Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Associated Press: Few Satisfied in Church Gay Debate

The Associated Press: Few Satisfied in Church Gay Debate

Advocates on both sides of the Anglican battle over homosexuality registered their unhappiness Wednesday with the attempt by U.S. bishops to keep their place in the global communion. Supporters of gay clergy accused American Episcopal bishops of caving in to pressure from conservatives, while traditionalists criticized what they said was a cleverly worded declaration of defiance...Bishop David Beetge, vicar general of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said he welcomed the decision "for the simple reason it gives us more space and time to talk to each other"...Giles Goddard, who chairs Inclusive Church in Britain, said attempts to reconcile the split were now effectively dead.

If "orthodox" Anglicans accept this they're fools. It's the same old thing: fudge and stall, put on a show of making accommodations which in fact change nothing to buy time so that the warlords can politick, twist arms and pick off dissenters behind the scenes until, they assume, the opposition opposition is shrunk to the point where they can drown it in a bathtub. And of course they're certain that if they stall long enough they can win because they have compete confidence in their ability to play politics and "use psychology" to get whatever they want.

That was exactly how they drove through the new Prayer Book--which ultimately drove me away from the Church. We were told it we could still have whatever we wanted--the new Prayer Book just provided more options. And certainly we could have Elizabethan English and a service that was virtually indistinguishable from the old one in Rite I, which just tidied things up. And then there was the main selling point: the Eucharist would be the main Sunday Service in all churches--the church would be "more Catholic."

Then I started reading the literature and going to conferences. Rite I was a temporary accommodation for "the old people" who, it was hoped, would soon die off and a device for "weaning" us away from liturgy as we knew it. In any case, the claim that there would be "more options" was boloney because even if there were more options for priests we laypeople had to day whatever they dished out. And, naturally, their program was weaning us away from the old liturgy. They forced this garbage on us until the opposition dropped off out of sheer exhaustion and most people simply forgot how good church used to be. By the end of the century, when I left, it was even safe occasionally to show what it was like--in special events at some places where they did historic liturgies of the Anglican Church, from 1549, 1662 and 1929, as quaint period pieces with the message that they were terribly interesting but see you wouldn't want to do it like this any more.

How would I bet on the current affair? I think most conservatives will take the bait. A few will bail, but the majority will be mollified, imagining that these political operators are in good faith--just as I did when they said that Rite I and Rite II would be on equal footing, that it was just a matter of providing more options. And when they swallow this poop in order to keep the Anglican Communion together the whole thing will drag on while nothing of any substance changes. There will, of course, be no more high profile ordinations of gay bishops as such though bishops who are gay will still be ordained as they always have been. Parishes that cater for a gay clientele will bless same-sex unions. The litigation will go on and on and on as conservative churches make plays for their property and the Episcopal Church will keep bleeding members.

That's my bet about how the Anglican Communion ends--not in my lifetime, and not with a bang but with a whimper.


Anonymous said...

As an unrepentedly knuckle-dragging conservative, I can only say that your post is spot on! We got into this mess by institutional dishonest of staggering proportions.

I also was driven from TEC. In my last talk with the rector, one of the points I made was that if TEC had shown honesty and small "i" integrity, I did not think the church would be doing what it is now doing. However, if it were, it would have a moral authority which would force me to take its arguments more seriously.

Unknown said...

At my "exit interview," Alan, the rector told me that much as he understood my issues there weren't enough people in the Church who had my interests for the Church to accommodate them and asked if I'd thought of "trying" non-Christian religions. I thought I was taking a break from the Church, but that made me realize that I wouldn't be back for a long time, if ever.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia.
This reference gives a unique understanding of the politics of sexuality, especially of those of the sex paranoid puritans on the "conservative" side.


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