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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"Political" resolutions at convention


Late in General Convention -- I think it was the penultimate day -- there was one morning when we took up many "political" resolutions.  Folks like Bill Murchison (whom I know from my years in Dallas) came to the microphone again and again, urging TEC not to take action to approve those resolutions. I wanted to come to the microphone to speak of the "conversion" I had experienced, so I prepared some remarks as I took solitude over the lunch hour, but actions on the floor after lunch made all the subsequent resolutions moot.  Here are the major points of testimony I drafted during that lunch hour: 

"When elected Deputy, I believed GC should not act on resolutions that seemed to me 'political' -- especially those that echoed partisan political positions.
I tended to share the views of my brothers and sisters who have spoken against several resolutions that address contentious matters in the public sphere. 
However, during the past year of meeting and conferring with other Deputies and searching my heart and soul, I have experienced something of a conversion. 
In this House yesterday, one of our deacons spoke of what I believe is the vocation of all Christians.  He said he stood with one foot in the sanctuary and the other in the streets.  I believe we are all called to stand in that place. 
The prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures spoke boldly to the secular power structures of their day. 
Jesus echoed the words of Isaiah, saying he had come to bring good news to the poor, release to the captive, open the eyes of the blind, and declare the year of the Lord's favor.
If the Hebrew prophets and Jesus felt called to challenge unjust structures of society, then I have come to believe I am called to do the same individually, and we as The Episcopal Church are called to do so as a body." 
Though I had carefully prepared my statement, I didn't get to say those words to the House of Deputies.  But that is my testimony about how I moved from believing I would vote against "political" resolutions to voting for those resolutions that seemed to me in concert with the Gospel.  

1 comment:

  1. Catherine CummingsJuly 19, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I think it is difficult to divide life into the religious and political spheres. "Political" to many people means only "partizan party politics". To them it has nothing to do with how our country is governed and the message it sends to the world.
    Our local library put "Christian" stickers on some novels. I noted that a new annotated edition of Charles Dickens's "Little Dorrit" with its themes of redemption, quotes from the Gospels both direct and indirect did not get a "Christian" sticker!
    Surely the Church should stand with the poor, the sick and the needy.

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