Church of England Gay Activist Leader Frustrated at Logjam in House of Bishops
We still don't have one single gay, bisexual bishop come out of the closet, says Colin Coward of Changing Attitude
By David W. Virtue DD
August 4, 2015
The leader of the Church of England's most strident pansexual organization, Changing Attitude, launched an attack on the Church this week expressing his frustration that things are worse now than they have ever been for homosexuals. He said there is far more conflict and insecurity at Lambeth Palace and the House of Bishops to commit themselves to doing the right thing.
[The Rev.] Colin Coward, director of the unofficial lobby and pressure group, said things are worse now than they have ever been for LGBTQ persons despite what has been achieved at the political level by both labor and conservatives with marriage equality. The Church of England is not keeping up with the times, he added.
"What have we achieved? There was more courage 30 years ago. Last year the HOB voted 22 bishops in favor of equal marriage, one against, and 23 abstained or were not there. The majority did not approve of equal marriage," he bewailed.
Expressing three parts outrage, indignation and despair, Coward opined, "We still don't have a single gay/bisexual bishop that has been able to come out and reveal themselves." He described the situation as "extraordinary" and a "huge problem for the Church."
"We have a weird church culture with not a single bishop being honest about themselves. This affects their energy. We hear lots of good stories but also bad news stories," he lamented.
Coward described the situation the Church is living in as "deeply conflicted" over whether or not gays and lesbians can marry or obtain pension rights. "It is worse now than ever," he whined. "I don't want to retire nor am I ready to retire."
Coward said there is no formal split in the Communion but said there is a strong bloc that would like a formal schism to occur. "When GAFCON leaders met in London they talked about separating from the Church of England, but they do not represent the numbers that they say they do.
"They do not represent their own people only their own prejudices and passions and in creating an Anglican Communion to their likings. If they set themselves up they will find fierce and severe opposition within their own communities.
"When will something break the log jam...something really needs to happen...someone has to come out."
Coward also blasted efforts of reparative therapists who offer hope for men and women who voluntarily choose to move from gay to straight. "You cannot approve or allow groups in the Church of England to practice reparative therapy. All professional bodies have rejected it as deeply damaging."
He specifically blasted a conservative group called Christian Concern, which he described as a lobbying group against gay people and accused them of blocking doorways and moving outside in lobbying areas where Synod is held.
Coward said Synod got to be nice along the lines of "shared conversations" which he said the Church had been stuck with.
"I have been arguing not to tolerate a two year delay." Coward said. Canon David Porter, the archbishop's Director for Reconciliation, will bring up motions for discussion in 2017 with the intention of legislating for some kind of change in Church of England practice without upsetting conservatives.
Coward said he wanted to see the full blessing of same sex relationships. "We need to campaign vigorously for full equality for LGBTQI persons and in ministry and then we will have achieved the bottom line. Our ultimate goal won't be reached until we reach that moment. Changing Attitude is going to hold their fire to the feet."
By David W. Virtue DD
August 4, 2015
It is entirely fictitious of Colin Coward to say that GAFCON Anglican provinces would find a fight on their hands if they separated from the Church of England. There would be no fierce opposition at all. To date there has been reluctance by the Global South Primates to separate themselves from Canterbury for a number of reasons, including the fact that there is an historic relationship that goes back to the formation of the Church of England. That doesn't mean that one needs to go through Canterbury to get to Jesus, nonetheless the Global South stays within the Communion. Witness the fact that the Archbishop of Canterbury was received politely when he visited some of the more orthodox African Anglican provinces like Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda, but got no compromise on sexuality issues.
It is also another fiction to think that these African provinces would implode internally unless accommodation is made for homosexuals. Not going to happen. Witness what happened when President Barak Obama went to Kenya promoting homosexual and lesbian rights: the push back he got from President Uhuru Kenyatta saying Kenyans had more pressing concerns to deal with, including health, education, and "ensuring inclusivity of women." He might have added that sodomy is not a human or civil right; it is a behavior that can have deadly consequences. The largest African Anglican provincial leaders have told VOL that they will never compromise on homosexuality for biblical, cultural, and societal reasons. It is a cultural aberration. Furthermore, they face the hostility of Islamic leaders who use the West's embrace of homosexuality to kill Christians, something that Archbishop Justin Welby needs to get his head around and Something Colin Coward dutifully ignores.
On the subject of reparative therapy, which was "outlawed" by resolution at the Episcopal Church's recent General Convention in Salt Lake City, the following needs to be said:
First, people who seek to change do so voluntarily, there is never any coercion. ANY attempt to procure change by a parent or friend is condemned.
Secondly, I have seen reparative therapy at work in London with such distinguished therapists as Jeffrey Satinover, M.D and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, and it works. For sure, change is not instant, but it does occur. There are thousands of men and women who have "gone straight" with many happily married couples as living proof that change is possible.
Thirdly, Christianity is not always the motive to change and the Christian Faith is not used as a club or guilt machine to force change. Many find change possible through an encounter with Christ, but many do not. Change comes through self-knowledge, often without the driving force of faith.
For Mr. Coward to suggest that "all professional bodies have rejected it as deeply damaging," is simply not true. There are still a goodly number of therapists willing to treat people with this affliction. I recently had dinner with a Christian clinical therapist (an Anglo-Catholic). I asked him if he would treat someone who was conflicted in their sexuality and he said he would.
On the subject of "shared conversations" we have heard this before. Such "sharing" always lead to capitulation like the "listening process" in The Episcopal Church. Orthodox Episcopalians were made to listen and listen and listen till they rolled over or had to leave TEC because they knew that such "listening" always leads to acceptance of a behavior they knew was unbiblical and medically dangerous.
Coward's organization, which has its roots in the American Episcopal organization known as Integrity, will campaign and campaign till they break through with the very likelihood that the Church of England will do to the Global South what the Episcopal Church has done to its flailing orthodox wing and simply tell them that God is doing a "new thing" and the church wrote the Bible and can therefore rewrite it. At that time the vast majority of Anglicans might well form a more perfect union and bid the pansexual Western liberal Anglican community farewell.
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