Ask anyone reporting or commenting on the 2013 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and they will tell you that proceedings this year are being dominated by two 'issues': the reception, or otherwise, of same-sex persons in the life and ministry of the Kirk; and later this week 'The inheritance of Abraham: A report on the promised land' (which has provoked a substantial preemptive assault by the pro-Israeli government lobby, on account of its advocacy of justice for Palestinians and Jews alike).
The Church of Scotland vote to allow civil partnered gay and lesbian ministers, despite no change in the official teaching on sexuality, shows that the drift towards accepting gay people in the Kirk is continuing, says Simon Barrow. Indeed, while seeking pastoral sensitivity towards their opponents, the advocates of change believe that full inclusion is now inevitable.
In a statement opposing same-sex unions, the House of Bishops and Standing Committee of the Church in the Province of the West Indies tried to justify persecution of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people, reports Savitri Hensman. Meanwhile human rights activists in the Caribbean and beyond continue to work for decriminalisation and protection from violence, causes that Anglicans worldwide should support.
As the Bill to allow same-sex marriage makes its way through the UK Parliament, BBC religion commentator and broadcaster Ernie Rea and guests on the Radio 4 'Beyond Belief' programme (4.30pm, Monday 25 February 2013) will be discuss whether homosexuality is compatible with Islam, and related questions.
Cardinal Peter Turkson may have badly damaged his prospects of becoming pope by suggesting that child sexual abuse is not a major problem in churches in Africa because homosexuality is looked on negatively. The remark is not only offensive but also reveals a dangerous ignorance that may undermine attempts to protect children.
Archbishop Stanley Ntagali of Uganda has condemned the decision by Church of England bishops to allow celibate clergy in civil partnerships to be bishops, claiming this violated biblical faith and Anglican agreements.