Well folks, those jolly Episcopalians (and my Presbyterian buddies) are at it again. Interesting time: worldwide, the Anglican communion is standing with Biblical teaching. However, are American Bishops going to let those Africans tell them what the Bible says? American theo-liberals must be thinking, "Those primitives need to get with the times!" Perish the thought that liberals could be racists! Oops, I let the secret slip...
Episcopalians reject ban on gay bishops
Presbyterian Church approves leeway for ordaining gays
Tuesday, June 20, 2006; Posted: 9:30 p.m. EDT (01:30 GMT)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Episcopal delegates Tuesday snubbed Anglican leaders' request to temporarily stop electing openly gay bishops, a vote that further frustrated conservatives in the American church and could hasten a break with Anglicans worldwide.
The vote by the Episcopal House of Deputies came just hours before Presbyterians, at a separate meeting, approved a plan to let local congregations hire gay ministers if they wish. In Columbus, wrenching debate over the moratorium on gay bishops stretched over two days in the House of Deputies, a legislative body of more than 800 clergy and lay leaders.
Top Anglican officials had asked the Episcopalians for a temporary ban to calm the outrage among conservatives over the election three years ago of Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, who lives with his longtime male partner.
In a complex balloting system, a majority of deputies voted against a measure that would have urged dioceses to refrain from electing gay bishops. Conservatives complained that the proposal stopped short of a moratorium, but supporters argued it would have set a moral standard for the church and would have signaled that the American denomination understood the concerns of Anglican leaders.
Outgoing Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, the head of the denomination, said he would use his authority to call a special session Wednesday morning to address the issue again. The meeting will include both the deputies and the church's other policymaking body, the House of Bishops.
In an emotional speech on the floor of that house Tuesday night, Robinson said he had been awake since 4 a.m., praying about how to resolve the conflict between his deep commitment to both unity and to full inclusion for gays and lesbians.
"I desperately want to preserve this communion," Robinson said. "But I can't do so at the expense of my own integrity and that of my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ." Canon Martyn Minns, a conservative leader and rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Virginia, said the deputies' vote showed the impossibility of reconciling Anglicans with different views about the Bible and homosexuality.
"It's too hard. It's a gap too wide," he said. "Unhappily, this decision seems to show that the Episcopal Church has chosen to walk apart from the rest of the Anglican Communion."
The critical vote in the Episcopal Church happened on a day when another American Protestant denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), decided at a session in Birmingham, Alabama, to allow gay clergy, lay elders and deacons to work with local congregations.
A measure approved 298-221 by a national assembly keeps in place a Presbyterian church law that says clergy and lay elders and deacons must limit sexual relations to man-woman marriage.
But the new legislation says local congregations and regional presbyteries can exercise some flexibility when choosing clergy and lay officers of local congregations if sexual orientation or other issues arise.*
Mainline Protestant groups, including the Methodists and the largest U.S. Lutheran branch, have been struggling for decades over the traditional Christian prohibition on gay sex as lesbians and gays push for full inclusion in their churches. The issue has frequently dominated debate at national Protestant assemblies.
The Episcopal Church is the U.S. arm of the 77 million-member Anglican Communion, the fellowship of churches with roots that trace back to the Church of England.
While conservatives are a minority within the American denomination, the majority of overseas Anglican leaders oppose actively gay clergy. They have pressured Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the communion's spiritual leader, to take some action against Episcopalians if they fail to adhere to that view.
Many Anglican churches have already broken ties with the U.S. church over Robinson's elevation. And if overseas leaders dislike the outcome of this week's meeting, it greatly increases the chances that the association of 38 national churches will break apart.
Williams has repeatedly expressed concern that the feud over homosexuality would lead to a permanent rift.
"We cannot survive as a communion of churches without some common convictions about what it is to live and to make decisions as the Body of Christ," he wrote in a message to the General Convention when it began last week.
*Medically, we call this schizophrenia.