The Religion Newswriters Association’s ReligionLink service has posted a mostly helpful roundup about several denominations’ debates regarding homosexuality. But the roundup fumbles on a few details that are readily apparent to me as a longtime activist in the Episcopal Church’s debates:
• [I]n 1996, a bishop, Walter Righter, was tried for heresy for ordaining an openly gay man in 1990. The charges were dismissed, but the church continued to struggle with issues of gay ordination and same-sex blessings.
While it is common to use the shorthand of “the Righter trial,” Righter went through two pretrial hearings, and his case never went to trial.
• The Episcopal Church agreed to delay approving any more openly gay bishops until more negotiations could take place, but that moratorium was nearly undone in May 2006 when delegates from the Diocese of California gathered to elect a new bishop.
The House of Bishops agreed to a moratorium on all new bishops, stressing that it did not want to be unfair by imposing a moratorium solely on gay bishops.
• Forward in Faith was organized in 1999 largely in response to the debates over sexuality issues.
Forward in Faith North America began its life as the Episcopal Synod of America, which was founded in 1989 in response to the consecration as Barbara Harris as the Episcopal Church’s first woman bishop.
[Correction: Fellow blogger Huw Raphael points out what I should have remembered: The Episcopal Synod of America traces its roots back to the Evangelical and Catholic Mission, which held its first meeting in December 1976. When it met in June 1989, ECM voted to become ESA.]
The post recommends an item from Wikipedia, with this caveat: “The list is a useful overview, but journalists should double-check all information.” The same is true of ReligionLink’s noble but flawed effort to offer an ecumenical snapshot of a complicated debate.