A group called Integrity is perhaps the best-known political caucus in the Episcopal Church, and it presses for what it calls the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the church.
That's an ambitious goal, to be sure, but Integrity has been at this for roughly three decades. When the Episcopal Church meets in legislative session every three years, Integrity's Eucharist is one of the command performances for the moral and theological left wing. Though Integrity believes itself to speak on behalf of oppressed sexual minorities, somehow it's usually able to stage its convention Eucharist at the Episcopal cathedral — the seat of power for the host bishop.
This year the host bishop was so happy to welcome Integrity to St. Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis that he processed with the long line of gay clergy. Two young children ringing bells preceded Bishop James Jelinek of Minnesota, as if they were heralding a new incarnation of the Lord Jesus (or, with slightly more humility, the prophet Elijah).
The Integrity Eucharist has become a triennial sort of mass pity party. Members and supporters of Integrity gather to hear readings from Scripture (almost invariably about the Pharisees), then to hear the evening's preacher connect the obvious dots. Today's Pharisees—need one even put this fine a point on it?—are those Christians who dare to suggest that God intends his followers to limit their sexual intercourse to heterosexual marriage.
Poor Clarence Thomas. He seems to embody everything the left loathes, so the mere mention of his name at the Integrity Eucharist elicits knowing whoops and raucous laughter. At Tuesday night's Eucharist, suffragan (assistant) bishop Gayle Harris of Massachusetts mentioned Thomas ...1