Church of England bishops’ dishonest compromise

Andrew Brown writing in The Guardian calls the compromise on marriage equality dishonest:

The compromise of the House of Bishops on gay marriage is incoherent, dishonest in itself, and reliant on dishonesty in others to work. It will certainly fail in the long run. But I am less inclined than most of my friends to dismiss it out of hand: it does come tantalisingly close to being workable. The guidelines published the day after Valentine’s Day say that gay and lesbian clergy may not marry, and married LGBT people may not be ordained. Nor are there to be services of blessing for civil partnerships (which clergy may, and do, enter into) – but there may be services of “thanksgiving”.

….

The double standard for clergy and laity is really there to gratify the conservative belief that sexually active gay people are radically second-class Christians. This is the belief of a substantial and determined minority within the church. But it’s not the belief of the majority and it certainly won’t be within 10 years, if only because half the people in the pews today will be dead, or close to it.

What happens next will be a reputational disaster if it is widely reported. As Justin Welby told the General Synod last week, it will lead “to behaviour that many see akin to racism”. It will be another kind of reputational disaster if it is ignored, as if no one expected any better of the Church of England than “behaviour that many see as akin to racism.”

In a statement from LGBTI

The LGB&TI Anglican Coalition is appalled by the House of Bishops’ recently‐issued Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage, especially in the light of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s presidential address in which it was stated that differing views should be accepted in a spirit of ‘good disagreement’. In this document we see no acceptance of disagreement at all, but instead a heavy‐handed and legalistic imposition of discipline…

More here.

Parish priest in London, the Rev. Richard Haggis comments in The Guardian

What amazes me is that we – their clergy – stick up for this sort of hogwash. Every bishop under whom I have served has known that I am gay. If he bothered to ask, he would have known whether or not I had a partner. He could even have known, if he wanted, whether I was “practising”. Well, OK, I’m not perfect yet. But I am not called to celibacy, and nor are most gay men and women who serve the church. Many of us long for the sort of union that could be marked by a public ceremony and decent and proper civil rights (from which the bishops have sought to exempt us for too long through their powerful position in the House of Lords). I very much hope to use the new law. I shall not ask permission and I shall not promise to be celibate. If they want to sack me they can, but they must own up to the kind of people they are.

The Rev. Tobias Haller, writes at his blog that the letter is “incoherent hypocrisy:”

I call this statement “incoherent” due to its many internal contradictions, as well as its frequent assertions that contradict both received tradition and plain sense. Not being in a mood to “fisk” it (as I’ve done with things like Some Issues in Human Sexuality), I leave it to knowledgeable readers to do the work themselves. Leave it at this: a church that has come to tolerate remarriage after divorce cites the teaching of Jesus and its own tradition (including the plain text of its own traditional marriage liturgy) as a reason not to include same-sex couples. It is as if we were living on Animal Farm: the values of monogamy, permanent fidelity and mutual love (which the document cites as evident in at least some same-sex relationships) can be erased from the constitution, leaving only “man” and “woman” — the crucial defining adjective “one” no longer being applicable, even, as has been noted, for the likely future governor of the church. The Bishops have hinged the sole significant virtue (fidelity and so on being all very well but not restricted to mixed-sex couples) upon heterosexuality itself. Gender has become a virtue, and virtue insignificant. And they have the gumption to call this the teaching of Christ.

H/T to Wounded Bird

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2 Comments
  1. Gary Paul Gilbert

    The gulf between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church will widen. Whereas in TEC, bishops in states with marriage equality have been requiring priests with same-sex partners to get married, in England, bishops refuse to allow thir LGBT priests to marry, preferring to shunt them into a separate and unequal civil partnership (and some bishops insist priest pledge celibacy before entering a civil partnership). The American model of treating all similarly situated people alike is far superior to what Canterbury has been doing.

    Human dignity is not something the C of E seems to believe in.

    Gary Paul Gilbert

  2. Gary Paul Gilbert

    The gulf between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church will widen now that the Bishops of the Church of England have stated they will not allow priests to marry because in the Episcopal Church the trend seems to be for bishops in states with marriage equality to require priests with same-sex partners to get married. The English model of shunting LGBT priests into separate and unequal civil partnerships is a scandal, especially when priests may be required to promise celibacy to their bishops.

    Treating all similarly situated people alike is much more respectful of human dignity.

    Gary Paul Gilbert

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