THE OCA’S GENERAL COUNSEL THREATENS ORTHODOXY IN DIALOGUE

We received the following letter to the editors at 9:44 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, 2019 from the general counsel’s personal email address. We publish it here because it’s too long for our Letters page.
Apparently, using a photo from the website of the Orthodox Church in America to illustrate the love and concern of Orthodox grandparents for their young gay grandson is too much for the members of the Holy Synod to bear. In order not to cause the bishops any more emotional hardship, we have removed the offending image.
In the meantime, we await their pastoral response—beyond one OCA bishop’s request for us not to bother him anymore—to our LGBTQI Listening Tour: An Open Letter to Our Bishops in the USA and Canada and our unanswered appeal to another OCA bishop on behalf of a man needing the care of a priest.
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Your Recent Publication of OCA Photographic Images

Dear Editors:

I am E. R. Lanier, a licensed attorney at law and the appointed General Counsel of the Orthodox Church in America. My duties to the Church include the legal protection and enforcement of the OCA’s intellectual property rights as these exist under federal and state law within the United States of America.

Concerned persons have within the past few hours brought it to my attention that your website, “Orthodoxy in Dialogue,” at https://orthodoxyindialogue.com, has engaged in the blatant and intentional copying of a photographic image belonging to the Orthodox Church in America and its ecclesiastical subdivisions, this without the knowledge, consent, or permission of the Orthodox Church in America or its subdivisions. That photograph may now be viewed, as you well know, in the July 20, 2019, post on that website entitled “LETTER TO A YOUNG GAY ORTHODOX CAMPER.” Read More


LETTER TO A YOUNG GAY ORTHODOX CAMPER

Orthodoxy in Dialogue has been asked to publish the following letter anonymously for the protection of the young recipient.  It was emailed by Orthodox grandparents to their gay Orthodox grandson, a boy in his early teens who only recently began the process of coming out, as he departs for church camp. The authors—and also the grandson, who has given his consent—hope that other young Orthodox people who identify as LGBTQ will feel encouraged by this demonstration of love, acceptance, and affirmation.

[Photo Removed by Demand of the OCA’s General Counsel]

Photo credit: Orthodox Church in America

We want to say a couple of things before you go to church camp.

The older you are, the greater the likelihood that LGBTQ stuff will be addressed at church camps. We don’t mean just in conversation with your peers, but more formally by the priests and other adults running the camp.

Never, ever forget that, if we who are sinful love you so much, not “anyway” but exactly as you are, for who and what you are, how much more infinitely and perfectly does God love you.

Anyone who tries to make you feel otherwise is a liar for whom “God” has been reduced to a lifeless ideology instead of an experience of divine love at the deepest level of the human soul. Read More


THERE IS NO STANDARD DEFINITION OF RACISM by Steven J. McMeans

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The Squad
L to R: Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)

The recent racist gauntlet thrown down by President Donald Trump against four United States Congresswomen of color has been met with an interesting menagerie of justifications by the Right. But I think we can identify one congruity that most share. It’s the unasked question which should be important to anyone for whom moral considerations run deep: How can we—tribal, divided, and angry at each other as we are—agree on a definition of what racism is?

It should also be an important question for Orthodox Christians and Christians in general. Both have a sketchy human rights record in history, but more recently the Christian Right has exhibited head-splitting silence regarding the plain immorality of kenneling men, women, toddlers, and infants at the US-Mexico border.

The inevitable outrage among those same Christians (I’m thinking of Vice-President Mike Pence) if those human beings suffering in dog kennels were white is worth advisement. Read More


ANOTHER DAY, THE SAME OLD ROD DREHER

Rod Dreher and friends fretting over the African barbarian invasion of Europe

A number of Orthodoxy in Dialogue’s readers felt deeply touched for a few seconds before they realized that their brother Orthodox Christian Rod Dreher’s latest piece at The American Conservative—Trump Summons Demons—falls short of anything like a change of heart. Who wouldn’t be moved by his profession of concern for the life of Rep. Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (D-MN) in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s latest of many, many Naziesque rallies this past Wednesday in Greenville NC?

Yet Dreher’s own record of telling life-threatening lies about people he doesn’t like casts doubt on his sincerity. As we noted a year ago in the addendum to Rod Dreher Glorifies Colonialism, Adds African Barbarians to List of People who Terrify Him: Read More



THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA & SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: AN INVITATION TO DIALOGUE

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On July 12, 2019 at the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Vancouver, a motion to amend the marriage canon to include same-sex marriage failed in its second reading. It received the required two-thirds majority in the Order of Clergy and the Order of Laity, but failed by a tiny margin in the Order of Bishops.

It is our understanding that individual bishops retain the prerogative to authorize same-sex marriages in their respective dioceses. The Anglican Church of Canada already has many same-sex married laypersons and priests, and at least one same-sex married bishop of which we know.

See the Anglican Journal for a more detailed account of the Synod’s vote and the onsite reactions.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue proposes to host a discussion of this development. Our readers around the planet know that the question of same-sex love, and the possibilities and conditions for its sanctification in the Church’s sacramental economy, have come to occupy a place of prominence in our publishng record beyond anything that we had initially planned.

We welcome articles written in a fraternal spirit, reflective of all sides of the issue, from Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike. Read More


A SPECIAL KIND OF CLERGY DIRECTORY: UPDATE

shepherdOn July 3 Orthodoxy in Dialogue published A Special Kind of Clergy Directory, in which we appeal to priests in canonical Orthodox jurisdictions who feel spiritually, pastorally, and emotionally equipped to serve Orthodox Christians, inquirers, and others who identify somewhere along the LGBTQI spectrum. 

By the grace of God, our directory has grown to eight priests in four countries in just under two weeks. Every good structure begins with the first few stones.

We have made three referrals and are in contact with a fourth individual who is discerning whether to be referred.

In a fifth, heartbreaking case, we helped an individual through the discernment process of finding an ecclesial home outside of the Orthodox Church. This person wishes with all his/her heart to remain Orthodox, and is under no illusions that one church is just as good as another—but if one has been chased away, what can one do? One has to eat somewhere. This case is particularly shameful in that the priest accused the person of lying about being in a sexually abstinent relationship and excommunicated him/her.

In yet another shameful case, an OCA bishop continues to ignore our request for a priest to accompany a bisexual married man on the path to repentance from adultery. Read More