Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Upcoming Conference

Why Homosexuality? Religion, Globalization, and the Anglican Schism
Saturday, October 17, 2009 , Yale University
Rather than restaging the arguments for and against the ordination of openly gay clergy, this day-long conference analyzes the threatened schism in the Anglican Communion in order to examine wide-ranging and interrelated issues of religion, secularism, globalization, nationalism, and modernity. How and why, we ask, has homosexuality come to serve as a flash point for so many local and global conflicts?

Sounds interesting, for those in the vicinity.

For more discussion of Homosexuality and the Anglican Debate from a variety of scholars, see the blog The Immanent Frame . (The Immanent Frame is a collective blog publishing interdisciplinary perspectives on secularism, religion, and the public sphere.)


Malcolm+ said...

Time Chesterton, a sensible blogger from "the other side" of this issue, recently wrote an essay on why this has become the defining issue. His answer is hardly complementary to the conservatives.

This is the issue because most of us (and especially most of the folk on the conservative side) are straight, and therefore it doesn't cost us anything.


Grandmère Mimi said...

IT, thanks for posting the link to the wonderful essays and to the information on the conference.

klady said...

Great stuff at Immanent Frame, including this from Mary-Jane Rubenstein:

But the interpretation I would like to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury address is one that he offered himself, before his own mind melded with that of The Church. In an essay entitled “The Body’s Grace” (1989), Williams suggests that the problem with homosexuality is sexuality itself. Unlike heterosexual relationships, which the Church can reduce to reproduction, “same-sex love annoyingly poses the question of what the meaning of desire is—in itself, not considered as instrumental to some other process.” Facing desire itself, we face our own vulnerability—to loss, to humiliation, and to joy. Williams then goes on to sketch non-reproductive desire as an image of God’s (often unreciprocated) yearning for humanity, grounding his vision in Hosea, Samuel, and even Paul. If anyone can still stomach it, then, those who undertake the “painstaking exegesis” for which the Archbishop calls would do well to start with his own.

From http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2009/08/04/homosexuality-and-the-anglican-debate/#Rubenstein

Anyone interested in attending the Yale event?

IT said...

On the wrong coast, I'm afraid....!

klady said...

There must be some kind of pun to make with "Wright".......

Counterlight said...

The Anglican World seems to be such a separate world sometimes that we forget that this conflict has major consequences far beyond our intramural struggles.

What would be the consequences for the struggle for gay rights? What would be the effect on gay cultural life, if a major historical branch of Christianity dropped its policy of segregation? What would the effect be on the religious conflicts within the lgbt community if this church not only accepted them but actively sought their participation in all aspects of its life including leadership?
What would be the effect on the larger society of such a change? How would the public image and the credibility of Christianity change?

IT said...

Counterlight, I think the change would be immense. You can feel it in the churches that BP and I, and I assume you, attend--where people feel welcomed, respected, and wanted, and empowered to go do good in the world.

It would also be huge for the forces of H8 to lose their "Christian" card.

Erp said...

Note that though the Anglican Communion is a moderate size chunk of world Christianity (though dwarfed by the Roman Catholic Church [including Uniate churches] and Orthodox Churches), TEC and CoE are fairly small (though influential) parts of the Communion.

Within the US, again TEC is small though its influence far outweighs its size. Of the 534 Congress critters 7.1% (38) claim to be Anglican/Episcopalian though where they stand on the Progressive-Conservative scale is unknown. In the US population only 1.5% claim to be Episcopalian/Anglican. (Pew Forum).

Pew also has some info on current stance of various religions

American Baptist Churches in the USA - split in 2006 over the issue. The national organization doesn't recognize same-sex marriage but also fails to penalize congregations that welcome openly gay members so the conservatives left (unlike TEC, congregations own their churches and associated property)

Presbyterian Church (USA) - forbids ordaining gays/lesbians; however, the liberals keep forcing the issue and are slowly but surely gaining support.

Unitarian-Universalists - support same-sex marriage since 1996

United Church of Christ - support same-sex marriage since 2005

Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism recognize same-sex marriages though they allow rabbis to opt-out of performing them.
Conservative Judaism does not but allows individual rabbis to opt-in to wedding same-sex couples.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should have an interesting meeting this month. One major item is a policy statement on sexuality. The conservatives oppose it and it needs a two-thirds vote to pass.

Anonymous said...

Erp: You're right about the upcoming ELCA meeting being interesting. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a Lutheran minister I had the pleasure of attending college with and her husband. Of particular note is that there really are no conclusions to be made from the document, other than that there is disagreement and that everyone should commit to living and working together despite disagreement. (I suspect that many ELCA conservatives will find this about as acceptable as the schismatics in TEC did.) In some ways, Michele and her husband (especially the latter) is disappointed that there's nothing more definitive in the statement.

Of course, the other interesting point to them is that only 4 or 5 pages of the 20+ page document (I could be remembering the page counts incorrectly) discusses the issues of homosexuality. The rest of the document deals with other issues of human sexuality, such as cohabitation and pre-marital sex. Interestingly, no one seems to want to talk about those other fifteen or so pages. In fact, Michele doubts that many people in ELCA are even aware of what those other pages say -- which is scary considering those pages might actually apply directly to their own lives.