[Response to the leadership of the PLC calling for churches to hold back per capita as a protest against health coverage for same gender couples. PLC Article]
Is it possible that no one associated with the PLC knows or loves anyone who is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT)? I cannot believe that every member of the PLC or reader of the Layman would encourage holding back health care for same gender partners to be part of an increasingly sad attempt to divest a group of people from the PC(USA) at any cost - even denying them the same basic care others get simply as a matter of their employment. What will be next?
I have said it before. I do understand the difficulty for many in welcoming people who are LGBT into ordination and marriage. If you have been brought up to believe certain things and then are faced with challenges, challenges that turn everything upside down, at first, it is a daunting consideration.But isn't that what Christianity has always been? Hasn't the gospel message consistently called us forward into assembly and unity that at one time or another were most unlikely? And haven't we always been blessed by such growth in ways that carried the message of Jesus and the Gospel forward through more than 2000 years?
We, we who disagree in such ways, do need to work this out. However, disagreement to the degree of holding back per capita to prevent coverage for employees who are LGBT has to cross the line for most, except perhaps the most vocal, prolific, and conflicted of professors and authors who make a living off the dehumanization of others. That is quite an extreme group in our church, and I would expect anything of them.
But for the rest of us, we can argue and disagree while we address the basic health and human concern of all of those who work for the church, people who are not proselytizing their own form of witness, but just doing the work we have called them to do - in jobs that span the gamut.
The attempt to link this type of insurance and care to the idea of being immoral - is, in fact, itself and immoral act of attempting to "cleanse" this church of the LGBT community in every way possible.
As I said, if there is no one in your life who you know and love that is LGBT, who goes to work every day - to do a good job, support a family, contribute in some way to the greater good of family, church, and society -- if there is no one in your life who you know that is such a person - then they who are those in your life are afraid to tell you so. Because this idea will surely hurt someone you know and love. This church - or any part of it - cannot call us to such a thing. It is immoral, indeed.
Please, let's make our arguments where they belong - with one another on the theology and polity regarding ordination and marriage, not on the back of people who work for us.
Ray Bagnuolo, Minister of Word and Sacrament
Gay Member of the LGBT Community
New York City