Sunday, October 9, 2016


The organization of Anglicans called the Global South has just held its sixth conference, in Cairo. It issued two important documents that are worth studying, a Communiqué ( here ) and a Statement from the Global South Primates and GAFCON Primates Council Concerning Same-Sex Unions ( here > "Statement..." 08 October). These documents reaffirm two realities that were already apparent: homosexuality was the driving issue splitting the Anglican Communion, and Global South/GAFCON have failed to break up the Anglican Communion into two hostile camps on that issue.
The second item, the Statement, speaks for itself simply and clearly as it condemns homosexual behavior. It continues the fundamentalist belief that God assigned gender and that people who go against their assigned gender are rebelling against God. In other words, homosexuality is a learned behavior and not an innate state. "Our role is to restore them to God's divine patterns" (#10). Restore them. Homosexuals are not really homosexuals, they are "same-sex attracted" (#11). There is nothing new in this Statement. It would be dismissed offhand by a great host of psychological and medical professionals.
The first item, the Communiqué, is much more interesting and revealing about the state of the anti-homosexual rights provinces of the Anglican Communion. Here are some items to note in this document:
1---(#2) 16 provinces participated in the recent Global South conference. That represented less than half of the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion. It also meant 8 of the 24 provinces that are part of Global South did not attend. This indicates a weakening of the anti-homosexual movement in the Anglican Communion.
2---(#8) the new Global South Primates Steering Committee is headed, once again, by Mouneer Anis of Egypt (Mark Lawrence's constant defender). Of the nine primates, four are from equatorial Africa, the provinces that have been historically the most opposed to rights for homosexuals. This shows the continued importance of the issue of homosexuality among the core of Global South/GAFCON.
3---(#22a) Explicit recognition that the division in the Anglican Communion came from the issue of homosexuality: "We recognize that division and dislocation amongst orthodox Anglicans have arisen during the disputes on human sexuality." Any claim from the Diocese of South Carolina, or any other breakaway group, that this was about "theology" or "polity" is just nonsense. Even Global South finally admitted the obvious. It is time for DSC to do the same. The schism of DSC from the Episcopal Church was directly caused by DSC's rejection of equal rights for homosexual persons.
4---The Communiqué is replete with references to sexuality.
5---The attitude toward the Anglican Communion is ambivalent. On one hand it called for unity in the Anglican Communion: "bind Anglicans worldwide together as one people" (#23). On the other hand, it criticized the Instruments of Communion of the Anglican Communion for failure to "discipline" those [Episcopal Church] who supposedly abandoned the historic faith and to check the marginalization of Anglicans in "heterodox Provinces" [ACNA and DSC]. 
     It is important to note what the document do not say. It does not call for, or even imply, division, schism, or any form of rebellion against the Anglican Communion. Global South/GAFCON has abandoned its threat to bolt the Anglican Communion. In the end, it only set up a "task force" to study the future (#33).
     While Global South/GAFCON recognized the Anglican Church in North America as a fellow "province," the documents said nothing about supporting it for membership in the Anglican Communion. In fact, that is a dead issue. In last January's Primates' Gathering in Canterbury, Global South/GAFCON abandoned ACNA on the spot and agreed that if ACNA should want to join the Anglican Communion it would have to go through the Anglican Consultative Council. In addition, the primates recommended that ACNA NOT be admitted to AC. When the Anglican Consultative Council met last April, all but three of the Global South/GAFCON provinces attended. Not one of them raised the issue of the admission of ACNA to the Anglican Communion. The fact that the new Communiqué completely ignores the issue of ACNA's joining AC confirms the point that this is dead. GAFCON helped create ACNA in 2009 with the goal of making it the replacement province in the Anglican Communion to take the place of the Episcopal Church. It is abundantly clear now that this stratagem has completely failed.
     People of South Carolina should understand that joining ACNA will NOT be joining the Anglican Communion. ACNA is not now and will never be a province of the Anglican Communion. At best it is "recognized" by a minority, and a shrinking one at that, of the most socially conservative provinces of the Anglican Communion.
The take-aways from the recent Global South Conference:
---the hard right of the Anglican Communion is still obsessed with the issue of homosexuality.

---the hard right knows it has failed to remove the pro-homosexual rights provinces from the Anglican Communion, most notably the Episcopal Church. It is at a loss to know what to do about this.  
---Opposition to equal rights for homosexuals is declining in the Anglican Communion. One province after another is taking up the issue of equal rights for homosexuals. We are on the downward slope, historically speaking, on this issue that peaked in 2015 with the U.S. Supreme Court and the Episcopal Church's adoption of same-sex marriage.
---Global South/GAFCON is on the decline in the Anglican Communion. They know they have lost the war on homosexuality. They are now only fighting a rear-guard action to delay the acceptance of historic reality as long as possible. At this point, it is just that, only delay of the inevitable.