Giving voice to our Baptismal Covenant

Baptized with water and the SpiritWe live by our Baptismal Covenant (Book of Common Prayer 304-305). Among the questions and promises:

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? (Our Response): I will, with God’s help.

On April 26, 2016 the bishops of North Carolina responded to recent legislation in North Carolina (HB2) that “overtly discriminates against LGBT people and goes further by cutting back on protection against discrimination for anyone in the state.” Their response comes as they fulfill their responsibilities as baptized persons and as bishops of the church. Here is the introduction to their letter. I encourage you to read their entire letter as you consider how you are to live into the promises you’ve made as a baptized person.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In our baptismal covenant, we commit “to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” For many, this is the most difficult promise in the covenant, as it calls us to move beyond our differences, expectations, fears, prejudices and misunderstandings about other people and meet them where they are. At times, it means standing up in the world and speaking truth to power, knowing that there will be resistance. This promise takes us out of our comfort zone and into the uncharted territory of God’s grace.

In the highly polarized and political environment in which we live, we may be tempted to take sides on an issue or to back off entirely and be silent. But the issue of discrimination is not partisan, nor is it secular. The practice of discrimination by a state or institution limits, even prohibits, us from respecting the dignity of another human being. It inhibits our very capacity to care for one another and to work for the common good. This affects all people.

Read the entire letter here: North Carolina bishops issue statement regarding HB2 as reported by Episcopal News Service (ENS).

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

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