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Shaking the Foundations: LGBT Bishops and Blessings in the Fullness of Time

Marilyn McCord Adams

Homophobia is a sin, and its end-time is now! At stake in current Anglican Communion disputes is the uprooting of institutional homophobia within the church. Clever sex-and-gender conservatives pit liberal polity (with its bias toward tolerance and inclusiveness) against liberal sex-and-gender content-commitments. Conservatives insist that they cannot conscientiously remain within an institution with whose institutional policies they conscientiously disagree (the Institutional Purity Principle). Thus, true tolerance of conservatives’ conscientious beliefs would require liberals to deny institutional expression of their own conscientious content-beliefs, no matter who held the decision-making majority. Liberals lured by this reasoning stand ready to hand conservatives a variety of “instruments of mischief”--flying bishops, non-geographical dioceses and provincial affiliations, and a newly restrictive pan-Anglican covenant--all of which are aimed at preventing or quarantining the effect of liberals’ setting institutional policy. Liberals should repent of these concessions, reassess the limits of tolerance, and--where they gain the majority--forward the gospel by giving institutional expression to their content-convictions (that is, to authorize ordaining and blessing non-celibate LGBTs).

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