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Repentance needed for California, US over DOMA, Prop 8

By Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, office of the Episcopal Diocese of California

On Tuesday, March 26, I preached at the annual Chrism Mass for the clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of California. The appointed text was from Luke’s gospel and deals with the need for repentance.  In this sermon, I challenge the notion that the text was a call to individual repentance and instead suggested that in it my brother Jesus calls for group repentance. At the conclusion of this mass, I blessed oils that will be used in congregations throughout the Bay Area for healing.

I support marriage equality and signed legal briefs opposing Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I led the bishops in the state of California and the 29 bishops from around the country to sign these briefs along with me. My work around marriage equality and the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people is strongly rooted in my faith and has been an expression of my faith for many, many years.

Overturning Proposition 8 and DOMA would provide a beginning for the United States and California to repent for the collective harm that has been done to LGBT people legally; the harms of which have in turn led to violence in a multitude of forms. As I follow Jesus, whom I have known as Christ, I am called to bring release to the captives and like the oils blessed at the end of the mass bring healing to the world.

This week, Western Christianity celebrates Holy Week and walks with Jesus to Jerusalem and the cross. On Thursday, we remembered his servitude and his commandment to his followers to first and foremost love one another. On Friday, we remember his suffering and death as a victory over truth over falsehood, light over darkness, and life over death. On Easter we celebrate that new life. One of my many prayers this Easter is that through the overturning of Proposition 8 and DOMA, gay and lesbian couples will be able to experiences a resurrection in their newly married, yet ongoing, lives together.

** The author is the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California.

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