A Modest Proposal

for General Convention 2003

Copyright 2003, Stuart D. Gathman

In the spirit of Jonathan Swift, I wish to put forth a call for justice and tolerance every bit as momentous as the call for the Church to embrace those who express the love of God through the intimate love of their own sex. For did not the beloved disciple rest his head on the bosom of Jesus? There is another group excluded from our communion - those who express the love of God for others by partaking of their flesh, even as Christ bid us feed our love for him by partaking of his flesh.

History tells us that this practice was widespread in the early Church as recorded by reliable Roman sources. Our enemies then and now describe us as murderous cannibals. The truth is that we eat only by prior consent, and would never take the life of another human being. Despite vigorous efforts to create a legal framework for our needs, such as a Uniform Donor Id card, such is the intolerance of our culture that we must make do with informal consent. How hypocritical to decry the resulting lack of legal documentation!

Some object to our eating habits on the grounds that it is a "public health menace" and spreads neurodegenerative disease. In fact, these diseases are not easily caught through casual contact. Some call our appetite "unnatural", but need I point out that many types of animals have been observed to eat their own kind.

No one should be excluded from the office of Bishop simply because of what they eat. Those who call our lifestyle "sinful" are the very ones who refuse to sanctify it with even a simple "Blessing before the Feast" in the Prayer Book. Nowhere does Scripture explicitly forbid eating our own kind. Even the Mosaic covenant, which forbids eating swine and slugs, makes no mention of humans. And does not God tell Peter the Apostle in reference to food, "do not call unclean what I have called clean?" [Acts 10:15]

The Church's call for abstinence is unjust. Why would God give an appetite, if it is a sin to satisfy that appetite? As many as 1 in 10 are born with an appetite for the same species. To deny that appetite is to deny who we are.

I have briefly answered the baseless charges against us, but let me finish with a mandate for change. Far from being an aberration, our feasts fully follow the example set for us by Christ. For just as Christ gave his body and blood for us to eat, so today there is no greater love than for a man to give his own flesh and blood for others to eat. The old wineskins of prejudice must be discarded, and replaced with the new wineskins of affirmation for Divine Love - whatever form that Love may take.