By Kathleen Gilbert
SACRAMENTO, CA, September 9, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Episcopal Church in California is taking up arms against Proposition 8, an amendment that would change the California constitution to preserve the integrity of marriage as being between one man and one woman. In the process the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion is clashing with a huge interfaith coalition, including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus and Sikhs, which is simultaneously launching a campaign to promote the proposition.
Voters will have an opportunity on the 2008 California General Election ballot in November to support Proposition 8, which will reinforce the wishes of 61% of California voters who supported true marriage in 2000. The California State Supreme Court overturned the popular vote earlier this year by legalizing same-sex "marriage," outraging Californians who complained that a handful of activist judges managed to hijack the democratic process.
But the bishops of the Episcopal Church in California have joined the ranks of those working against Proposition 8. All six bishops in the state will officially protest the traditional marriage amendment, according to the Sacramento Bee. The Right Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California, will hold a press conference at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on Wednesday to represent the church’s position, "calling for compassion, love and equal protections" for homosexual couples.
Last month Rev. Andrus, commenting upon the international Lambeth Conference of Anglican leaders, had praised the many gay and lesbian activists present for "coming to a place where…there were significant negative places of negative energy aimed at them."
Rev. Andrus will be joined by the Right Rev. Steven Charleston, Assisting Bishop of California, the Right Rev. Barry Beisner, Episcopal Bishop of Northern California, as well as other California Episcopal bishops, clerics and laypeople. Rev. Charleston, when asked whether he would yield to a call from the leaders of the worldwide Anglican Communion to return to traditional marriage values, said that he "would accept schism" rather than abandon the homosexual agenda.
In contrast, a large number of faith communities in California have publicly united in avid support of Proposition 8, and are warning voters that the continued dominance of homosexual "rights" in California law will inevitably lead to the marginalization of religious rights. The Orthodox Union (O.U.), one of the largest Orthodox Jewish organizations in the United States, points out that what appears to be freedom for homosexuals in fact means that religious people will ultimately incur the penalty of law for voicing any public opposition to the homosexualist agenda. "Religious institutions and people face charges of bigotry and could be denied government funding and more if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land," said the O.U. in a statement. (See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/sep/08090304.html)
Although the California Supreme Court has assured religious objectors that same-sex "marriages" would not "impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization," many recall historical precedent that prove that the courts tend to define "religious freedom" very narrowly when such freedom has been viewed as a possible offense against recognized civil rights. (See L.A. Times article "Will Gay Rights Trample Religious Freedom?" http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-stern17-2008jun17,0,5628051.story) Accordingly, members of religious communities across California have banded together to support Proposition 8 in an interfaith political advertising campaign on a scale unsurpassed in California’s history.
The California Episcopal Church’s unified effort to hoist the banner of homosexual "rights" marks the further dissolution of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has continued to fracture under the pressure of liberal and conservative bishops vying for the helm of the Anglican faith, causing congregations to dwindle. The growing strife over such issues caused Archbishop Peter Akinola, the Primate of Nigeria, to conclude at the Global Anglican Future Conference that "There is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified Communion" (See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061908.html).
The Bishop of Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa, the Rt. Rev. Mouneer Anis, commenting on the overwhelming representation of the homosexual community at the recent Lambeth Conference, expressed disgust at the "advocacy of unscriptural practices" and called the sexual obsessions of the liberal faction, "a new form of slavery: a slavery to modern secular culture and to immoral desires and lusts." (See http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08081807.html)
For more information on Proposition 8:
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Gay Anglican Posterboy Gene Robinson Complains of "Bigotry" from Fellow Bishops
Orthodox Jewish Groups Join California Churches In Support of Proposition 8
Judge Nixes Suit over Wording of California Marriage Proposition: Critics Argue Wording Biases Voters against Proposition 8