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Most Church of England members back same-sex marriage

Most Church of England members back same-sex marriage

A new poll show that more members of the Church of England are in favor of marriage equality than are against it. Among Anglicans overall, more women and adults under 55 years of age support same-sex marriage, while the demographic from which most of the church’s leadership is drawn, males 55 years old or older, is most opposed.

Harriet Sherwood of the Guardian reports:

A poll conducted in the aftermath of the Canterbury meeting found 45% of people who define themselves as Church of England approve of same-sex marriage, compared with 37% who believe it is wrong. A similar survey three years ago found almost the reverse: 38% of Anglicans in favour and 47% opposed.

The lowest levels of support for same-sex marriage – 24% – were found among Anglican men over the age of 55, a group that dominates the church leadership. Jayne Ozanne, a leading gay activist within the C of E, who commissioned the poll from YouGov, said this finding was “deeply worrying”. “Unfortunately, this is exactly the profile of those in the senior positions of power and influence within the church,” she said….

…The survey found a clear generational difference among Church of England members, with almost three-quarters (72%) of under-35s in favour. There was a majority supporting same-sex marriage in all age groups under 55, but the figure dropped to fewer than one in three older Anglicans. More women than men believe same-sex marriage is right.

According to the report, Jayne Ozanne, of Accepting Evangelicals, commissioned the poll from YouGov. She told the Guardian:

“The church now faces a major challenge to explain clearly to the nation just why it discriminates against people like me and others in the way that it does. With such a large proportion of society now in favour, the church has some serious explaining to do – especially to the younger generation who find themselves repelled by a church which does not share their views.”

The complete news release of the survey and its results may be found here.


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Cynthia Katsarelis

Somehow I never thought that Christians should conform our beliefs to what Muslims think Christians should be!!!

No human rights report names any of this religious stuff as cause for strife. The primary reasons for the conflict (extremists aside) are pocketbook issues like grazing rights, inequality (often enshrined in law and hurting the pocketbooks of the minority), and dysfunctional justice systems that allow abuses on both sides to happen with impunity.

The sooner we get a grip on the real causes, the sooner we can have an honest dialogue with our Christian friends who apparently think they HAVE to hate and imprison gays to appease Muslims.

Cynthia Katsarelis

I learned on another blog that this 2016 survey asked the very same questions in 2013. In 2013, it tilted anti-gay marriage and no one questioned the the definition of an “Anglican.”

So 2016, same questions, same Anglicans. And things are changing, just as one would expect.

CoE needs to reflect on the generational attitudes, not quibble with Paul and Ould.

Prof. Christopher Seitz

Twice +Josiah refers to the ‘doctrine of marriage’.

This is the chief point of disagreement between TEC and the Primates gathering.

That this has ramifications in a Muslim context is a by product of this disagreement. Muslims charge Christians with having a religion that relies on a book but then doesn’t; tells potential converts to Christianity that this a genuinely old religion, but then it is one that changes form and is not held in common across continents. All this feeds a narrative that Christianity is a made-up religion and not worthy of respect as coming from God: Who doesn’t take different forms and doesn’t have a book that gives multiple and contradictory meanings for living.

Don’t shoot the messenger, but this is the problem +Josiah is identifying and it has to do with a distinctive teaching about marriage that Muslims know derives from a book and also the teaching of Jesus the Prophet.

If people want to attack something, let them attack a ‘doctrine of marriage’ — but that is where the Primates are also in agreement.

Paul Powers
Dr. William A. Flint, MDiv, PhD

Looks like Caesar is proclaiming the Gospel of God these days. Rather funny, don’t you think?

Rod Gillis

Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon’s statement is, as labor leaders might say in an analogous situation, the company line. It reflects a position that believes the “company”, in this case The Communion bureaucracy, holds all the cards.

The one thing Idowu-Fearon’s statement has convinced me of is that the best thing we could do for human rights elsewhere is to take ourselves out of the politcal framework of The Anglican Communion. This would allow North Americans to continue to stand up for GLBTQ human rights without fear or favor. By taking ourselves out of this archaic and increasingly curia like framework we would not longer cast the shadow on the safety of Anglicans in the Global South as The Communion Secretary suggests we do.

For example, Once freed from the suggestion that standing up for human rights at home plays out badly for Anglicans elsewhere, we could become even more proactive in advocating for GLBTQ human and civil rights in the places Idowu-Fearon mentions.

We might be brave enough to at least have a conversation about whether continuing to use the notion of an Anglican Communion as a pressure regulator at home works against a more effective witness for human rights globally.

I say this knowing full well that the politcal will to even engage this question is probably non-existent in Canada or the U.S. So, perhaps the good bishop is correct in his tacit recognition that we are locked into playing someone else’s game. A metaphor comes to mind in the form of The Chris De Burgh song Spanish Train.

Tobias Haller

Bishop Josiah preached at a General Convention some years back (2003?) and I recall his language being much the same: basically ill-ease cloaked as prudence. I recall his line, “When America sneezes, we in Africa catch cold.” It was the same line warning us of unintended consequences. I do not find that this resonates with the Gospel ethic I understand, in which one is to do what one believes to be right, and to others as one would be done by, regardless of consequences. But as you observe, Bishop J is a company man at this point, and this is the party line.

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