In a press conference at the close of the Lambeth Conference, Rowan Williams made these this clear and unequivocal public statement:
I am saying that the current policy, well, I wouldn’t say policy of the American church but some of the practices of dioceses, or certain dioceses, in the American church continues to put our relations as a communion under strain and some problems won’t be resolved while those practices continue.
I might just add, perhaps, a note here. One complication in discussing all this is that assumption, readily made, that the blessing of a same sex union and / or the ordination of someone in an active same-sex relationship is simply a matter of human rights.
I’m not saying that is claimed by people within the church but you hear that from time to time. You hear it in the secular press. And that’s an assumption that I can’t accept because I think the issues about what conditions the church lays down for the blessing of unions has to be shaped by its own thinking, its own praying.
Now, there is perfectly reasonable theological reflection on this in some areas, I’m not saying there isn’t. But I don’t want to short-circuit that argument by saying it’s just a matter of rights.
This is a masterpiece of equivocation. Look at the first line of this statement trimmed to its core. “I am saying that the current policy … well, I wouldn’t say policy.” I am saying policy — I wouldn’t say policy. Equivocation just does not get any better ‘an that! Or does it?
Williams goes on to say that “One complication in discussing all this is that assumption, readily made, that the blessing of a same sex unions … is simply a matter of human rights … I’m not saying that is claimed by people within the church but you hear that from time to time … Now, there is perfectly reasonable theological reflection on this in some areas, I’m not saying there isn’t.”
Let’s look at this stream of imperious and impeccable incongruity in more detail. He suggests that things in the Anglican Communion are made more complicated by the assumption that the blessing of same sex unions is a civil rights issue. OK. But then he says that he is not saying people in the Church claim this. Hmmm?
How would the Church’s situation be complicated by an assumption that no one in the Church is making? He further suggests that things are made more complicated by this assumption (that no one is making) but this assumption (again that no one is making) is “readily made” and ” is perfectly reasonable theological reflection.” Even though nobody in the Church is making this readily made and perfectly reasonable theological reflection it is causing complications. WOW! I mean, WOW!
Bow down all you aspiring equivocators to the master. Nobody can do better. Alas, even this premier prevaricator stumbles when he thinks no one is listening and inadvertently says what he really thinks, sorta. In private correspondence, the Telegraph reports he said:
“The Bible does not address the matter of appropriate behaviour for those who are, for whatever reason, homosexual by instinct or nature,” Dr Williams writes.
“By the end of the 80s I had definitely come to the conclusion that scripture was not dealing with the predicament of persons whom we should recognise as homosexual by nature.
“I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had the about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.”
Notice that even when Williams privately conveys his own thoughts, he leaves himself some wiggle room. By issuing the caveat “if and only if it had the about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness” he leaves open the question whether this type of relationship can have that same character. Even when he is privately communicating, he hedges his bets.
How can someone who assiduously avoids proclaiming the truth about anything be the head of a Church? How can someone, who so clearly believes in nothing so much as to willingly express it, be the head of a communion? How can the Anglicans have a leader who believes in nothing when the communion professes to believe in … in …. in …. ? Never mind. The question just answered itself.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.