Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Monday's vote in the Anglican Church of Canada was historic in many ways. All three houses voted by more than two-thirds majority to allow same-sex marriage in the Church. This is a stunning victory for democracy, human rights, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the Anglican Communion and its significance should not be lost on anyone. The reality is that the tidal wave of history is bringing democratic equality over civilization starting with the First World. In the big picture, this is really something that has been going on for more than two centuries. The vote in Canada is just the latest evidence of the march of the rights of man (and woman).

Canada is the second of the 38 Anglican provinces to adopt same-sex marriage in the church, after the American Episcopal Church. On the civil side, same-sex marriage has been sweeping the world in the last fifteen years, now legal in many countries.

Parts of the Anglican Communion have responded to the issue of homosexual rights/same-sex marriage differently. In general, the First World provinces are moving to adopt this while Third World countries, particularly in Africa, are maneuvering to stop it. The conventional institutional structure of the Anglican Communion leans to the First World. Third World Anglicans created GAFCON in 2008 as an anti-homosexual rights sub-structure in the AC. They tried to split off the "anti" side from the old Communion but failed. One of their aims was to have their proxy in America, the anti-homosexual rights Anglican Church in North America, to replace the pro-homosexual rights Episcopal Church as the legitimate Anglican province in America. This stratagem collapsed and died in early 2016. The primates' gathering in January ruled that if the ACNA wanted to join the AC, it would have to go through the Anglican Consultative Council and recommended that the ACC not admit the ACNA. A few weeks later, at the meeting of the ACC in Lusaka, there was no effort to get ACNA into the AC. GAFCON is now in disarray trying to decide what to do next.

Meanwhile, First World provinces are moving toward adopting same-sex marriage. There is an excellent summary of the 38 provinces' stands on this issue in Wikipedia here . It looks as if the next province to approve, after the U.S. and Canada, will be Scotland. On June 10, "The Scottish Episcopal Church took the first step towards allowing same sex marriage when its General Synod approved a change to the Church's canon on marriage." See the article about this in the Anglican News Service here . There are signs that Ireland too is on the way to allowing same-sex marriage in church (see the Wikipedia article above). Moreover, there are clear signs that England will be joining the parade. It is just a matter of time. See the revealing article about the Church of England in The Telegraph here . Although this movement is spearheaded by First World provinces, others are moving too. In 2017, the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil will discuss changing its canons to allow same-sex marriage. There have also been rumblings of change in New Zealand, Australia, Southern Africa, and other places.

This is not to say that the whole Anglican Communion is in process of adopting equal rights for homosexual persons. No doubt GAFCON/Global South, created to oppose this, will continue to fight for a long time to come before they too are overwhelmed by the irresistible tide of history. However, it appears to me that the steam has gone out of their crusade which is now on a downward slope. The momentum in the worldwide struggle for equal rights for homosexuals has definitely shifted. The "pro" side now has the initiative as shown by the American Episcopal Church vote of last year, the primates' gathering of January, the ACC meeting of April, and the Canadian vote of Monday. The GAFCON side is back on its heels and scrambling to make a coherent response to this onslaught. The primate of Uganda's attempt to lead an anti-American revolt fizzled out in the primates' gathering. He managed to get only two allies to join him in boycotting the ACC meeting in April.

Where does the schismatic Diocese of South Carolina fit into all of this? Answer=it has no fit. It is about to join the Anglican Church in North America but that will not change anything. The ACNA is an independent denomination not part of the Anglican Communion. It never has been and never will be as revealed in the events of this year. One may suppose that DSC will continue to be "recognized," whatever that means, by its anti-homosexual-rights friends abroad. What use is that? The way GAFCON/GS abandoned the ACNA, the DSC should not count on them. Bottom line=DSC continues to drift without meaning or identity while the world moves on beyond them.