This blog continues to hope for a rapid demise of the less than useless functional atheist Church of England.
An alternative is for the institution to simply declare itself atheist.
Which ever path this blog holds that the sooner the Church of England is distanced from the Christian community the better for all for clearly the Bible has no relevance to this institution. The Church of England has become like the fig tree which was cursed
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Gay marriage: bishop of Salisbury gives backing to same-sex weddings
Bishop Nick Holtam says gay marriage ’embodies virtues that the Church of England wants to see maximised in society’
Photograph: London News Pictures/Rex
Friday 28 March 2014 16.44 GMT
The Church of England’s divisions over gay marriage have been reopened by the bishop of Salisbury, who has issued a statement praising the couples who will get married and assuring them of his prayers and good wishes.
The Right Rev Nick Holtam’s supportive remarks on the eve of the legalisation of gay marriage express the views of a significant body of dissent within the Church of England, unhappy with the formal position that prevents Anglican clergy from marrying partners of the same sex.
Gay marriage, the bishop said, “embodies a commitment to be faithful, loving, and lifelong. These are virtues which the Church of England wants to see maximised in society.”
Although Holtam was one of the signatories to the recent letter from the house of bishops – one of the three sections of the General Synod of the Church of England – prohibiting clergy from marrying same-sex partners, his remarks show attitudes in the church hierarchy are softening in line with those of their congregations.
Polls suggest that support for gay marriage is widespread among younger churchgoers, but every expression of liberal or humane sentiment enrages some conservatives who maintain that the church is free from homophobia.
The bishop of Buckingham, Alan Wilson, lambasted the church for hypocrisyon Friday. “There are partnered gay bishops telling their partnered gay clergy ‘you shouldn’t marry your partner Fred'” he said. “The priest replies, ‘Why shouldn’t you marry [your partner] Tom?'”
Although Wilson declined to name any gay bishops with partners, he said he would discourage his heterosexual curates from living with partners to whom they were not married and he did not see why it should be different for gay people.
Although the rules prohibit him from “blessing” such relationships, Wilson said: “If I am approached by a gay couple, I think it perfectly possible to devise something with them which is as appropriate as it can be in the present confused situation. You can pray with people pastorally but you can’t use the B word.”
He is only an assistant bishop, without a cathedral of his own or any prospect of the House of Lords. But four retired diocesan bishops signed a statement with him “rejoicing” in gay marriage, along with representatives of Liberal and Reform Judaism and the Quakers on Friday.
Meanwhile, although Anglican conservatives mostly recognise that the battle has been lost in wider society, it makes them more determined that the Church of England should not change. This is increased by the fear of alienating African churches, which have taken an increasingly homophobic line in the last decades.
The resulting position is one of exquisite embarrassment. Very few in the church are not embarrassed by the antics of anti-gay campaigners. Their numbers include the General Synod member Andrea Williams, who last year urged Jamaicans to keep homosexual acts criminal, and linked homosexuality with paedophilia – or Andrew Symes, an Oxford vicar who wrote on his blog that he believed the winter flooding was in effect part of God’s just punishment for sexual permissiveness.
At the same time these people are plugged into a large and active network of African conservatives, who hope and pray that the Church of England will break up over the issue and leave the liberal rump (as they see it) to wither.
Meanwhile, the wider world simply cannot understand the fuss, and every statement by a bishop or archbishop suggesting compassion or understanding for the liberal position simply increases the pressure on the present compromise, which has left the Church of England prevented by government ministers from holding gay marriages.
Colin Coward, of Changing Attitude, a liberal pressure group, said: “I am already fielding inquiries from people who want to know if they can get married in their local church. I think the Church of England will be forced to face up to that reality.”
Tags: Gay marriage, Gay rights, Marriage, Sexuality, UK news