15 May 2007

Problems with the Listening Process, even inside ECUSA?

Thanks to a post on Susan Russell's An Inch At A Time, I was directed to this one from meditatio. It seems that ECUSA's Executive Council might have a problem with the Listening Process.
Guess how many of the forty members of The Episcopal Church's Executive Council are lesbian or gay? The answer is eight.

Twenty percent of the elected leaders of the Church's most important governing body in between General Conventions are lesbian and gay clergy and laity from around the country. This is reflective of the talent, dedication, and service that this small minority of the church's membership offers to the whole. It is a testament to the esteem in which gay and lesbian Christians are held by our sisters and brothers.

Now, guess how many of these lesbian and gay leaders are serving on the Executive Council committee appointed to respond to the Communiqué from the Anglican Primates' meeting in Tanzania? The answer is zero.
This is more than an oversight, or a trival problem, and here's why:
This is called heterosexist privilege. Can you imagine a response to, say, requests about the ordination of women being drafted without women being in the room? Can you imagine a statement about racism being drafted without people of color in the room? I think you get the picture.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson are good-hearted people. They care about the lesbian and gay member of our Church. They are on record as supporting our full inclusion in the life and ministry of the Church.

Even so, their good intentions are readily subverted by the dynamic of heterosexist privilege operative in the decision-making structures of our Church. Their failure to insure that lesbian and gay leaders participate in drafting a response to requests for moratoria on gay bishops and blessing same-sex unions isn't just an unfortunate oversight. It is an unconscionable, even if unconscious, participation in unjust power dynamics that exclude and silence us.
You are urged to write to Bishop Katharine, Bonnie Anderson, and the Executive Council. Let them know that it's important to have GLBT people in the group that will form our response to the Primates.

I don't know how the drafting committee was formed. Perhaps all eight gay and lesbian Exec Council members declined to participate. But if this was a deliberate move, we should urge a GLBT presence on the committee. Keep an eye on the blogs I linked to at the top of this post. As facts emerge, I'm sure they'll keep us all up to date.

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