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This page last updated 4 January 2010
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

Alas, we cannot publish every letter we receive. And we won't publish letters that are anonymous, hateful, illiterate, or otherwise in our judgment do not benefit the readers of Anglicans Online. We usually do not publish letters written in response to other letters. We edit letters to conform with standard AO house style for punctuation, but we do not change, for example, American spelling to conform to Canadian orthography. On occasion we'll gently edit letters that are too verbose in their original form. Email addresses are included when the authors give permission to do so.

If you'd like to respond to a letter whose author does not list an email, you can send your response to Anglicans Online and we'll forward it to the writer.

Letters from 28 December 2009 to 3 January 2010

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters express the opinions of the writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

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Words and meanings, charity and exclusion, dignity and judgement

It's not about sex. I need to say this to the authors of Anglicans Online because I thought that, of all theological writers, you would be the first to let me exist outside the ghetto of the sex-defined. The position of a gay Christian in the church is not a debate about sex. Straight Christians have the dignity handed to them by society whereby they can date, marry, and procreate without the word "sex" being thrown at them in public. By the simple fact that my life partner is a woman, as I am also a woman, I do not have that dignity.

I made the mistake, once, of asking a rector on my way out after mass whether the parish was "gay friendly." I explained I was asking because I had had problems (in previous Episcopal parishes). He, meaning well, said: "It doesn't matter. Sexuality is sexuality." I felt humiliated. Had this been my first encounter with a Christian parish, I would have felt wary, not humiliated, but after being ousted from several parishes in the neighborhood with extensive commentary on my being a gay woman, I had reached a particular vulnerability to humiliation. So it's not about sex. I hope some day you will start saying it is about charity and exclusion. About dignity and judgment.

I had not read Anglicans Online for a half year and stopped by to find something hopeful. Sadly for my hopefulness, in your first news summary, you note the ABC's sermon didn't mention sex. I hope you do not think every sermon about treating a gay Christian (sorry, I am forced by society to define myself this way, but I don't encourage it) as an equal is about sex. I hope some day I will have the strength to go to church again. But for two years I have been kept away by images that flash through my mind of the faces that have turned from me, the judgments that have been delivered to me, and until I can heal enough to approach the Eucharist in peace, I do not think it wise to return. And even when I do heal, I might choose out of self-respect not to rejoin a community that judges my relationship with God and replaces my dignity with the word "sex."

(Ed: We were trying to be subtle in our criticism of the ABC and those who equate gender equality with sex. Clearly we were too subtle. Please accept our apology.)

Catherine Dillon
Formerly Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
Queens, New York, USA
28 December 2009

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Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.



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