Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Preaching While Gay

The Lead reports that Archbishop Rowan Williams has barred Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire from preaching or presiding while in England. Bishop Robinson has agreed to comply, although he submits to a moral travesty that should be an embarrassment to every Anglican.
Meanwhile, no similar measure has been taken against Archbishop Akinola or Presiding Bishop Venables, both of whom (amongst others) continue to actively violate provincial boundaries, snapping up clergy, parishes, and dioceses outside of their jurisdiction. All this continues despite protest from their peers. All this continues even though it flouts the Windsor Report, which was reportedly cited as another reason to bar Bishop Robinson from simply preaching and presiding. Yet, by all accounts, Akinola and Venables and their cohorts are still invited to Lambeth while Bishop Robinson is not.
The justification used to bar Bishop Robinson appears to me to be the moral ecclesiastical equivalent of "driving while black" -- preaching or presiding while gay. Truly, it smacks of Donatism. How can the greater world not draw the conclusion that his preaching or presiding is somehow perceived as diminished or less Spirit-filled -- less fruitful for the Church, in England at least -- simply because he is gay?
The primary reason Archbishop Williams appears to have given for this decision is to forestall further controversy in the Communion. I submit that this is a futile effort, exhibits no substantive leadership, and only further victimizes our gay and lesbian sisters and brothers. In the end, it constitutes only a demonstration of raw heterosexism: a prejudice against gays combined with an exercise in clerical power.
This marks another sad day in Anglican history and will do nothing to resolve the ongoing crisis.
Update: Tobias Haller has some graceful perspective on this day, and on Bishop Robinson's response, which is more graceful than many of our own.


Jim Strader said...

thanks for your prophetic and wise words. I comprehend practically how + V Gene looses his authority to celebrate the Eucharist or preach while he is in England. The fact that he is openly gay and partnered seemingly disrupts his ecclesiastical authority to function as a priest over there. Gees, how many closeted gay priests are there in the UK?

The ontological fact is that he's a priest/bishop of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, not the Church of England. Bishop Robinson certainly possesses more faith and patience than I do. ++Rowan can't seem to get out of his own way or the way of the primates who seek for anything but conversation and consideration such as +V Gene offers to them and to us.

susan s. said...

I don't know the number of CGPs, but the percentage of unmarried priests that are Gay is very high according to one friend I have in England.