Maybe the Archbishop doesn’t actually think that gay (and lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people deserve respect, or that God really loves them. Or maybe, against mountains of scientific evidence, he thinks that people choose their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The most common way of making sense of the Archbishop’s argument, at least among the people who pay attention to Integrity, reflects rather badly on him as a moral leader. Perhaps he really has nothing in particular against gay (or lesbian, bisexual or transgender) people, but he simply doesn’t think that their freedom to live in loving, intimate, and committed relationships is as important as keeping the Anglican Communion together. Keeping the party going with its current guest list is the important thing, even if it means that some people need to be blocked by bouncers at the door.
Assuming that is the case, my gut response is to say I don’t want to go that party anyway. But the truth is, I do want to go to that party, and I think everyone should be able to go. Because no matter how grandfatherly the Archbishop might seem, or how venerable his office might be, or how pointy his hats are, it’s not his party. This is God’s party, and the Archbishop should be the Coordinator of the Welcoming Committee. His job should be to make sure that every guest gets a hug and a drink within ten minutes. (He might also bring me a sandwich while he’s at it – cultural polemics make me hungry.)
There are plenty of parties that should be God’s parties – a.k.a. places of worship – that are being run by people who want to keep “the wrong kind of person” out. The Archbishop, Church of England, and Anglican Communion are hardly the worst offenders. But here is what I would say to the Archbishop if I had the chance to speak with him for just half a minute: Archbishop, there are already plenty of churches and other places of worship that limit people or make them feel like dirt because they are born to fall in love with members of their own sex. Let the Episcopal Church be different. If you really believe that we all deserve to be treated with respect, then stop the double-talk, be a brave leader, and trust God with the rest.
Max Niedzwiecki became Integrity's Executive Director in September, 2010.