Rowan Williams’ choices


The Episcopal diocese of Los Angeles having elected a partnered lesbian to serve as one of its suffragan bishops, Archbishop of Canterbury (ABC) Rowan Williams huffs and puffs thusly:

The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as
suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the
Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the
Communion as a whole.

The process of selection however is only
part complete. The election has to be confirmed, or could be rejected,
by diocesan bishops and diocesan standing committees. That decision
will have very important implications.

The bishops of the
Communion have collectively acknowledged that a period of gracious
restraint in respect of actions which are contrary to the mind of the
Communion is necessary if our bonds of mutual affection are to hold.

But in the matter of Uganda’s pending law to criminalize homosexuality up to the death penalty, the ABC saith nary a public word. Ruth Gledhill of Times of London, typically channeling the Canterbury spin, assures that we can take it “for granted” that Williams is dead set against the law, but that he’s got to work behind the scenes. An anonymous source in Lambeth Palace offers:

It has been made clear to us, as indeed to others, that attempts to
publicly influence either the local church or political opinion in
Uganda would be divisive and counter productive. Our contacts, at both
national and diocesan level, with the local church will therefore
remain intensive but private.

Meanwhile, a significant figure–but not a bishop–in the Ugandan Anglican Church has denounced the anti-homosexuality bill as “state-legislated genocide against a specific community of Ugandans.” It’s pretty clear that time for the quiet approach is over. In a country where one-third of the population is Anglican, why not something from the ABC like:

The pending anti-homosexuality legislation represents a profound threat to the human rights of a segment of the Ugandan people. The failure of the Ugandan Anglican Church to condemn and oppose it raises very serious questions not just for the Ugandan Anglican Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the
Communion as a whole.

In Gledhill’s view, for the ABC to take such a stand “would almost certainly be seen as white-led colonialism of the worst
possible kind, as a misguided attempt to impose western liberal values
upon traditional African culture. It would not help the local Anglican
Church, which has yet to come out on either side.”

Heaven forfend.