Article Title:NZ reaction to gay bishop
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:4th November 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2089
Text:The reaction of the Anglican Church in New Zealand to the appointment of openly gay bishop Gene Robinson in the US has been mixed, despite some media reports that suggest widespread dissent. The Anglican bishop of Wellington, Thomas Brown, said in a statement to 66 parishes yesterday that he agreed with a resolution passed by bishops at the Church's 1998 Lambeth conference that homosexual practice was “incompatible with scripture”. Brown also, ironically, said the church was a place to “love and unite”. However, the Church in New Zealand actually has no official position, reiterated by both the Bishop and Assistant Bishop of Auckland on radio this morning. Assistant Bishop of Auckland Richard Randerson told Radio Pacific's Paul Henry that the election of a bishop was not a decision taken lightly and the process of election was focussed on finding good leadership. He said that the Church in New Zealand was encouraging debate on the issue, in light of modern scientific and medical evidence and doubts about the meaning of Biblical passages that allegedly condemn homosexuality. Bishop of Auckland John Pattison admits that he would have difficulty in extending an invitation for Robinson to visit in his diocese, though, as he believes it would be seen as divisive by those who oppose homosexual clergy. Some media commentators have echoed the sentiments of conservative church leaders blaming Robinson for causing disunity in the Church, as if Robinson's election was his own decision. Newstalk ZB drive host Larry Williams yesterday attempted to paint a picture of significant opposition at Robinson's consecration ceremony, which was immediately dismissed by Williams' own correspondent in New Hampshire. Radio Pacific talk host and amateur conspiracy theorist Ian Wishart last night derided Robinson's appointment on his programme, in between plugs for his own Investigate magazine. He sneered at media who have reported Robinson's statements that he believes he has been called by God, saying that “these people” have a very different idea of God than “most of us”, referring to the writings of former Bishop of New Jersey John Spong as an example of what the “liberal wing” was doing to the church. Spong, currently in New Zealand on a lecture tour, told National Radio's Morning Report today that he was not terribly concerned about proclamations of doom for the Church being put out by conservatives, as similar statements had been made when slaves were freed in the nineteenth century, women were ordained as priests, and divorced people were accepted back into the Church. He said that those who use the Bible to justify their homophobia were very naive, and were not Biblical literalists but selective literalists, only quoting the Bible when it justified an ongoing prejudice.    
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