On another level it is a conflict between:
Many conflicts have strained Anglican unity in the past. Topics like the acceptance of human slavery, whether women had souls, whether anesthetics are allowed during childbirth, the role of women in society, whether contraception is morally acceptable, female ordination, female consecration to the rank of bishop, elevation of a female bishop to Primate, etc. The Communion has been able to weather each of these conflicts so far. However, the conflict over homosexuality threatens to split the Anglican Communion.
There is every likelihood that many conservative parishes in the U.S. will want to leave the Episcopal Church, USA denomination and yet remain part of the worldwide Communion. Some type of parallel structure may develop for the first time within Anglicanism in which there will be, in effect, two provinces -- one conservative and the other progressive -- occupying the same geographical area -- the United States.
Many in the Episcopal Church, USA, are suggesting that the drive within the denomination to accept gays lesbians and bisexuals as equals be slowed down in order to "serve the wider unity of the church" as Bishop Peter Lee of the Diocese of Virginia has stated. Others suggest that the denomination proceed to full acceptance sexual minorities. Indeed, many feel that change is inevitable. Bishop Gene Robinson of the Diocese of New Hampshire, the denomination's first openly gay bishop said:
Personal opinion of the author:
I am the main author of most of the essays in this web site. I attempt to suppress my own beliefs and try to objectively describe all viewpoints. Occasionally, I want to break out of this mold and express my own opinions. This is one such case.
The Episcopal Church, USA, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the rest of the Anglican Communion suffer from the same problems as do most other conservative and mainline Christian faith groups:
My personal expectation is that a mechanism for handling change in the Anglican Communion will be initiated within North America. Perhaps by the mid-2010s, the Episcopal Church, USA and the Anglican Church of Canada will continue as they have in the past. But there will be one more province created which will teach traditional, conservative beliefs and cover both countries. All three will form part of the Anglican Communion. although only the new province will be recognized by some other provinces. The beliefs of all three provinces will change rapidly: the existing provinces will move to consecrate other gay or lesbian bishops, to create a ritual to recognize committed same-sex partnerships, marriages, civil unions, etc. The new conservative province will quickly revert to traditional teachings. They will firmly prohibit the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals, work to criminalize almost all abortions, and cooperate closely with fundamentalist Protestants, other evangelicals, and Roman Catholics on many social concerns. Over many decades, either the present provinces or the new province will wither in membership. Eventually, merger talks will start to heal the wound.
End of personal opinion.
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