- CANTERBURY, England (Reuters) - Anglican bishops have spurned a crusade
for gay rights by liberal clerics and adopted a tough line on homosexuality.
After an emotion-charged debate, the 750 bishops from around the world
voted by a majority of 7-1 on Wednesday to uphold an Anglican ban on the
ordination of gay priests and the blessing of same sex marriages.
- African bishops, leading the traditionalist
campaign against western liberals, then put their conservative stamp on
the resolution when their fellow clerics agreed homosexuality was against
biblical law. The resolution swiftly won the backing of Archbishop of Canterbury
George Carey, the spiritual leader of the world's 80 million Anglicans,
who underlined his opposition to ``sexual activity outside marriage.''
- Gay rights proved to be the most divisive
issue at the once-in-a-decade Lambeth conference which in 1988 had faced
major schisms over the ordination of women priests. Western Liberals lobbied
for the ordination of practising homosexuals as priests and the blessing
of same sex couples. African and Asian bishops called said such a stance
would be ``evangelical suicide'' in their deeply conservative flocks. At
one point during the proceedings, a Nigerian bishop tried to ``exorcise''
a gay rights campaigner of his homosexuality with a symbolic laying on
of hands. Bishop of Johannesburg Duncan Buchanan, whose conservative resolution
was so resoundingly adopted, told the conference: ``We are not asking anyone
in this room to endorse homosexual practice.''
- African and Asian bishops were still
not satisfied. They pushed through an amendment to state that homosexuality
was ``incompatible'' with the Bible. ``In the Sudan we know nothing of
what you call homosexuality. We only know the gospel,'' said Sudanese bishop
Michael Lugor. Bishop Alexander Malik of Pakistan said: ``If we speak against
the homosexuals it is certainly not gay-bashing. For us it is a matter
of conscience, faith, doctrine and dogma.'' Gay rights activists were pleased
that it had become such a burning issue and forecast that homosexual equality
would eventually become a reality.
- New Jersey Bishop Jack Spong, a leading
gay rights activists at the conference, told BBC Television: ``There will
be out-of-the-closet gay bishops at the Lambeth conference in 2008. ``This
will not be a major issue of division before us because the world moves
in a way that information finally gets down to the grass roots and then
people have to change their prejudices and their fears.'' ^REUTERS@