Belief Beat

Belief Beat

Anglican, Episcopalian Rift Widens Over Gay Clergy (But Not LGBT Rights?)

Updated on 6/11 to reflect GetReligion’s correction that Senyonjo is a former, not current, Anglican bishop.

The Anglican Communion’s objection to the ordination of openly gay bishops by America’s Episcopalian branch has made headlines again this week, as the Episcopal Church in the United States has now been suspended from participating in ecumenical dialogues.

Nevertheless, former Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo and current New Hampshire’s Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson (the Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop) have been meeting with White House officials to share their grave concerns over the harsh anti-gay bill under consideration in Uganda.


For more on the growing Anglican-Episcopal divide over the gay clergy issue — if that’s what this is all really about? — check out these links:

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


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Thomas Collins

posted June 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

It seems to me the US Episcopalian Church’s determination to pioneer on this narrow point, which it apparently feels is essential to social justice, is hijacking and pre-empting larger and deeper spiritual concerns in the world today. The Gospel message and the moral leadership of the Church I’m afraid is being sacrificed. Is Bishop Robinson a Bishop of Christ or the bishop of the LGBT movement? Does he speak for the Episcopal community as a whole or for a particular group? Too much religious energy is being expended on a narrow, and frankly questionable, cause. I’m not convinced, for instance, that society’s reluctance to change a basic traditional definition of marriage and family — across all cultures and over millenia of time — constitutes hatred or disrespect for gay people or disdain fro their legitimate rights. I happen to believe a child has a right to both a mom and a dad, a parent of each gender, to learn from, look up to, and love in life. To me, that right takes precedence over a gay couple’s “right” to expect or force the general public to recognize their personal relationship as a marriage, and their “right” to raise children as they so choose. It’s all relative. By over-extending adult rights, we compromise children’s. I believe it is possible to honor, love and respect gay people as persons and acknowledge their loving relationships, without changing our timeless cultural definition of marriage and family life. And I believe there are far more real threats to the rights of many groups around the world, and more critical moral issues for the Church to contend with, than whether to bend scriptural interpretation such as to include gay relationships in sacramental marriage. Of course God loves gay people every bit as much as straights or anyone else. It is clearly His will too, that we love each other without prejudice over sexual orientation, or anything else. But that’s not the point. God also ordained a particular plan for marriage and multi-generational family life. It is a plan in which He works His divine creativity in bringing forth new human life. We are all better off simply accepting His plan, and not trying to change it.

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posted June 10, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Well, Thomas, it must be wonderful to be able to speak so authoritatively about what God likes and dislikes. But let’s look at a basic issue you raise–is the function of a church to preach a religious doctrinal message, or to try to bring certain values to areas of human life where there is needless hurt and want? It isn’t necessarily an either-or, but in asking whether a focus on social justice is “hijacking and pre-empting larger and deeper spiritual concerns,” you imply that attention to one detracts from attention to the other.
So let’s look at that. We can, I hope, agree that social justice is a desirable goal. Now what are those “larger and deeper spiritual concerns” all about? Larger and deeper implies that they are of even greater importance. But WHAT ARE THEY? Spreading Christian doctrine and proselytizing? WHY is that of any importance? Does it really matter whether I think that the holy spirit proceeds from the father and the son or only from the father? Will it make me a better person if I think that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus? How does it make the world a better place if I believe that Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven?
Well, the religious person might answer, “Forget about impact on the world–we are talking about saving your soul!” That might be a religious concern, but it surely is not a spiritual concern. Spiritually, I feel fine. Religiously, I am a heretic. If you believe that God cares which religious label a person wears, then your religious concern for my soul would be sincere, but I consider such a view of God to be blasphemous (that’s why I am a heretic–because I refuse to be a blasphemer).
Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe the religious view is correct, and God really does restrict entry into heaven only to those who wear the correct religious label and proclaim the correct doctrine. Then the goal of spreading the correct doctrine is aimed at making the whole world Christian… Except that virtually all of Europe WAS Christian for centuries. Not a good time. They call it the Dark Ages for a reason.
But maybe I am mis-reading you. So please, explain what are those larger and deeper concerns that are at least as important as social justice.

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posted June 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Recently I read a study comparing children from lesbian and “normal” couple, and the children with 2 moms actually did the same or better in all areas, so a loving family is more important then your definition of what God wants. Besides God wants each child born to be here. If God didn’t want a women to conceive; it doesn’t happen. In another words, every child born to a lesbian mom, is a beloved child of God and suppose to be here. Society can help that child by recognize that child’s parents by allowing them to get marry and form a family.

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