Conservatives criticize Episcopal Church
November 04 2003 1:00 AM ET
Conservative Anglicans said Monday they will cut or loosen ties with the U.S. diocese that has consecrated the church's first openly gay bishop. In a statement issued Monday, Nigerian archbishop Peter Akinola said Robinson's consecration in New Hampshire on Sunday demonstrates that parts of the U.S. Episcopal Church "consider that their cultural-based agenda is of far greater importance than obedience to the word of God.
"The overwhelming majority of the primates [Anglican leaders] of the global south cannot and will not recognize the office or ministry of Canon Gene Robinson as a bishop," Akinola's statement continued. Resistance to gay bishops has been particularly strong in Africa.
In a separate statement, the Anglican Church of Uganda said it will cut all ties with the New Hampshire diocese. Thomas Kogo, bishop of the town of Eldoret in neighboring Kenya, said his diocese will not recognize Robinson as a bishop but will maintain its ties to the New Hampshire diocese. "The admission of homosexuals in the church...is unacceptable to the church," said Stanley Ntagari, a spokesman for the Ugandan Anglican church, with 8 million members Africa's second largest. "We do not recognize that man as a bishop."
The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the international Anglican Communion, which encompasses 77 million believers.
Peter Jensen, the conservative Anglican archbishop of Sydney, said the consecration of Robinson--who is divorced and lives openly with his partner--is wrong "because the word of God teaches us clearly what the standards are for Christian behavior in leaders, and Canon Robinson does not fulfill those requirements. This creates a split for the first time in a particular area, and that's a tragedy, but it's necessary if the truth is to be preserved."