Anglicans Divided on Homosexuality
By Richard N. Ostling
AP Religion Writer
Friday, Jan. 12, 2001; 3:12 p.m. EST NEW YORK Conservative Anglican bishops from around the world are proposing a crackdown on America's Episcopal Church because of its toleration of homosexuality.
Traditionally, the 38 national branches in the 77-million-member Anglican Communion, such as the Episcopal Church, manage their own affairs.
But conservatives are pressing for a radical change in church discipline during an international meeting set for March 3-8 in North Carolina.
The conservatives want the leaders, or primates, of the 38 branches to discipline any branch whose policies "exceed the limits of Anglican diversity."
Under the plan, the primates could vote to admonish the 2.4-million-member Episcopal Church if it continues to allow local dioceses to ordain sexually active homosexuals or hold commitment ceremonies for gay couples.
If nothing changes, the primates could recommend that their leader, England's Archbishop of Canterbury, reduce the Episcopal Church to "observer status" in world Anglicanism and switch recognition to a more traditional U.S. group.
The U.S. primate, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, had no comment on the proposal Friday. But last year, he said, "I cannot imagine any diocese altering its perspective" on homosexuals because of pressure from other nations.
The proposal was written by primates from the West Indies, South America and Kenya. Churches in Asia, Africa, the Mideast and Latin America generally support the traditional view that homosexual activity is against the Bible.
The Rev. Peter Toon, president of the conservative Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A., predicted that a majority of the 38 primates would favor the proposal or similar action.
© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press