A spokesman for the White House has declined to express an opinion on the dispute between Episcopalians who endorse and promote homosexuality, and those who do not.
The issue arose in a press briefing at the White House because of a series of recent decisions by large Episcopal congregations in the Washington, D.C., region to abandon the U.S. denomination because of its pro-’gay’ stance.
Those decisions were made over just the past few weeks by members of the Truro Episcopal Church, an 18th-century facility in downtown Fairfax, and at Falls Church, an equally historic Virginia congregation in the city of Falls Church.
“The message we got from the congregation was that sadly, the theological disconnect between biblical Christianity and the road the [Episcopal] Church had chosen to walk was so profound, the time had come to separate from the denomination,” said Tom Wilson, senior warden at the Falls Church congregation.
President Bush sometimes has worshiped at St. John’s Episcopal in Lafayette Square in Washington, and Les Kinsolving, WND’s correspondent at the White House, asked about that parish’s perspectives.
“Since the president is known to be deeply concerned about religion, and he worships regularly at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, does that parish agree with his support of marriage as one man, one woman, or do they support the Episcopal sodomist marriage movement, which was on page one of The Washington Post?” Kinsolving asked.
“Now you’re trying to get the president into ecclesiastical disputes,” was White House spokesman Tony Snow’s response. “You stated a position. Is that what they call it?”
“Don’t you think it’s sodomy?” the questioning continued.
“I’m just asking you, is that what they call it, Les?” Snow said.
“Much to the disappointment of your listeners, I am not going to play on that one,” Snow said.
Nor did he like the second part of the question any more.
“You can assure us, can’t you, that if a majority of Episcopal bishops voted in favor of adultery, as they have for sodomy, the president would oppose that, as well, wouldn’t he?” Kinsolving asked.
Snow gave up on that one. “Oh, my. April, bail me out right now,” he said. “How am I going to dodge – that falls into the unworthy category.”
Also in just recent weeks, members of an Episcopal diocese in California voted to affirm its membership in the worldwide Anglican Communion and leaders there described it as the first step in a break with the Episcopal Church USA.
The ECUSA is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican family, which includes an estimated 77 million members.
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori responded to the California decision with a “lament” that the diocese had to “repudiate” their membership in the ECUSA.
“Our task as the Episcopal Church is God’s mission of reconciling the world, and actions such as this distract and detract from that mission,” she said.
The ECUSA has been one of the leaders among church organizations to define homosexuality as a characteristic that God creates, rather than the more traditional Biblical definition as a sin.
The 2.2-million member U.S. group, whose membership has been declining, voted in 2003 to consecrate New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an active homosexual, triggering a series of decisions by local groups unable to accept the change.
The Anglican Communion, as a group, has not taken a similarly endorsing position on homosexuality, and in fact several other national organizations, primarily from Africa, have called on the U.S. organization to mend its ways.
President Bush’s background is in the Methodist Church, but he has attended services at St. John’s as well as the Lincoln Park United Methodist and Washington National Cathedral since he’s been president.
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