A Split in the Anglican Church

Will the Anglican Church breakup? Well, if you ask the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, that answer may very well be “no.” Why not? Because of the differing views concerning the ordination of women and the acceptance of members of the LGBT communities in her congregations around the world.

Welby told the Huffington Post that “realistically, we’ve got to say that despite all efforts there is a possibility that we will not hold together…” Though he is also talking of a possible temporary split, it would appear that the conservative movement within the church, especially those in Africa, will have a hard time accepting any progressive movement of church policies.

So how does this affect the rest of the religious and non-religious world? Initially, it does not for there are “38 provinces (or country-states) that make up the Anglican Communion.” Here in the U.S., the Anglican Communion is represented by the Protestant Episcopal Church and the divisions within that community is serious.

However, as this church splits into its progressive and conservative settings, it may give more ammunition to other conservative churches to further discriminate against women and gays. This should be of serious concern in both of these communities.

Though there is a prohibition in the bible of men sleeping with other men (Leviticus 20:13), there appears to be no similar prohibition of women having posts of authority within the Christian religious structure. The main argument appears to be that there were no female Apostles, or at least one that we recognize today.  There seems to be a universal disjoint with Mary Magdalene.

If the Church splits, it will cause large waves in the religious community that could further split the conservative and liberal churches. There have been threats of a split in the Anglican Church over the issues of women and gays for years. But for the Archbishop to acknowledge these differences does not bode well for the institution.

I have been told that the Humanist community should stay out of the discussion but that would be a grave injustice. There are Humanist Anglicans here and abroad, and their liberal voices need to be heard and supported. That Jesus of Nazareth, a man of liberal and progressive thought, would not have made such prohibitions 2100 years ago. That it is the man-made restrictions and not the restriction of God that is splitting the Anglican Church.

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
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