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A quieter sort of religious turmoil

by michael July 02 2008
Municipal news
Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade
These guys aren't Anglican clergy. Or are they?
Religious conflict in Jerusalem: it's not just for the Jews and the Muslims and their tendency to want to build stuff on top of each other's holy places anymore. Sure, the pyrotechnics of inter-Semitic religious rivalry gets all the media attention, but we should never lose sight of the fact that there are plenty of Christians to be found in the city too, and they also like to disagree.

The Anglican church, struggling to figure things out doctrinally ever since splitting with Rome almost 500 years ago (being founded on a king's desire for a divorce can make any religious body confused), chose Jerusalem as the setting for attempting to hash out its latest church-wide conflict - because nothing says "a calm and agreeable compromise regarding matters of faith" like "Jerusalem." What pressing theological issue brought the Anglicans to our sun-dappled stones? The gays, of course.

A group of conservative bishops meeting in Jerusalem have raised anew the possibility of a schism in the worldwide Anglican church, largely over the contentious issue of gay priests.


The Global Anglican Future conference (GAFcon), the group of conservative Anglican bishops and believers that ended its weeklong meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, released a statement that stops short of outright schism with the Anglican Communion. However, it seems to set up an alternative fellowship of conservative Anglicans within the Communion, made up of its own group of key archbishops, or primates.

And so on. Jerusalemite is not in the business of expounding on the intricacies of Anglican doctrine, although one must admit, the timing of all this is suspect. Conservative Anglicans were here last week considering a schism over gay ordination. And who else was here? A whole lot of happy, marching gay people. Coincidence? Or...something more sinister? Are those crafty (if fabulous) Jerusalemites at the Jerusalem Open House conspiring to interfere with the inner workings of the vaunted Church of England? Or are the bishops just getting a last look at the rollicking rainbow-hued merry-making they plan to lock out of their faith? You decide!

Photo courtesy of andydr under a creative commons license.

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