Thursday, February 7, 2013

NOT JUST AN ISSUE, ARCHBISHOP JUSTIN



There you have it. Same-sex marriage is not a particularly controversial issue for the vast majority of the members of the Anglican Communion; their minds are on other things.  Thus the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England must speak against the passage of the bill making its way through Parliament which legalizes same-sex civil marriage in Britain.  I guess there's a kind of logic there, but I can't quite make it out.  Of course, the Church of England is the established church, which complicates the matter in ways I don't fully understand, but I don't see why the opinions of all the members of the churches in the Anglican Communion should affect legislation on civil marriage in Britain.

What about LGTB persons in England?  What does the Primate of All England offer in the way of pastoral care to same-sex couples who are members of the church and would like to be joined in a civil marriage ceremony?  Little in the way of empathy or compassion thus far.  An awareness that marriage equality is not simply an issue, but that the lives of real people will be affected by the legislation seems to be missing from the archbishop's commentary.  Let's hope the path is uphill from here.

Note: The interview took place before the vote in favor of the equal marriage bill in the House of Commons.  

8 comments:

  1. I read something a couple days ago in the Telegraph that helps clarify what the big deal is in England: as the state church, the CofE (as well as the Church in Wales) is legally obligated to marry any couple who are lawfully entitled to wed and want to get hitched in church.

    Hence, all the hoo-rah over the "quadruple lock" to keep the CofE exempt from same-sex marriage legislation. I guess. It all seems very odd to me, so used to our separation of church and state.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Russ, the statements by the Church of England and Justin Welby probably have something to do with establishment, but, as the bill in Parliament stands now, the CofE and the Church in Wales will be banned from performing same-sex marriages, thus assuring that no Anglican clergy will be forced to preside at SS weddings.

      Delete
    2. Apparently the majority of the English people want to keep the Established Church, even if they don't attend but once a year at Xmas or Easter. Still, it seems almost sinister to this American to have a church as a tool of the state - though I realize that that sort of thing has a long, long, looooong history in Europe.

      Still, I do like the French way: couples go to the town hall to get a civil marriage on one day, and to church for a religious marriage the following day, if they please. That nicely clarifies the reality that the Church does not "own" marriage.

      Plus, think of what a boon that would be for the wedding business - two whole days of partying! Grin.

      Delete
    3. Russ, I've long thought churches would be better off out of the marriage business altogether and simply doing blessings after a civil ceremony for couples who wish to have them.

      Delete
    4. In point of fact, and what a great many people do not realize (though I'm sure you do) - according to official theology from the earliest ages, the Church does not marry anyone. The couple themselves marry each other - the church (minister and congregants) is merely there to witness and bless the sacrament they themselves perform with their vows.

      If more people understood this, it would avoid a great deal of difficulty. But it's hard to fight against misguided ideas that people "just know" are true . . . ya know?

      Delete
    5. Russ, that's what I was always taught in my religion classes in my Roman Catholic School. Couples consent to marry each other, and clergy officiate at the ceremony. Clergy had no part in marriage ceremonies until the medieval period when the church began to take more control over marriage, which had previously been, for the most part, a business transaction.

      Delete
  2. It still seems obvious to me that we have a duty to officially disassociate from the CofE and establish a mission in the UK for those of a liberal disposition. This hand-wringing over a false communion is a shameful, cowardly dereliction of duty on the part of TEC, when so many of our brothers and sisters in the UK are left without a church environment in which they can flourish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I confess that I don't see positive change down the road. The leadership in the CofE looks to be the same-old, same-old stuck in the past, and becoming more irrelevant by the day.

      Delete

Word verification has been enabled for comments. Please type the letters or numbers shown in the word verification box to demonstrate you're not a robot. Anonymous comments are permitted so long as they are signed. Please use a name, any name, and sign your comment in order that one anonymous commenter may be distinguished from another, or your comment may be deleted. Thank you.