Two Episcopal couples were among the seven couples who brought the suit that led to the state's Supreme Court decision this week--Maureen Killian & Cindy Meneghin (Redeemer, Morristown), The Rev. Mark Lewis (Our Savior, Secaucus) and The Rev. Dennis Winslow (St. Peter's, Manhattan). The partner of another couple died. Episcopalians were 31% of the witness! The wheels of justice grind painfully slowly, and they exact an enormous strain on those who vicariously witness for others. I am enormously grateful to all 13 of the litigants, and especially to our very own four. Month after month, year after year they have interrupted their lives to speak at rallies all over the state, to speak with the press, to make court appearances.... Any new lines on their faces are the lines of sainthood. At the large rally in Montclair following the decision, ACLU, NOW, Lambda legal, various other national Civil Rights organization and key legal figures were there and made important statements. All the clergy in the room were asked to stand, receive our applause, and identify their affiliation. Several of the clergy were Unitarian, plus one Lutheran, one UCC pastor, one MCC pastor, one Methodist (if I remember correctly) and a Presbyterian who asked us to pray for her church because it does not share her own support of us. Besides Mark and Dennis, no other Episcopal clergy were there. No one represented the Church Center, though many of them live in the Montclair area. I realize that many of our clergy have worked hard on this issue in many other forums over the course of the litigation, and the meeting was called on fairly short notice. More conspicuously absent was anyone from the National Council of Churches (NCC). Bob Edgar, its director, frequently brags about the sacrifices that NCC made in the Civil Rights Movement. Hundreds of Southern members left the NCC in the 1960s, but, Bob points out, NCC did what was right, even in the face of financial retaliation. The canons have not closed on the Civil Rights Movement. It continues full force whenever citizens work to repair the breech in civil liberties to any Americans. Sadly, Bob Edgar and NCC have abandoned the Civil Rights Movement to protect their revenues from the Orthodox and from Southerners who hold NCC as captive at the Anglican Communion Network hopes to put a choke-hold on the Episcopal Church. Edgar will tell anyone that he privately supports lesbians and gays, but when he's garbed as NCC's director, he passes by on the other side of the ditch of anyone whose need may jeopardize his other affairs. Rejoice in the courage of the 13 litigants. Pray for the day, coming soon, when others recover their conscience and their courage. Louie/Lutibelle Louie Crew, 377 S. Harrison St., 12d, East Orange, NJ 07018. 973-395-1068 http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew
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