It’s bizarre to think that the Anglican Church saw fit to punish a liberal church in the US, which had a gay bishop, for getting with the times and accepting same-sex marriage.
What is even stranger is that a four day meeting went ahead in Canterbury where the elite of the Anglican Communion (a union of churches throughout the world) decided to restrict the US Episcopal Church’s decision-making for three years on a voluntary basis, and saw fit to restate that marriage can only be between “a man and a woman”.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that they can’t impose sanctions as it doesn’t fit the jurisdiction of the Communion, but they will enforce the ruling on a voluntary basis. Everyone has the right to believe what they believe, but surely it is overreaching to demand all churches fit exactly to the same doctrine? Religion is personal, and indeed, many countries with Anglican churches still criminalise homosexuality, unlike the UK.
Same-sex marriage is indeed divisive among church-goers. However it’s small-minded and damaging to the church to stop branches from, well, branching out. In the same way, other religious organisations ruling with an iron fist aren’t so much a religion as a political power. Instead of using politics to shut down a fellow Anglican, maybe the Communion could let Anglican branches decide for themselves. Isn’t that the spirit of the Anglican Church?
Welby has expressed “pain” at the fact that LGBTQ people are suffering. Maybe something should be done about it, Welby. Rather than resting on your laurels, do something about the suffering you empathise with so much. Sounds like an attempt to get away with being authoritarian or popular, to me.
God save us all, even the Archbishop.