The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of
Dallas has rejected gay resolutions approved by the Episcopal Church.
Last week the church lifted a
three-year moratorium on the consecration of gay bishops and approved
giving bishops the discretion to bless gay unions, especially in
states where gay marriage or civil unions are legal. The church also
decided to begin creation of an official blessing for gay unions to
be considered at a later date.
“We will not consent to the election
of a bishop living in a same-sex relationship, and we will not allow
the blessings of same-sex relationships,” Bishop James Monte
Stanton said in a letter to clergy.
Stanton, who's been married for 41
years, questioned whether the Episcopal Church – the American
branch of the Anglican Communion headed by the Church of England –
has the authority to decide on gay unions and clergy.
“The larger question is what it means
for 'the church' to make these decisions: is it right or good, or
even possible, for a congregation, a diocese, or even a province of
the Universal Church to make its own way and claim to give 'the
Church's blessing' – or God's?”
“The Christian faith is something we
receive, not legislate,” he added.
The Anglican Communion's first rift
over gay clergy came in 2003 with the decision to consecrate the
first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Robinson, 61, lives in Weare, New Hampshire with his husband.
Robinson's consecration, opposed by
conservative bishops, threatened to splinter the church and
eventually led to the Episcopal Church's self-imposed moratorium on
Several mostly African churches have
broken off over the issue already. A few U.S. dioceses, including
one in Fort Worth, have joined in the defection.
Stanton said the diocese would
“continue to stand with the larger Church in affirming the primacy
of Scripture, the sanctity of marriage and the call to holiness of
life,” but stopped short of calling for an alliance with the
breakaway conservative churches.