The Church of England, Gay Bishops and the Mad Hatters Tea Party
By David W. Virtue
January 8, 2013
One might be forgiven for coming to the conclusion this week that the Church of England has dissolved into the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Here's what happening.
Hidden away within a Church of England press release at Year's end (and going largely unnoticed) was this statement that "the requirements in the 2005 statement concerning the eligibility for ordination of those in civil partnerships whose relationships are consistent with the teaching of the Church of England apply equally in relation to the episcopate".
Let the Tea Party come together.
So, if you are married to someone of the opposite sex, you can have sex. (Having children is optional and abortion is available on demand if you happen to slip up.)
If you are living with someone of the same sex, you can't have sex if you want to be a bishop.
The Church's current policy is expressed in a bishops' statement of 1991 that homosexual relationships are acceptable for laity but not for clergy. The ruling general synod voted heavily in favor of requesting further discussion on the issue of human sexuality by clergy and congregations across the country, thus confusing everybody about who can and cannot have gay sex.
So now if you are living with someone of the same sex and say you are celibate, but there is no proof except for your word, everyone will believe you...hopefully...and you can still become a bishop.
Dean Jeffrey John who desperately wants to be a bishop and will even sue for it, has a civil partnership with another cleric, but he says they haven't had sex lately or not recently or not at all, depending on how you parse his words.
The Rev. Colin Coward of the gay British organization Changing Attitude has definitely had sex with his African partner so he cannot be a bishop...at least for now, but things could change.
The Church of England has been ordaining gay priests (wink wink) for at least three decades. Everyone knows it, so why all the fuss now?
It is all due to a loophole in a 2005 press release that apparently allows for celibate gay men to be a bishop. You gotta love loopholes especially ones big enough to push a miter through.
The Church of England has just voted down women bishops, which one would have thought should have been a much easier call than being gay and wanting to be a bishop. Apparently not.
But the rules now allow for the POSSIBILITY of a gay bishop, who is celibate of course, so long as he doesn't ever admit he once had it off with Smithy who never quite got over his infatuation with Charles who lingered too long with Winston when they were at university together watching reruns of Brideshead Revisited.
Perhaps there will be a new made for TV miniseries, "No Sex Please, We're Bishops".
Finally, if women priests ever do become bishops in the Church of England, it raises the real possibility of a lesbian bishop (oh God no). If it does happen, she can sing "Hands across the Water" with Mary Glasspool, the Episcopal Church's very own lesbian bishop...and the circle will be complete.
The Episcopal Church and the Church of England perfect together.
PS. Totally ignore Global South wrath and concerns about soul destroying gay sex even though they represent 80% of the Anglican Communion because they need to catch up with post-modern attitudes in keeping with God's new found inclusivity about sex.
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