A major meeting of the world-wide Anglican Communion is taking place this week in Canterbury. And it may result in the conservative churches of the old “mission fields” breaking fellowship with the liberals in the West. Or, if any unity at all will be preserved, it will be in the form of a new “looser” arrangement. (See this.)
Charles Moore has some trenchant things to say about this in a column in the London Telegraph entitled “This Is the Week the Anglican Church Might Fall Apart.” He says, for example, that African Anglicans look upon the West’s embrace of same-sex marriage like the old missionaries looked at polygamy and cannibalism. They consider the imposition of gay bishops and liberal theology as a sign of imperial oppression.
From Charles Moore, This is the week the Anglican church might fall apart – Telegraph:
This week, the Anglican Communion may fall apart. The stated reason is disagreement about homosexuality. Liberal whites, especially in North America, support gay sex acts and same-sex marriage. African Anglicans oppose them because they go against what the Bible and Christian tradition say. This is a serious issue in its own right, but it does not fully explain the animus within the Communion.The Anglican Communion exists because the Church of England spread through the British Empire. So it is, in the post-imperial world, the church equivalent of the Commonwealth. Like the Commonwealth, the Anglican Communion wants to retain former colonial links but does not take kindly to white people telling black ones what is good for them. Modern liberal sexual morality has been invented and propagated almost exclusively by white people. So while we in the West might regard it as a liberation, many in Africa and Asia see it as an imperialist attack on their indigenous culture.
Modern African Christians look with horror on Bishop Gene Robinson, the American bishop who is a gay alcoholic and is now married to a man (having divorced a woman), rather as our missionary ancestors were shocked by tribal chiefs who had lots of wives and a regrettable tendency to eat their enemies. They do not believe they can be in communion with the Church which lets him continue in his ministry. To them, Bishop Gene is a symbol of imperial oppression.