Logo

Theological Editions - Indepth daily religious news, views, reviews & key theological resources
Features

In-depth religious news, views, reviews, features & resources for the thinking person
 

Resources

Bible
Sermons

Liturgy & Prayer

News & Magazines

Journals

Texts & Resources

Home


Will the Anglican Church split over gay clergy and same-sex unions?
by Graeme J. Davidson
21 June, 2008

Those who oppose gay unions and ordinations quote Scripture condemning homosexuality and see gay clergy and gay Christian unions as symptomatic of liberal secular values undermining the Church and its offer of a new lifestyle in Christ. Those who are pro gay point to Jesus loving and accepting marginalised people and how biblical ethics reflect changing community experiences and attitudes.

....Vicki Imogene (Gene) Robinson said, “I always wanted to be a June bride”. Two weeks ago, he got the June part of his wish when he and Mark Andrew, his partner of 20 years, were joined in a civil union ceremony followed by a church blessing. Robinson, who’s a father and a grandfather, says he doesn’t regret marrying his former wife, Boo, and that they even talked about his gay leanings before they wed. He came out in the late 1980s and for the past five years he’s been at the centre of a row that’s dividing the 77 million-strong worldwide Anglican Communion and creating hot debate in other churches.
....Gene Robinson is bishop of New Hampshire and the only openly gay Anglican bishop. He says Church authorities dishonestly ignore clergy who are more discreet because the Church of England would collapse if it got rid of its gay clergy. That’s an exaggeration. According to some estimates, around 10 percent of Protestant and a third of Catholic clergy are closet gays, many remaining celibate. Polls show that most Christians oppose gay church unions and ordinations and a Barna Group survey in the USA found 12 percent of gays were even against ordaining their own.
....That puts pressure on the Church to respond with a heavy hand whenever front-page publicity replaces discretion. When John Jefferies, who’s in a long-term celibate relationship with a male partner, was chosen Bishop of Reading in 2005, vociferous opposition forced him to withdraw and accept the position of Dean of St Alban’s instead.
....Anglican dioceses in Brazil, Mexico, Scotland, South Africa and USA have allowed the ordination of gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions. And in New Westminster, Canada, parishes can choose to bless same sex unions. A few Anglican communities, especially the 18 million-strong Nigerian Church, declare homosexuality to be evil and “a perversion of human dignity”.
....The May 31 blessing service in London for Reverend Peter Cowell, a London hospital chaplain, and Reverend David Lord, a priest from Waikato Diocese, was a grand wedding-style affair with 300 guests, including senior clergy. Press coverage of the event gave David Lord’s bishop, Archbishop David Moxon, little choice: he cancelled his priest’s licence. The timing of the blessing service – so close to the conservative Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem next week – was provocative. Many of the 280 bishops attending that Conference intend to snub the once-in-a-decade Lambeth Conference for bishops, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, next month.
....In 1998, bishops at the Lambeth summit voted “homosexual practice as incompatible with Scripture” and urged sexual abstinence for all “who are not called to marriage”. After the US Church defiantly ordained Bishop Gene Robinson, the Archbishop of Canterbury set up a commission that produced the Windsor Report, which asked for a moratorium on consecrating active homosexual bishops and on blessings of same-sex unions - and for the US Church to repent.
....That hasn’t happened and conservative Central African dioceses have disassociated themselves from the US Church. They have been joined by disaffected parishes and dioceses in America, despite the Windsor Report advising against radical action. In an effort to prevent schism, the 75 percent of Anglican Bishops who aren’t boycotting Lambeth next month will work on finalising the St Andrew’s Covenant to maintain biblical standards. Although he’s not invited, Bishop Gene Robinson plans to gatecrash.
....Those who oppose gay unions and ordinations quote Scripture condemning homosexuality and see gay clergy and gay Christian unions as symptomatic of liberal secular values undermining the Church and its offer of a new lifestyle in Christ. Those who are pro gay point to Jesus loving and accepting marginalised people and how biblical ethics reflect changing community experiences and attitudes.
....Whether the liberal-conservative division will move beyond an Anglican family row and separation to a divorce is too close to call. But, according to US polls, conservative Christians expect gay legal unions to be a key issue during the presidential election campaign.

 

 

See also
Should we intervene to prevent suicide? >> more
Divorce risk indicator >> more
When you feel like you're sharing a bed with a stranger >> more
Surving the breakup >> more
Suicide terrorism as a desperate weapon of liberation >> more
Ned Flanders — popular face of Christianity >> more
Seven common myths about religion >> more
Moral divide between church leaders and laity >> more
Unholy silence over MPs hypocrisy and greed >> more
Anglican schism over gay clergy inevitable >> more
My agonising path to enlightenment >> more
More than ever, it's a time for generosity >> more
National's ethics smell of political expediency >> more
Pope's trip to Holy Land fraught with potholes >> more
The resurrection may have been superfluous >> more
Rasputin — from sinner and seducer to saint? >> more
Religious delusions and the Jerusalem syndrome >> more
Protest mild compared with Jesus' vandalism >> more
What Castro and Obama have in common >> more
Holidays can revive romance or widen cracks between couples >> more
Dubious scholarship reinterprets Jesus to fit secular creed >> more
Furore over gay marriage echoes the conflict over slavery >> more
If only politics were as certain as dear old granny >> more
You've got to have faith to win the White House >> more
The problem of evil >> more
TV Programmers let lose Roman circus >> more
Prostitutes welcome in the kingdom of God but not in Dannevirke >> more
Church too busy navel-gazing to take lead over crime >> more
Will the Anglican Church split over gay clergy and same-sex unions? >> more
Faith in secular western society >> more
The Vatican's pelvic theology >> more
Abuse and the Beijing Olympics >> more
Would the real Jesus stand up? >> more
Hypersensitivity perverts ethics >> more
God and presidential hopefuls >> more
A three-ghetto church based on politics >> more
Good and bad intentions >> more
Deliver us from exorcists who harm >> more
How effective is prayer? >> more
Masters of non-violence, resistance and kung fu >> more
Was Mother Teresa living a lie? >> more
Double standards over child sex abuse >> more
Soppy inspirational and pseudo-spiritual emails >> more
Caring organisations and pyschopathic bosses >> more
The new anti-religious evangelists >> more
Call for religious education could backfire >> more
Blessing creatures great & small — but what about blowflies? >> more
Does God exist only in the brain? >> more
The Prudes who crucify >> more
tomb raiders and the bones of Jesus and his family? >> more
Jesus loves Osama >> more
Is God more like a matchbox or a number? >> more
Confessions of a failed axe murderer >> more
Bacchanalian festivals and sentimentality >> more
Manners: insignificant social customs? >> more
The 109 fighting boys >> more
Trying to exhume the historical Jesus >> more
Is global violence really on the increase? >> more
Polygamy, circumcision, atheist journalists and religious diversity >> more
The Christian Right stands by Israel out of a misguided theology  >> more 
What a rat taught me >> more
The Church is becoming a retirement hobby for granny clergy >> more 
Is there an anti-Christian conspiracy in Hollywood? >> more
Have church schools sold out on Christianity? >> more
How good a Christian is President George W Bush? >> more

Hitler, Lawyers, Politicians SUV owners and life after death >> more

Were the Christian hostages really idiots for peace? >> more
Infidelity: in hot pursuit of a better organsm or better intimacy? >> more
Skulduggery and controversy over discovery of religious texts >> more
The cartoons aren't about secular freedoms versus intolerance >> more

Christian Zionists hinder justice and peace in the Middle East >> more

Should making more money be your New Year's resolution? >> more
My early life as a black sheep in a nativity scene >> more
Different types of suicide bomber: what makes them tick >> more
Cheating a short cut to sucess in winner-take-all society >> more
Life after death: Is it logically possible? >> more
Is it Anglican to practise apartheid? >> more
Da Vinci Code unlocks controversy>> more
Bishops' statement: pompous, pious, out of touch and verging on the heretical >> more 
Church leaders unconvincing over prostitution law reform >> more
Divorce risk factors >> more
How global are we?  A Christian's view of globalisation >> more
Victims of dirty tricks & friendly fire: Machiavellian tactics in the Church militant >> more
A redundant resurrection >> more
War, violence, ethics, religion and hypocrisy >> more
If St Peter was interviewed for ordination today >> more
13 ways to empty a church without really trying >> more
How tolerant is the Museum of Tolerance? >> more
A church comes out and reconciliation divides >> more
Micah's dream — too much to ask? >> more
Has the revised Anglican Church in New Zealand instigated a benign form of religious apartheid? >> more
The case for St Judas Iscariot >> more
Exorcism: the ministry of deliverance >> more

Top