D.C.'s Episcopal Bishop intends to authorize blessings of gay unions
It looks like the race launched when the Episcopal Church USA's General Convention passed a resolution on blessing same-sex unions is going to be won by Washington, D.C., bishop John Chane.

"Local faith communities are operating within the bonds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions," the General Convention's resolution said. That resolution would be much bigger religion news, and certainly a major point of contention within the Anglican Communion, if it weren't for this Sunday's consecration of openly and practicing gay bishop Gene Robinson.

Chane interpreted the ECUSA resolution in a letter to the American Anglican Council, the large orthodox group that's opposing Robinson's consecration and gay unions in the church. The statement "permits the [bishop] of the diocese to set a standard of authorizing local or diocesan rites for congregations that may wish to engage in such blessings," he wrote, according to a report in The Washington Times. "You and I know of several congregations in the Diocese of Washington where this practice has been ongoing for some time long before my election as bishop of Washington."

Therefore, Chane said, "In keeping with good Anglican liturgical order, it is my intention at some point to form a task force to study those liturgical rites that have clearly been in use for some time within the Diocese of Washington to see if there is a form that could be uniformly used by parishes, should they request it."

The letter was in response to a question from four AAC members who asked Chane whether they would be forced to perform and recognize same-sex blessings. Chane promisd that they would not: "This is clearly a local option that is left open to the pastoral judgment of the priest of a congregation, the vestry and parishioners. It is not a requirement for any congregation in this diocese, nor is it a requirement to be followed by any priest in this diocese."

That's not as bad news as it could have been. Somewhat like the news that Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has announced the commission requested by the primates (national church leaders) earlier this month. Yes, the chairman is a liberal,• Ireland's Robin Eames, but orthodox leaders from both the West and the Global South are thoroughly represented.• Drexel Gomez, Primate of the West Indies, has been one of the chief critics of Robinson's consecration, as has Bernard Malango, Primate of Central Africa. The Church of England's only representative on the panel is N.T. Wright, one of the great evangelical New Testament scholars of our day.

Article continues below

The panel is due to report "on the legal and theological implications" of the Episcopal Church's gay unions and a Canadian diocese's support of same-sex unions, by September 30, 2004.

More on Anglican woes

Robinson's consecration:

Robinson speaks to gay Anglicans in the U.K.:

Article continues below

Rowan Williams:

  • Williams sparks fury among gays | Liberals are furious that Dr Williams, whom they regarded as their champion, opposes the consecration because it threatens to tear the Church apart (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Williams pulls out of gay meeting | Archbishop 'pressurised by staff at Lambeth not to attend' (The Guardian, London)

War in New Westminster:

  • Anglican priests face church charges | Seven Anglican priests in Greater Vancouver opposed to same-sex blessings have been charged by the Diocese of New Westminster of undermining Bishop Michael Ingham (CBC)

  • Bishop welcomes church's new honesty on gays | Michael Ingham, Bishop of New Westminster in British Columbia, said the Anglican communion was suffering "a breakdown of the former way of doing things" (Reuters)

Upcoming schism:

Other Anglicanism stories:

Article continues below
  • Bishop discusses church conflict at convention | Bishop Bruce MacPherson of the Western Louisiana Episcopal Diocese assured the region's faithful that he will look to Canterbury, England, for leadership as the American Episcopal Church wrestles with the worldwide Anglican Communion over the upcoming consecration of the church's first openly gay bishop (The News-Star, Monroe, La.)

  • Priest faces dismissal | St. James Episcopal's McIntyre accused of unbecoming clergy conduct (Manitowoc Herald Times Reader, Wis.)

  • Bishop Shelby Spong in Tasmania | It's hard to imagine someone who believes God is about life and love is viewed by many Christians as a controversial figure (Australian Broadcasting Corp. | audio)

More articles

Lt. Gen. Boykin (news):

Lt. Gen. Boykin (opinion):

  • Taking Satan seriously | Without intending to, Boykin has revealed the difficulties with our usual arguments on behalf of religious liberty (E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post)

  • Boykin's world | The General Boykin story has become part of the culture wars (Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post)

  • Silence speaks volumes | The British government's failure to condemn a high-ranking American's anti-Islamic outburst is a disgrace (Anas Altikriti, The Guardian, London)

  • The religious superiority complex | It's okay to think your God's the greatest, but you don't have to rub it in (Michael Kinsley, Time)

  • A general bind for Rumsfeld | What to do when an extremist subordinate is also "indispensable"? (William M. Arkin, Los Angeles Times)

  • Making the Middle Eastern job harder | The bottom line is simple: If you are a high-ranking officer with an important title in the war on terror, don't say things likely to impede the success of your mission (Mark Davis, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

Article continues below
  • God forbid | What did Gen. Boykin say that was so offensive? (Clifford D. May, National Review Online)

  • Onward, Christian soldier! | The jihad against General Boykin (David Gelernter, The Weekly Standard)

  • Fire Gen. Boykin? Yes | His anti-Islam preaching compromises national interests (Albert P. Krueger, The Oregonian)

  • Fire Gen. Boykin? No | He's an American hero who simply spoke the truth (Mary L. Kacy, The Oregonian)

  • Demands on President Bush to fire army general for comments on Islam | President Bush should have acted quickly by either demoting the general, or firing the general, says Amin Saikal, Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University (Radio Singapore)

  • Christian soldier | Why hasn't Boykin, whose comments were deeply offensive to Muslims, been canned? (Mother Jones)


  • Aid agencies consider cutting, suspending operations in Iraq | Private relief agencies were considering whether to suspend or curtail operations in Iraq after a suicide attack at the Red Cross headquarters yesterday, creating new headaches for coalition officials seeking to speed the country's reconstruction (The Washington Times)

  • Americans preach tolerance to Iraqis | U.S. concepts of separation of religion and the state are not widely accepted in the Middle East (Associated Press)

  • Christian church comes out in Baghdad | Before the Yanks rolled in, the evangelicals had to hold services in secret and in small cells of a dozen or so worshipers (Doug Beazley, Edmonton Sun)

UMC ad banned from Times Square:

  • Church has plug pulled on ad | "A policy that arbitrarily shuts out religious organizations from speaking in the public marketplace is discriminatory," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, the head of United Methodist Communications (The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.)

  • A tame message banned in NYC | Under the circumstances, Reuters could hardly be expected to do other than it did in rejecting the ad. (Dan Thomasson, The Cincinnati Post)

  • Methodists' ad rejected for spot in Times Square | Two weeks after the $30,000 contract was signed, a church spokesman said, the money was returned with the explanation that the Reuters news agency does not accept religious advertising on its building (The Washington Post)


  • Airport hails Sabbath flights | Sunday flights to the Western Isles have been hailed as a success by airport chiefs as the service marks its first anniversary (BBC)

Article continues below



  • Zillions of universes? Or did ours get lucky? | A controversial notion known as the anthropic principle holds forth that the universe can only be understood by including ourselves in the equation (The New York Times)

  • Ethics 101: A course about the pitfalls | The real ethics issues in science are not so much the scandals that rock the field periodically — charges of outright fabrications, invented data, theft of another's research. Instead, they say, they worry about more insidious problems that can corrupt science from within and push promising researchers who are uninformed about the rules out the door (The New York Times)

  • Looking for God in the gutter | All religions relied for their authority on human ignorance, and that science has demolished these claims (Stewart Dakers, The Guardian, London)

  • Science creates ethical quandary | As humankind pushes up against the borders of medicine and technology, ethical issues loom larger (Editorial, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Article continues below
  • Archaeology's great hoax | In a storeroom of the Michigan Historical Museum, state archaeologist John Halsey examined the newly acquired artifacts purported to be the remnants of an ancient Middle Eastern civilization that settled in Michigan thousands of years ago (The Grand Rapids Press, Mich.)



Article continues below
  • Rigali offers first Mass as cardinal | Newly appointed, he won the support of the faithful with his soft-spoken and humble manner (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • This world | It's been a long papacy, beginning, a quarter century ago, in a humility so genuine and tender, and so exotically not Italian, that Charlotte the saintly spider could have spun her "humble" over the white cap that Karol Wojtyla put on when he became Pope John Paul II (Jane Kramer, The New Yorker)

  • Holiness and harsh realities | Criticizing Mother Teresa is tantamount to … well, criticizing Mother Teresa. And finding fault with the fading, beloved Pope John Paul II is only a notch or two more thinkable (Dan Carpenter, The Indianapolis Star)

Related Elsewhere

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to weblog@christianitytoday.com

What is Weblog?

Check out Books & Culture's weblog, Content & Context.

See our past Weblog updates:

October 28 | 27
October 24 | 23 | 22 | 21
October 17 b | 17a | 16 | 15 | 13
October 10 | 9 | 8 | 6
October 3 | 2 | 1 | September 30 | 29
September 25 | 24 | 23 | 22
September 19 | 18 | 17 | 16 | 15
and more, back to November 1999