Thursday, 23 June 2016

Anglicans and Sexuality: A Way Forward?

A report has been published by the Institute for Public Affairs at the London School of Economics: Anglicans and Sexuality: A Way Forward?

The purpose of this study was to consider the role, both historic and current, of the Anglican Communion, and individual provinces and churches that make up the Communion, in efforts to bring about the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults. It asked a simple question: should an independent commission be set up to look at all aspects of criminalisation and seek ways in which Anglicans can come to a better understanding of these issues and how they can engage with governments, legislatures and the public in countries which criminalise same-sex relationships?

The full text of the report is available here.

Some media accounts of it:

Church Times :Give gay decriminalisation priority, Anglicans told

Episcopal News Service: Report urges Anglicans to defeat laws criminalizing same-sex behavior

And Episcopal Café had this: Anglican Communion urged to combat criminalization of homosexuality.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 9:30am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion
Comments

«On Monday, one of the authors, Dr Kevin Childs, said that he regarded decriminalisation and same-sex marriage as “two entirely different issues."»

Suppose several top international footballers were openly gay and openly married. That would be positive examples which would have a cultural impact in a football-mad country like Kenya. Only there aren't top footballers who are out and married. There is still huge homophobia in sport.

So criminalisation and same sex marriage are part of the same issue because by addressing homophobia in the West, iconic gay couples can then have a cultural impact in Africa.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 11:42am BST

Good to see the rainbow hovering over the ruins of Coventry Cathedral on the cover of this report. That seems to be a prophetic sign of hope rising out of the devastation of monolithic structures of institutional misunderstanding on matters of gender and sexuality. Perhaps a new understanding of these matters can now live side by side with the old one - just like the old cathedral coexists with the wonderful ecclecticism of the new.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 12:42pm BST

But priests are still being 'criminalised' in the Church of England if they choose to get married to the person they devotedly love.

And gay sexuality is still theologically 'criminalised' by the bishops, the Primates, the resort to Higton as the status quo, and by large numbers of evangelical Christians.

The Church of England cannot combat overseas criminalising of gay and lesbian people from a moral high ground, and indeed, there is a sense in which speeches against homophobia and criminalisation - right in themselves - can act as distractors that appear to absolve the Church of England's continuing discrimination and marginalisation of lesbian and gay people in this country.

"We are opposed to homophobia, but we'll carry on discriminating, thanks."

Having said all that, attempts to help LGBTI people overseas in abusive regimes are obviously a positive thing. It's just that you can respect the voices of TEC, who have acted courageously as a beacon for these minorities, whereas the voice of Lambeth just frankly sounds hypocritical.

'Yes, Mr Mugabe, most of us agree that sex should be reserved for heterosexual people. We're frankly on your side on that.'

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 2:10pm BST

"...there cannot be any question that the victimisation of men and women on the basis of their sexuality, through the law, through the media, through the pulpit, is in any way an acceptable or condonable reality for the Communion."

I personally think that a Commission would be a constructive idea, though the suggestion that it should be based in London would arguably make it seem like an external intrusion on other nations' culture and affairs.

The concluding quote of the report, at the head of this comment, begs the question: "Isn't this going on week by week, in many Anglican churches?" when it comes to "the victimisation of men and women on the basis of their sexuality... through the pulpit."

Therefore there may be a strong case for such a Commission to be carried out by a completely independent group, with Anglican leaders consulted, but not nominated to commissioner roles on it.

The problem is the lack of moral authority that Anglican leaders tend to have. An obvious exception would be someone like Desmond Tutu, but the dilemma is that if you appoint liberal-minded people, then sexually conservative Anglican Provinces will perceive the commission as biased; and if you appoint conservative Anglican leaders, then how do you justify the theological vilification that goes on under their watch?

As implied by the report, doing nothing is no help at all to LGBTI people in oppressive regimes, but the subverting factor is that week in week out opposition to gay sex by the Church in some ways 'offers cover' to those who want to criminalise in law. 'After all,' they can say, 'even the Church says these people are wrong and carrying out unnatural activities that are sinful and an abomination to God.'

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 2:44pm BST

«On Monday, one of the authors, Dr Kevin Childs, said that he regarded decriminalisation and same-sex marriage as “two entirely different issues."»

Yes. One is about the mistreatment of gay people while the other is only about the mistreatment of gay Christians..

Posted by: Daniel Berry, NYC on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 8:22pm BST

*he regarded decriminalisation and same-sex marriage as “two entirely different issues."*

In the same way that the ending of slavery and the abolition of miscegnation laws are entirely different issues. One is about facing up to racism. The other is about facing up to racism.

Posted by: Interested Observer on Thursday, 23 June 2016 at 11:41pm BST

We should remember that criminalisation of LGBT people is an issue in the UK too. It is illegal for someone who has undergone gender reassignment not to reveal that before sex, regardless of whether they have had surgery and regardless of whether they have a Gender Recognition Certificate. Forced outing is bad enough, but telling isn't enough, they have to be able to prove they told their partner. So a recorded delivery letter maybe? Before sex, get out a video camera and record telling your partner your life history?

Get it wrong and face several years in jail.

It's even possible that the UK has more LGBT people in jail for commuting a crime only LGBT people can commit than many of the countries regarded as oppressive. Only it doesn't make the news. It doesn't make reports. And ABC doesn't speak up against it.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 24 June 2016 at 1:25pm BST

It is illegal for someone who has undergone gender reassignment not to reveal that before sex, regardless of whether they have had surgery and regardless of whether they have a Gender Recognition Certificate.....and only right too.

This is as elementary as a marriage certificate stating your previous marital status.

A marriage where one of the parties hid their birth identity would be null and void.

Posted by: robert ian williams on Monday, 4 July 2016 at 7:38am BST
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