“I find it perplexing the way the ‘moral values’ phrase is used,” said the Rev. Mark Greiner, the pastor at the Presbyterian church that Ward attends. “Concern for the environment, concern for workers’ rights: those are moral values,” he told me. “But the phrase ends up being limited to matters of human sexuality, as if Jesus was primarily concerned with what people did with their reproductive parts. It’s crazy-making.” Greiner wants the ban on gay scouts and leaders lifted.
The new Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Communion, was invested in a ceremony with plenty of pomp and circumstance in Canterbury Cathedral in Kent this week, just two days after the new Pope was installed in Rome.
The Most Rev. Justin Welby made headlines in the UK by noting that many gay and lesbian couples have formed relationships of “stunning quality,” but he would not pledge to work to change the Church of England’s stance on same-sex marriage, though he did say that he thought that someday a woman would become Archbishop of Canterbury.
For all of his talk of inclusion for some, much of his rhetoric is as rooted in the dogma of the past as that of Pope Francis.
Is anyone surprised in the slightest by the election of another anti-gay crusader as pope? The utterly stubborn intransigence of the Catholic Church leadership to bend to modern thought and practice is potentially the reason so many are fleeing the church.
Pope Francis. Image: guardian.co.uk
Pope Francis is a conservative who is anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption. He has described same-sex marriage as the work of the devil and a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” He has also said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children.
Of course, there’s also the recent analysis of the General Social Survey (GSS) that notes that in 1990 approximately 8% of Americans reported no religious affiliation, while today’s percentage is 20%. A huge societal shift in just over 20 years.
Why is this, I wonder? Perhaps it has something to do with the mule-like insistence of religious leaders to look to the past and not to the future for answers.