It hasn’t taken long for liberal Anglican cleric, Giles Fraser to point out the inevitable result of the Church of England’s ruling that it will appoint celibate homosexual bishops even if they are in civil partnerships. The candidates will lie about their sex lives. Fraser takes it one step further: homosexual candidates have a moral obligation to lie about their sex lives – to lie for Jesus.
Sometimes we lie for self-advancement. Morally, it’s a no-brainer that this is wrong. But at other times, we lie because we don’t trust another with the truth. Because we have good reason to believe that they will use it to hurt us or others. In the case of sexually active gay priests and bishops, this fear is wholly justified. It is perfectly proper that ordinarily people should maintain a strong presumption in favour of truth telling. But the situation in which gay people in the church find themselves is far from ordinary. Physical intimacy is a moral good, the very incarnation of love. Those who enforce celibacy on the basis of sexuality are maintaining a system of oppression that brings misery and loneliness to many.
I believe all Christians have a moral duty to resist this cruelty. Lying to the church authorities, in these conditions, is a bit like disobeying an unjust order. It’s a form of non-violent resistance.
There is little doubt that the Church of England is following the path forged by North American Anglicanism: it is attracting an increasing number of homosexual clergy, clergy who have no intention of being celibate. As Fraser goes on to note:
Years ago, a gay priest friend of mine, just coming out, asked me if I’d go along with him to a gay club in Birmingham. He didn’t want to go on his own. But he needn’t have worried. There were loads of priests in the club.
One of the very worst aspects of the Anglican homosexual clergy debacle is the rabid reaction they experience when their self-inflated eligibility for career advancement is thwarted.
Here, the former bishop of Oxford wails about the “terrible terrible trauma” of not making bishop, the anguish of which makes the martyrdom, torture and persecution of myriads of Christians living in hostile lands pale to insignificance.
Speaking about nominating his friend Dr John for bishop, he said: “After initially accepting that nomination, the archbishop was put under from huge pressure from around the Anglican communion and eventually Jeffrey John felt, for the good of the church as a whole, he ought to step down and not accept the position, which was a terrible, terrible trauma for him and for all of us involved.”
Homosexual Western clergy should stop behaving like teenage girls whose feelings have been hurt, grow up, muster a smidgen of humility and do the job they claim God has called them to do. Or they should quit and find a job where they don’t have to lie about their sex lives.
Love Free or Die is the title of a documentary film about Gene Robinson, the first – but not the last – overtly homosexual bishop in The Episcopal Church.
The title of the film seems to imply that Bishop Robinson would prefer death to the fettering of his sexual inclinations. As things turned out, not only is he still with us but he became a bishop, a darling of the Anglican liberal establishment and has had a movie made about him. To add to the collection of “firsts”, Robinson was the first bishop to wear a bullet-proof vest at his ordination, demonstrating a determination to avoid the second option mentioned in the title of the documentary.
Naturally, the bishop is a hero to the Diocese of Westminster, so it is allowing Integrity Vancouver to screen the documentary in one of its churches: St. David’s Anglican Church. In spite of having a title that is an amalgam of Born Free and Die Hard, the film isn’t particularly popular: this is its first appearance in Canada and, in order to entice people to see it, St. David’s showing is free.
Here is the trailer in which, oddly enough, those who oppose same-sex marriage are clearly homophobic bigots and those who are for it are pioneering justice-seekers forging a bright new world full of love, compassion and – gay bishops.
According to homosexual MP, Chris Bryant.
Anyone who has ever heard Jeffrey John preach, read his poetry or met him knows that he is a man of immense spirituality who should have been made a bishop years ago.
Sadly, the Church of England has got its cassocks so firmly in a twist that it seems completely incapable of coming to the same conclusion, purely and simply because he’s gay.
But in a classic twist of English logic, the Church still maintains that it’s fine and dandy to be gay just so long as you don’t do anything about it.
Celibacy is the rule – especially for the clergy – as same-sex sex is definitely off-limits.
There are two problems with this. For a start it is a great big lie. It ludicrously pretends that Jeffrey would be the first-ever gay bishop.
But I remember terribly anguished and frighteningly closeted gay bishops in my theological college back in the Eighties. One became quite a close friend, and his relief the moment he retired and took up residence with his lover of 20 years was a sad joy to behold.
And 10 years ago a bishop asked me, in all seriousness, whether it was wrong that he had just decided that he had to appoint a straight man to a particular inner-city parish because literally every other vicar in the area was gay.
There are that many homosexual priests and bishops in the Church of England?
If it’s twisted logic to expect a homosexual priest to be celibate because his condition is a part of his nature, it must also be twisted logic to expect a sinner not to sin because his condition is a part of his nature. Welcome to the Church of Antinomianism.
A controversial gay dean has threatened to take the Church of England to court after he was blocked from becoming a bishop.
The Very Rev Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, has instructed an eminent employment lawyer to complain to Church officials after being rejected for the role of Bishop of Southwark.
Sources say the dean, one of the most contentious figures in the Church, believes he could sue officials under the Equality Act 2010, which bans discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. Such a case could create a damaging new rift within the CoE.
Dr John has instructed Alison Downie, partner and head of employment at London lawyers Goodman Derrick, to write to the Commission to suggest it risks breaching gay equality laws if it is blocking the dean over his homosexuality.
Even if his homosexuality didn’t disqualify the Very Rev Jeffrey John from becoming a bishop, in appealing to secular laws to make his case, he surely further disqualifies himself by demonstrating that he prefers manmade secular authority to the church’s authority.
If he’s successful, John should, at his consecration, not be asked “Do you believe that God is calling you to this ministry?” but, instead: “Do you believe that the Equality Act is calling you to this ministry?”
Jeffrey John was not appointed as bishop of Southwark because he is a homosexual in a same-sex civil partnership; he is now celibate, though that was not always the case.
The latest evidence of prejudice against homosexual people in the Church of England has come from the leaked Colin Slee memo and advice that Archbishop Rowan Williams sought in order to get around the Equality Act (2010). This counsel was to ensure that a gay man, ie Jeffrey John, was not appointed as bishop of Southwark. A cunning checklist was devised, consisting of five questions:
• whether the candidate had always complied with the Church’s teachings on same-sex sexual activity;
• whether he was in a civil partnership;
• whether he was in a continuing civil partnership with a person with whom he had had an earlier same-sex relationship;
• whether he had expressed repentance for any previous same-sex sexual activity; and
• whether (and to what extent) the appointment of the candidate would cause division and disunity within the diocese in question, the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion.
By my reckoning, Jeffrey John fails on five out of five. One could be forgiven for thinking that this is a list deliberately designed to exclude him.
Of course, these questions seem inappropriate, invasive and irrelevant. The sex life of my bishop is of zero interest to me, as long as it attests to the values of love and faithfulness that we expound in the church.
The author of this article, Lesley Fellows is an Anglican priest and makes some interesting points: it does seem that the questions were framed explicitly to disallow John from being appointed bishop. Of course, the questions are only necessary because the Church of England has lost its way and is incapable of maintaining a coherent front when it comes to sex. If there were no actively homosexual priests – and there shouldn’t be – the five questions would never have been asked.
Apparently, Fellows has no interest in the sex life of her bishop, “as long as it attests to the values of love and faithfulness that we expound in the church.” But if Fellows has absolutely no interest in the sex life of her bishop, how would she know that it really does attest “to the values of love and faithfulness that we expound in the church”? It seems to me that Fellows and, indeed the whole Anglican Church, is exceeding interested to the point of obsession with people’s sex-lives: if men are not allowed to have sex with other men and women with other women, church liberals go into paroxysms of outrage at ecclesiastical injustice, exclusion, prejudice and homophobia.
Never was there a church more preoccupied with sex than Western Anglicanism.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he has “no problem” with gay people being bishops but they must remain celibate.
In his first explicit declaration on the subject since taking office in 2002, Dr Rowan Williams signalled his personal support for the consecration of gay bishops in the Church of England but said he would never endorse gay clergy in relationships because of tradition and historical “standards” .
His comments, in an interview in the Times, risk deepening divisions within the church and the wider Anglican communion. Liberals will be angered by his explicit acknowledgement that celibacy must be compulsory for homosexual clergy but not for heterosexuals. While conservative ire will be fuelled by his stance which puts him at odds with church teaching.
In the interview, Williams explained why he has stood with conservatives against homosexuality when it came to official church policy.
He said that he could not endorse gay relationships for clergy and bishops because “the cost to the church overall was too great to be borne at that point”.
And the problem with this is in the last three words. Williams has made it clear that this is a move to soften up the recalcitrant conservative opposition in preparation for the time when non-celibate homosexual bishops won’t be a cost “too great to be borne.”
This has been the liberal strategy all along and, by and large, conservative Anglicans have fallen for it.
From the Telegraph:
An openly-homosexual cleric has been nominated to become a senior bishop, in a move that threatens to provoke a damaging split in the Church of England.
A confidential meeting, chaired by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has approved Dr Jeffrey John, the Dean of St Albans, to be on the shortlist to be the next Bishop of Southwark.
He is understood to be the favoured candidate.
Dr John is a hugely divisive figure in the church after he was forced to stand down from becoming the Bishop of Reading in 2003 after it emerged he was in a homosexual, but celibate, relationship.
Promoting him to one of the most senior offices in the Church would trigger a civil war between liberals and conservatives and exacerbate existing divisions within the Anglican Communion.
Rowan Williams must know that making Dr. Jeffrey John a bishop will create similar havoc in the UK that Gene Robinson’s consecration as bishop did in the US; why is he allowing it to proceed?
Perhaps because Dr. John is in a “celibate relationship” – although it wasn’t always the case:
Canon John, a prominent gay rights advocate, had been in an active homosexual relationship but said he had been celibate for a number of years.
Part of the problem seems to me to be Dr. John’s motive in all this. He must know that his becoming a bishop will cause strife, but presumably thinks the strife is worth it for the sake of advancing what he sees as gay rights in the church.
The fact that he lives with his ex-lover and civil partner, does little to alleviate possible suspicions that he might loosen up a little on the celibacy aspect of the relationship occasionally. This has nothing to do with his being gay: the same suspicion would be present if he were a heterosexual living celibately with his girlfriend. Just because someone is celibate, it doesn’t mean they are beyond temptation – rather the reverse.
So does Dr. John have an agenda of his own in all this? Obviously.
For those that doubted the reality of the multiverse, The Anglican Church – TEC specifically – has produced incontrovertible evidence that alternate universes do exist. They must, Katherine Jefferts Schori inhabits one:
Episcopal leader Jefferts Schori says anger over gay ordination has eased.
The Episcopal Church USA and its sister churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion have stronger relationships in many ways now than before the American church angered the more conservative members by consecrating a gay bishop, the church’s presiding bishop said Friday….
She said fallout from the 2003 decision to consecrate Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire appears to have settled out for the most part.
“The reactivity right now is much, much less than it was seven years ago,” she said during an interview at Christ Church, where Waldo’s consecration will take place.
“I think the church, and certainly the part of the church in the United States, is reasonably clear about where we’re going, even though everybody doesn’t agree. And those in the church, I think, are willing to live with that tension.”
You will notice that residents of this interpenetrating dimension wear funny pointed hats; it is suspected that the hats house a jamming device designed to prevent rational thought from disrupting the inhabitants’ harmonious – if illusory – euphoria.