I’ve found Giles Fraser irritatingly woolly in the past, but he’s not woolly on the subject of the Anglican cop-out. He’s very sheared indeed. Nary a punch is pulled.
The deal that the archbishop has brokered with the Episcopal church in New Orleans protects the unity of the church by persuading US bishops that the church is more important than justice…For all the high-sounding rhetoric about how much they value gay people, the church has once again purchased its togetherness by excluding the outsider…OK, so no one has died here…[O]ught we not to get a bit more perspective? No: the struggle for the full inclusion of lesbian and gay people in the life of the church is a frontline battle in the war against global religious fascism. Robert Mugabe has called homosexuals “worse than dogs and pigs”. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government denies that gay people exist in Iran, and hangs the ones it finds. The Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria thinks homosexuality “evil” and “cancerous”. There can be no compromise with any of this, irrespective of whether it is backed up by dodgy readings of holy texts or not.
No compromise? But what of diversity? What of their culture? What of respect? What of sensitivity? The hell with all that, says the Vicar of Putney; well done.
Many know that the logic of the New Orleans deal is the logic of unity through exclusion…[T]his whole sorry business is as visceral as a group of playground kids coming together to slag off the [child] with the unfashionable haircut or funny accent. Finding someone to point the finger at is the best way of bringing people together. Global Christian cohesion is being achieved by a church that is defining itself against some representative other – in this case, a short, rather geeky gay bishop with a bit of a drink problem. He is a scapegoat straight from central casting. The sad truth is, the issue of homosexuality isn’t splitting the Anglican communion: it’s uniting it like never before…The Rt Rev Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, has brought people together: hands across the ocean, united in homophobia. It was the Episcopal church that held out longest against unholy unification. But in agreeing to these terms, they too have now bent the knee to the will of the collective bully.
Of course, much of the point of religion is the logic of unity through exclusion – but I won’t nag the Vicar about that today.