Thursday, September 27, 2007

One has to wonder just how interested Anglican Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Peter Akinola, is in mending ties with the U.S. Episcopal Church over the participation of gay and lesbian people in the life of the Episcopal Church. Before the ink could dry on the ECUSA's statement about the consecration of gay, partnered bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions, Akinola was quick to denounce what he saw as the Episcopal Church's lack of "repentance," according to the Associated Press.

This is a tough situation, and ECUSA may have jumped the gun in approving the consecration of Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire before the wider Anglican Communion was ready for a conversation about homosexuality--although I think they were right on theological grounds. Even if ECUSA didn't properly take into account Robinson's consecration would have on the rest of the Communion, Akinola is openly homophobic, going so far as to support laws in Nigeria that would make homosexual activity and even identifying as a gay or lesbian person a civil crime punishable by imprisonment. While ECUSA may have prematurely stretched the bonds of charity in its full inclusion of gay and lesbian people in its ecclesial life, Akinola has certainly violated charity's basic demands in his vociferous attacks on gay and lesbian people, many of whom are, after all, baptized members of the people of God.

In the end, I'd rather be guilty of too much charity than too little. And I think its time for the ECUSA's bishops and people to issue a little "fraternal correction" of their own on this matter. As for the question of gay bishops, a partnered lesbian is on the slate of candidates for the Chicago see. Should be interesting...



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