Religion in the News: Anglicans Can’t Resolve Growing Tensions about Acceptability of Homosexuality

I know! I was also shocked to learn that religious institutions are concerning themselves with where people choose to put their private parts. But you read right.

The Issue

The Lambeth Conference, a once a decade event that assembles 670 Anglican bishops from around the world in Canterbury, is coming to an end, and one of the most contentious issues was how to deal with the presence of homosexuality within the church – both at the clergy and member levels. Apparently, there’s been a harsh division that’s only worsened since some homosexual clergymen were actually ordained.

The issue of homosexuality and its permissibility within the church was discussed at the conference, but apparently no conclusions were reached, perhaps due to the divided structure of the debate and discussion. Leaders who organized the conference think the inability to make decisions was positive since this issue is only moving towards an irreconcilable split within the Anglican Church.

My Thoughts

My dilemma here is whether or not to care if the Anglican Church splits over the issue of homosexuality. If it’s not obvious that I’m for letting people do that which makes them happy so long as they aren’t harming other people, I think I’ll go ahead and state that now, emphasizing that I think gay people should be allowed to do as they please. Why should I care? It doesn’t affect me and it’s not hurting others. What should anyone care?

Well, I imagine that religious fellows care because if they tolerate homosexuality and God really does turn out to hate homosexuals then these religious leaders fear that they will be sent to Hell for allowing it. I suppose that’s something to worry about if you’re convinced of such things. So since I’m not here to convince anyone to alter their worldviews, I have to return to what I can worry about: how much I care about the fate of the Anglican Church.

Why should we care at all what happens in the Anglican Church, you ask? Well, for one, if the church splits, it will become two separate churches, one fairly liberal (that tolerates homosexuality) and the other conservative (that shuns homosexuality). Currently, those factions keep one another in check and we have one institution that struggles internally with policy. That means people pretty much do what they want and though some people try to stop them, there’s no official policy backing their decisions.

On the other hand, if the Church splits, we will have one progressive religious institution (which I’m down with) but another institution that is dominated by religious conservatives and people who think that tradition is of the utmost importance. It’s basically the bishop’s call the way his territory goes; that means people in countries with fewer rights (e.g. African ones) will be subject to harsh persecutions for their life choices. People subject to the authority of this conservative “bent” will be screwed – but not by who they want. Already, some Nigerians have already had to flee their homes, seeking sanctuary in England, because the leaders of their church have sufficient power to hurt them.

This is my concern: that the conservative half of the church will become increasingly conservative and continue hurting and destroying the lives of people who are making their own decisions. Thus, I do care if the Anglican Church splits over the issue of homosexuality because the last thing I want is more conservative religious institutions in this world.

What do you think about this issue? Do you support the ordaining of homosexual bishops? Do you care if the Anglican Church splits over this issue? Are you Anglican and can you shed some light on this issue for us?

Click HERE to read about the Pope and his trip to Australia and HERE to read about some of the new changes starting this week at The Zen of South Park blog.