Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Currency of Controversy

In the Church's seasons of controversy, taking no public position is sometimes the prudent and charitably Christian to do. But perhaps it is time for those who once spoke out with bold and godly clarity on behalf of others whose voices were refused legitimacy to lay aside their polite diplomacy and speak up again. Perhaps it is time now for those who seem to have gone strangely quiet to take a clear position on the issues roiling the Church today, and freely accept the consequences of speaking plainly the Truth of the Gospel.

Homosexuality is the precipitating issue that has brought forward deep disagreements around biblical interpretation and application, limits and privileges of constitutional authority, the ontology of communion, and the definition of Anglicanism. Nevertheless, because most people concede that these other issues are open to legitimate differences of opinion, homosexuality continues to orient the debate. Since at least 1993, I’ve heard repeated the claim that “it’s really all about anal sex.” The plain wisdom of this insight recognizes that, for many of the ‘manly men’ disturbed by folks like Bp. Robinson and his partner, the idea of same-sex activity between two women simply doesn’t elicit the same passionate revulsion as does the idea of gay male sex. This may suggest an important insight into the nature of the current dispute. Currently, historically, and biblically, the objection to homosexuality is always primarily and most energetically expressed by men, and always primarily and most energetically focused upon the sexual activity rather than upon the sexual orientation itself.