BY Advocate.com Editors
December 05 2005 12:00 AM ET
The church took a small step in the direction of
inclusion when you and Archbishop Williams had a
private meeting. How do you think he’s
handling the continuing controversy over your
consecration as the church’s only out bishop?
I think he’s in an almost impossible position.
Here he is, the head of this worldwide communion,
which is in this enormous conflict, not just religious
but cultural and political. The other side is making this a
“choose one or the other” [situation]. I keep
saying this need not be a communion breaker. We can
all be within the Anglican Communion and totally
disagree about this issue without coming apart. The problem
is, they are saying that that can’t be. So my
heart goes out to Rowan Williams.
Why do you think the church can hold together despite
such radical differences in opinion?
We’ve been ordaining women here in
America for 30 years. That didn’t drive us
apart. The other side of it is, in all the basics of the
faith, there is no mention of this issue. We’re
not arguing over the divinity or the humanity of
Christ; we’re not arguing over the Trinity;
we’re not arguing over the Resurrection. This
is one of those things that we’ve always
disagreed about. You would find Anglicans all over the map
with respect to abortion or stem cell research or
Iraq, but we all go to the communion table together
and receive the body and blood of Christ and find our
unity there. And then we go back to the pews and argue about
all those other things.
Still, some people have already left the church over this
issue, and dioceses and parishes both in the
States and abroad are threatening to secede. Do
you think it will come to that?
My great hope is that ultimately it won’t
happen. Technically speaking, you can’t take a
diocese out of the Episcopal Church. The bishops who
object to all of this can leave, but there’s no
mechanism for taking their dioceses with them. It
sounded as if the dissolution would take place the day
after my consecration—that’s been two years
now. My prayer is that every day that goes by when we
haven’t separated is another day closer to our
Is full inclusion of gays and lesbians worth the price of
having some leave?
Justice is always worth those kinds of risks. We faced
those risks in the ’60s when we began to
include people of color in the church, and lots of
people left and took their money with them. And back then
there were people still justifying separation of the
races on Scripture. We experienced the same thing with
women, and now we’ll experience the same thing
with this issue. There’ll be people who are opposed
and disillusioned and dismayed, and some of them will
leave—but ultimately, if the church
isn’t about justice, then what’s it about?
You said in London that the church will eventually fully
include gay men and lesbians. Why are you so confident?
It is the just thing, and God is always on the
side of justice. So it’s a matter of time. Now,
I also think that I won’t live to see the end of
this in my lifetime. We’ve been dealing with racism
and sexism for a long time, and they have hardly been
vanquished. So it’s in that sense that we know
what the right thing is, and we know that we are inexorably
moving in that direction.
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