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.