Changing Attitude has this: Changing Attitude Nigeria urges international action against Same Sex Marriage Act. It concludes thus:
…Archbishop Peter Akinola is said to be doing last minute lobbying of Anglicans in the House of Representatives and the Government to ensure the bill is voted on soon and passed into law.
Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN), said:
“Changing Attitude Nigeria stands as a reminder to the world-wide Anglican Communion that the Church of Nigeria is promoting and supporting a bill which will erode the most basic human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”
“Archbishop Peter Akinola has committed himself to the Windsor Report which commits him to the process of listening to LGBT people. If he is honest and serious about listening to LGBT members in his Province he must speak out now in condemnation of this bill and ensure that it is defeated.”
“I am very worried because very few Nigerian LGBT activists are free to speak out in a country which already has repressive anti-gay legislation on the statute book. The bill is moving very fast and although some people think the bill will fall, the Church sponsors are not giving up and neither are we.“
“Conservative Christians want to use Nigeria as an example to other African countries to demonstrate that anti-gay legislation can be passed which criminalizes all affection and activity between LGBT people.”
To put this in context, another article from the Daily Trust (Abuja) is instructive, Nigeria: The Audacity of Deviants.
Jim Naughton reports in A hopeful delay in Nigeria? that
…the Nigerian legislature did not consider the hateful anti-gay legislation being supported by Archbishop Peter Akinola and the Church of Nigeria before adjourning yesterday. The legislature as currently composed does not reconvene until May, after the general election, and then only for one week…
Last week, I wrote an article for the Comment pages of the Church Times, which is now available on the public part of the website: How far churches may discriminate. Most of this article is an attempt to explain how generous the religious exemption is to churches. I also wrote:
…the initial Church of England response was only lukewarm: “The Government has gone some way to recognising the particular needs of churches and other religious organisations to act in accordance with their own convictions.” In contrast, the Christian charity Faithworks welcomed them: “The proposed SORs are an opportunity for Christians to demonstrate the love and grace of Christ.”
Sandhya Drew, a barrister who specialises in discrimination cases, commented: “People of faith who respect the principles of universal human dignity have nothing to fear from these regulations.”
This week, Bill Bowder reports fully on the latest events in Christians fight on gay Regulations.25 Comments
Episcopal News Service has a detailed report of the news conference held at the end of the American House of Bishops meeting: Bishops comment on invitation to Archbishop of Canterbury, other actions.
The Living Church has a report headed Resolutions Arose From Bishops’ Concern Over Pastoral Council Nominations.18 Comments
The Comment is free website is carrying an article by the Guardian’s Religious Affairs Correspondent, Stephen Bates. The title is Bishops to primate: drop dead.
The original on which this headline is based can be found here.44 Comments
The American Anglican Council has this AAC Statement on the Episcopal House of Bishops’ March 2007 Meeting.
Integrity has INTEGRITY APPLAUDS BISHOPS’ STRONG STAND AGAINST PRIMATES.
The Bishop of Central Florida has written a very surprising letter which can be found here.
The Bishop of Western Louisiana also wrote about it. See here.
The Bishop of New Hampshire wrote this Pastoral Letter.
Susan Russell had this Report on Post Camp Allen News Conference which includes some interesting tidbits.
Bishop Christopher Epting has written What The Bishops Didn’t Do.6 Comments
There were three bishops present and voting last night, and one retired English bishop.
Lord Harries voted against the amendment.
The Archbishop of York, the Bishop of Winchester, and the Bishop of Southwell & Nottingham each spoke for, and voted for the amendment.
Lord Eames also voted for the amendment.
You can read their speeches here (in chronological order, scroll down as necessary):
Ekklesia has commented on this aspect of the debate: Bishops reject calls to vote on Sexual Orientation Regulations and also Bishop’s vote over Sexual Orientation Regulations.
The Press Association issued Kelly welcomes gay equality law
The Public Whip analyses the Lords voting in detail here.10 Comments
For earlier reports, including UK papers this morning go here.
New York Times Episcopal Church Rejects Demand for a 2nd Leadership
Washington Post Episcopal Bishops in U.S. Defy Anglican Communion
Los Angeles Times Episcopal-Anglican rift deepens
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Episcopal bishops reject Anglican demands
Houston Chronicle Episcopal bishops spurn demands from Anglicans50 Comments
The American bishops issued A Message to God’s People…from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church.
And here is the Presiding Bishop’s homily at House of Bishops’ closing Eucharist.13 Comments
Updated Thursday morning
The amendment seeking to prevent the Regulations coming into effect was defeated by 168 to 122.
Text of amendment here.
The original government motion to approve them was then passed on a voice vote: I heard no dissent while watching the last part of the debate over the internet. I saw only three bishops present: York, Winchester and Southwell & Nottingham. (The 42 objectors must be disappointed.)
Craig Nelson was also watching and made some notes here.
Meanwhile, Zefrog has Anti-Sexual Orientation Regulations Vigil Outside Parliament – Report. It seems the demonstration was quite small.
Ekklesia has a report too: Christians demonstrate against anti-discrimination measures. (Note: this appears to relate to an earlier demonstration, see Zefrog comment below.)
The BBC has Lords support gay equality laws.
The Archbishop of York has published his speech. Anglican Mainstream has it here.
BBC Gay laws ‘a major step forward’ (Note: story originally contained untrue statement about the General Synod, now corrected.)
The Times carries a comment article by Roy Hattersley criticising Lord Carey’s reported earlier remarks about disestablishment but also mentioning the SORs (which Carey had not done): Be off with you, Lord C.
Ekklesia has Victory goes to equality in House of Lords vote.
Rowan Williams has issued this statement:
This initial response of the House of Bishops is discouraging and indicates the need for further discussion and clarification. Some important questions have still to be addressed and no one is underestimating the challenges ahead.
Laurie Goodstein in the New York Times reported Episcopals Rebuff Demands on Stance on Gays
Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press filed Episcopal Bishops Reject Ultimatum and later filed Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum from Anglican leaders.
Rebecca Trounson in the Los Angeles Times Episcopalians brace for possible church split
Bishop Chane of Washington reported in a Pastoral Letter on his diocesan website, including this:
The first resolution, “Mind of the House of Bishops Resolution Addressed to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church” passed in the House by a simple voice vote after several hours of debate. The second resolution, “To the Archbishop of Canterbury and the members of the Primates’ Steering Committee” passed unanimously. The third resolution, which puts forth “A Statement from the House of Bishops-March 20, 2007” passed by a standing vote after some modifications in language.
Update at midnight
Stephen Bates in the Guardian has US rejects Anglican ultimatum:
The worldwide Anglican church was facing its long-awaited split last night after the bishops of the US Episcopal church firmly rejected an ultimatum, proposed at a meeting of Anglican leaders in Tanzania last month, to allow American conservatives to have their own leadership because of opposition to their church’s liberal stance on homosexuality.
The decision appears to kill the hopes of Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and nominal head of the 78 million-strong worldwide communion, that he can prevent the church from dividing following the liberal US church’s decision to elect an openly gay bishop in 2003. The American bishops called unanimously for a meeting with Dr Williams, who has steered clear of visiting the US over the last four years, at the earliest possible opportunity, at their expense…
Ruth Gledhill in The Times has Anglicans closer to schism as US bishops reject gay ultimatum:
The Anglican Church took another step towards its apparently inevitable schism when US Episcopal bishops rejected the ultimatum from primates of the Anglican Communion to fall into line over homosexuals.
The bishops of the Episcopal Church accused Anglican primates of trying to drag their Church back into “a time of colonialism”. They said late on Tuesday night that they would resist the primates’ demand that they set up a new pastoral scheme with a “primatial vicar” to make a traditionalist enclave for antigay conservatives who reject the oversight of liberal bishops. They said that the scheme “violated” their canons, or Church law.
Christian gays in Britain yesterday welcomed the US decision and accused the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who chaired last month’s primates’ meeting in Tanzania, of trying to “sell them down the river” and of pandering to “forces of the extreme Right”.
Ephraim Radner who just attended the HoB meeting at Camp Allen to deliver this paper, is a member of the Covenant Design Group, and of the Anglican Communion Institute, and whose day job is being Rector of the Church of the Ascension, in Pueblo, Colarado, is now also a Director of the Institute for Religion and Democracy. You can see this by looking here.
By the way, am I the last one to learn that the Rev. Ephraim Radner, who is helping to write the proposed Anglican Covenant, is a member of the IRD’s board? Does it bother anybody else that this sensitive work is being done by a man so closely allied with an organization that aims to “restructure the permanent governing structure” of “theologically flawed” Protestant denominations? (see FtM, Part one, footnote 3.)
The board is chaired by Roberta Ahmanson, whose billionaire husband Howard has said that while he no longer thinks it is “essential” to stone gay people, adds “It would still be a little hard to say that if one stumbled on a country that was doing that, that it is inherently immoral, to stone people for these things.” (See FtM, Part one, footnote 13.)
The Rev. Philip W. Turner is a member of the IRD’s Board of Advisors. He, like Radner is one of the six members of the Anglican Communion Institute. It is worth keeping these ties in mind when reading the ACI’s frequent interventions in the current debate over homosexuality and church order.
Yes, I am a new board member of IRD. I have great respect for the the organization, in that it was one of the first to attempt to provide views regarding church-supported political activities around the world that challenged the standard liberal claims of our mainline denominations. These views simply were not being heard within our church structures — a form of conscious and unconscious censorship that I know first hand, and that has deeply limited and wounded these churches (including the Episcopal Church’s) intellectual and moral integrity. IRD’s work in bringing attention to matters of religious freedom around the world, woefully and ignominiously ignored by American Christian denominations, has been a critically needed witness. I do not in fact agree with all of IRD’s past positions or even current ones, but I respect and co[n]tinue to respect its work and its leaders. But I have made it clear that I am my own person. I am, for instance, a Democrat who often, although not always, votes with my party, but also struggles with it for a host of reasons. I try to be responsible and critical in my political thinking and acting. Diane Knippers was a great leader and Christian, whose witness inspired me in many ways, and I am more than willing to help carry on a work she began. Obviously, one is judged by one’s associations. I am, for instance, in the same church as Jim Naughton. What are we to make of this? It is odd, and in fact sad, to the utmost that the Church of Jesus Christ has crumbled to such an extent that Mr. Naughton (along with many others on the left and the right) is more interested in political segregation as a way of exercising his ecclesial vocation than in understanding.
For context see here.
A Statement from the House of Bishops – March 20, 2007
We, the Bishops of The Episcopal Church, meeting at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas, for our regular Spring Meeting, March 16-21, 2007, have received the Communiqué of February 19, 2007 from the Primates of the Anglican Communion meeting at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We have met together for prayer, reflection, conversation, and listening during these days and have had the Communiqué much on our minds and hearts, just as we know many in our Church and in other parts of the world have had us on their minds and hearts as we have taken counsel together. We are grateful for the prayers that have surrounded us.
We affirm once again the deep longing of our hearts for The Episcopal Church to continue as a part of the Anglican Communion. We have gone so far as to articulate our self-understanding and unceasing desire for relationships with other Anglicans by memorializing the principle in the Preamble of our Constitution. What is important to us is that The Episcopal Church is a constituent member of a family of Churches, all of whom share a common mother in the Church of England. That membership gives us the great privilege and unique opportunity of sharing in the family’s work of alleviating human suffering in all parts of the world. For those of us who are members of The Episcopal Church, we are aware as never before that our Anglican Communion partners are vital to our very integrity as Christians and our wholeness. The witness of their faith, their generosity, their bravery, and their devotion teach us essential elements of gospel-based living that contribute to our conversion.
We would therefore meet any decision to exclude us from gatherings of all Anglican Churches with great sorrow, but our commitment to our membership in the Anglican Communion as a way to participate in the alleviation of suffering and restoration of God’s creation would remain constant. We have no intention of choosing to withdraw from our commitments, our relationships, or our own recognition of our full communion with the See of Canterbury or any of the other constituent members of the Anglican Communion. Indeed, we will seek to live fully into, and deepen, our relationships with our brothers and sisters in the Communion through companion relationships, the networks of Anglican women, the Anglican Indigenous Network, the Francophone Network, our support for the Anglican Diocese of Cuba, our existing covenant commitments with other provinces and dioceses, including Liberia, Mexico, Central America, Brazil, and the Philippines, our work as The Episcopal Church in many countries around the world, especially in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Taiwan, and countless informal relationships for mission around the world.25 Comments
The House of Lords debate and vote this evening will be accompanied by a demonstration outside.
First the official Order Paper:
Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
Baroness Andrews to move that the draft Regulations laid before the House on 13 March be approved. 12th Report from the Statutory Instruments Committee and 14th Report from the Merits Committee (Dinner break business)
Baroness O’Cathain to move, as an amendment to the above motion, to leave out all the words after “that” and insert “this House, having regard to the widespread concerns that the draft Regulations compromise religious liberty and will result in litigation over the content of classroom teaching, and having regard to the legality of the equivalent regulations for Northern Ireland, declines to approve the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.”
Now the demonstration:
Anglican Mainstream Christians Called to Join Prayer Vigil Against Gay Rights Law
From the Telegraph blogs, Jonathan Isaby asks Were senior Tory rebels nobbled?
Malcolm Duncan of Faithworks writes on his blog, The SORs: make up your own mind!
What the PM’s Official Spokesperson said about the alleged lack of debate from Downing Street Says
Craig Nelson has The Christian Right plans another torch-lit “rally”
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was on the BBC radio programme Today (listen here), see BBC report Gay adoption vote due for Lords and Zefrog has Murphy-O’Connor on Today. Also, see Could someone in the press actually read the Equality Act (2006)? on rhetorically speaking..
Kerron Cross has Sexual Orientation Regulations – Mass Lobby or Mass Hysteria?
The Evangelical Alliance has a press release: Christians should join in prayer as the House of Lords makes a decision on the Sexual Orientation Regulations6 Comments
Updated Wednesday afternoon
Episcopal News Service has: Bishops request meeting with Archbishop of Canterbury, Primates’ Standing Committee
Living Church has Bishops Reject Primates’ Ultimatum and earlier had House of Bishops Begins Discussion of Primates’ Communiqué.
See also Bishops’ ‘Mind of the House’ resolutions.
Full text of the Mind of the House of Bishops Resolution Addressed to the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church
Resolved, the House of Bishops affirms its desire that The Episcopal Church remain a part of the councils of the Anglican Communion; and
Resolved, the meaning of the Preamble to the Constitution of The Episcopal Church is determined solely by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church; and
Resolved, the House of Bishops believes the proposed Pastoral Scheme of the Dar es Salaam Communiqué of February 19, 2007 would be injurious to The Episcopal Church and urges that the Executive Council decline to participate in it; and
Resolved, the House of Bishops pledges itself to continue to work to find ways of meeting the pastoral concerns of the Primates that are compatible with our own polity and canons.
Full text of the resolution addressed To the Archbishop of Canterbury and the members of the Primates’ Standing Committee:
We, the Bishops of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas, March 16-21, 2007, have considered the requests directed to us by the Primates of the Anglican Communion in the Communiqué dated February 19, 2007.
Although we are unable to accept the proposed Pastoral Scheme, we declare our passionate desire to remain in full constituent membership in both the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church.
We believe that there is an urgent need for us to meet face to face with the Archbishop of Canterbury and members of the Primates’ Standing Committee, and we hereby request and urge that such a meeting be negotiated by the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury at the earliest possible opportunity.
We invite the Archbishop and members of the Primates’ Standing Committee to join us at our expense for three days of prayer and conversation regarding these important matters.
Here are some more Episcopal News Service reports of what went on in the American House of Bishops prior to the release of the statements linked above:
A presentation to the House of Bishops on the Proposed Anglican Covenant by Ephraim Radner
Interpreting the Proposed Anglican Covenant through the Communique by A. Katherine Grieb
God’s Mission and the Millennium Development Goals by Ian T. Douglas
Episcopal Majority is rounding these up here at Responses to the Bishops.
Ruth Gledhill is now on the case at TEC rejects forces of ‘colonialism’
Dave Walker has The Episcopal Bishops say ‘No!’
Los Angeles Times Episcopal rejection of demands looks likely
An earlier report, not directly related to the HoB meeting, was this in the New York Times
Money Looms in Episcopalian Rift With Anglicans by Laurie Goodstein and Neela Banerjee
Updated Tuesday afternoon
Sexual Orientation Discrimination
That the draft Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which were laid before this House on 12th March, be approved.—[Kevin Brennan.]
The House divided: Ayes 310, Noes 100.
Update Analysis of the voting by The Public Whip
Letters to The Times include one from the Prolocutors of the Convocations of Canterbury and York.
See Bishops’ opposition to laws on gay rights
Update Tuesday afternoon
Ekklesia Christian groups told not to ‘play on people’s fears’ over Sexual Orientation Regulations and also Anglicans pin hopes on unelected bishops to block anti-discrimination measures
Faithworks press release Faithworks urges Christians to read the Sexual Orientation Regulations and draw their own conclusions and also A brief guide to the Sexual Orientation Regulations (PDF)18 Comments
There are in fact 42 signatures, see below
According to Ruth Gledhill in The Times today
Bishops of the Church of England are being urged by their flock to turn out en masse on Wednesday for the Lords debate on equal rights for gay couples wishing to adopt.
In an open letter sent to all the diocesan bishops of the Church, more than one fifth of the lay members of the General Synod urge the 26 bishops in the Lords to help to overturn the Sexual Orientation Regulations at its final vote.
As we discover later on, this means
In their letter, more than 40 members of the General Synod…
Read the whole news article at Vote to stop gay-rights law, bishops told.
The earlier article about Lord Carey and his views on House of Lords Reform, mentioned in the newspaper report can be found at Ruth Gledhill’s blog, under ‘Disestablish Church’ says Carey.
Meanwhile, the House of Commons vote on the SORs is listed in today’s order of business as the last item prior to the adjournment debate:
† 10 SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION [No debate]
Secretary Ruth Kelly
That the draft Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, which were laid before this House on 12th March, be approved.
To be decided without debate (Standing Order No. 118(6)).
There is also an earlier motion that Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply to several divisions today, including this one.
Anglican Mainstream has now published a press release from LCF which includes the names of the signatories to this letter:
The letter was signed by the following lay members of General Synod (in alphabetical order): Anthony Archer (St Albans), Edward Armitstead (Bath and Wells), Lorna Ashworth (Chichester), Barry Barnes (Southwark), Anneliese Barrell (Exeter), Tom Benyon (Oxford), David Blackmore (Chester), Paul Boyd-Lee (Salisbury), Peter Bruinvels (Guildford), Michael Burbeck (Salisbury), Gerald Burrows (Blackburn), Graham Campbell (Chester), Jim Cheeseman (Rochester), Nigel Chetwood (Gloucester), Prudence Dailey (Oxford), Ian Dobbie (Rochester), Paul Eddy (Winchester), Sarah Finch (London), Philip Giddings (Oxford), John Hanks (Oxford), Glynn Harrison (Bristol), Mary Judkins (Wakefield), Frank Knaggs (Newcastle), Philip Lovegrove (St Albans), Keith Malcouronne (Guildford), Peter May (Winchester), David Mills (Carlisle), Steve Mitchell (Derby), Joanna Monckton (Lichfield), Gill Morrison (Peterborough), Terry Musson (Truro), Mary Nagel (Chichester), Gerry O’Brien (Rochester), Elizabeth Paver (Sheffield), Alison Ruoff (London), Clive Scowen (London), Ian Smith (York), Penny Stranack (Truro), Michael Streeter (Chichester), Carol Ticehurst (Lincoln), Sister Anne Williams (Durham), Alison Wynne (Blackburn).
Others writing about this are:
Ruth yet again, in SORs back in the news
rhetorically speaking Last throes of bigotry: some minorities are more equal than others.
I am told that what Ruth has posted is the full text of the letter.
6.30 pm update
AM has Commons vote tonight on SORS
Dan Damon interviewed the Archbishop of Canterbury about his recent visits to Africa.
The Sunday programme on Radio 4 carried an excerpt, listen here. Duration about 5 minutes.
The World Service programme Reporting Religion has much more. The programme page is here, duration about 26 minutes. This page will contain the right link for only one week.
Update: a transcript is now available from Lambeth Palace.7 Comments
The BBC radio programme Sunday had a segment about this. Listen here (about 8 minutes).
The item lasts 7 minutes. It includes an interview with the Bishop of Winchester.
Most of the discussion centred around the content of the school curriculum. Speakers appeared to be confused between two separate documents:
The latter document did make a recommendation concerning the curriculum, but the government appears not yet to have accepted this recommendation, certainly not in terms of the wording of the regulations.
Opponents of the SORs appear to be using the latter document as an excuse to object to the former.2 Comments
Updated Monday afternoon
Monday Update Stand Firm has published this interview with Mark Lawrence.
A further report from Episcopal News Service rounds up various responses: Reactions to Lawrence announcement note ‘sorrow’.
The Living Church has Presiding Bishop Invalidates South Carolina Election and a longer report, Bruised Feelings Will Not Lead to Disobedience from South Carolina.
Secular newspaper reports:
Washington Post Alan Cooperman Episcopal Church Rejects S.C. Bishop
Charleston Post Courier Ex-candidate for bishop asks members to choose and earlier Top Episcopal bishop tosses S.C. election
Associated Press Rachel Zoll Episcopalian leader rejects conservative diocese’s choice of bishop
Bakersfield Californian Local pastor’s bishop bid rejected
From the blogs:
daily episcopalian Mark Lawrence plays the victim
titusonenine Dow Sanderson: The Arrogant and Ignorant Rejection of Mark Lawrence
American Anglican Council AAC Statement on the Denial of Consent for South Carolina Bishop-elect Mark Lawrence
Confessions of a Carioca South Carolina Postscript
Lionel Deimel Deimel on Lawrence’s Failed Bid: “Most Episcopalians Relieved” and Reflections on the Mark Lawrence Affair
In a Godward Direction See how these Christians…
Telling Secrets Losing It
Episcopal Majority South Carolina
Admiral of Morality A Godly admonition
Jonathan Romain considers issue of national loyalty in the Guardian’s Face to Faith column.
Christopher Howse writes in the Telegraph about Templeton Prize winner Charles Taylor in Behind a prize of £800,000.
John Wilkins writes in The Times on why Theologically, Rome and the barrio are still worlds apart.
Giles Fraser writes about The time of selfishness in this week’s Church Times.10 Comments