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Do the Rite Thing 

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To the editors:

In re your story "Is Nothing Sacred?" [June 9], the issue for the so-called "conservatives" is not language but rather theology. It has to do with God's relationship to human beings and our relationship, one to another. In the American psyche there run ugly and stubborn strains of individualism and fascism. These ideas inform the conservative approach to human relationships--i.e. I have a right to vaunt myself against you for my monetary advantage and I have the right to use violence against you to accomplish this. I must maintain control over you. This means against persons, classes of persons, and sovereign nations. American civil religion (God=country/flag) has customarily supported this thinking. Thus, conservatives may be good Americans but their thinking is devoid of Christian value and bespeaks a deep spiritual sickness.

The conservatives do not like the theology of the new Prayer Book because it clearly runs counter to this rugged individualism and fascist mentality of control over others. In the new Prayer Book you do not find civil religion. What you do find is a strong stress on God's incarnation in Jesus Christ and what that means for us. It means that the earth is holy, and every human being is holy and worthy of our utmost respect and care--without regard to gender, race, class, or sexual orientation. There is indeed a "paradigm shift" going on in the world today, as the Rev. Chilton Knudsen pointed out. It is a shift away from the patriarchal, bellicose, controlling, heterosexist, and anti-sexual world-view to one which is more feminist, co-operative, communitarian, erotic, and inclusive. In this I rejoice, for the very life of our human family and our planet, "this fragile earth, our island home" (BCP 1979) for which we give thanks to God. Here is the theology of the new Prayer Book. It is a green theology, it is a gay theology, it is life-giving and it is, I believe, inspired of God.

(Rev.) Clark Wills

Chicago

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