By Michelle Boorstein
Another salvo in the battle in mainline Christianity over sexuality and scripture.
Some of you may be following the litigation and infighting in many mainline denominations – Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian, among them – over the rights of same-gender couples. As advocates for sexual minorities have pushed harder for equality, conservatives have pushed back with a powerful narrative that intertwines sex, race and power. It says that Christianity in the West is dying, in part because of new ways of interpreting Scripture that allow equal rights for gays and lesbians, and that the new frontiers of Christian power are Africa and Asia.
Hard data on the views of mainline Protestants in these areas isn’t known, but conservatives have argued that these Christians are more socially conservative and reject homosexuality.
Now a new report featuring a cover photo with Northern Virginia Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns, a leader of the conservatives who broke away from the Episcopal Church, argues that it’s the Western conservatives who are pushing the anti-gay line into Africa — not the other way around — resulting in anti-gay legislation and homophobia that wasn’t there before.
It will be interesting to see if this report makes any splash. The arguments aren’t new but the mainline churches seem to be getting more organized in recent years and fighting back harder.