Michael Hamar

GOP Candidate Scott Rigell Led Anti-Gay Split of Historic Episcopal Parish

Filed By Michael Hamar | September 08, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, Episcopal Church, Galilee Episcopal, Glenn Nye, GOP extremists, Scott Rigell, Virginia 2nd Congressional District, Virginia Beach

I have written previously concerning the far right religious views Rigell.jpgof Scott Rigell (right), GOP candidate for the Virginia 2nd Congressional District. With the election getting closer, it is timely that I more fully document Mr. Rigell's extremism and just how strongly he opposes equality under the civil laws.

Many locals in Virginia Beach, Virginia are likely to know of Galilee Episcopal Church, a historic parish that is a landmark on Pacific Avenue in the northern portion of the Virginia Beach resort strip. What many voters in the Virginia 2nd Congressional District do not know - especially newcomers to the area - is that Scott Rigell played a leading role in splitting this historic parish asunder back in 2006-2007, the result of which was the founding of fundamentalist Trinity Church by Rigell and others vehemently opposed to LGBT rights and the ordination of gay clergy.

The Virginian Pilot had coverage at the time of the split (fortunately, the Galilee parish has survived without the departing homophobic element). Here are highlights from that coverage:

In a split echoing the debate within the Episcopal Church, seven leaders of Galilee Church have quit to launch a new congregation outside the denomination they accuse of heresy. . . . Scott Rigell, one of the departing Galilee leaders, said he could no longer endure the Episcopal Church's "modern" approach, which he said was at odds with the denomination's historical "orthodox" stance on scripture.

Just how many other Galilee members may leave will become clearer when Hauser's Trinity Church holds its first service today in space at First Baptist Church of Virginia Beach on 35th Street. Hauser called Trinity an "orthodox evangelical congregational church" unconnected to any denomination.

In leaving Galilee, they chose not to emulate several Episcopal churches in Northern Virginia that voted last year to take both their parishioners and church property out of the denomination. . . . Bishop John C. Buchanan, the diocese's interim leader, said he would never let the parish split away. "This property is a legacy from good, faithful Episcopalians," he said then. "There will always be a parish affiliated with the Diocese of Southern Virginia in this location and on this particular site." In the end, it was the prospect of a fight within Galilee, not with Buchanan, that tipped Hauser against pushing for a parish pullout.

A portion of a statement signed by Rigell to the Galilee congregation confirms what he thinks of gay citizens (as well as more progressive denominations that are gay accepting):

[W]e disassociate ourselves from Resolution A-095 which opposes "any state or federal constitutional amendment that prohibits same-sex civil marriage or civil unions." This resolution gives, in effect, the endorsement of the Church on same-sex civil marriage.

Rigell has a documented record of being a divisive influenece and he is no doubt hoping that this four year old story stays under the radar. However, if elected to Congress, there is little doubt in my mind that Rigell will take his decidedly anti-gay and stridently Christianist views with him to Congress. Having known Rigell from years ago when I was active in the GOP and from living in the same neighborhood as Rigell before I came out, I know first hand that Rigell has little regard whatsoever for the concept of separation of church and state or for the right to religious freedom for all citizens. To put it bluntly, Rigell needs to be defeated on November 2, 2010.

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What a scum! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

The bigger story is that WE are "splitting denominations." It is beautiful to see. We need "new" Christians - including Episcopalians.

Well, these people all go somewhere. And from the looks of things in Montana and Nevada, this is going to be a particularly anti-gay election year even though there aren't any ballot initiatives.