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More commentary on Marriage Task Force

Reactions to the report and proposals of the Episcopal Church’s Task Force on the Study of Marriage are beginning to pile up. Last week, I drew attention to the material that makes up the Anglican Theological Review’s “Conversation on Marriage and the Church,” including the essays from Fully Alive members and responses by Daniel Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Scott MacDougall, and Kathryn Tanner.

Further essays from Fully Alive will appear tomorrow and over the next few days, as will essays in The Living Church. But I wanted to highlight some other material today, critiquing the task force proposals from different quarters. These posts are also notable, as Tobias Haller, a member of the task force, has felt the need to respond to them, both in comments on the critical blogs and on his own blog.

Don Reed, professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University in Ohio, is writing a three-part series called “Suffer the Little Children” at Open Source Theology, of which Part 1 and Part 2 are now available. As the title notes, he focuses on the report’s particular way of forwarding same-sex marriage, namely, by setting aside procreation and the nurture of children.

Bottom line: Children and the nurture [of] children, by same-sex as well as mixed-sex couples, are sidelined in the Task Force report in the interest of elevating to equal contribution all same-sex couples. Also, too few reflections are offered on the role of marriage and families in promoting common flourishing. But both children and the nurture of children should be priorities, in light of the essential role they play in the flourishing of religious communities and civil societies.

Reed also draws attention to the task force’s odd championing of a Kantian ethic, over against other theological or philosophical positions, such as Aristotelianism.

Fr. Keith Voets writes at The Young Curmudgeon Priest on his hope that the canonical proposals of the task force are not followed at this time.

Why? Why would a priest who is openly gay, been married to another man (now divorced), and currently dating another priest who is also male be opposed to changing the marriage canons at this point in our church’s history? The answer is simple — we need to rebuild our relationships with one another and pushing through these canonical changes will not help us repair our relationships with one another — they will continue to destroy them.

Tobias Haller, for his part, has felt the need to explain what he sees as the rationale behind the canonical changes. In the first of a multi-part series on In a Godward Direction, he responds to various blog authors, as well as some recent questions posed by Covenant’s own Craig Uffman.

The A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage has proposed (in resolution A036) that General Convention amend Canon I.18. The proposal has sparked some conversation and many questions. Some of the conversation is less about the proposed canon change and more about the theological and historical papers that accompany and inform it, and I will address some of those issues separately. …

First, though, a disclaimer. Although I served as a member of the Task Force (and as its secretary) I am writing here solely on my own initiative, and other members of the Task Force may have opinions different to mine. But as I was one of the members most closely involved in the creation of the “Biblical and Theological Framework” and the wording of the canon, I think I can offer some perspective concerning matters of “original intent” whatever interpretation another may choose to give to any particular wording.

The featured image was uploaded to Flickr by firemedic58. It is licensed under Creative Commons.

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