Simon Jenkins in the Sunday Times wrote A broad church with narrow attitudes. Here’s an extract:
…The visible loathing of some Anglicans for gays and women – expressed in terms that would have them prosecuted in any other walk of life – is indefensible. The British make much noise opposing the intolerant practices of Muslims and other imported religions. They seem deaf to the intolerance of members of their home-grown church. That the conservatives have constant recourse to biblical texts has no more to do with the case than if Islamic scholars appealed to the Koran against the Crown Prosecution Service. The law of the land is the law of the land.
No less astonishing is that the parties are largely warring because the Church of England remains stuck in an imperial time warp. A global membership of some 80m – overwhelmingly in the new Commonwealth – is under the leadership of an archbishop in England, custodian of just a million souls, and a governing body meeting in Lambeth.
The origins of this dispute thus lie not so much in the biblical understanding of sexuality but rather in Anglicanism’s inability to handle global diversity in human behaviour. There is no way African cultures will regard sex in the same way as Asians or Europeans. Why does the church pretend otherwise?
This is a relic of the status of the Church of England as the established church in what was once a far-flung empire. It has struggled to mimic the diversity of the British Commonwealth, allowing archbishoprics to flourish and hierarchies to proliferate. But the trappings of doctrinal centralism remain in place.
The obvious solution to the row over gay and women bishops would be to live and let live. Let a thousand sexualities bloom under the capacious canopy of mother church. Do not impose on the cultures of Africa the sexual norms and gender equalities that have evolved under the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant aegis. There is no need for this dispute…
Read it all.