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Moral Law Is Not Racism
Moving Mountains (Stand Firm WV) ^ | 8/08/2005 | Fr. Brian Turley

Posted on 08/08/2005 5:20:18 PM PDT by sionnsar

In the current issue of the Dayspring, West Virginia's diocesan newsletter, a letter to the editor from the Rev. Dr. Briane Turley is published. Fr. Turley's letter supports the traditional Church teaching about sexual morality, but more specificly counters the argument that claims the traditional teachings about homosexuality are akin to a racism, and therefore should be changed to fit more neatly into modern culture in much the same way that Church teaching about slavery has changed. Fr. Turley makes it clear that this argument for innovation can hold no water.

Of course, the letter that appears in the Dayspring was edited so that the main point of Fr. Turley's argument was "watered down." Here is the full text of Fr. Turley's letter as was originally submitted to the Dayspring without edit. We here at WV Anglicans hope that the full letter will be appreciated in the manner that Fr. Turley intended. Click on "Continued . . . " below to read the full letter.


In the March Dayspring issue, Mr. Bob DuBose describes what emerged several years back as a patent supporting argument for the church’s blessing of same-sex relationships and ordination of men and women living in long-term, same-sex partnerships. If accepted, the point he makes is compelling: 2000 years of orthodox Christian teachings should be equated with bigotry and racism. These teachings should be challenged and, if at all possible, weeded out.

This argument is persuasive not because it has much basis in fact but because few people feel comfortable rebutting it in a public forum. That is because few people enjoy being described as, or implicitly equated with, intolerant bigots. Consequently, most biblically-centered Christians in the U.S. have, during the last twenty years or so, been reticent to take a clear stand for their principles with regard to this issue. And while many of us in this diocese may sense that there is something innately wrong with Mr. Dubose’s assessments, in time we tend simply to leave off standing for what we believe to be right in God’s sight. Accusations of bigotry, even false ones, can wear down the resolve of even the most seasoned believers.

I dispute the seemingly ubiquitous revisionist-camp assertion that there is an obvious parallel between, on the one hand, the proslavery element in the nineteenth-century American South and its Jim Crow era byproduct, radical segregationism, which Mr. DuBose rightfully decries, and, on the other hand, the current worldwide orthodox reaction against those who have deemed it expedient to challenge the Bible and tradition and yet who “move ahead” without positing an adequate epistemology.

The scope of the emerging “new-truths” matrix is, frankly, breathtaking. For example, under our current guidelines, we must soon grapple with questions of bisexuality simply because under the ECUSA’s “new thing” doctrine we continue to marginalize those men and women who desire physical relationships with both sexes. There is no compelling evidence suggesting that we will not soon be asked to validate polyandry and polygyny. Fair is fair.

Yet I wonder if it might be prudent for traditional Christians to respond autiously when liberal white Protestants argue that anyone who disagrees with them on this matter is bigoted. If Mr. DuBose is correct then Jesse Jackson, Shelby Steele, Bernice King, and the members of all three Boston Black Ministerial Associations are bigots, for all have assumed the biblically orthodox side on this hot-button issue. Even the Congressional Black Caucus has rejected the sweeping generalizations that equate the cause of homosexual unions to the Civil Rights movement. The more one examines this topic the more one recognizes that the delineations between “conservative” and “liberal” are impossible to discern.

If I may, I would, as a historian of the U.S. South, like to address Mr. Dubose’s central thesis. It is not true that 150 years ago, many Christians in the South were--as almost everyone seems to argue these day -- still arguing that there is solid biblical support for slavery on the basis of texts such as Ephesians 6. What I mean by this is that the proslavery position did not represent a dominant Evangelical ethos that traced its origins to Colonial America. For the southern churches, the pro-slavery argument represented a radical shift in ecclesiastical policy, a capitulation to the dominant elitist culture.

The earliest evangelical Christians like the Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists generally opposed the southern US slave system in the eighteenth century and were bound by church teachings to withhold church membership from white slave owners. Consequently, many Virginia Baptists and Methodists faced persecution at the hands of their “enlightened” Anglican and unchurched neighbors because they protested slave ownership on biblical grounds (tar and featherings were commonplace). As one eighteenth-century southerner opined, antislavery evangelicals “weare (sic) held in contempt by most of the people.” (Christine Heyrman, Southern Cross, 17)

It was not until the early nineteenth century that an insidious cultural captivity driven to a great extent (sad to say) by a gentrified Anglican society gained momentum, and southern evangelicals capitulated to largely economic demands of their culture. Sometime after 1800, southern evangelicals began allowing slave owners full membership in their congregations, a decision that most of world Christendom censured.

The widespread proslavery argument that emerged especially after 1830 was largely an innovative thread, a “new thing” in what until then had been the Evangelical anti-slavery fabric. This point was underscored by the literary work of countless northern U.S. abolitionists like Harriet Tubman, leaders of slave rebellions like the Methodist pastor, Denmark Vesey and, later, Civil Rights activists who relied heavily on the biblical texts to turn the tables against the specious biblical pronouncements of white southern preachers.

Today a similar captivity comes to us in the form of a “new thing” that God is doing in our churches. Once again, the vast majority of Christians worldwide oppose the American revision and are even now taking steps to isolate us. Yet, and this point bears our careful attention, unlike the abolitionists and the great American Civil Rights leaders who battled the “new thing” of slavery and radical segregationism, our modern era revisionists argue that our scripture is outmoded and that it is “the spirit” (and junk science) that leads them into all truth.

It is assumed that traditional Christians will follow them or at least remain silent until a new and more enlightened generation replaces them. Otherwise, the comparison to slave owners and segregationists will continue in the hope that those of us who believe what Scripture consistently teaches hang our heads in shame and agree to their terms.

Briane Turley
St. Michael’s, Kingwood

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 08/08/2005 5:20:19 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 08/08/2005 5:23:05 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Trad-Ang Ping: I read the dreck so you don't have to || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar
Clever response.

It turns the usual "new thing" argument on its head, and equates the ECUSA revisionists with slaveowners.

THAT oughta pop their corks!

3 posted on 08/08/2005 6:39:46 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (. . . Ministrix of ye Chace (recess appointment), TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary . . .)
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