Saturday, July 15, 2017


In case you missed it, there was big news from the Church of England recently. On July 9, the Synod of the Church overwhelmingly passed a resolution welcoming transgendered people. This is a major milestone in a Church which only recently stood up for equal rights in boldly rejecting a bishops' report critical of full inclusion of homosexuals.

The 9 July resolution recognized "the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church." The Synod also called on the House of Bishops to consider liturgies to support transgender.

The vote:
House of Bishops: 30-yes; 2-no; 2-abstain
House of Clergy: 127-yes; 28-no; 16-abstain
House of Laity: 127-yes; 48-no; 8-abstain

This indicates clearly that the Church of England is moving along the path toward full rights for homosexual and transgendered people behind the Anglican Church of Canada, the American Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal Church of Scotland. Numerous others among the 38 Anglican provinces are also moving in the direction of equality. 

Of course, the GAFCON primates of equatorial Africa expressed their displeasure. All of this should make the upcoming Anglican Communion primates' meeting in October, in Canterbury, interesting. As far as we know, the GAFCON/Global South primates will be there and ACNA's Archbishop Foley Beach will not. Apparently he has not been invited. If he had been, we would all know about it.

For years before the schism in South Carolina, Bishop Lawrence was fond of railing against what he called the false gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity. By that he meant equal rights and inclusion of homosexuals. Yet, he seemed particularly concerned about transgender. I sat in on a "bishop's forum" in October of 2012 in which he spent a good deal of time bemoaning the fact he had met two transgendered priests at the recent General Convention. Ultra conservatives assert that God created everyone male or female. For them, it was bad enough to question that but worse to try to alter "identity." In the annual diocesan convention of 2015 Lawrence put himself on the line to oppose gender reassignment. He insisted on keeping rejection of transexuality in a resolution even though it was extraneous to the point which was against homosexual rights. The convention affirmed his stand by two-thirds vote.

Meanwhile society across the western world is moving quickly to accept equality for and inclusion of homosexuals and transgendered. A recent Pew Research study showed that 60% of Americans now approve of same-sex marriage, a fifteen point jump in a decade; and the trend is rising rapidly. Among young people, the percentage is at 90. This is true for South Carolina too. In time, the socially reactionary Diocese of South Carolina will have a harder and harder time attracting young people. Just look at the photos of the DSC conventions these days, mostly old white men. The DSC churches lost 28% of their communicants in the first three years after the schism. This downward track is only bound to accelerate as demography overwhelms them. So, the leaders of DSC can continue their campaign against human rights for all people but they will be doing so to increasingly empty churches.

Indiscriminate inclusivity is not the false gospel. It IS the gospel. Our Lord turned away no one. He did not discriminate. As His followers, we are to love one another and not stand in judgment.   

For a report on the 9 July vote, see this article . See also this article