The Bishops of Church of England “are seeking to enshrine gay exclusion” says the Revd. Dr. Giles Fraser writing in the Church Times and Colin Coward notes in The Guardian that there are currently at least 13 gay bishops in the CoE.
From Church Times:
…the Bishops have been straining every legal sinew to exclude openly gay bishops — even celibate ones — from their number. Do we really think that straight bishops have been challenged to repent of whatever they might have got up to at university, as it were? Of course not. And this double standard is a clear symptom of the fact that what is really going on here is prejudice, pure and simple.
The other weasel construction that those who pick bishops have alighted on is that a bishop must be “a focus of unity”. No: first and foremost, a bishop must be a man or woman of the gospel. Sometimes this means arguing for the right not to bring peace, but a sword.
To insist that bishops must be “a focus of unity” is a recipe for having bishops whose primary identity is that they are unobjectionable. Indeed, there is something almost heretical about this phrase; for it makes the quest for a quiet Church more of a priority than that of the preaching of the gospel.
From The Guardian:
The Church of England has 13 bishops who are gay.(ed. bold) None are publicly open about their sexuality and, as far as I know, none have been open about their sexuality in the process of being appointed bishop. Until last year, potential bishops were never interviewed so there was no opportunity to ask the question or volunteer the information.
The church has created an impossible dilemma for itself. No candidate who is gay or has been involved in a same-sex relationship in the past is going to willingly volunteer this information. It is rightly a personal matter and in secular society, irrelevant to someone’s capacity to perform their work. Secular employment best practice sets an example that the Church of England would do well to adopt. The process of appointing bishops should be transparent and open.
The church rightly requires and expects fidelity and lifelong commitment from her clergy. The church allows that prior to marriage, people may have had other sexual partners. It doesn’t enquire into the premarital intimacies of heterosexual candidates for ministry. Why, in the proposed guidelines, does it think it can not only ask the question of those it suspects of being gay, but requires them to repent?