Thinking Anglicans

Akinola replies to Williams

Archbishop Peter Akinola has replied to Rowan Williams’ letter to him concerning his US visit.

The full letter is contained in a press release on the Nigerian provincial website. (The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s letter has not been released so far.)

The reply letter is reproduced here below the fold.

Episcopal News Service reports on the weekend at Nigerian Primate proceeds with CANA installation.

Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace, London

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

My dear Rowan,

Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus the Christ.

I have received your note expressing your reservations regarding my plans to install Bishop Martyn Minns as the first Missionary Bishop of CANA. Even though your spokesmen have publicized the letter and its general content I did not actually receive it until after the ceremony. I do, however, want to respond to your concerns and clarify the situation with regard to CANA. I am also enclosing a copy of my most recent letter to Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori.

We are a deeply divided Communion. As leaders of the Communion we have all spent enormous amounts of time, travelled huge distances – sometimes at great risk, and expended much needed financial resources in endless meetings, communiqués and reports – Lambeth Palace 2003, Dromantine 2005, Nottingham 2006 and Dar es Salaam 2007. We have developed numerous proposals, established various task forces and yet the division has only deepened. The decisions, actions, defiance and continuing intransigence of The Episcopal Church are at the heart of our crisis.

We have all sought ways to respond to the situation. As you well know the Church of Nigeria established CANA as a way for Nigerian congregations and other alienated Anglicans in North America to stay in the Communion. This is not something that brings any advantage to us – neither financial nor political. We have actually found it to be a very costly initiative and yet we believe that we have no other choice if we are to remain faithful to the gospel mandate. As I stated to you, and all of the primates in Dar es Salaam, although CANA is an initiative of the Church of Nigeria – and therefore a bonafide branch of the Communion – we have no desire to cling to it. CANA is for the Communion and we are more than happy to surrender it to the Communion once the conditions that prompted our division have been overturned.

We have sought to respond in a measured way. We delayed the election of our first CANA bishop until after General Convention 2006 to give The Episcopal Church every opportunity to embrace the recommendations of the Windsor report – to no avail. At the last meeting of the Church of Nigeria House of Bishops we deferred a decision regarding the election of additional suffragans for CANA out of respect for the Dar es Salaam process.

Sadly we have seen no such respect from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Their most recent statement was both insulting and condescending and makes very clear that they have no intention of listening to the voice of the rest of the Communion. They are determined to pursue their own unbiblical agenda and exacerbate our current divisions.

In the middle of all of this the Lord’s name has been dishonoured. If we fail to act, many will be lost to the church and thousands of souls will be imperilled. This we cannot and will not allow to happen. It is imperative that we continue to protect those at most risk while we seek a way forward that will offer hope for the future of our beleaguered Communion. It is to this vision that we in the Church of Nigeria and CANA remain committed.

Be assured of my prayers.
Sincerely,
Signed,

The Most Revd. Peter J Akinola, CON, DD
Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria.

138
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
138 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
45 Comment authors
Erika BakerMynsterpreost (=David Rowett)Christopher ShellruidhChris Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
James
Guest
James

I think that one problem we have in communicating with Bishop Akinola is that we have not set moral standards for gay behavior. We keep saying, “Gay is OK, Gay is God-given, etc.” but we never say “The only God-given way of expressing homosexuality is within a lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship.” When have we ever offered a word of discipline to the gay community? When have we ever condemned promiscuity and drug use in the gay community? (Yes, yes, oh golly yes, straights do these, too.) When have we pointed out that gay couples coming to our community for blessing… Read more »

Aaron
Guest

Whenever someone starts talking about imperiled souls my skin crawls. Maybe it’s the suggestion that we can somehow horde up souls or that saving them is up to us to begin with. It conveys the sense that SuperAkinola needs to swoop down and save imperiled Episcopalians, with Martyn Minns as Lois Lane. (There’s a comic book for you…++Akinola in blue tights, +VGR as Lex Luthor. Kryptonite wouldn’t kill SuperAkinola, it would just make him liberal.) Or maybe it’s just that people who talk about imperiled souls rarely seem genuinely concerned with anyone’s soul at all.

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

What I still cannot quite figure out is just how quickly we get, in so few sentences, from straight conservative believers being already superior and sanctified by God because they alone are fulfilling God’s wonderful idealized plans for all of humanity – to having to come rescue the conservative Virginia straight believers, to them all being in horrible peril, to the USA believers all being in such horrible peril, to the whole Anglican Communion being in such great peril. Can this sense of terrible peril be a secret stand-in, substituting for the secret titillations which traditional views presume are especially… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

May the Lord have mercy on Peter Abuja (and upon us all). 🙁

Pluralist
Guest

If thousands of souls will be imperilled, then it’s no good setting up a tiny add-on sect in some corner of the USA. He wants to get on with going after the whole institution. So he is offering a way forward, full of arrogance, deciding what is and is not unbiblical for anyone and everyone else. So the Williams project has now completely failed. These actions are hardly the Archbishop’s view of bringing everyone around the table, to keep talking, so that change can happen together through some regulative process – not that this was the way that Anglicans have… Read more »

Joseph O'Leary
Guest

“Sadly we have seen no such respect from the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church. Their most recent statement was both insulting and condescending and makes very clear that they have no intention of listening to the voice of the rest of the Communion. They are determined to pursue their own unbiblical agenda and exacerbate our current divisions.” Akinola is not easy to argue with. The alleged “unbiblical agenda” is a sticking-point on which he will not yield, and with Lambeth, Windsor and Tanzania under his belt he feels he is fully warranted in his dramatic mission — a… Read more »

Mark
Guest
Mark

It is my feeling that CANA and its foreign-born leaders (leaders obviously quite unfamiliar with American ecclesiastical culture and values) are engaging in a breathtaking act of hubris to attempt to write off as total reprobates over two million souls (in The Episcopal Church), to attempt to take possession/ownership of church properties (some properties having been established by TEC over two centuries ago), and (in a bizarre act of 21st century reverse colonization) to unilaterally claim to be the rightful and sole spiritual heirs of Anglicanism in the USA. All of this is based on a negative and deepy pathological… Read more »

NP
Guest
NP

++Akinola seems very reasonable – there is little point pretending that TEC has not given a clear answer already to the Tanzania Communique….is there?

(Unless, like the ABC, people still hope that TEC can be brought into line with Tanzania?)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s letter to her Nigerian counterpart starts:

“My dear Archbishop Akinola”

ending: “Your servant in Christ”.

Archbishop Akinola’s letter to their primus starts:

“My dear Rowan,

Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus the Christ.

I have received your note…“

ending: “Be assured of my prayers”.

Rather telling, don’t you think?

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

Mark speaks for me above. “Pathological hatred for homosexual persons” is the driving force behind that whole movement, and the glue that holds them together. They need us as enemies. Without us, they’d devour each other. I would agree with James above about the ideal for homosexual relationships based on fidelity and foresaking all others. But, those exhortations to a good and holy life don’t mean much when LGBTs are shut out from the sacramental life of the Church and its pastoral care for themselves and for their relationships. I would suggest that the pathologies of drug and alchohol abuse… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

James asks: “When have we ever offered a word of discipline to the gay community? When have we ever condemned promiscuity and drug use in the gay community?” We’ve heard nothing but condemnation of gays from the church so I don’t really know where you’re coming from with this. Is condemnation the correct pastoral response to promiscuity and drug use? Unsafe activities in the gay community often arise because of a self-hatred brought on by homophobia, whether from the church or society as a whole. It’s a vicious circle. “When have we pointed out that gay couples coming to our… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

James- If the rabid parts within Church were to offer something other than repeated selective scriptural passages for total condemnation, you might see less of my bretheren frequenting bars, baths and the bushes. And an admittance of the straight community’s failure to achieve these “moral standards” as you call them might give religion a more humane and credible face. But as long as the Church is percieved by those outside of it as a thin veneer of hatred and fear, most of us will continue to spend our Sunday mornings sipping latte’, reading the Times and going occasionally to the… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Well, see, souls ARE in danger of being “lost” and, since the whole purpose of Christianity is to get as many people as possible into the Heavenly Playground after they die, which is done by making sure they follow the rules, then what else can my Lord of Abuja do? All these poor white people are in danger of Hell, just like their ancestors believed of HIS ancestors. He’s merely returning the colonial favour and bringing darkest America to Christ. We do need to insist on the same rules for gay relationships as for striaght ones, but that won’t be… Read more »

John N Wall
Guest
John N Wall

The Episcopal Church has spoken on the matter of moral standards for sexual behavior for people in committed relationships both inside and outside of marriage. At the General Convention in Denver in 2000, the following statements were part of a larger resolution: Resolved, We acknowledge that while the issues of human sexuality are not yet resolved, there are currently couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in marriage and couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in other life-long committed relationships; and be it further Resolved, We expect… Read more »

John Robison
Guest
John Robison

NP – Considering that Tanzania was written to keep ++Akinola happy, and really only reports that “some” and “many” of the Primates have issues it fails to move me.
That ++Akinola’s in violation of Lambeth 1-10 as well as the ’78 and ’88 calls for pastoral care and listening is far more important, in that it shows just how little he really cares about the process.

My question is why don’t we start lobbying against his entry visas?

BobinWashPA
Guest
BobinWashPA

Goran, thanks for pointing the addresses and closings on the letter. It is very telling. I have to fully agree with Aaron. Do we save ourselves? Loved the superakinola story. to James. Holding gays accountable can only be established when they are fully integrated into society, without prejudice. The gay subculture isn’t always pretty, but it’s a tad more excepting than people like Akinola’s groupies. Many people live in the closet for fear of rejection, loss of friends and family etc… When someone can be who they are and accepted, then maybe we can talk what’s acceptable and what’s not… Read more »

Bob G+
Guest

James – I think that these points have been made. I have never heard a representative of those arguing for the full inclusion of gay people in the church or the blessing of same-sex couples to define the relationships by anything other than monogamy, fidelity, mutual love, and with the intent for the relationship to be life long. I will agree and have witnessed that in some of our churches this point is not well made or emphasized. In come churches there is not an overt call for a certain moral code to be honored among gay people, but in… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

It is and would be a trump card if it were not for even Rowan Williams admitting the possibility of change through some sort of rule of process, or by coming around the table some other way for as long as possible. None of these declarations are set in stone. OK, spades are trumps and Akinola is playing some spades – but they are low cards. He is playing his cards. TEC has said what cards it can play according to its qualified episcopacy, in other words some of its cards are held by other players who cannot arrive until… Read more »

John
Guest
John

Refering to a so-called “conservative” belief that “homosexuality” is unbiblical as being “…based upon a negative and deeply pathological hatred of homosexual persons…” and the implication that it is “…oppossed to the missionary affirmation that Jesus is Lord.” is inflamatory and untrue. Personally I see the argument for same-sex orientation from scripture as difficult and precarious… some of the arguments undermines the place of scripture in our tradition. If scripture is nothing more than a redaction based on any number of predisposed predjudices it becomes nothing but sand through our fingers… and if the creeds can’t be trusted because the… Read more »

James
Guest
James

It is important to note that many gay spokesmen, such as Michael Signorile, Dan Savage, and others do not see lifelong, sexually exclusive relationships as the gay ideal. Many gays interpret “monogamy” as a type of open relationship. I think that Bishop Akinola might be worried that a redefinition of traditional sexual standards for both straights and gays is being brought into the church under the banner of gay acceptance. We need to be clear that while being gay is not sinful, sex outside of a lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship is sinful–for everyone. I support gay marriage, but I am… Read more »

John Henry
Guest
John Henry

Why waste so much time on the psychopath of Abuja? Back in the early sixties, after J.A.T. Robinson published Honest to God, which caused an outrage among evagelicals and fundamentalists, my professor of Philosophy (at a Theological Union, which included an off-shoot of the Gregorian University), Max Horkheimer, a Torah-observant Jew, declared himself an “atheist”. He invited Bishop Robinson to lecture at the University of Frankfurt and gave him a “hero’s welcome”. Why? As fundamentalists reacted to the “death of God theology” (i.e., “our image of God must go”!), atheism seemed to be the only option to a practising Jew… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

James – clearly monogamy is NOT an open relationship, and frankly, I think its a bit tiresome to hear those of a libertarian opinion presented as the only gay voice. Why do you think we worked so hard to achieve civil partnerships? Because many of us want committed relationships and want them to be recognised so that we too can partake in the rights and responsibilities of mainstream society I agree that we need to be promoting positive values for gay relationships, but to be honest, the church doesn’t regard these as any more acceptable than us sleeping around –… Read more »

JCF
Guest
JCF

James, just STOP: you are only betraying your complete *ignorance* LGBT ***Anglicans*** (i.e., this is not about some “gay subculture” somewhere.) This is about Real Live ***Christians***, who look to their ***Anglican priests&bishops*** (and lay leaders), NOT “Michael Signorile, Dan Savage” (Moreover, your phrase “not in favor of ‘special rules for special people'” is straight {ahem} out of the “No Special Rights”—conservative euphemism for “no EQUAL rights”—campaigns of the 1980s and 90s) Get to know *real* LGBT Anglicans, and quit knocking over the “promiscuous gay” Boogey (Straw) Man, would you? LGBT Anglicans want the ONE AND ONLY form of ***Christian… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Counterlight suggested that “…the pathologies of drug and alchohol abuse that we see in the gay community are a consequence, more than a cause, of that alienation.” My research into bullying within faith communities found a lot of evidence to support this postulation. It is fair to state that GLBTs have a higher risk of abuse or distress. What is ignored by some souls are the causes versus the effects. It is made blurrier because some souls are more prone to addictive or sabotaging behaviours than others. Some souls glibly associate the problems with a particular group e.g. females, GLBTs,… Read more »

Michael P
Guest
Michael P

The continued attempts of the ABC other primates to continue dialog with Archbishop Peter Akinola are admirable. However, when does prayerful, passive engagement become a cover for a cowardly avoidance of necessary confrontation? Is it acceptable to for a religious leader, from an oil rich country with a corrupt government and 87,000,000 living in abject poverty, to fly all over the world in the effort to dismantle a sister church over a single issue? Is it acceptable to consort with a religious leader who publicly supports legislation that represents a gross violation of human rights? If the ABC and other… Read more »

Jerry Hannon
Guest
Jerry Hannon

“But aren’t we being a little hypocritical to impose this when half of all heterosexual marriages end in divorce?” – Hugh of Lincoln There is a huge difference between a divorce, ending a committed relationship or marriage, and the partners or spouses having adulterous relationships during the course of their committed relationship or marriage. I hope that Hugh appreciates that. That would be the key to forcing fundamentalists to recognize that we are not talking about one-night stands (heterosexual or homosexual), or trysts of the months (for either), or anything like that. We are talking about people who love each… Read more »

James
Guest
James

Where has the Episcopal church made it clear that its acceptance of gays is underscored by a clear call to gays that homosexuality is to be expressed within a lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship? Bishop Akinola, as well as many Christians in other denominations, get their picture of the gay community from pictures of Pride parades. OK, OK, that’s not fair, but that’s what they see. How do we tell them, no, that’s not what we mean–we are talking about “forsaking all others, ’til death do us part.” When has Bishop Akinola or anyone else seen a gay couple say those… Read more »

Erika Baker
Guest
Erika Baker

James, have you only recently joined this conversation? You may not know that Bishop Akinola actively supports a law currently going through parliament in Nigeria, that would make it illegal for celibate homosexuals to meet in public. They and their supporters (i.e. their families meeting them for a coffee) could then be jailed for up to 5 years. In a Nigerian jail that is likely to be a death sentence for a gay person. If you would like to know more about what it means to be gay in Nigeria you should listen to what my brother Davis Mac-Iyalla has… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Jerry I’m not quite sure of your slant. I agree that adultery is terrible (there are multiple forms of adultery) – ask any spouse who has “lost” their partner to their business or career. Adultery is disgusting whenever any two souls have committed to monogamy. To find that their partner has decided to spread their juices with someone or something else; at the expense of their partner and/or children is a fundamental betrayal of trust. The difficulty with not allowing GLBTs to have acknowledged commitments to life long monogamous relationships is that we deprive them of the stability and lessons… Read more »

Cheryl Clough
Guest

Goran noted the endings

The letter opens with

“Grace and Peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus the Christ”

So much for the idea of the Holy Trinity. Spirit isn’t even mentioned.

Whose in touch with scripture and who has digressed?

northen_soul
Guest
northen_soul

James, I appreciate your sentiments but I must ask: what planet are you on? Firstly, here in the UK society does ‘give gays legal recognition for vows of lifelong, sexually exclusive relationships’: they are called Civil Partnerships and quite a few people have made use of them. Secondly, before CPs came into existence many. many Gay people were living in exclusive and committed relationships. Now, I think the examples of faithful, stable and committed gay relationships HAVE changed the perceptions of many people in the UK. The views of many in the churches have also been changed. But I fear… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“It’s not illegal–so why not do it?” I asume from this that you are either Canadian, Dutch, or Danish. You see, in other countries, it IS illegal, well, not recognized. I have always had the suspicion that many gay people are asking for validation from the Church and society for our relationships, and I don’t think that’s what marriage is about. This made me think, however. If gay people DON’T do it anyway, it obviously isn’t about societal validation. Your assumption is infuriating, all the same. Repeat after me: “gay people don’t get married because straight people won’t let them!”… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Guest
Hugh of Lincoln

The Church of England can just about live with gay clergy, provided relationships are conducted discreetly and there is no public expression of love or commitment. Don’t ask, don’t tell. This is how Mother Church does things. The AC heirarchy’s real issue is with taboo-breaking openly acknowledged relationships: ie. a bishop in a publicly acknowledged committed same-gender union and public Rites of Blessing. This is ironic, as you might expect it to endorse love, faithfulness and commitment. The problem for the Communion, at least in developed countries, is that public consensus is shifting towards greater toleration, as in the UK’s… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
Guest
choirboyfromhell

James: “Society didn’t let women vote–Susan B. Anthony voted anyway. Society didn’t let slaves go to school–Frederick Douglass learned anyway. Society wouldn’t let blacks sit at the front of the bus–Rosa Parks sat down anyway. Society won’t give gays legal recognition for vows of lifelong, sexually exclusive relationships–do it anyway. Get it started.”

This is precisely what has been happening in TEC.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Oh, BTW, James, gay people have been having commitment ceremonies for at least the past two decades. That you didn’t know this should cause you to question what else it is that you don’t know about ‘gay culture’ (a term I have great issue with, though it serves in this instance) and what other incorrect assumptions you might have.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

It is good that the prevailing orthodoxy (that endless meetings and conferences are the way to sort things out) is being questioned, since in actual fact this strategy does not always lead to greater consensus and has not done so in this instance. However, what alternative is there? What is preferable to open debate? How many have honestly engaged in open debate rather than sticking by their own presuppositions? How many have changed their initial position? Open debate may indeed be best. But if people are not prepared to be honest and nuanced, then that too is a waste of… Read more »

counterlight
Guest
counterlight

“When has Bishop Akinola or anyone else seen a gay couple say those vows publicly, supported by their community? It’s not illegal–so why not do it? Why don’t gays make those vows visible so that those lifelong, sexually exclusive couples become the norm instead of the flamboyant Pride movement?” James, what planet do you live on? There are lots of same sex couples out there in loving, lifelong, committed relationships; like mine. Public committment ceremonies that include mutual vows of fidelity supported by family and communtiy happen all the time. I’ve attended several over the years. Some were religious and… Read more »

Tobias Haller
Guest
Tobias Haller

James, I think you don’t understand Akinola. He is against same-sex marriage. Doing same-sex marriage publicly is what he is against. Obviously he opposes same-sex marriage because he opposes all same-sex relationships, whether in a gay pride parade or not. He thinks that same-sex sexuality is wrong. The resolutions that caused such trouble in the US (GC 2000 and 2003) and Canada (New Westminster) refer to life-long relationships. These are the things Akinola and others oppose. What he opposes is having homosexuality affirmed in any way by the church. He is opposed to same-sex marriage, not just same-sex sexuality. Many… Read more »

badman
Guest
badman

I don’t know your location, James, but gay lifelong partnerships are pretty common in England. They’re not even very recent: the composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears are just one example. More recently, large numbers of gay couples have made formal public commitments to each other in Civil Partnership ceremonies authorised by the state. These are widely publicised in the case of famous people: Elton John and David Furnish for example. The church is so desperate to have nothing to do with these that it is actually written into the legislation that religion can play no part in the… Read more »

bls
Guest

James, are you ignoring what’s been posted here on purpose? Why do you continue to make the same argument over and over again – when it’s already been refuted more than once? I’ll quote (again!) what John Wall wrote above: “At the General Convention in Denver in 2000, the following statements were part of a larger resolution: Resolved, We acknowledge that while the issues of human sexuality are not yet resolved, there are currently couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church who are living in marriage and couples in the Body of Christ and in this Church… Read more »

James Crocker
Guest
James Crocker

Mark: ‘leaders obviously quite unfamiliar with American ecclesiastical culture and values’ Not sure who you are talking about here, Martyn has lived in the US for decades and went to seminary at VTS. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I’m fairly confident that he would say that the Gospel is more important than ‘American ecclesiastical culture and values’. Although doubtless that will get much ridicule on this site. Further, to James (the other james) on accountability and morals in homosexual relationships, I’m not sure what the point is. As far as I understand the arguments for… Read more »

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

Badman:
“The church is so desperate to have nothing to do with these that it is actually written into the legislation that religion can play no part in the ceremony.”

I’d assumed it was just an extension of existing civil marriage law, in which there can be no religious element, rather than a church-placating anti-gay manoeuvre.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the Gospel is more important than ‘American ecclesiastical culture and values’. Although doubtless that will get much ridicule on this site.” How dare you! I am getting sick and tired of Conservatives, especially conservative Evangelicals, trotting out the old Evangelical bigotry that if we do not toe the literalist line, we have no faith and no respect for Scripture. It is a slanderous lie. You owe us an apology, and more importantly, you need to ask God’s forgiveness for this willful slander of your fellow Christians. “full inclusion of people with homosexual affections – that isn’t in doubt” Bull! Full… Read more »

bls
Guest

“I’m fairly confident that these arguments can be easily adapted to include polygamy (so long as it’s consensual), promiscuity, open marriage, and pretty much any other things you might happen to find sexual fulfillment in (so long as it’s consensual and thus not treating the other as object).”

How do these things you mention fit under the above rubrics of “monogamy and fidelity,” please?

Are you guys going to simply shrug your shoulders and ignore the reality of things that don’t fit your particular worldview?

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

“Bishop Akinola, as well as many Christians in other denominations, get their picture of the gay community from pictures of Pride parades. OK, OK, that’s not fair, but that’s what they see. How do we tell them, no, that’s not what we mean — we are talking about “forsaking all others, ’til death do us part.”

I am sorry, but that is their own responsibility, entirely.

Lou Poulain
Guest
Lou Poulain

James Crocker, Thank you for bringing into high contrast the gulf between us. I’m tired of the discussion because there seems no hope of finding any common ground. But because I can’t quite let it go, here’s my two cents worth: I am a heterosexual married 36 years. The context of everything in my life, including sex, is this core RELATIONSHIP. Sex (behavior) is a part of marriage (relationship), but marriage (relationship) is not solely about sex (behavior). Then we come to sexuality; not behavior, not relationship, but a constituent part of my makeup. The fact of my orientation toward… Read more »

james
Guest
james

In my obviously limited experience, a “monogamous, faithful” gay couple is not necessarily “sexually exclusive.” Nor is it “lifelong.” A word like, say, “resurrection” means something different to John Spong and N. T. Wright. In the same way, just because a gay couple is faithful and monogamous doesn’t mean it’s not an open relationship. That’s why “forsaking all others, ’til death do us part,” is a clear statement of what a Christian relationship is and needs to be part of any vows I would support for gay marriage. While it is certainly true that there are many lifelong gay couples… Read more »

cryptogram
Guest
cryptogram

“I’d assumed it was just an extension of existing civil marriage law, in which there can be no religious element, rather than a church-placating anti-gay manoeuvre.”

I too believe this to be the case. I was once told by a registrar that it would not be acceptable for me to say grace at the reception following a civil marriage ceremony, unless it were in a different room at the hotel. I think that many of the non-UK contributors to TA don’t realise just how aggressively secular the state’s marriage law is.

Malcolm French+
Guest
Malcolm French+

I find the description of civil unions in the UK to be very interesting. Apparently such civil union services are not allowed to have any religious aspect atll.

Of course, that is a blatant violation of religious freedom, for it says that there is no means whereby a religious body which approves of same sex unions (and there are some) can publicly bless such a union since, in the UK, marriage is legal only between a man and a woman and civil unions prohibit religious expression.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

James Crocker: don’t be silly, the insinuation that TA is opposed to ‘Gospel’ is worthy only of the mud-slinger. If you’ve been paying attention at the back, you’ll be aware that the nature of the discussion centres on precisely what is meant by the weasel term ‘Gospel Values’. There have been too many appeals over the centuries to ‘Gospel Values’ which have proved in the fullness of time to have been little more than affirmations of the status quo dressed up in biblical language for anyone simply to shout ‘Gospel Values’ and expect everyone else to roll over and agree.