A MESSAGE FROM THE BISHOP
July 29, 2011
Statement given by The Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan II, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast (comprising Lower Alabama and the Panhandle of Florida) upon reading of the passage of HB56 by the Alabama Legislature.
"Jesus wept." (St John 11:35) As a child I learned that "Jesus wept" was the shortest sentence in the Gospels. I grew to understand that it is also one of the most powerful. I wept not long ago when I learned that the State of Alabama (the lower part of which is within my episcopal jurisdiction) passed legislation that would put me in violation involuntarily with State law because of my faith and religious convictions. With the implementation of HB56, we face one state's edict to limit assistance and ministry only to those who can produce certain documentation.
I believe, and The Episcopal Church teaches, that all people are loved and valued by God and that none are disposable and that we are to respect the dignity and worth of every human being. I am saddened by this recent action and I pledge my ongoing support to those who continue to share the love of God with all people. As a person of faith this is my Christian duty.
My hope and prayer is for a reasonable solution in which these unfortunate consequences may be addressed and the infringement upon our religious civil liberties be relieved as we continue to live out our faith.
The Rt. Rev. Philip M. Duncan, II
Bishop of the Central Gulf Coast