Vital Signs

Pulling the Trigger

At the end of the Episcopal Church, U.S.A.’s General Convention last summer, an academic friend, not an Episcopalian, asked me, “What argument is advanced against blessing polyamorous unions by those Episcopalians who favor the blessing of same-sex sexual unions?  Or do they pull the trigger and say that the blessing of same-sex unions is only the beginning?”

As almost everyone knows, the Episcopal Church having risen briefly to being newsworthy from her usual irrelevance, the Convention had, by a comfortable margin, confirmed the election of a man openly living with his boyfriend (what other word do you use?) to be the next Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire.  Conservatives protested, appealed to Anglicans in more conservative countries, and promised to have a meeting in October.

Her two houses (the bishops and the deputies, which included four priests and four laymen from each diocese) had also voted by about the same margin to let individual parishes celebrate homosexual “marriages” if they wanted to do so.  This was promoted by almost everyone as a compromise, and “moderates” (timid liberals) rushed to say that it did not give official approval to the “marriages” but only recognized the differences of opinion within the Church and allowed people to talk about them.

Bishop John Lipscomb of Southwest Florida, for example, pledged to “do...

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