It’s liberal view on the seemingly still religiously controversial topic of same-sex marriage has landed the US Episcopal Church, the Anglican church in America, in trouble with the fellow members of the Anglican Communion and has resulted in the American church being barred from joining any of the Communion’s decision-making bodies for three years.
This effectively ostracises the US church that, in 2003, was the first within the Communion to ordain an openly-gay bishop and last year passed a resolution to allow its clerics to perform same sex marriages.
A statement from those church leaders taking part in the meeting in Canterbury, UK, said that the US church should “no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity”.
The Anglican leaders said the Episcopal Church’s approval of gay marriage was “a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching” of the majority of Anglicans.
But one British MP, himself a former curate and youth chaplain, is so disgusted by the decision that he has now ´given up´ on the Anglican church.
Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, Wales, took to social media to say: “I’ve finally given up on Anglican church today after its love-empty decision on sexuality. One day it will seem (as) wrong as supporting slavery.”
And speaking to the BBC, he went on to say: “The whole point of the Anglican communion is that we agree in the autonomy of its churches. I think we’ve behaved disgracefully to the American church. This is the established Church of England taking a stance against homosexuality.
“Church leaders should read the Bible – Jesus’s message was not one of hatred and division, but one of peace and understanding.”
So, where do other faiths stand on the issue of same-sex marriages?
A look at this table shows the attitude of most Christian churches and other religions in the USA:
As you can see, most are in favour of allowing same sex marriages.
Regretfully, Pagans have been omitted from this table but I can tell you that the various faiths that are collected under the Pagan umbrella do not discriminate against the LGBT community. To us, a loving couple is just that, a loving couple, however it is comprised.
The decision of the Anglican Communion to criticise and partially exclude the US Episcopal Church for taking a decision with which it disagrees, but that even the Archbishop of Canterbury agrees it was entitled to make, is little to do with faith but is rather a political move to head off a potentially damaging split in the Anglican church worldwide.
Is that justification enough? I’ll let you decide.