Monday, January 12, 2009

Gene to Pray. Reflections on Atheism.

The news today from Politico is that The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson is to be a part of the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Good news indeed, reaction to R. Warren or not. Knowing Gene and his beliefs, I can say without equivaction, not only is there an openly gay person of faith involved in the inaugural festivities, but also an openly gay person of tolerance.

While following this story on my favorite blogs, I followed comments more thoroughly than usual. At Think Progress I noted this comment:
"On the plus side, Anglican’s seem a helluva lot more laid back than the Catholics. I wonder if they have any churches in my area. =D"
There was also a link to Wikipedia's bio: allegation of inpropriety. And I responded:

This is great news indeed! Yes, [username], I am sure there are Episcopal Churches in your area. We are dealing with a number of people leaving over this issue and welcome those who join us because of it.

I was at the Convention that consented to Gene’s election. The allegations of impropriety were a last minute (literally) attempt to discredit him by the conservative forces. He is an amazing man who lives out the inclusion that he preaches. I am sure he would welcome all of you… deist and atheist alike.

My refernce to "atheist" was prompted by the many comments that religion has no place in goverment.

It made me reflect on the many, many times that I have asked myself, "Does religion really have a place in my life?" I feel the sense of exclusion that many Americans connect with the very word, "religion."

Celebrating Gene's inclusion, I still ask, "What about the Jews, the Muslims? What about women clergy? What about... ?"

Taking comfort in how far we have come and realizing how far we have to go, I know that the Episcopal Church's compass is pointing toward a "Christ Driven Life."

The atheist objection to religion seems more to do with how little faith traditions have lived out their beliefs than rejection of God. And, for the most part, that is completely understandable.

We need to reach out to all, wherever they are, and welcome them on to our journey. I truly believe that in the midst of our struggle the Epsicopal Church is better positioned than most churches to do just that.

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