Monday, 7 December 2009

Being Dragged Kicking And Screaming Towards Equality

The Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church warns the election of a second openly gay bishop in the US means a split in the worldwide Anglican Communion is inevitable.

The Los Angeles Episcopalian church elected 55-year-old lesbian Reverend Mary Douglas Glasspool as assistant bishop on the weekend, the first lesbian elected to the role.

Despite the appointment, she still needs a majority of the National Episcopal Church to formally approve the position.

The election of Gene Robinson five years ago as the first gay bishop in the US caused deep rifts in the Anglican Church.

The world head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, says the election raises very serious questions for Anglican Communion as a whole.

"The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole," he said in a statement.

"The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees.

"That decision will have very important implications."

The Sydney diocese has been vocal in its opposition to the election of gay and lesbian clergy, and Bishop of South Sydney Robert Forsythe says the latest appointment is disappointing.

"I understand that homosexual people are real people who need loving commitment to Christ and helping to live faithful lives," he said.

"But to endorse this as a leader of the church sends in my view entirely the wrong message and is inconsistent with discipleship to Christ.

Split 'inevitable'

The worldwide Anglican Communion had agreed to a freeze on the election of gay clergy to stem a possible major rift within the church, and Bishop Forsythe says a split now seems inevitable.

"The Anglican Communion as a united body is now history, and now we are seeing a complete restructuring of relationships," he said.

"I think that is what the event is showing. Communion as a united body is now history.

"I am not saying this one event changes everything. It just continues to cement the trajectory towards a restructuring of the Anglican Communion in the world.

"I think it (a split) was inevitable before this frankly, but yes, I think it is inevitable now."

'Series of bluffs'

Dr Muriel Porter, an Anglican laywoman and commentator, says she welcomes the election of Mary Glasspool, and says the majority of people within the Anglican church will not have a problem with a lesbian bishop.

"We've had threats of splits going back now over 20 years. I think it is a series of bluffs," she said.

"If the church had to split - and I hope and pray it won't - [but] if it had to split over an issue of principle, in some ways it might be better than us living constantly with our nerves jangling, with the threat of split and the threat of all these terrible things constantly hanging over the church's head.

"We might actually be able to get on with things.

"So I am actually not fazed or frightened. I am actually proud of the Americans for standing by the principle of inclusion both for women and gay people."
Can this notion now that religion and morality go hand in hand die now? It's pathetic that bigotry and persecution are tolerated when they come in the form of religion. It's especially pathetic that at the same time we recognise that there is bigotry in the church, we still look to the church as a bastion for morality. There's a disconnect there, that we can recognise the value call being wrong but because it interferes with the dogma... oh lord, all hell will break loose.

Maybe all seething Anglican churches can put up on their message boards next week "God hates fags". Though this is unfair, this is the 21st century and we have a new enlightened church. "God doesn't hate fags, he just doesn't think them teaching the dogma is appropriate given Romans 1:32"

Really, do those who believe in God think he has nothing more important on his agenda than a female bishop that might have kissed a girl and liked it? It's quite simply absurd, this really should be a non-issue. Religion has shown that in the 21st century that as a whole it is playing catch-up to the moral standards of the age. Dragged kicking and screaming into a state of tolerance.

1 comment:

Richard said...

Why pick on only one of the reasons that bishops shouldn't be ordained? Why not tear them all down? Surely it is good not to discriminate against bishops who have had inappropriate relations with children to use a rather extreme example.

Tolerance does not equal accepting every behaviour and nor does equality mean that things need to be exactly the same.

As a side point, why on earth does any religion (or belief structure) need to conform to the standards of a different belief structure unless it is implicit in that religion that they must?