The Renegade Rip

Openly gay bishop divides Episcopalians

Seth Nidever

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When openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson was consecrated Nov. 3 in a New Hampshire sports arena, observers were confronted with the ludicrous sight of police sharpshooters on the roof, according to the Africa News Service.

It was a display worthy of a soccer match, complete with screaming crowds separated by mounted police.

Those who see the Episcopal Church as a glorified secular support group will find ample confirmation for that view in the church’s decision to ordain an openly gay man as bishop despite biblical injunctions and 2,000 years of Christian tradition to the contrary.

Even from a secular perspective, it was a breathtakingly undemocratic choice. Essentially, a tiny U.S.-based minority told the vast majority of worldwide Anglicans – who, based on recent statements, believe homosexuality is wrong – to take a hike.

Indeed, on the strength of that overwhelming majority, the Anglican Communion’s 1998 Lambeth Conference affirmed that homosexuality was “incompatible” with biblical teaching.

These remarkable incongruities moved Australian Archbishop Peter Jensen to call the choice of Robinson “schismatic.”

He’s absolutely right. The decision effectively demonstrates that much of the Episcopal Church – the U.S. wing of the 70 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion – has abandoned both Christian tradition and the larger Anglican community.

It is amazing to reflect on the ethnocentrism reflected in the New Hampshire group’s choice for bishop.

According to the Times of India, Nigerian Anglican leader Peter Akinola spoke for an organization said to represent 50 million Anglicans in Asia, Africa and Latin America when he said, “We deplore the acts of those bishops (50 attended the ceremony) who have taken part in the consecration which has now divided the church.”

Akinola’s statement signaled that fidelity to Christian teaching is alive and well in the non-Western world. Meanwhile, Episcopalians who back Robinson have chosen to reject church teachings in favor of a secular agenda that has nothing to do with Christianity.

Bishop Robinson said that those who reject his consecration should be viewed with “compassion.” He was right, but the admonition should be applied to his supporters, not to those who have remained faithful to church teaching. If the Anglican Communion splits, Robinson’s supporters will have only themselves to blame.

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Openly gay bishop divides Episcopalians