the House of Delegates, where the bill succeeded last Friday by only a single vote.

Maryland’s proposed legislation would change the definition of marriage, eliminating reference to “male/female”, thus making it legal for same-sex marriages. New Hampshire and the District of Columbia approved same-sex marriage in 2009, New York in 2011 and Washington State this month. Several states have legislated civil “unions,” and/or recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state.

The California legislation was struck down by referendum, although the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco stayed true to its “Left Coast”orientation saying the vote must be held null and void. It is being appealed.)

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

Like A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, we must be “Bears of Very Little Brain” not to perceive homosexual partnerships as being equal to Holy Matrimony or the legal marriage of a man and a woman.

Haven’t we seen several national church assemblies reject certain Bible tenets, interpreting newly revised versions of Holy Writ as supporting, instead of condemning, homosexual practices?

No manner of rhetorical spin can change the reality that same-sex relationships are anathema in most religious tenets and Holy Writ as set forth in the ancient Pentateuch.

Two letters to the editor last Sunday echoed the local newspaper’s editorial buttressing the pending same-sex marriage bill. Pastors of both Evangelical Reformed United Churches of Christ in Frederick, Md., signed the letters, which rejected the notion of sinner and sin and called for passage of the bill.

Our considered response is that the letters reveal an absence of wisdom and scholarship by the pastors.

Washington National Cathedral of Episcopal Church USA hit by schism and earthquake, the latter damage easier to repair. (EPUSA Photo)

I wonder what HE is thinking about this heresy, considering the tribulations of the early Christian saints and struggles of the evangelical “awakening” in America more than a century ago. One ponders that God has no sense of humor in this.

Parishioners, though, are waking up. A now-former parishioner of one of the subject congregations took me aside at a restaurant to express his dismay that this once respected pastor “must be on drugs or something.

“Am I wrong that she (the pastor) is turning her back on the Bible and its teachings?” he said. “How can I consider her my pastor any longer?”

The issue is a fracture in our litany of Christian belief. The Episcopal Church in America (EPUSA) and the Archbishop of Canterbury (Church of England) agreed that active homosexuality is not a disqualifying factor for ordination. EPUSA ordained its first openly homosexual Bishop in 2006, which sent “shockwaves through the church,” wrote The New York Times.

Logo of Anglican Church in North America, which has grown to more than 600 congregations.

One supposes he or she may wear the distinctive clerical collar if the supplicant has the correct academic credentials; the curriculum vitae must bear the indicia of liberal socio-political activism.

Church leadership’s validation of homosexual behavior is central to the worldwide Anglican schism. Conservative assemblies have voted to separate from the Church of England and EPUSA, whose Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is insistent on retaining local properties. Most of the newly constituted congregations worship in communion with the Anglican Church in America (ACA).

An interesting aside in the struggle is that a faction of the Anglican community has actively sought reconciliation and communion with the Vatican. The dialogue could lead to establishment of an Ordinariate and integration of this arm of the ACA, whose pastors are not required to be celibate.

After a protracted struggle the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) succumbed to its homosexual lobby. ELCA started down the slippery slope by agreeing to “communion” with the ECUSA and Presbyterian denominations. The fellowship and sharing of ministerial resources was sure to bring change and it did.

ELCA delegates to the 2011 assembly voted to recognize homosexuality as a requirement in sharing God’s love and message. Initially it is a “love the sinner, hate the sin” notion; no longer would ELCA deny the collar to a professed homosexual as long as there was assurance he/she did not practice such activity.

     The surrender is having impact on ELCA membership. Local congregations, shaken by the national decision, ponder the future of their worship practices.

The Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. changed its clerical and membership standards, too, several years ago. Other major denominations, including The Church of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and prelates of the Roman Catholic and collective Eastern Orthodox churches remain firm in rejection of homosexual behavior.

The Vatican is in a long-term battle, too, over revelations of the sexual abuse of children by pastors. The revulsion of such acts should be more than enough to influence established denominations to strictly interpret Bible teaching.

When and if Maryland Governor O’Malley signs the legislation the opposition promises a successful referendum petition drive to put the issue to voters. Such a drive for signatures on a referendum petition succeeded against Maryland’s “Dream Act,” which grants in-state tuition to illegal aliens. The issue will appear on the November 2012 ballot.

Worship options, however, are a matter of conscience this Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days of Lenten preparation for Easter. Our choices require seeking Heavenly guidance when we believe our religious anchor has lost its grip.

It is bewildering to question our pastor’s “calling” as shepherd of the flock. It is, however, a sign of the times.–©Norman M. Covert 2012

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This appeared in its original form at www.thetentacle.com Feb. 22, 2012 and is published with permission of The Octopus, LLC. and the author.

You may contact Mr. Covert at www.thecovertletter.com .