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Episcopal Church may select another gay bishop

Timothy Kincaid

December 3rd, 2009

episcopalIn 2003 the Episcopal Church selected Gene Robinson, a gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire. And the Anglican Communion exploded.

Conservatives around the world strongly feel that heterosexual men are the only acceptable leaders of the church. And while it had long been understood that gay men and women were priests in the “reprobate and worldly West”, it was simply unacceptable to them that a gay man should ever be in a position of authority over a heterosexual.

As the world’s second largest Christian church, Anglicans dominate faith in a number of nations, often in countries where homosexuality is seen as a sin more alien than murder and less forgivable than rape. So this decision by American Anglicans (the Episcopal Church is the US branch of Anglicanism) had global consequences.

Since that time, anti-gay Americans (often of other denominations) have worked with foreign Anglicans (usually Africans) to sow discord and seek schism. Several conservative Episcopal congregations, and at least one diocese, broke from the church and sought support and solice from evangelicals with whom they share little other than anti-gay activism.

The Anglican Communion warned the Episcopal Church – and other liberal members – that there was to be a moratorium on gay bishops and a ban on celebrating same-sex unions.

What followed was a good faith effort on the part of Episcopalians to reconcile with the concerns of conservatives. But conservatives felt no need for compromise. They broke communion with the Americans, sought to establish missions in the US, and poached churches. They established a two-tier status whereby only anti-gay prelates could be fully members of the Communion.

It seems now that the Episcopal Church has decided that they have done all that they can. And they refuse to be held hostage to superstitions and bigotries of foreign cultures. They selected a woman as their presiding Bishop and allowed local bishops the authority to allow same-sex marriages in their diocese.

And now they are on the brink of elevating another gay Bishop, this one possibly a lesbian. (Riverside Press Enterprise)

Two of the six candidates to replace two retiring assistant bishops are openly gay. If one or both of them is elected, he or she would become the first bishop in a same-sex relationship elected since V. Gene Robinson was chosen to head the New Hampshire diocese in 2003. That action led dozens of conservative parishes and four dioceses to vote to leave the Episcopal Church. No openly gay bishop has been consecrated since then.

The Washington Times has a profile of one candidate, Rev. Mary Glasspool.

Clergy in the Los Angeles diocese tell me that she’s got a decent chance because her executive experience in Baltimore assisting the bishop and mentoring clergy ranks her above the other five candidates for the two jobs.

It is certainly possible that the church may select any of the other four candidates for the two positions. However, should it do so, it will not be a some form of concession to anti-gay activists. If a new gay bishop is not selected tomorrow, it will be another time soon.

The Episcopal Church has moved on into the 21st Century and refuses to be any longer shackled by the homophobia of Nigerians and Ugandans. It will no longer listen to those at home who would rather align themselves with foreign prelates who would execute gays or condemn them to a life sentence than stay in communion with their gay Christian neighbors. And I think that the Episcopal Church is better for it.

Comments

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Ben in Oakland
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Well, the excrement will surely hit the air conditioning over this, but i think it is a very positive step. I love it when rleigious people actually stand up for goodness rather than the usual things that they often stand up for which aren’t about goodness at all…

… if you know what I mean.

Burr
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Keep trolling the bigots I say, select them both!

Debbie Thurman
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

FYI, here is another perspective from a man commenting at Andrew Marin’s blog about the Anglican break with Episcopalians, with an African slant:

http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2009/breaking-news-in-uganda/comment-page-1/#comment-2054

Timothy Kincaid
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Debbie,

Based on what I have read, much of what is claimed is blatantly false.

However, even assuming for a moment that everything that this anti-gay African says is true, it still remains EVIL to treat gay people in the way that the prelate of Uganda supports.

Personally, I just cannot find it within myself to justify evil. I don’t see evil as “an African slant” or as “another perspective”. And I will not “be slow to condemn the church in Uganda” when it endorses evil either explicitly or implicitly.

Because, Debbie, I abhor evil.

I invite you – and the Church of Uganda – to join me.

Burr
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

Wow that post is such a load of crap. The anti-gay Anglicans want their cake and to eat it too.. You can’t separate from Episcopals and still cry for their money. I really doubt “promoting gay marriage in Uganda” was requested of them either, just an agreement not to be self-righteous whinybabies about what another diocese does.

Eric
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

@Debbie Thurman:

“She was quite clear that their church was against violence done against anyone who was gay, but they feel compelled to speak out because of the pressure being put on them by gay activists…”

So violence is bad but execution and imprisonment is ok?

“Is Uganda trying to legislate morality?”

No. It is trying to practice genocide against an unpopular minority.

Elise
December 3rd, 2009 | LINK

… And whip up hysteria against a reliable scapegoat to distract the people of Uganda from a corrupt government and president who are doing nothing to address the real problems of the country.

Not that we’ve ever seen that before.

Debbie Thurman
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

“I invite you – and the Church of Uganda – to join me.”

I’ve been on board for a while now, as you know. I can’t speak to the truth in any of the assertions the commenter made. It is just another perspective to consider about money.

Duncan
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

I once read an interview on http://www.islamonline.net of an African episcopal clergyman, I don’t remember who, commenting on this. He accused the Americans of being colonialist and trying to impose its values on the rest of the world by appointing V. Robinson “with no consultation” from the other churches. It never occurred to him that he was the one demanding that foreigners change a decision that affected only them, the real definition of moral imperialism.

On another note, it has been suggested that the immediate conflict will die out when the leadership -mostly anti-gay, but possibly the other side to some extent- realises that their obsession over this issue is not shared by the ordinary church members.

Donnchadh
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

Sorry, I should have signed with the Gaelic spelling of my name.

Timothy Kincaid
December 4th, 2009 | LINK

Debbie,

I know that you are trying to see the perspective of the gay community. And that is commendable.

But you also seem to be trying to encourage gay people to see and sympathize with the perspective of those who want to execute them. I don’t think that is going to happen. Not all “perspectives” are reasonable or worth considering.

And we cannot not ignore the facts of the matter and pretend that the perspective you report is truthful or has merit. At BTB we are VERY familiar with the chain of events and cannot ignore them so as to see a perspective.

The situation in Uganda (and Nigeria and several other African national churches) is certainly multi-faceted. But it is NOT based in some foreign pressure to change. Actually it is better seen as exactly the opposite.

When the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada began to accept gay Christians as equal members of the body, this was deemed unacceptable to Anglicans on the African continent. The “breaking point” was when the Episcopal Church elevated a gay man to be bishop, resulting in a situation where heterosexuals actually answered to a gay man – a paradigm which is anathema to those who see gay people as worthy of incarceration and execution.

Although your Ugandan source is claiming “pressure”, the Episcopalians did not seek to change theological positions in Africa or demand anything of them. Rather, the African prelates demanded that Canada and the United States obey them, and change their beliefs and policies. Africans united in an effort to expel the Episcopal Church from the Anglican Communion unless the Americans did what the Africans dictated. And they have been, to a great extent, successful in doing exactly that.

To their great credit, the Episcopal Church did not respond with, “then we will keep our money” but instead tried to find ways to continue support. However the African churches refused the “tainted” money.

When you come here sharing tales from some Ugandan about how they were “pressured”, we already know that this is not an honest “perspective”. They were the ones exerting pressure. And they were assisted by Americans seeking to use the African churches as a tool to weaken the Episcopal Church in the United States.

The Africans have been astonishingly arrogant. Beyond anything that one would ever find believable. They have said, in effect, to the Americans:

“You will elect only the Bishops we find acceptable and will conduct only the sacraments of which we approve.

We will seek to destabilize your churches; we will declare that any breakaways are under our diocese even though this is unacceptable in the Communion. We will seek to evangelize to your members and proselytize openly.

We will denounce you and cut off communion with you. We will insist that we will not come to Lambeth if you are allowed in the room. We will harm you in any manner that we can.

Further, we will discard human rights and endorse cruelty and defy the world.

However, you must give us millions of dollars, no questions asked, no strings attached, even though we will use your money to harm you.”

So we have already seen their “perspective”. We recognize it. It is evil.

Debbie, perhaps you are not familiar with the chain of events. I hope that you will take a few hours and read our coverage so as to have a more complete understanding:

Uganda

Nigeria and Peter Akinola

Scott Lively

Burr
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

It’s official, they picked another one. Congrats to Rev. Mary Glasspool!

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h_IMe5KdW7-YS9ypcVLy79XKraCQD9CDEQ080

Richard W. Fitch
December 5th, 2009 | LINK

Here is the candidate’s own statement:
http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com/2009/12/statement-by-mary-glasspool.html
Although this action must be ratified by the representatives of the whole EC-USA, it would appear at this time to be a done deal. Congratulations, Mary, and to the Diocese of LA.

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