In today's Times (25 Sept) the Archbishop says that gay clergy can become Bishops as long as they are celibate. What must all this seem like to the ordinary public? It must seem as if the church is obsessed with sex-either the act itself or in the gender sense. Does it infuriate you? It does me. The church is about so much more than this but the church cannot move forward until the issue of gay clergy and women Bishops is settled. The ordination of women Bishops may be closer than ever but an 18 month consultation is still underway and there is always a chance that that may be scuppered.
These problems are human rights arguments. Human rights isn't a secular issue. There are numerous gospel messages which support this proposition, one being Galatians 3:27 to 29. If we set apart the church from the 'outside' world then the message we are sending out is one of anachronistic behaviour. Christianity is about conscience. Equality is a conscience issue. It is imperative that the church demonstrates that it can respond to changing societal landscapes and needs. Slavery is a much touted example of how the church eventually relented and gave away to secular pressure. The outcome, the abolition of slavery, was completely the right one to take.
The soul of Anglicanism must surely be about inclusion and not being prescriptive about how far women in the church can go or what our gay clergy can or cannot do in the privacy of their homes.