Over a century into the marriage among the various Anglican churches, suddenly we need a legal contract.
Here is the Archbishop of Canterbury making the case for the Covenant:
And here is Louie Crew's reply to the Archbishop:
I personally think Crew is being generous here. I think the Archbishop's speech is filled with thinly veiled threats and his tone is supercilious.
I am furious that the Archbishop of Canterbury finds my kind to be so expendable. I am so very heartened that he meets such determined resistance in England and from around the world. If the Archbishop manages to pull off this bums' rush of the Episcopal Church out of the Communion, then so be it. Such a Communion held together by legal contract is not worth saving.
The consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire remains one of the supreme moments of my religious life. I never in all of my life expected to ever see an openly gay man with a partner elected and consecrated as a Christian bishop. The Episcopal Church consecrated him knowing that the whole church would suffer the same isolation and scorn that Robinson and all of us like him continue to suffer. And now the Episcopal Church finds itself scorned and mocked, and the object of a dubious piece of legislation intended to punish it for doing in good conscience what it thought best and right. That dubious legislation grandly calling itself a Covenant is the camel's nose in the tent of powerful and wealthy right wing interests mostly based in the USA who would gladly see the Episcopal Church and other Mainline Protestant churches destroyed (see the Institute for Religion and Democracy and The Chapman Memo). All of the supporters of the Covenant deny it, but we all know that this is about those nasty gay people. As long as churches continue to cling to false arbitrary ideas about gay people and to practices that are manifestly harmful and unjust, then the moral credibility of the churches will continue to erode until institutional Christianity perishes, and rightly so.
A church or a communion dedicated to playing the role of morals cop and enforcer of social conventions for the sake of established power is not worth preserving.
Christ in His Incarnation and Resurrection is the end of religion with all of the laws and burdens of ritual purity it lays upon our mortal shoulders, the overthrow of the whole grim equation of success versus failure, of ruler versus the ruled, of power versus powerlessness that is the world. He is the overthrow of the power of death whose terror drives so much of our enterprise. His proclamation of radical unconditional love is the end of borders, nations, tribes, of all the distinctions that we draw among ourselves, the end of the world as we've always known it. In that is our hope.
Christ's saving Grace is for EVERYONE just as we are without one plea, or it is for no one.
Tip of the fedora to Grandmere Mimi and to Simon Sarmiento.
Diarmaid MacCullough, Oxford professor of Church History and self described "candid friend of Christianity" on the proposed Anglican Covenant: