Church of England to Allow Gay Bishops, Sort Of

The House of Bishops of the Church of England has announced that it will no longer prevent gay priests, including those in civil unions, from being elevated to the office of bishop… with a couple conditions. One is that gay clergy must promise to be celibate. The other is that they “repent for active homosexuality in the past.” No kidding.

While conservative Anglicans are predictably irate over what appears to be a softening of his predecessor’s more conciliatory position toward anti-gay leaders in the Church by recently named Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, LGBT activists and allies hardly see the announcement as much news.

“It’s nominally good news but I don’t trust it,” the Rev. Colin Collins of the advocacy group Changing Attitudes told The Huffington Post UK, “I don’t believe that there is serious intent in the announcement and I won’t until the moment when somebody who is in a civil partnership is appointed as a bishop.”

And, perhaps, until video monitors are installed in all episcopal bedrooms so we can be certain that all bishops are adhering to the stands for sexual behavior set out by the Church.

Elizabeth Drescher [@edrescherphd] is the author, with Keith Anderson, of Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012). She teaches religion and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University. She is currently at work on Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of Religious Nones, a project funded in part through a grant from the Social Science Research Council’s “New Directions in the Study of Prayer” project through the Templeton Foundation. Her website is www.elizabethdrescher.com