A Liberal Agenda?
Ian Wishart, investigaternagazine.com, AUCKLAND
The Anglican Church in New Zealand is about to be rocked by the gay clergy/homosexual marriage debate, after a move by the Church's liberal wing to force the issue onto the national agenda.
Glynn Cardy, the vicar of picturesque St Andrews church in the Auckland suburb of Epsom, has confirmed to investigatemagazine.tv that he's the author of a resolution seeking consideration for the Anglican faith to recognise gay "marriage" and debate the ordination of gay clergy.
Cardy says his decision to move on the issue now was prompted by the controversy over the decision by US Episcopalians – the American branch of Anglicanism – to ordain their first openly homosexual Bishop, Gene Robinson, a divorced father of two who left his wife to begin an eight year relationship with his gay lover.
"I'm one who thinks that some of the 'decisions taken overseas have been good decisions. I'd be seen as fairly liberal on the issue," Cardy says. When challenged that the debate in the US, Canada and now New Zealand could cause an irreparable split in the Church worldwide, Cardy's reaction is laconic: "Yeah, maybe. I doubt it."
Cardy claims the Bible does not condemn homosexuality between gay men in "committed relationships", and says Biblical texts have been taken out of context in the past and are only now being properly understood "by good liberal Bible scholars".
One of those misunderstood texts is presumably 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, which states, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders ... will inherit the kingdom of God."
Despite such strident language, Cardy says priests, homosexual or otherwise, should be free to be sexual within the confines of "committed relationships".
"I think there's a hope that the locus of sexual intimacy be a long-term committed relationship, and hopefully marriage, and that's why someone like myself would be keen on the Church having a right to acknowledge long-term committed gay relationships - recognising of course that hetero marriages or gay relationships do come adrift and that that happens as much with bishops and clergy as with anyone else."
Cardy's resolution has gone forward to be debated by the Anglican synod in New Zealand and, if carried, would make New Zealand the first Anglican diocese outside North America to recognise openly gay priests and relationships.
"What I’ve got at the Synod is merely a means where people can talk about it and talk about the events that have happened internationally.
"There's three international decisions. There's one in the diocese of New Westminster, in Vancouver, Canada, about same sex marriages. There's a decision in England where a candidate for ordination to be a Bishop withdrew his nomination after significant pressure was applied to him, and there's the decision of the general convention of the US church to ratify [Robinson]. So those three events have had major significance throughout the Anglican world."
At the heart of the debate is a power struggle between the liberal and conservative wings of Christianity, but an extra twist is added by the demographic composition of the "mainstream" church clergy, with claims that the percentage of priests who are homosexual is 40% - more than 15 times higher than the established level of homosexuality in the wider community.
What's even more surprising is that this astonishing claim is not made by conservatives, but by liberals. The US organisation Integrity Inc., a gay rights movement within the Episcopalian church, tendered sworn testimony in the 1996 heresy trial of Bishop Walter Righter who supported the ordination of openly gay priests, to the effect that 40% or around 6,000 of the priests in the US Anglican church are gay, of whom only one-sixth have "come out".
Up until Robinson's promotion, however, no openly gay priest had ever been ordained as a Bishop.
The question of why the mainstream' churches should find themselves blessed with much higher levels of homosexuality and paedophilia than the general community remains unexplained, but many remain suspicious that the growing liberality of mainstream churches has attracted people with agendas for religious reformation.
Those suspicions won't have been curbed by last month's UN-sponsored conference in New York where homosexual groups pledged a "showdown with religion" over gay marriage, gay priests and gay rights.
"The meeting was sponsored by the U.N. Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Employees, known as UNGLOBE, a group officially recognized by the worldwide body in 1996," reported WorldNetDaily.com on August 8.
"At a forum Monday, attended briefly by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, panel members singled out Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants as opponents, according to the New York-based Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.
"Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the San Francisco-based International Gay: and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, or IGLHRC, announced a coming "showdown with religion" and vowed Pope John Paul II's "call to arms" against homosexual marriage would be successfully combated.
"Another panel member, Princeton University professor Anthony Appiah, wondered whether or not religion should be limited, as it poses a "challenge" to the homosexual agenda," reported WlorldNetDaily.
"The U.N. group that hosted the event is pressing the United Nations to recognize same-sex couples and treat their partnerships as equal to traditional marriages.
"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawmakers from around the world will meet in San Diego this fall to coordinate their efforts, he noted.
"IGLHRC, the international group, distributed fliers at the meeting that listed laws it wants changed, including "sodomy, age of consent and other ‘sex-act’ laws, laws on prostitution, laws penalizing those wearing clothing of the opposite sex and laws on obscenity and pornography."
"The group also is lobbying against "denial of marriage to same sex partners, denial of marriage to transgendered people and laws on parenting and adoption."
Any surprise that New Zealand's law promoting prostitution originated in the offices of gay-rights activist and Labour MP Tim Barnett and the AIDS Foundation?
In the wake of the Prostitution Law Reform Act, brothels have already been invited to at least one tertiary institution to brief students on the benefits of becoming prostitutes to help pay off student loans, and in Wellington social workers are reporting exactly that – that students are leaving high school to become prostitutes because they see it as a better option than going on the dole.