Bishops of the Anglican Communion gather for a photo during the Lambeth Conference at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England, in 2008. Photo courtesy of ACNS/Scott Gunn

What Jeffrey John’s rejection says about unity in the Anglican Communion

LONDON (RNS) A Christian leader, according to the New Testament Book of Titus, must be God’s steward. He must be “blameless — not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good.”

For the past 14 years, when the Church of England and the Church in Wales have been looking to fill the post of bishop, one candidate has come up time and time again who people think fits this bill: Jeffrey John. Yet, over and over again, he has been rebuffed.

It happened first in 2003 when John was chosen to be bishop of Reading, only for the appointment to be revoked. It has happened twice this year, in Sodor and Man, a Church of England diocese, and in Llandaff, in Wales.

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This month it emerged that John has been rejected as a candidate for bishop a remarkable seven times. For the man himself, it is a personal blow. But John’s rejection is about more than one man. It is about the worldwide Anglican Communion and the lingering division in its ranks over homosexuality.

The communion itself has become increasingly confused about homosexuality during the 21st century, and the possibility is growing that it may split, as liberal voices in the West call for the recognition of gay relationships and the installation of gay clergy, while hard-line evangelicals, also in the West, join forces with loud voices in Africa to denounce toleration of homosexuality and refuse to countenance any lessening of church teaching.

The Very Rev. Jeffrey John, the dean of St. Albans Cathedral in Britain. Photo courtesy of St. Albans Cathedral

John, a 64-year-old theologian and dean of St. Albans Cathedral, has made no secret of his own homosexuality, and is in a civil partnership with another priest, a relationship he says is celibate. He has also made clear his support for same-sex marriage.

That has made John the subject of hard-liners’ ire. Supporters say his honesty about his homosexuality and his views about same-sex marriage have cost him the bishop’s seat, while some other bishops are known to be “quietly gay.”

John, who declined to be interviewed, is viewed by many as a “poster boy” for homosexuality in the church.

“He hasn’t wanted to be, but that is how things have developed,” said one person who knows him well. “If the hard-liners get to hear any whisper of Jeffrey being an episcopal candidate, they shout loudly and they lobby to stop it. And people cave in.”

The greatest debacle over John’s candidacy came in 2003 when he was recommended for the post of suffragan bishop of Reading and was initially backed for the role by the then-archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams.

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After a concerted campaign by evangelicals, revelations in the press about his views of gay relationships, and a letter to The Times from nine bishops opposed to him because of his stance on homosexuality, Williams summoned John to a meeting and said he was no longer prepared to support his consecration.

Several hours later, Williams issued a statement saying that John was withdrawing from his appointment.

“There is an obvious problem in the consecration of a bishop whose ministry will not be readily received by a significant proportion of Christians in England and elsewhere,” read a statement from Williams following the incident.

It went on to point out that homosexuals are full and welcome members of the church and are loved by God. But as Williams’ biographer Rupert Shortt put it: “A good man was being sacrificed on the altar of church unity — the cause that a church leader is especially likely to rate over all others.”

The Very Rev. Jeffrey John, left, an openly gay priest, stands with Bishop Christopher Herbert after his installation as dean of St. Albans Cathedral in Britain on July 2, 2004. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Mike Stephens/Pool

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

As a Welshman, John was a strong candidate for the dioceses of St. Asaph and Bangor in 2008. His candidacy was considered for the Church of England’s bishoprics of Southwark in 2010, Exeter in 2013, St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 2014 and most recently, Sodor and Man earlier this year. The Church in Wales also turned him down for the Diocese of Llandaff.

Under the Church of England system, the Crown Nominations Commission selects bishops.

While the commission engages in open discussion and some open votes, there are also secret ballots to choose which two candidates are then put forward for the prime minister to choose and the queen — the supreme governor of the Church of England — to endorse.

According to Simon Sarmiento, a close friend of John’s who runs the influential Thinking Anglicans website: “There is this huge fear that if he is made a bishop, provinces abroad will quit the Anglican Communion. Nor is all the opposition abroad. There are evangelicals in Britain opposed to him as well who, while not numerous, are noisy.”

Williams’ successor, Justin Welby, has spent considerable time since his appointment in 2013 traveling the globe, trying to keep the communion together.

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Meanwhile, in England, the gay issue remains divisive. During February’s General Synod, homosexuality was once more on the agenda when a bishops’ report, backed by Welby and the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, suggested there should be no blessing of gay partnerships or gay marriages. The rest of the bishops backed it unanimously.

That leaves gay marriage in limbo, unlikely to be considered again until the 2020 Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion.

It leaves John dean at St. Albans, a cathedral with a fine liturgical tradition and a considerable amount of theology offered through courses and lectures. It plays a strong role in the life of the surrounding community.

One former staff member at the cathedral said: “Jeffrey is a warm, very caring man and a superb preacher. He has that rare gift of being intellectual but without losing the common touch.”

“People there love him and they share the sense of injustice that he has not been made a bishop,” the staffer said.

And for John, he is left still with a sense of what might have been.

“He has a very strong sense that he has been called to be a bishop,” said his friend Sarmiento. What he wants is that injustice to be acknowledged by his being made a bishop.”

Meanwhile Welby and Sentamu have commissioned a theological review of the work of the Crown Nominations Commission, the body that appoints bishops. A statement from the commission stated, “it is very conscious of its responsibility to ensure that the full richness and diversity of Church voices are represented.”

But it is that very diversity — a Church of England and an Anglican Communion that includes both gay clergy like John and hard-line evangelicals — that caused the crisis in the first place.

(Catherine Pepinster is a correspondent based in London)


  1. “It went on to point out that homosexuals are full and welcome members of the church and are loved by God. But as Williams’ biographer Rupert Shortt put it: “A good man was being sacrificed on the altar of church unity — the cause that a church leader is especially likely to rate over all others.”

    Herein lies the whole controversy in a nutshell. Or the glaring hypocrisy. Or the desire to put church unity over any other considerations.

    Full and welcome? Obviously, not full, and welcome only as long as they don’t get uppity and demand anything other than a place of inferiority. Johns has stated that he is celibate. So, he is not sinning, and least no more than any heterosexual who looks at women, or any homosexual priest who is willing to lie.

    Loved by god? Well debatable on many levels. But again, if he is not sinning, is eligible, is loved by god, then, what exactly is the problem? Oh, yes. We need them uppity gays to know their place. Accepting a gay person as equal could cause all sorts of problems, like challenging the specialness of our special little club. Nothing says love so much as church unity being paramount, doctrinal purity, doctrinal rigidity, and excluding the heretics or the uppity.

    But don’t just blame the Africans, though it’s a good place to start. Apparently, there are only two sins in the African primate worldview, or two that need concern the Guys in the Pointy Hats. homosexuality, and coming in a distant second, treating women as equals.

    There is surely no heterosexual polygamy, divorce, and adultery in Christian Africa. (THat, by the way, is simply untrue. Of course there is). Hetero polygamy is simply serial marriage without divorce, and so adultery isn’t really happening. And it keeps the women in their place. There is no corruption, no war, no famine, no sectarian and general religious war in Africa. There is plenty of time to make sure the uppity homosexuals and uppity women are kept down, and that anybody who is remotely Christlike in demeanor and action are also marginalized. So, as good a man as Johns is, there will be no bishopric for the likes of him.

    Onward, Christian soldiers, to the Pointy Hat Store!!!!

  2. It’s a cruel, calloused and unworthy religion that demands celibacy from married people like Rev. John.

  3. Rev. John should NOT be promoted to bishop, not in his current situation.

    These are hard times for all the Churches, tough times. People inside & outside the church-house are crashing and burning. There’s no more time to play games.

    The titanic promises of John 3:16, Rev. 3:20, 1 Cor. 6:9-11, and 1 Cor. 10:13 are utterly real. You don’t have to be (insert your sin addiction here) if you don’t want to be. Christ’s love & power & healing are nothing less than overwhelming and impossibly powerful, just like in the Bible days.

    So the Gay-Self-Identity, the same-sex “civil relationship”, and the endorsement of gay marriage, must be repented & rejected.

  4. They are without sin in this matter, doc. So are you really going to argue that there is one set of rules for heterosexual priests, and a different set for the people you disapprove of?

  5. Well, if you’re going to talk about how the (former) colonies are more civilized and grown up than the mother country…..

    The C of E wanted a voice on the issue of marriage in England, but breathlessly whined that they didn’t want to be forced to officiate THOSE marriages. The government responded by excluding them from doing it entirely by law. The choice and the voice that they wanted was taken away from them. I thought it was a very funny and well-deserved– maybe Welby-served?– comeuppance for Welby and the Church.

  6. It’s those uppity evangelicals fault. They insist their church actually teach biblical sexuality.

  7. “So the Gay-Self-Identity, the same-sex “civil relationship”, and the endorsement of gay marriage, must be repented & rejected.”
    Absolutely correct. Once gay marriage is accepted by the church, polygamy, polyamory, and marriage to animals will follow – logically. How can the church logically deny you marriage to your colllie if they allow same sex marriage?

  8. Rev. John is totally loved by God, totally made in the image of God, and he wants to publicly be a leader. But as a leader, he needs to publicly repent (instead of publicly flaunt) all those homosexual-based sins. Namely:

    (1) His public acceptance & profession of a false and self-deceptive Gay-Self-Identity, is directly opposed to the Bible, and directly opposed to Jesus Christ and the great love & power & healing (& the new self-identity in Christ) that He offers.

    (2) His “civil relationship” with another man is a public profession that the other guy is his live-in boyfriend or male spouse. Again, opposed to God and Scriptures.
    (3) He openly endorses gay marriage. Directly opposed to God, Jesus, and Bible.

    He is not an atheist, Ben. He says he wants to be a Christian Bishop. Fine; so let him first stop and repent of his public opposition to God, Jesus, and the Scriptures.

  9. I don’t know about where you live, but here, one needs to consummate their “marriage” to have it be a marriage. If they have not consummated, they are not married. It’s just another example of this world lying to homosexuals.
    I guess equally important is that the marriage must be comprised of a male and a female. Why is his “church” lying to him? (edited)

  10. slaps palm against forehead……”Oh no”! Not them again!

  11. 1 Timothy 3:2-12King James Version (KJV)

    2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

    3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

    4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

    5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

    7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

    Jeffrey John disqualified himself when he felling into the snare of the devil, and didn’t repent.

  12. Gregory Peterson! How in the world are you doing? I haven’t run into you on line for a couple of years. I used to wrangle with you over at Christianity Today on-line.

  13. So there is a double standard. I knew that, but wanted you to detail it. The sin, as I have been informed a million times, is not homosexual orientation, but homosexuals acts. He’s not engaging in any. Therefore, he is as good as you.

    The rest of it you’re just making up.

  14. Nobody is saying Rev. John is “as good / bad as” anybody else. Besides I already stated some big positives on Rev. John, and you didn’t disagree.

    But, the situation is what it is. Despite his ambitions, Rev. John repeatedly fails to get appointed as a bishop, so ask yourself “Why?”

    Because Rev. John is publicly & proudly in opposition to God, Jesus, and Scripture. He’s specifically doing false teaching in both word and deed. And he’s not even TRYING to repent of his mess.

    Wanna be a Christian Bishop, Ben? Then don’t spit in God’s face. People notice little things like that. As you say, I have provided the details.

  15. It seems CT has disabled its comments. They cannot handle viewpoints they deem politically incorrect.

  16. Really? Then I can sell my oldest daughter to the highest bidder! good to know since cash is tight right now.

  17. How can the church logically deny you marriage to your collie if they allow opposite sex marriage?

  18. I note that in a straight news story (no pun intended) the writer refers to those in favor of the candidate for bishop as liberals, whereas those who oppose his appointment are hardliners rather than conservatives. I detect bias in what is supposed to be an objective news report.

  19. If you are so disposed I guess it wouldn’t matter.

  20. Guess you haven’t noticed:
    Gen. 2:22 The Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,

    “This is now bone of my bones,
    And flesh of my flesh;
    She shall be called Woman,
    Because she was taken out of Man.”
    24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

    The word for today is “Biology”.

  21. Don’t worry. I will text the Editor and tell him my good friend k52 would like to post some politically incorrect comments on CT. I feel certain he’ll make an exception for you.

  22. And you can see the future as well! I am duly impressed. But since gay marriage was legalized, polygamists have been pushing for legalization of their peculiar demands…not so invalid slippery slope fantasy after all.
    As Dostoevsky was reputed to have said [tho it can’t be proven], “If there is no God all things are permissible.”

  23. I used to threaten my kids with selling them to the gypsies if they didn’t straighten up. I never did, tho. And they didn’t seem too worried either. And the gypsies didn’t seem too interested. See, my kids were pretty lazy and too lippy.

  24. You folks think about beastiality all the time. In. IMO , religionists probably had erotic thoughts onad much as sex was a dirty thing etc etc ..just my opinion, Dirty, that if sex is reptessed in your community , no doubt ( especially young adults..teens
    ..might think about it more than ” nnormally. Bestiality? Give me a break.! Normal people don’t think about that nonsense.

  25. Please cite your source, or risk being a hypocrite. I mean if it is good for the goose … well, you know.

  26. Consenting adults. A collie is neither consenting, nor an adult. Invalid argument.

  27. Yeah, cuz we all know god hates when people (that he made in his image) are being & admitting to their true selves. God spits right back at them by having hypocrites point that out.

  28. clearly the Anglican church believes that homosexuals are fully human, but only fully human up to a point and no farther. And clearly they follow Christ said, “Humanity is made for the Law, not the Law for Humanity.” … P.S. Where did you find a photo with not a single Anglican woman bishop? Is that an official photo provided by the church to hide its embarrassment at having women bishops?

  29. Consent is not required to kill and consume an animal – but it is required to marry it.
    Interesting logic, there.
    And so we see “the consent argument” for what it is – invalid

  30. “You have to remember, these people have always forgiven themselves and their friends for anything and everything, but they have also been absolutely disgusted by the sexuality of everyday men and women.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr. from “Welcome to the Monkey House.”

  31. Polygamy has always been legal in most of the world. The rag against frontier Mormons was they did it openly. It made it harder to sell the maudlin notion of romantic monogamy to women and keep ’em under control.

    All things are already permissible or else we wouldn’t have a man more immoral than Warren G. Harding in the White House.

  32. Their Mom got custody, huh? Was your divorce judge Roma?

  33. I changed my comment. I started with IMO, instead of “in fact”

  34. I have to admit that I know that author, and lots of folks love him…but I have never read him. I can …maybe you’ d school me on him briefly.

  35. No, the judge gave us a copy of The Art of the Deal after we failed to unload the kids. Didn’t help. Nobody wanted our kids. Not at any price. So we were stuck with them. Guess it all worked out, tho.

  36. I just don’t get how you got that so twisted. Slippery slope, indeed.

  37. And polygamy may be legal here too someday. No logical reason now to disallow it since gay marriage was legalized.
    The flood gates have been opened…

  38. The consent argument is a non-starter. It is illogical. You don’t have to have the consent of the animal to kill it and eat it or mount it on your wall, but you say you have to have the consent of the animal to marry it and engage in married stuff. Why? Where’s your rational thinking?

    And the gay arguments for legalized gay marriage apply to animals as well.
    *marriage will ensure the well being of the animal: economically and healthwise
    *marriage will cut down on animal (spouse) abuse
    *and in the case of the animal marriage will ensure that the human hubby will not put the animal down. The courts as I’m sure you’re aware frown on killing your spouse and then consuming them – yuck!
    *and many more gay arguments are out for legalized gay marriage would also apply to human / animal marriage.

    Marriage was at one time thought to be only between one man and one woman. I still think that. But the concept of “traditional marriage” has changed over time, and the definition of marriage as always being between one man and one woman is historically inaccurate. (so the gay community would have us believe.)

    So now’s your chance R518 to get out in front of a new movement and lead the way to a more inclusive future for all of us.

  39. Well, it is a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.

  40. There is absolutely no reason it shouldn’t be. there is also no good reason to be against it.

  41. He’s one of the greats, lived from about 1922 to 2005 or so. American, from Indianapolis, best known for “Slaughterhouse-Five.” WW II vet, survived the firebombing of Dresden as a POW. WTTMH is a short story, the signature one in a collection of the same name. It’s about a future in which plucky souls rebelled against religious right oppressors, kind of like today. His brother Bernie was one of the scientists who developed weather control technology for General Electric. Kurt was always in Bernie’s shadow. There’s a new biography of the two of them called “The Brothers Vonnegut.”

  42. Thanks. .I may have read Slaughterhouse Five when I was 20. At 70 now I don’t remember. Can you give me gist of that book, and maybe I’ll remember something. ?

  43. I got rid of two husbands, free at last, by god free at last !

  44. Gay couples can have sexual relations. Why are you lying to yourself?

  45. “John, a 64-year-old theologian and dean of St. Albans Cathedral, has made no secret of his own homosexuality, and is in a civil partnership with another priest, a relationship he says is celibate. He has also made clear his support for same-sex marriage.”

  46. Considering CT’s eyebrow raising past of racism and homophobia (their first executive editor was Dr. L. Nelson Bell, and the whole ball of wax depended upon the deep pockets of the notorious J. Howard Pew) they’re likely cowards who don’t like that sort of thing brought up.

    Bell, Billy Graham’s father in law, had some morally, theologically and intellectually bankrupt scheme he called “voluntary segregation.” So voluntary that his I’ve read that the staff at his racist Southern Presbyterian Journal (now the homophobic WORLD Magazine) had to take a vow of “voluntary” segregation.

    Billy Graham himself, the chairman of the CT board, was an anti-Catholic anti-Semite of the condescending, quietly stab you in the back sort.

    He also helped Jesse Helms beat Harvey Gantt by inviting Helms to see him while pretending not to see Gantt.

    CT was, as I remember one historian putting it, “petulantly hostile” towards the the Civil Rights Movement in general and Dr, King in particular. After, if memory serves, a CT editor Frank Gaebelein published a piece in CT, April 9, 1965, and had marched with Dr. King on the Selma to Montgomery March, CT published an editorial scolding the few Evangelicals who marched with King and Gaebelein started to find himself being censored.

    As you could predict with such a sordid, racist background, CT was comfortable in trying to erode the First Amendment rights of Gay people with a shamelessly obvious anti-Gay marriage constitutional amendment…thus not only attacking Gay couples by making their petitions for redress of their grievances unconstitutional, but impinging on their religious practices and affirming religious organizations.

  47. They don’t live in your state, or the United States for that matter, and we don’t have “civil partnerships” here anymore. They live in an old town north of London.

    I could be wrong, but if a British marriage is unconsummated for four months, a partner can ask for an annulment. But I guess that if neither one asks for one at that time, they’re legally married.

    I don’t know anything about British or Anglican civil partnership laws. I do know that it’s very calloused and cruel to demand that a couple be celibate.

  48. It’s more cruel to endorse their sin so that they end up hurting themselves more and depriving themselves of Heaven..

  49. Apparently Catholics should have their bishops marry, then.

    Moral people of good will and a practitioner of the Golden Rule will read this as “A bishop then must be blameless, the spouse of one spouse, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach…”

    In which case Rev. John is fully qualified to be a bishop.

  50. I’m good. Thanks. I used to discuss the hot button issues with you and Christian Lawyer several years ago at CT. I’m glad you’re still around.

  51. Considering that the writers of the Bible knew nothing about such things as sperm cells, the human ovum, fertilization, when conception happens…and seem to think that life began at the moment of a man’s ejaculation, as a unformed child, sex chromosomes, sexual orientations and on and on, why would modern Evangelicals want to be so willfully and carefully ignorant about even basic sexuality?

    Except maybe to protect unearned heterosexual male privilege…

  52. Actually, no he isn’t. He fell into the snare of the devil and didn’t repent. That disqualifies him.
    The fact that the Lord turned him over to a reprobate mind to do that which is not good, is another area where he is disqualified.

  53. Exactly how did you get rid of them? Poison? Gunshot? Blunt object to the head?

  54. I see that you’re recycling old anti-miscegenation arguments. Going to natter on about Acts 17:26 and how God forbids mixing different “kinds” now?

    Am I the only one around who still remembers what white “conservative” Evangelicals were saying fifty years ago? That might explain, I guess, why they’re using the same rhetoric about a different, smaller, but overlapping oppressed minority community that is demanding justice.

  55. Marriage is contracted and brings legal benefits and obligations. You have to be of the age of consent to enter into a valid contract.

    Dogs don’t live that long, alas, and in any case, can’t petition the government for redress of their marital grievances.

  56. The word for that today is “cloning” (and genetic manipulation.)

    Not to mention that Adam and Eve were law breakers and lousy parents. Would you want such people living next door?

  57. Next on the list: Polyamory. “There is absolutely no reason it shouldn’t be. there is also no good reason to be against it.”
    Unless you believe the Bible.

  58. So? They’re citizens who can petition their governments for redress of their grievances.

    If there is no God, “conservatives” would invent one to use for extortion. “Do as I say or God will hurt you…forever.”

  59. If vague memory of something I read somewhere serves, I think that Martin Luther had reluctantly approved of polygamy for a royal who wanted to marry his mistress and keep his wife, too.

  60. Yes sir…that’s Gregory Peterson. You posted this almost word for word back on CT. Hey, I remember.

  61. Religionists are the infants of evolution___Sam Harris

  62. In the past, polygamy has been used for status display by the powerful…sort of like how slavery was in the Bible Belt in my great grandfather’s day.

    In any case, Jesus didn’t exactly forbid polygamy. For that matter, he discouraged men from marrying at all, and in the next breath, exalted a sexual minority, some of whom were born that way, eunuchs, who were not known as the marrying and procreating kind.

    (Though some did marry and some men sexual enjoyed the company of eunuchs, whom I hope, enjoyed themselves, too.)

  63. They don’t come any more ridiculous than you, Religionists.

  64. Nothing like “conservative” Evangelicals who think they should be privileged to define and label the minorities they oppress and exploit.

    I’ve heard it all before, decades ago…only about the “unnatural sin of miscegenation.”

    After the Civil Rights Movement, minority communities don’t allow people of obvious ill will to label and define them.

  65. “Conservative” Evangelicals have a long history of disparaging minority relationships as just being about lust, sex and sin and trying to deny adult minority couples from legal recognition of their marriages. .

    Speaking of someone who had refused to be a victim of “conservative” Evangelicals, Mildred Loving had endorsed the marriage equality movement before she passed on.

  66. Dang, GP you’re saying the same things you did lo those many years ago. And me too! The writers of the Bible may not have known their biology but they did know what pleased the Lord. And homosexual sexual behavior didn’t and doesn’t please the Lord. Now, a church that is attempting to stay true to God’s word has the responsibility to their members to follow the Bible. If gays want a church that condones their perversion they have several to choose from: The Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, The Community of Christ, the ELCA, the PCUS, and several more. Go to those churches while they’re still around because they are dying fast.

  67. How unladylike. Shame on you. And at your age, too.

  68. 64 yr olds ,not all, don’t care about sex that much as young people do. Cuddling is all they may want to do. Now, I’m feeling like I’m intruding on the private lives of those folks.

  69. I just love it when a woman speaks latin to me. You are a woman aren’t you?

  70. Of course, that’s what “conservative” Evangelicals said about interracial couples back when I was young…that they were “publicly & proudly in opposition to God, Jesus, and Scripture.”

    And…they had dozens of so called inerrant, literally interpreted proof texts to make their case.

  71. No laws yet b/c Congress was probably on their first recess.

    But if they’re walking around in animal skins, well that’s kind of creepy.

  72. Well…Go read sociologist and ordained Methodist minister C. Eric Lincoln on who “conservative” Evangelicals had treated him when he was growing up.

    Coming Through the Fire: Surviving Race and Place in America
    Race, Religion and the Continuing American Dilemma
    My Face is Black

    The business class “conservative” evangelicals haven’t changed their pious, self-privileging, self-pitying, condescendingly bigoted rhetoric all that much…they just talk about different, multi-ethnic minority groups such as LGBT and Muslims using the same nasty cant.

  73. See all that really has to happen then is to get an activist court to make laws like they did with gay marriage and Bubba and his girlfriend (fill in the blank) can live happily ever after. After all, contracts etc are all inventions of men and can be changed to suit the culture.

  74. Heard that from “conservative” Evangelicals fifty years ago, only about the “unnatural sin of miscegenation.”

    I haven’t repented of that sin. I wouldn’t want to go to racist heaven and worship a racist God, And like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, I don’t want to go to homophobe heaven and worship a homophobic God, either.

    If those two social constructs, “race” and “homosexuality” are so different, why do “conservative” Evangelicals today sound much like those of fifty years ago about a different, but overlapping, minority group?

    How many times can they repeat self privileging nonsense wrapped up in Bible paper and still think that they’re entitled to respect?

  75. Channeling Strom Thurmond’s “Southern Manifesto” now? He would be so proud of you.

    Why are you recycling old racist arguments from sixty years ago? Have you no shame or decency?

  76. My apologies if you’re “poeing.”

  77. I think you are correct. But I don’t know what the marriage laws were back then.

  78. Jesus speaking: Matt. 19:“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    He pretty much limited marriage to one man and one woman.

  79. Stop talking like racists about minority relationships, and I’ll talk about something different.

    … as opposed to loud extremist “conservative” churches and their pastors who are actively creating unjust and dangerous minority stress and driving minority teens to suicide?

    Declining denominations such as the ones you mention have had their day, but that doesn’t mean that they’re day is yet over. They just don’t have much more to offer than being nice places for nice people to worship God.

    I enjoy going to church…but not enough to go there often. It just does not seem to know how to be more than a place of niceness.

    Which still makes them miles ahead of “conservative” churches in the morality game.

  80. And libs would equally invent one to use for their extortions; Bake me a wedding cake or I’ll crush you economically.

  81. Sure. It’s semi-autobiographical. The guy is named Billy Pilgrim and he like Vonnegut is a survivor of the Dresden firebombing as a POW. He becomes “unstuck in time” and the novel moves from World War II to postwar America and in the future where he and a porn star named Montana Wildhack are placed in an interplanetary zoo by a race called the Trafamadorians who look like plumber’s helpers with one hand and one eye in the palm of the hand. In the movie Michael Sacks played Billy and Valerie Perrine played Montana.

  82. Nah. That was a subordinate thought to something else. It sounds good to wowsers but it’s no money shot.

  83. Outside the U.S., the Anglican Communion is more like the Southern Baptists than American Episcopalians.

  84. Hey way to use the old dicto simpliciter fallacy there GP. Nice touch. Really adds credibility to your argument.

  85. Did you come up with that Mary, or did you copy it down from something you read. Remember the rules Mary – always use quotation marks when you quote someone.

  86. They’ll be around long after the televangelists and political preachers move on to other forms of grift. Try the Benedict option and the bulk of the teenagers will have slipped out the windows before a year’s gone by.

  87. Let’s see…what was that latin term again for the logical fallacy for whenever individuals are made to conform to group patterns. I just used it several minutes ago. Oh yeah: Dicto simpliciter

  88. Thanks. .I don”t think I read it. But I ha male friends who liked Vonnegut

  89. I don’t believe it’s addressed per se, unlike incest is in the case of Lot and his daughters. Marriage was then primarily only an economic institution and the crime of adultery was a property crime, not a moral one.

  90. IMO God plays Cat and Mouse with his creations.

  91. Begging the question again – you constantly weaken your arguments by committing these nasty little fallacies. And why are you name calling? That’s childish. But I remember now: that was your nom de guerre, Cry Baby Peterson. Yell and scream, call names, accuse others with different opinions of being racist as if you are the benchmark for what is moral. Yep, that’s GP. Nice try, GP. But feel free to cry on.

  92. More dicto simplicter fallacies. Try again.

  93. But we are so much farther advanced than they are. And why not incest? If we can say two men can marry or two women can marry why daughter and father? Or son and mother? Or for that matter why not son and father or daughter and mother?

  94. Don’t think the eunuchs Jesus was speaking of are the same as you’re thinking of.

  95. That’s Dicto Simpliciter.

    “Conservative” Evangelicals still believe in white theology, however whitewashed, what with all that deeply pathetic, self privileging and bibliolatrous inerrant and without contradiction nonsense…

    I mean, if you talk and use the same arguments, theological, social and political, today like “conservative” Evangelicals did when I was young, why would you think that any moral person should respect you?

  96. Well, tell me what you think they were…

  97. Hey…you’re the one who all but quoted the ‘Southern Manifesto’.

    I’m not accusing you of being a racist…I’m accusing you of writing like them about a multi-ethnic minority group.

  98. The kind of morality that doesn’t care if someone is Gay or Black or whatever, but does care about justice and equality under the law.

  99. Hey, I was there and remember that rictus grin of the pious trying to save my soul from advocating the “unnatural sin of miscegenation.” Now I see that same creepy grin from the pious trying to save my soul from the “unnatural sin of homosexuality.”

    And I’m suppose to not be reminded of the past and not make comparisons between then and now?

    If you don’t want to be compared with racists, don’t talk like them. Stop creating dangerous minority stress. Stop disparaging loving minority relationships. Start caring about justice.

  100. Stop pretending that “conservative” Evangelicalism hasn’t always been a white male supremacist movement, which even if it’s stopped being overtly exploitative and abusive to Black people, still doesn’t know how to be moral.

    I remember seeing photos of that awful unctuous homophobic Russell Moore’s “racial reconciliation” panels. Apparently, women have nothing to contribute to racial reconciliation that “conservative” Christian men of all ethnicities need respect…many of whom are also public bigots.

    Those ERLC panels made me miss my late friend Taylor Siluwe’, who wanted the Black Church to stop oppressing SGL men like him.

    They weren’t racists, but they were dangerous bigots creating the sort of unjust minority stress that “conservative” white Evangelicals had specialized in inflicting upon them not all that long ago.

  101. You would defend law breaking people who publicly humiliated minority people planning a joyous event.

    The Civil Rights Act was passed over 50 years ago. Businesses should know how to deal with people in protected classes by now. We’ve been down that road before.

  102. No, he didn’t. You just want to read it that way.

    There is no reason why God couldn’t join a man together with more than one wife.

    Regardless of how many wives a man had, don’t divorce any of them.

    Of course the kind of men Jesus appealed to were generally unable to afford such a display of divinely favored status as to have more than one wife. Many of them didn’t have fathers would could afford the brideprice, and so if a man was to marry, he had to work hard and save for a long time.

    Jacob indentured himself for seven years to get swindled out of the wife he wanted and so had to work seven more.

    Of course that doesn’t mean that poor free men were celibate. Cheap prostitutes, secular and sectarian, of all sexes were apparently abundant. So, you ended up with teenage girls from poorer free families being married off to men in their thirties who could finally afford to start a legitimate family.

    Then there was the large enslaved population…

  103. The language clearly demonstrates point of view, it is not a simple elucidation of the conflict, it demonstrates prejudice on the part of the reporter in that the terms in usage were not balanced in a neutral fashion. Nuance is an important part of objective reporting.

  104. For my part, I have always been skeptical of anyone who seeks the pomp and circumstance of the colorful regalia linked to the Liturgical denominations (I’m not suggesting that this is the case with Rev. Johns). In my opinion, the best man to be appointed a bishop should be the one who wants it least; Pope John Paul I comes to mind, he is reported to have declared, “May God forgive you for what you have done to me.” But as usual, you have pointed out some glaring inconsistencies within the Christian community (Still working on that, you know). However, I think from a biblical perspective, the Rev. Johns is disqualified for the role of bishop. Yet he is still in an acknowledged position to minister substantially, according to his lights, in the church he has chosen to serve.

  105. Cain’s attitude was his own responsibility. Both Abel and Seth were godly men. two out of three ain’t bad.

  106. That’s pretty black humor, but she walked into it.

  107. I seem to recall that Vonnegut had a pretty bleak outlook.

  108. Ahhh. Torn between my desire to be civil and my desire to dismantle unbiblical positions, coldly with scissor-like precision, by the use of scripture and logical forensic argument. Sharper than any two-edged sword. don’t cha’ know. But then…Pearls before swine. Still, God knows His, and when He can transform the hearts of avowed atheists and unbelievers of other sorts, I must trust Him, though my skills as an evangelist are sadly lacking. My greatest personal difficulty lies in striving to be godly in mind, will, and behavior and not fretting over health and finances. I’m quite weary. Rambling I’m afraid. Take care Sandi.

  109. Canonically true. However, immaterial here. He does not (at least here) indicate that he has always been celibate within that relationship. Many married couples no longer have sexual relations, from health concerns, to relationship issues, to simple disinterest. It would appear that you suggest that they are no longer married. I’d hate to think that this is the case.

    Not to mention, if that _were_ the case, why are divorces so complicated and expensive? All you’d have to do is quit sleeping together…

  110. I ‘got rid of’ one. I’m keenly aware that Jesus had a great deal to say about divorce. I’m also very aware that he said nothing about gays, married or not. And I think that this is significant.

  111. Nice try GP – but fail writ large in dactylic hexameter.

  112. So crush any poor bakers lately or florists? You gay activists are such a lovely group.

  113. And you still call names and lump everyone into the same group. That’ll strengthen your argument. Keep trying, GP. Here’s a thought: put your bold and cap functions on. Cry louder. Stamp your feet. And call more names.

  114. My mother always said I had a nice smile. And who put you in charge of bean counting? You an accountant?

  115. No your morality gives you permission to crush people who don’t want to bake you a cake or sell you flowers b/c of their religious convictions.

  116. There you go again Mr. Logical Fallacy himself. When are you going to learn?

  117. Well, at least we agree on one thing: you are someone who will stoop to name calling and lies and historical spin to try to win an argument. Nice try, GP. Again, fail writ large in dactylic hexameter.

  118. Matt. 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

    Jesus assumed the validity of God’s moral law. So he did have a lot to say about sexual immorality.

    All of His comments about marriage restricted marriage to men and women. It was always “Adam and Eve” and never “Adam and Steve.”

  119. It’s funny how I feel about my comments reading them the next day. Sometimes I say to myself, ‘that wasn’t nice.
    I like the Jesus figure, but I am an atheist. I have done a little research on the latest genetic science: There is growing evidence that homosexual genes exist. ..and there are more than two chromosomal variants.

  120. He’s disqualified, even though he is not sinning, because he doesn’t lie and he lives both his truth and the church’s “truth”. If he lied, there would be no problem. If he were heterosexual, and engaging in numerous infidelities, he could keep lying or confessing and repenting or both. He could look at women with lust in his heart, and no one would know or care. Apparently, no one has any big problem with him being a priest.

    But honest and gay, and refusing to be cowed, and he is unfit. The African bishops Live in lands where Christian polygamy is acceptable. And no problem. They just don’t broadcast it, and everything is cool.

    It is glaring hypocrisy, Edward. He’s being an uppity f*g, and they don’t like that one bit.

  121. Mary, as much as I don’t care for his ilk, he serves the purpose of illustrating to whatever people are still sitting on the fence exactly what this is about. You notice most of my responses to him are fairly short, and often, I don’t bother, because his words convict him.

  122. Well, look at the demographic that was most supportive of now Pres. Trump. I rest my case.

  123. I would say that it’s you, not John, with the “reprobate mind.” You worship a thing, the “literally interpreted Bible,” and not God.

  124. Right…they publicly disobeyed state law, refused to be brought into conformity with the law, and humiliated minority couples planning a joyous milestone in their lives …and yet…they’re the victims.

    They and their supporters just want the privilege to capriciously nullify laws with impunity.

  125. I’m sure that your mother was right. But you’re not right here, in person, urging me to repent of an unspeakable sin, which wasn’t a sin at all.

  126. You’ll note that I put a qualifier, “conservative,” in there. So obviously I’m not talking about all Evangelicals, but a subset of Evangelicals.

    And…just what is it that they’re conserving? What were they conserving in the past?

  127. Pretty sure that Lev. 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. – is pretty clear.

  128. Nice of you to compare me with the likes of Homer, the great classical Greek and Roman poets and the Christian poet Sedulius. Thanks!


    Paschales quicumque dapes conviva requiris,
    Dignatus nostris accubitare toris,
    Pone supercilium si te cognoscis amicum,
    Nec quaeras opus hic codicis artificis:
    Sed modicae contentus adi sollemnia mensae
    Plusque libens animo quam satiare cibo.
    Aut si magnarum caperis dulcedine rerum
    Divitiasque magis deliciosus amas,
    Nobilium nitidis doctorum vescere cenis,
    Quorum multiplices nec numerantur opes.
    Illic invenies quidquid mare nutrit edendum,
    Quidquid terra creat, quidquid ad astra volat.
    Cerea gemmatis flavescunt mella canistris
    Conlucentque suis aurea vasa favis.
    At nos exiguum de paupere carpsimus horto,
    Rubra quod adpositum testa ministrat, holus.

    Wish I had learned Latin, but it wasn’t taught in rural Nebraska where I grew up.

  129. “Yes, rayiysi – syd. We must crush the infidels if they won’t bake a cake for us. Crush them! mmmmwaaaahaaaaaa!

  130. My adopted city and state has had anti-discrimination statutes a decade before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual orientation and gender identity were added to the list of protected classes early this century.

    The one photography studio that thought that it was above the law discovered that it wasn’t.

    So, we’re just not use to hearing “we don’t serve your kind here.”

  131. ROFL – And look at the demographic that has been calling him names every day since he won the election. You prog libs even take to the street to throw your tantrums – and your invectives. Waaaa! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! WAAAAAAAAA! But hey, that’s the way to get heartland America to sympathize with you.

  132. Right…considering what “conservative” Evangelical leaders and followers called Pres. Obama for eight years, Pres. Trump is getting off easy.

  133. The couples that they refused service didn’t want to crush them, they just wanted what those awful business owners had sold to everyone else.

    Protected classes are not a new thing and we’ve been down this road before…decades ago.

  134. “Ve don’t vant to hurt you, meine Freunde – but you must obey US or VE VILL CRUSH YOU UNSER OUR JACKBOOTS. Verstehen sie?

  135. Gay men usually don’t lie with a man as with a woman…why would they want to? However, a “straight” man like you might. So don’t. A Gay man might lie with a woman as with a man, which I would also discourage…but something some “conservative” Christians seem to encourage.

    That of course is from the desire to make “those people” invisible and silent, thereby complicit in their own oppression.

    Of course there are bisexual people, who are attracted to the person regardless of that person’s sex.

    In any case, Lev. 18 makes it fairly clear that the context of the verse is about not doing as the ancient Egyptians and Canaanites did…worship fertility gods like Moloch. That included sacred prostitution and offering up a man’s “seed” as a sacrifice to the god for divine favor.

    To me anyway, Lev. 18 is a fascinating glimpse into ancient Ba’al, Moloch etc ceremony and ritual. Ba’al had a very complex relationship with his consort, who was mother/sister/wife. My guess that’s from the blending of various tribal sacred myths.

    One ritual seems to have involved “lying” with a cross dressing priest/sacred male prostitute who would help facilitate and accept for the god the man’s “sacrifice.”

    So…don’t do that either.

    Out of that verse and similar, came a strong antipathy and a wicked tradition of oppression towards all male same-sex intimacy. That needs to stop.

    That, and that free men of equal status in an intimate relationship is a threat to patriarchies most everywhere. In strongly patriarchal societies, a free man only slept with someone in a state of submission to him…like women, prostitutes, enslaved people, youth… (or at least, he wouldn’t admit to it).

    But we don’t live in such a society. All children, regardless of their parents’ marital status, are “legitimate” heirs to their parent’s estates, for instance. Sex is a protected class.

    So if you think of LGBT as a sort of third sex, as some cultures even within the United States do…

  136. Right…the elected legislators in my state and in others with similar anti-discrimination statutes are just like cartoon Nazis.

    And just who is calling other people names?

    My German is really and truly awful, but isn’t that “Verstehen sie mich?”

  137. The Bible tells us about God and His history, desires, and wants. There is no other way to learn about Him, nor verify things are from Him.
    The gentleman sinned against the Lord, and the Lord turned him over to a reprobate mind to do that which is not good. He does not qualify to teach about the Lord.

  138. My understanding of his statement is that he has always been celibate.

  139. I’ll continue to pray for you Edward.
    I agree with you about submitting scripture. Then, they will know the truth.

  140. The Bible attests to God, but it is not God. Your bibliolatry is a shameful thing.

  141. You don’t seem to be able to tell the difference, my friend.

  142. That, you are right about. I’ll ignore him and hope he.goes away.

  143. Yup – emphasis on cartoon… But there is a long history of criticizing politicians. For eg. Mark Twain said they were the only native American criminal class.
    You are such a good role model – I figured if you could call names I guess I can too.
    Mine too – but I think Verstehen sie ok, too.
    “Crush the infidels.”

  144. So does everybody else not born to privilege.

  145. No, it’s merely calling a spade a spade.

  146. Hey, it was for cross-pollination. But more women were victimized in a system like that in the Old Testament where girls were property of the fathers. Of course, these days nobody gives a hoot except wowsers looking for something to slur LGBTs with.

  147. If that were valid it would be proof of the evilness of such a false god.

  148. Actually, it is proof that you have a warped understanding of the Bible.

  149. You didn’t include the rest of it. Why?
    copy paste copy paste etc.

  150. You do to…and that never stopped you. 😀

  151. I take that as a badge of honor to be called “warped” by a troll who takes the nom de guerre of a fascist icon.

  152. No it’s not. Not close. Not at all. Period.

  153. As one not born to privilege, and prone to a bleak viewpoint, at least in the short term, I accept your observation for myself, though I doubt it’s true of everyone from a similar set of circumstances. Strangely enough, some people seem to be born optimists.

  154. Ben, I understand your displeasure, though I must confess I winced at your word choice. I can’t think of any context where that word evinces something positive based on its historical usage. I will research your argument regarding Christian polygamy in Africa. With respect to Rev. Johns, if we accept his declaration that he is celibate sexually, and I’m willing to take him at his word, my objection lies in the fact that the orthodox view of scripture would negate the concept of single sex unions, celibate or otherwise. The bible enjoins believers to “avoid the very appearance of evil.” While I understand that you reject the idea that same sex unions are evil, I am unable to work around the issue based on what I understand to be the message of the text. Still, as I noted, Rev. Johns can still be useful in his ministry though he may be tested in the areas of patience, humility, and peace with God regardless of an appointment as a bishop

  155. And you have a reading comprehension disability, apparently. Or maybe you suffer from paranoia.
    *Hooked on Phonics for the reading disability
    *Thorazine for the paranoia

  156. I didn’t mean to make you wince, Edward. But I do know my bigots, especially the antigay bigots. So much bigotry is not hate, but the ever present assumption of superiority– whether as a heterosexual, or as a moral person, or as a Christian. The use of the F word here was entirely appropriate. I have had enough experience in my 67 years to know that a f*g is the homosexual gentleman that just left the room. And I have heard the so called religious use it.

    Do google “Christian polygamy inAfrica”. The last time I did, there were hundreds of direct hits on that particular subject.

    As for avoiding even the appearance of evil, well, I will object to the use of the word “evil.” But let’s leave that and hit the meat of the matter. If Rev. John is considered a good man–apart from being a f*g– and says he is celibate, where is that appearance of evil to be found? IN his life, or in the minds of the people who condemn him? Like certain posters here who go on and onand on about the sex lives of complete strangers, is this in the imagination of their hearts?

    As for his endorsement of same sex marriage, the position of the bishops, let alone the priesthood in general, of the CofE, is hardly monolithic. There are sitting bishops who endorse it. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a problem with them retaining their seats. THe church is also forbidden by LAW from performing these marriages, and so they remain as they always were: civil affairs. And the issue of African polygamy is simply an open secret within the CofE, but that’s about heterosexuals, and so is off the table.

  157. Most are more realistic. Consider Helen from Jane Eyre. While inspiring, Helen was nowhere near as inspiring as Jane.

  158. That’s the old “the media is biased against the right-wing” bullcrap the Right has been selling to the rubes for sixty years. The thing is reality has a liberal bias. This was an analytical piece, not mere exposition, hence the descriptors were entirely appropriate. If the reporter were not prejudiced, she would be committing malpractice. She merely provided a taxonomy for the facts, which is entirely accurate.

  159. I wish we had had this conversation a few weeks ago. Just recently, an African lady who pastors with her husband a mission in her nation of Uganda visited our region, and connected with some friends of mine, so I went to listen to her speak at an informal gathering. Had I better appreciated the practices you have described with respect to the winking at polyandry and polygamy, I would have queried her on it and been better informed. I always try to frame my own view from what I think the scripture declares; hence both polygamy and active homosexuality are not condoned with in the church from my understanding. I will concede a great deal of your point with respect to Rev. Johns’ declared celibacy, and given the diverse opinions and practices within the C of E it does seem odd that he should be denied a bishop’s miter. But I’d like to think he can rise above its absence. I must note that in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he instructs on the role and requirements of a bishop with reference to a monogamous relationship with a female as a wife, and his responsibility as a father to his children, if any. Given the time, place, and culture of the early church, and because the bible, unlike the U. S. Constitution, is not an “evolving document,” I think what was true in the 1st century is true for today. Happily, as I am a member of an independent community church, such issues as those plaguing the “denominations” do not effect me in any intimate way. Have I just declared a safe space? What a snowflake I am. In any case, I wish Rev. Johns well as he continues his own spiritual journey, whatever betide. Regards, as always.

  160. Reality has no bias as all, if it had a bias it would no be objective. You have just expressed a logical fallacy.

  161. That’s just an expression, because what is called “conservatism” – which, as the word is used today, means willful ignorance, meanspiritedness, organized bullying, classism, racism, et al – is not rational. It’s a rejoinder to the silly notion the media have a liberal bias, that’s all.

  162. Nothing but anecdotal speculation regardless of long time clerical and hierarchical divided opinion. You have no access to authentic reasons as to why John has been rejected on seven occasions.

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