Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gay Bishops in the C of E?

Reflecting on the latest lunacy from the Church of EnglandGiles Fraser nails it:
"So, bishop, are you having sex with your partner?" I can't imagine anyone asking that question with a straight face..... Yet the new line from the C of E – ludicrously, that gay men in civil partnerships can be bishops as long as they refrain from sex (or to put it another way, we'll have gay bishops as long as they are not really gay) raises the question: how on earth will the authorities ever find out? .... No, the only way the bedroom police could ever really know is if they ask and play a moral guilt trip about honesty on those being interrogated. So do sexually active gay priests or bishops have a moral responsibility to tell the truth? Actually, I think not. I'd go further: in this situation, they have a moral responsibility to lie.

....It is perfectly proper that ordinarily people should maintain a strong presumption in favour of truth telling. But the situation in which gay people in the church find themselves is far from ordinary. Physical intimacy is a moral good, the very incarnation of love. Those who enforce celibacy on the basis of sexuality are maintaining a system of oppression that brings misery and loneliness to many.

I believe all Christians have a moral duty to resist this cruelty. Lying to the church authorities, in these conditions, is a bit like disobeying an unjust order. It's a form of non-violent resistance.

If there is blame for all of this it must lie with the church itself. Through fear, it encourages people to live a lie, to build their whole identity upon untruth. Thus so many gay clergy have clandestine existences, lavender marriages and unexplained holidays....

This outward lie makes a certain sort of truth possible. After all, sex between partners is, at best, a precious communication of truth. And this is the greater truth here, a truth that is as much about our relationship with God as everything else. For the love that dare not speak its name is love itself. This is the truth that needs protecting – by a lie if necessary.


Anonymous said...

I believe Erika Baker's first comment in this one identifies what is really happening here:


IT said...

Yes, Andrew, I agree. And I'm glad Giles Fraser is calling them out on it.

For those who don't want to follow the link, Erika's comment includes this:
"My own suspicion is that the real issue here is that the CoE is currently lobbying against marriage equality that it has suddenly discovered its support for those Civil Partnerships it had previously opposed. And support of CPs is a lot more credible if being CPd is not a bar to becoming a bishop within the CoE.

And while a lot of people might see this latest announcement as the beginnings of official support for lgbt people and their relationships, it could be interpreted as a purely politically motivated move, in particular if nothing has really changed at all and there is still no realistic chance that any CPd priest would ever become a bishop."