Homosexuality: Clerics question ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’‘We may bless animals, not gays’

2011-10-12 00:00

“WE may bless animals and battleships, but we may not bless same-sex relationships,” an Anglican priest told an international consultation taking place on the North Coast this week.

The Reverend Douglas Torr, rector of an Anglican church in Johannesburg, was addressing 45 mostly Anglican people at a consultation on sexuality.

It is being hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Ujamaa Centre and the Chicago Consultation, a grouping of Anglicans around the world who support the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians in the worldwide Anglican communion.

“I came out as a gay man at the age of 30 when I was already ordained as a priest,” Torr said.

“I am not sure if I would have been ordained if I had been out before ordination.

“The Anglican Church in South Africa adopts a ‘don’t tell, don’t ask’ approach to homosexuality. There is always tension about sexuality in the church and in this regard the United States military is ahead of us, which is frightening.

“I want the church to have the same sense of injustice about issues of sexuality as it had about apartheid. I thank God every day for our Constitution, which is really amazing. It offers me protection that the church does not,” Torr said.

Professor Gerald West, director of the Ujamaa Centre, said the consultation aimed to strengthen mission and advocacy connections among Anglicans interested in the theology of human sexuality and justice.

“We believe that deeper connections with each other will make it easier for us to work together in mission and to communicate productively when challenging issues arise in the worldwide Anglican communion.”

The three-day consultation is exploring theological perspectives on human sexuality and justice.

Participants from South Africa, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.S. include theologians, bishops, church leaders, grassroots advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and others willing to engage in intensive conversations across cultural boundaries.

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