Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Say, Did You Hear About The Episcopal Priest And Him Slamming The "Religious Right" On Easter Sunday?

We really have to hand to The Rev. Luis Leon, rector of St. John's Episcopal  church directly across the street from The White House for delivering a political sermon on Christendom's most holy day, Easter.
Or if you prefer Resurrection Sunday.
Now it would probably go unnoticed expect that there was a rather influential family at one of the Easter services.
Wanna guess what family?
Remember, St. John's is across the street from The White House.
If you guessed the first family, the Obama family, give yourself a bright, beautifully colored Easter egg.
So, what did the pastor of the church say that was offensive?
Let me be clear, I am not so much offended because in any given EC, what the Rev. Leon said is pretty moderate for being a pastor in the EC. Here it is:

“You can’t go back, you can’t live in the past. It drives me crazy when the captains of the religious right are always calling people back…for Blacks to be back in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet and for immigrants to be on their side of the border.”

Luis, Luis, Luis, my brother in Christ!
What made you think this on Easter Sunday? Why do you think such illogical things? Why did you say it?
Let me explain this about the two big days in Christendom.
Easter, the most important and Christmas, important but not nearly in the same way as Easter, are times that weigh on any pastor or priest. Anyone that preaches on these two days have a lot to be mindful of.
Most important is that that there will be a lot of "Holy day" Christians attending these services. Those that see the inside of a church on only the aforementioned big days. And many people that church goers will bring for the very first time.
A good preacher will stay away from the controversy no matter what side of the political fence they are on. They ruminate on the meaning of the day.
On Easter, it is the culmination of the time from Ash Wednesday to the crucifixion to the rising of Jesus Christ from the dead. It is going from darkness to light.
In fact, at my parish, the rector had an excellent sermon along those lines. And yeah, he is pretty much on the other side than your humble blogger. However, it was very moving to me. Because of the content and how he weaved it into what Easter is all about.
In fairness to the Rev. Leon, I tried to access the sermon on the church's website. Mystically, it is not there as of this writing. Because I would like to hear the context of how he went into a diatribe against traditionalist Christians. All rather wrong and misguided no matter what.
So let me go back to the questions I posed earlier.
What made the Rev. Leon think such thoughts?
I know that the Rev. Leon was the rector of St. John's when the personification of eeeeevvvvviiiiilllll himself, former President George W. Bush would attend services. And lets be real. He was a traditionalist Christian. Did he ever preach a sermon that went off the rails in this manner while Mr. Bush was in attendance? Did the Rev. Leon know that the Dear Leader, President Obama, would be in attendance and he wanted to gin it up a bit? Sadly, there are more questions than answers.
But let me offer this.
No traditionalist Christian wants to put Blacks to be back in the back of the bus. In fact and indeed many prominent traditionalist Christians are Black and many prominent Black pastors consider themselves traditionalists.
No traditionalist Christian want to see women to be back in the kitchen. Many of us appreciate and like the leadership roles that women bring to all walks of life. Some women, for a lack of better term, like and want to be housewives. And it is not the same as it was in the time of Leave It To Beaver. This maybe an old wound between High Church Episcopalians and their allies in the emerging Anglican Church of North America. When the EC allowed women to be ordained in the late 1970s, many left because they believed that women should not be in the priesthood. I prayerfully believe that was and is wrong thinking. Maybe, just maybe that is what made the reverend spout that line.
No traditionalist Christian wants to see  gays to be in the closet. That ship has sailed. Homosexuals are coming out of the woodwork. And there are many allies. But there are those that draw the line in the sand on the understanding of marriage. That is the issue now. Not whether or not they will "go back in the closet".
No traditionalist wants to see immigrants to be on their side of the border. This is me writing. I want legal immigrants. I do not want to see illegal immigrants get any special dispensation. Period. I know for a fact that my parish's outreach ministry in El Monte, California assists illegal aliens. This is an area of So Cal where it is pretty likely. I don't particularly believe that the church should be asking nor turning them in. But I do want to see the laws that we already have on the books enforced and that any reform hinges on border security first.
The Rev. Leon pretty much threw out a bromide of stereotypes that he put under the label "The religious right". And that is what makes whatever he was trying to preach about on Easter Sunday pointless.
Instead of being thoughtful and mindful of what the meaning of Easter is about, resurrection, it appears that the Rev. Leon, himself a Red Cuban refugee, should know the powerful message of redemption in Jesus Christ.
Now that would make a great Easter sermon.

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