The Archbishop of Canterbury has, with great speed, issued a statement on the election of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles. The statement says:
“The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.
“The process of selection however is only part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected, by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision will have very important implications.
“The bishops of the Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.”
Posts on this blog have been dominated by the Anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda for the last 5 weeks.
On 29 October, Giles Goddard and myself wrote to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York on behalf of Inclusive Church and Changing Attitude. We asked them to speak out against the proposed legislation and to argue for the protection of lesbian and gay people in Uganda in accordance with the resolutions of previous Lambeth Conferences.
We have not received any reply to the letters and as those following this blog will be aware, neither of the Archbishops has issued a statement condemning the Bill.
Contact with Lambeth Palace persuaded Ruth Gledhill that any comment “would almost certainly be seen as white-led colonialism of the worst possible kind, as a misguided attempt to impose western liberal values upon traditional African culture. It would not help the local Anglican Church.”
The Anglican Communion’s official stance means that it is committed to oppose the consecration of a partnered lesbian or gay bishop at all costs, but not to the execution or life imprisonment of a lesbian or gay person in Uganda nor imprisonment for 3 years of any family member, church member, priest or bishop who fails to denounce a known lesbian or gay person to the police within 24 hours.
This order of priorities is totally wrong and misguided. The Archbishop allows himself to be driven by conservative forces in the Communion who wish to cleanse and eradicate LGBT not just from epsicopal office but from any role in the church – no baptism, no confirmation, no communion, no membership of any congregation.
A reverse colonialism is at work, and very effectively at work, in which the place of LGBT people in the Church of England has been severely diminished over the past 11years, starting with Lambeth 1998. This becomes more and more intolerable for us in the UK, and utterly intolerable for LGBT Anglicans in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and every part of the Communion where the church judges and condemns us.
This is made the more intolerable because those who identity with us in the counsels of the church and might counter the intense prejudice afflicting the Communion are constrained by the need to protect themselves and the corporate commitment to a policy which judges and condemns LGBT people but not States which propose the death penalty and life imprisonment.
The attitude towards the place of LGBT people in the Anglican Communion has become totally intolerable and raises new and challenging questions about the place of LGBT people in the Communion.