By Jonathon Van Maren
British commentator Peter Hitchens has a long-standing joke he makes to illustrate the extent to which the institution of marriage is collapsing: Very soon, he notes, the only people interested in getting married will be the lesbian Archbishop of Canterbury to the lesbian Archbishop of York. It seems that the Church of England, however, wishes to become even trendier than that. From The Telegraph:
Transgender people are being encouraged to become Church of England vicars as bishops launch a diversity drive. Bishops in the diocese of Lichfield have issued new guidance to parishioners and clergy reminding them that LGBT people “can be called to roles of leadership and service in the local church”.
The guidance, titled “welcoming and honouring LGBT+ people”, warns that the church’s reputation as being unwelcoming towards gay and transgender people is stopping young people attending.
“We very much hope that they, like everyone else, feel encouraged to serve on PCCs, or as churchwardens and worship leaders, for instance, and are supported in exploring vocations to licensed lay and ordained ministries,” the guidance says. “Nobody should be told that their sexual or gender identity in itself makes them an unsuitable candidate for leadership in the Church.”
The group, led by diocesan bishop The Rt Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave, also warn against “intrusive questioning about someone’s sexual practices or desires, or their experience of gender”, saying it is “almost always inappropriate”.
Last year the Church’s general synod voted to call on the Government to ban so-called “conversion therapy”, which is aimed at helping gay people change their sexuality. It also voted to support the introduction of a new liturgy for transgender people, though bishops announced earlier this year that one was not needed, and that people in this circumstance could instead use the existing liturgy for affirmation of baptismal faith.
There is a reason that mainline churches are imploding, and that sums it up pretty well. Most of these churches have voluntarily destroyed their own theological foundations and spend more time apologizing for the things they used to believe in than actually attempting to save souls. After all, the only sin left remaining for most of these churches is the sin of telling people that they are sinful, which is a very judgey and intolerant thing to do. The Church of England, like so many mainline Protestant churches, has become a farce but without the self-awareness.
Here in Canada as well as in Britain, their abandoned and cavernous churches dot the landscape still, reminding us that there were, long ago, people who still believed in something.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.