September 27, 2007

Episcopals Straddle the Fence, Satisfying No One

That's what I get after reading this report from

The openly gay bishop at the center of the feud between conservative and liberal Anglicans says that the agreement worked out Tuesday by Episcopal bishops to halt the ordination of any more gay bishops is "fair".

Robinson said the talks between Episcopal bishops from across the country, and the worldwide leader of the Anglican Church, Rowan Williams were "the two hardest days since my consecration."

But he said he thought the document was fair.

"I think people came here thinking this was going to be Katrina II," he said. "And what in fact happened was a coming together of the bishops of the church."

Many gays within the US branch of Anglicanism are less than pleased with some calling the agreement "a sellout."

Conservatives also are angry accusing the Episcopal leaders of not going far enough.

The document produced by the bishops affirmed that they will "exercise restraint" in approving another gay bishop and will not approve prayers to bless same-sex couples. The statement mostly reiterated previous pledges made by church leaders. (story)

Conservative Bishop John Howe of the Diocese of Central Florida said the statement wouldn't satisfy all the Anglican leaders. But Howe said "most will find it acceptable."

When both sides walk away from the table of a labor negotiation grumbling, conventional wisdom says it was probably a fair deal. When both sides reach a compromise short of what their side wanted in the political arena, they are usually applauded for being able to put aside partisanism to make a deal. That used to happen a LOT more than it does now, but that's a whole other story.

When a major religious denomination straddles the fence like it appears the Episcopal Church did here, I find it unsettling. After all, isn't the premise of a religion to pave a clear path to God, to take a stand on what is right and wrong? There does not seem to be a clear stand taken here. Instead, the focus seemed to be on keeping the church together, in name if not in spirit.

Is the ordiniation of gay bishops and prayers to bless same-sex couples right or wrong? The failure of the Episcopal church to clearly answer that question is not leadership, it's appeasement, and invariably little good comes from that approach.

If a church is not brave enough to take a stand on right and wrong, who is?

1 comment:

  1. I am very disappointed and wonder what a layperson can do.