On New Year's Day, the Right Rev. Thomas Shaw, bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, solemnized the lesbian marriage of two Episcopal clergywomen. Four hundred guests were in attendance for the event at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston.
The U.S. Episcopal Church (TEC) is already in hot water with the more traditional worldwide Anglican Communion for pushing the envelope on same-sex marriage and the ordination of practicing homosexuals. And this event is sure to be seen as a shot across the bow, so to speak, aimed directly at orthodox Anglicans already outraged by what they see as TEC's rogue behavior. Maybe it will be the last straw.
The event is significant in and of itself. But all things considered, it sent a very clear and defiant message. Think about the fact that not just any clergyman, but a bishop conducted the ceremony. The two women "united" are both ordained Episcopal priests. One of them, Katherine Ragsdale, is an important figure in the Episcopal community, as president and dean of the Episcopal Divinity School. Ragsdale made news a couple of years ago in Birmingham, Ala., for a speech in which she said (and called on her audience to chant with her), "Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done." The Very Rev. Ragsdale has admitted publicly to driving a 15-year-old girl to get an abortion. She's also said that she would continue to drive girls to get abortions, even across state lines if necessary. She sees it as an obligation of her ministry, to use her words. (For more on Katherine Ragsdale, see earlier columns by me and by Marvin Olasky.)
The Episcopal Church is rotting from the head down. Its leaders are no better than wolves in shepherds' clothing, leading their flocks astray.