A faithful and "active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex" is "in a way comparable to marriage," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is said to have written in a private correspondence before he was appointed leader of the global Anglican church in 2002.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams
The UK Independent newspaper say the leak is now "seen as a last-ditch attack on Dr Williams's authority" and is expected to spark a fresh row.
In the letters, he described how his view began to change from that of opposing gay relationships in 1980 to believing that biblical prohibitions on homosexuality were targeted at "heterosexuals looking for sexual variety in their experience" and that the Bible did not denounce faithful relationships between people who happened to be gay.
"By the end of the 1980s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature. I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness," he wrote.
His position on same-sex relationships is however not new as he had told BBC in a 2002 interview that "faithful" homosexual relationships do not conflict with the teachings of the Bible. "If the Bible is very clear - as I think it is - that a heterosexual indulging in homosexual activity for the sake of variety and gratification is not following the will of God, does that automatically say that that is the only sort of homosexual activity there could ever be? ...My own personal conclusion is that I can see a case for acknowledging faithful same sex relationships."
On Aug 3, Dr Williams closed the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference attended by 650 Anglican leaders by urging the Church's hierarchy not to consecrate any more openly gay bishops or perform same-sex blessings failing which, the 77-million-member church would be "in grave peril."
At the last Lambeth Conference held in 1998, the conference passed resolution 1.10 on Human Sexuality which declared "homosexual practice as (being) incompatible with scripture" and advised against "legitimising or blessing of same sex unions nor ordaining those involved in same gender unions."
Dr Williams further appealed to some 200 bishops who had boycotted the gathering over the consecration of the first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire in the US in 2003 to re-engage with the church. Robinson was not invited to the conference but he was in Canterbury to attend events on the conference fringes.
Conservative leadership from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda as well as Australia and the US had threatened to form a breakaway fellowship over the appointment of gay and bishops by organising a separate conference in Jerusalem in June this year.
The same people said it was an abomination to eat pork!
Or shellfish! The ancient Greeks had a much healthier perspective on human sexuality. Too bad their perspective was lost for 2000 years, courtesy of the Christian church! Plus Islam.
Why choose the science (as it were) of 6000 yrs ago (when the "abomination" declaration was pronounced) over the science of today? Those guys couldn't even use cellphones!
Then how do we get to pick and choose which parts of the contradictory dogma to follow? Pity the poor flock.
Let's OK alcohol and inter racial marriage, disapprove of slavery, and stop cruelty to lepers by taking two tablets - which work unlike the drivel put out by an omniscient being. My, my...the church she is a changing...
But let's keep one group morally lower - that ought to help our flock feel good...
And so the love of gay folk is still on the condemned list - not endangered mind you, for it practiced in every church on the planet.
From a Marxist point of view, they sees religion that is highly addictive, people depends on them to have constant exploitation / oppression and is treated as a type of comfort. Therefore, Religion is used as a cover up to the problems of society inequalities and it masked the oppression & exploitation because it does not address the real structural problem of the society.
Why does Fridae think gays are constantly seeking to be conventionally accepted anyway?
What next? Why the f does Fridae assume we give a sh't about christianity? Why don't they also publish the opinions of Islamic Imams condemning gay relationships as unacceptable?
It'll be hell more interesting if Ronaldinho came out and say A gay couple relationship is like Teammates on a football club.
gosh, this is so apparent and everyone knows it already . ..
I am still struggling to plan the perfect gay bachelor party, so much pressure right now, I can't bear it, all my brother's high gay friends have such high expectations . . . haven't worred this much since my high school bar mitzah!! Rowan forget worrying about whether gay marriage is good or bad, its here and possible already . .. please pray for me as I go about executing the perfect Bachelor Party. . .I am so nervous and it must be flawless or a lot of my brother's powerful gay friends will be disappointed . . . only three weeks away ... I don't think my brother appreciates all the work I am doing to prepare for this thing! where are all the gay wedding planners and party planners when you need them?
Honestly ask yourself, "Who needs that kind of theology?" If you can honestly say that you don't, then walk away from it and the issues haunting the Anglican Communion today will NEVER be YOUR issues :-) !
Humans a few thousand.
Religions a few hundred.
God made it all. I'm sure there were gay dinosaurs, and I'm sure they couldn't give a f@ck about marriage.
So why does it matter what some old boy said, and whether it's similar or totally different to straight marriage?
Christian churches (shops?) have been steadily losing "customers" in European countries over the past decades and now rely heavily on their african and south american flock.
But hey, if they suddenly figured that, by accepting gay marriage and gays in general they might attract a whole new "segment of the market" that could change things.
Lol... yes, i'm joking but yes, I do believe it's all about power, money and politics. Nothing to do with God, moral and/or spiritual thirst.
I've said it before and i'll say it again, when i hear that "human beings would be better off without religions" I can't help but think it's quite the other way round, in fact, and religions would be better off without human beings :-))
and to those who question why gays would care what churches think of them ... if you are not a christian yourself, then the article is obviously not written for you. simple as that. there may be some of us who do welcome it. you don't have to spoil it for us merely because it has no resonance with you.
and as always, the simplistic commonly held views of history often held by the majority reveal a startling lack of real historical knowledge. Those who contrast Christianity with the supposedly "superior" Greco-Roman civilization preceding it, demonstrate their ignorance of the fact that much Classical thinking went into Christianity and much earlier Judaic thought heavily influenced Greek thought and vice versa. So the two are much more entwined than many realize. Much of the anti-sexual strain in early Christianity already had its origins in late Greco-Romans chools of thought such as the Stoics. And the entry that stated that the ancients had a "healthier" attitude to homosexuality than the Chrisitans also displays a lack of understanding. Classical culture only viewed the "penetrator - or the "top" in a positive light. The penetrated (or the bottom) was viewed highly negatively - as effeminate and on the same level as women - in other words as highly inferior.
No doubt I will hear from those who will resent my views and have to have the last word. There is not enough space here to get into the subtleties and complexities of the issues. I am as highly critical as anyone else of simplistic and erroneous Fundamentalist Christianity ... but find simplistic thinking from opposing camps every bit as disturbing.
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