The Espiscopol Diocese of Los Angeles elected The Rev. Mary Glasspool, 55, as an assistant Bishop on Saturday (Read Associated Press article). The Rev. Glasspool, who lives with her female partner, is the second openly gay bishop to be elected by the US branch of the Anglican church. The appointment of the first, Bishop Gene Robinson, in 2003 caused divisions in the Church worldwide that have still not healed. This isn’t something I thought I’d hear myself saying, but hurrah for the US Episcopol Church. They are standing by their selection, in the face of criticism from Anglicans worldwide. In July, the Episcopal General Convention effectively lifted a moratorium on electing another gay bishop which had been asked for by Anglican leaders seeking to prevent a permanent break in the communion.
Her election must still be approved by the national church. Let’s hope the Episcopol Church keep their faith in her and their support for same sex couples. Many in the church, worldwide, are still struggling to accept female clergy, let alone a lesbian bishop. Surely, as the members of the Church who voted for her in LA seem to realise, in the name of reaching out to the wider community, someone like The Rev. Mary Glasspool is a perfect candidate. Surely she will draw people back to the Church who feel disconnected. I’m not religious myself but I know there are a lot of gay men and women who long for acceptance by the Church whose fundamental beliefs they share.
But religion and logic don’t often go together. I’m not arguing that faith should always be altered and adapted to fit everyone’s lifestyle. Clearly that’s not the point of religion. But if we’re all God’s creatures and Jesus forgives everything, why is there any controversy?
Yahoo News reports that polls show growing acceptance of queer people in the US. Yet at the same time there is growing religious consternation. The appointment of Bishop Gene Robinson led to the formation of a breakaway Anglican church – The Anglican Church in North America, who don’t approve of gay bishops. The Mormon Church, and others, still see homosexuality as a sin. It seems that loving thy queer neighbour is all well and good, providing they know their place and don’t, say, become a bishop, or join the army. Or heaven forbid, want to marry.
And lest we should think that this happening in LA means that she stands a good chance of being accepted in her position, remember that it was in California that Proposition 8 was approved in 2008, effectively making illegal the marriages between many loving gay couples.
I suppose my question, really, is when will this not be a news story? When will people religious and otherwise just accept that we are not all the same? Chances are God, if he exists, loves us all.