Aug 16, 2012

MORALLY CONTEMPTIBLE: Tragically, the position of Rowan Williams on homosexuality continued to change and harden after he reached the throne of St. Augustine

¨Under Rowan Williams, the church has failed gay people¨

The Anglican church is on a path to acceptance of gay marriage. What a shame such disunity has to be caused along the way

Since 2005, same-sex couples in Britain have been able to contract a civil covenant which gives them the same legal protection and framework as heterosexual marriage. It is an act of legislation that has been almost universally acknowledged as a great good, a real advance for social stability and human happiness.

Far more people entered civil partnerships than the government had anticipated, and in the first years a high proportion of them were older couples who had been together in secrecy or semi-secrecy for decades – some from before the time homosexual acts were decriminalised in 1967. The sense of release and liberation, of joy in a newfound sense of dignity and affirmation, was extraordinary. For gay Christians it was a cause of profound thanksgiving to god.

For official church – and here my concern is mainly with the Church of England – is one of the few public domains where this development has been only grudgingly accepted, and in some quarters vehemently opposed. In recent years, while society has moved towards acceptance, the church has arguably moved in the opposite direction.

The ¨disappearing act¨ of Rowan Williams
When the archbishop of Canterbury George Carey was succeeded by Rowan Williams in 2002, most expected a change of approach, not least since Williams himself had endorsed an ethical framework for gay relationships and personally campaigned against the culture of lying about homosexuality that obtains in the church. Tragically, he changed his public position as soon as he reached the throne of St Augustine. Since then the church's line on homosexuality has continued to harden. The CofE has refused to countenance any form of official liturgical recognition for civil partnerships; has sought special exemptions from human rights and equalities legislation in order to continue discriminating against openly gay clergy or gay employees; has repeatedly restated its condemnation of all sexual relations outside heterosexual marriage; and has formally debarred even celibate gay clergy from becoming bishops.

Most recently, the bishops of the CofE have set themselves against government proposals to extend civil marriage to include same-sex couples. Their opposition is above all a public and political stance which is intended to maintain ecclesiastical unity, particularly within the Anglican communion. About half the world's Anglicans are African, and the majority of them are in violently homophobic countries whose churches back harsh punishments against homosexuals, right up to the death penalty...¨ please read it all, HERE Jeffrey John, The Guardian, 14th August 2012

·  Thanks to The Very Reverend Jeffrey John
·  Thanks to The Guardian, United Kingdom

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