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04/29/2011

That booming voice: Mixed-to-supportive on gay issues #royalwedding

by Jeremy Hooper

arch-canterburyMany red-eyed royal wedding watchers were struck by the preacher with the soothing, narrative, James Earl Jones-like voice. So that being the case, we thought we'd give a little more insight into how that man, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, uses said voice when it comes to LGBT rights.

Two recent pieces of note:

2008:

In private correspondence, seen by the Daily Telegraph, Dr Rowan Williams, refutes the Anglican Communion's traditional teaching that homosexuality is sinful.
Furthermore, he expresses his hope that the Church will change its position to be more accepting of gay partnerships.
...
"I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had the about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness."

Read more: Archbishop of Canterbury compares gay relationships to marriage [The Telegraph]

2010:

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he has 'no problem' with gay people being bishops as long as they remain celibate.
...
He said that he had been 'conscious' of the issue of homosexuality as 'a wound in the whole ministry' since his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2002.

But said he had to decide against endorsing gay relationships for clergy and bishops because 'the cost to the Church overall was too great to be bourne at that point'.

He said: 'To put it very simply, there's no problem about a gay person who's a bishop. It's about the fact that there are traditionally, historically, standards that the clergy are expected to observe. So there's always a question about the personal life of the clergy.

Read more: Gay bishops are OK, says Archbishop of Canterbury - as long they remain celibate [Daily Mail]

By most accounts, Williams became somewhat less supportive of equality after becoming Archbishop of Canterbury, presumably for the sake of ease. As noted British rights activist Peter Tatchell put it: "In his eyes, Church unity is more important than the human rights of lesbian and gay people..'"

But there are certainly some signs of support and hope from this major religious figure. From the vantage point of an American who rarely sees as much from the stateside faith community's top dogs, I can't help but think the dulcet tones might grow sweeter.

***

*The voice, in action for more heterosexual (and presumably non-celibate) purposes:

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