EDITORIAL ‘THE HERALD” (SYDNEY)
Anglicans must build a broad church in debate on same sex marriage
October 16, 2019 — 5.31pm
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Henry VIII created the Anglican Church by splitting with the Catholic Pope in the 16th century but it is strange that in 2019 Glenn Davies, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, has returned to this tradition by calling for a new split to drive out the evil of same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Davies has long been a passionate opponent of same-sex marriage, taking positions at odds to more tolerant members of the Anglican Church.
Under his headship, Sydney Anglicans controversially donated $1 million to fund the “no” campaign in the postal survey on same-sex marriage.
Apparently unmoved by the strong “yes” vote in the survey and Parliament’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage, the archbishop has now told the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney, the Anglican Church’s parliament, Anglicans who want to follow the practice should found their own church or go somewhere else. “Please leave us,” he said.
The same-sex marriage vote has challenged many religious groups in Australia, confronting them with the reality that a majority of people no longer share some of their traditional values.Advertisement
The archbishop is entitled to his views which he no doubt sincerely believes.
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But the Christian church talks a lot about loving thy neighbour. How does that square with driving out thousands of your own believers who have a different interpretation of one point of the scriptures?
At a breakfast last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued that prayer brings the nation together but Archbishop Davies is providing a very clear example of how it can tear communities apart.
Australia is a multi-faith society which, indeed, includes many people of no faith. Without a basic assumption that we can agree to disagree on some issues, it will not work.
This is not the middle ages, when heretics were burnt at the stake.
The fact is that many Anglicans are struggling with whether to accept homosexuality. Large sections of the church in Britain and the US have already decided to accept both same-sex marriage and the ordaining of gay clergy.
Views are just as divided in Australia. Church officials are expected to discuss the diocese of Wangaratta, which has decided to endorse same-sex marriage.
Even here in Sydney, which the archbishop speaks for, the split runs deep. Many electorates with a much larger than average share of Anglicans, such as Berowra and Lindsay, returned a very strong “yes” vote in the marriage equality survey.
Given this very real disagreement within the church, Archbishop Davies only inflames tension by threatening to drive out those who disagree.
It would certainly impose real pain on people who have grown up in the church.
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This would not be the first time Archbishop Davies’s conservative views have antagonised some of his flock.
About 2700 Anglicans signed a petition last year protesting a campaign by the archbishop for religious freedom which they felt encouraged discrimination against gay teachers and students. He denied that was his intent and he was just fighting for the right to protect church values at church schools.
Yet many will be struck by the irony that Archbishop Davies is fighting so hard to bring in laws to protect religious freedom even as he is trying to prevent people within his own church from expressing their own understanding of their faith.
The Anglican Church must resolve these issues for itself but it would be better to send a more patient and tolerant message. Hardline dogmatism will only lead to conflict.
This Editorial in the Sydney HERALD outlines the general feeling in Aistralia about the recent attempt by the current Archbishop of Sydney, Glen Davies, to encourage anyone who supported the idea of Same-Sex Marriage to leave the Anglican Church.
Archbishop Davies was in New Zealand last Saturday 19 October 2019 to join others of the GAFCON/ACNA sodality in ordaining a schismatic Anglican clergyman to the post of inasugural bishop in a new Church – self-entitled ‘The Confessing Anglican Church of Aotearoa/New Zealand’.
Davies’ support of schismatic breakaway churches from their local Anglican roots is one of the tactics now employed by GAFCON – and the Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church in Australia – on the basis of a conservative opposition to the presence and ministry of LGBTQI people and ministry of Anglican Churches around the world. The collusion between GAFCON, ACNA and the Sydney Diocese was clearly defined in those prelates officiating at this ‘ordination’ in Christchurch, N.Z.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand