Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Church in Wales: Bishops' statement on homosexuality 2005

I like this statement because I think it clearly and fairly reflects the spectrum of beliefs in the Anglican church about this issue. Wouldn't it be wonderful for American churches to adopt a similar resolution? Or my seminary? Well, anyway, at least it admits all these people are reading the Bible with integrity and have come by their conclusions honestly with prayer and reasoning.

The Bishops of the Church in Wales recognise that its members hold a wide range of views on a variety of ethical, social and theological matters. One such issue is the Church's approach to homosexuality. For some time, we have recognised that there are honest and legitimate differences on this subject. The church needs to engage prayerfully in this debate with humility, generosity of spirit, reflection on biblical witness, mature thought and careful listening. The harsh and condemnatory tone, which at times has coloured this debate, is unacceptable.

We uphold the traditional Anglican emphasis on Scripture read in the light of reason and tradition. We recognise that the interpretation of Scripture is in itself an area of divergence among Christians. We are at pains to emphasise the need to respect one another and remind the Church that everyone is created in the image and likeness of God. Sexuality is only one aspect of a person's humanity.

As with many issues there, exists a wide range of Scriptural interpretation within the Christian church. On same-sex relationships we acknowledge that the following fairly reflect the range of views held within the Church in Wales.

Some people, reading the Scriptures with integrity, reach the conclusion that the only proper context for sexual activity is marriage between a man and a woman in life-long union. Homosexual practice of any kind is therefore rejected.

Others, reading the Scriptures with integrity, adopt a more sympathetic understanding of homosexuality, but would not at present wish the Church to sanction homosexual practice.

Others, reading the Scriptures with integrity, conclude that orientation and practice are to be distinguished and that the Church can welcome same sex relationships provided they are celibate.

Others again, reading the Scriptures with integrity, conclude that the Church cannot dismiss as intrinsically disordered permanent and committed same-sex relationships; they believe that through their internal mutuality and support, these bring creativity, generosity and love into the lives of those within them.

Others, reading the Scriptures with integrity, conclude, in the light of a developing understanding of the nature of humanity and sexuality, that the time has arrived for the Church to affirm committed homosexual relationships.

The challenge and call of our discipleship is to live, worship and work together in all our diversity. Rejecting all forms of stigmatisation we commit ourselves to listening to people whose sexual orientation may be different from our own.

25 November 2005


Anonymous said...

(I couldn't post this on your more recent post)

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Tookie on his final appeal and set his execution date for December 13. Thus they disregarded 9 of the 24 Ninth Circuit Court judges' assertion that the District Attorney at Tookie's trial employed "reprehensible and unconstitutional" racist tactics, using animal-in-a-jungle metaphors to refer to Tookie and to the South Central environment in which he lived. This landmark ruling means that minorities can now legally be rejected from juries based on race. This is now the law of the land."

Not really. All that it means when the Supreme Court won't hear a case is that the Circuit Court decision stands. And first, the decision only holds for the circuit in which the case was decided. Second, that doesn't mean that it's legal to reject people from juries because of race; all it means is that they didn't think there was enough evidence to demand a rehearing of the case. Nothing was said.

If this actually did set a precedent for people to be rejected from juries because of race, everybody would know, and they'd have those judges' heads. I'm not saying the courts' decisions were right, just that their scope is limited to this one case.

kate said...

This post was from a little while ago, but I'd still like to comment...
Thank you for this. Last week, a few days after sharing with my father (a baptist minister) that I will be going through the discernment process for ordination, he engaged me in a discussion about the "homosexual issue." I tried to explain to him where I am coming from, and this is such an affirmation of that. Thank you.