On December 30th, Anglican Mainstream delivered an email petition containing 13 million electronic signatures of those opposed to gay clergy in the Anglican Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The petition called on the Archbishop not to recognise the ministry of any bishop who attended the consecration of Gene Robinson in November. Anglican Mainstream is based at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, which has received funding from the Californian fundamentalist billionaire Howard F Ahmanson.
A statement maintained that “A clear signal was sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury that a majority of Anglicans worldwide oppose the consecration of a practising homosexual and support moves by mainstream Anglicans in America to refuse to accept the actions of the Episcopal Church of the USA. In just over one month, Anglican Mainstream gained the backing of over 13 million Anglicans to an online petition which was signed by five Archbishops of the Anglican Communion and their provinces and a further two Archbishops.”
But there was considerable doubt as to the validity of the numbers claimed. Heads of families, clergy, bishops and archbishops were allowed to sign on behalf of all their family members, parishes, dioceses and provinces. The Anglican Mainstream website claimed support for the e-petition was 13,628,200. Yet only 4,013 individuals actually ‘signed’ the petition. The remaining 13,624,187 came as a result of block signing”. Five archbishops had signed the e-petition on behalf of their entire provinces by Anglican Mainstream’s counting,13,334,000 members.