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Gay Clergy

Episcopalians have confirmed an openly gay priest to be a bishop. And today there are dire predictions from churches in Asia . Why would churches in the Far East be concerned about what an American church decides to do? Because both are parts of the Anglican Communion, a rather loose federation of churches founded in the days of the British Empire , based on the Church of England.  The Bishop of the Anglican Church of West Malaysia says homosexuality is “culturally and legally not acceptable here.” By “here” he means Malaysia . It’s an entirely different culture there.

So, what about churches here? Most U-S religious bodies follow tradition and bar actively gay clergy. That includes Roman Catholics (Episcopalians, by the way, consider themselves “Catholic,” although not "Roman"), Eastern Orthodoxy, the Southern Baptist Convention, other evangelical Protestant groups, and Orthodox Judaism. Mormons don’t have ordained clergy, but also oppose same-sex behavior. Churches divided over gay issues include the Episcopalians, United Methodists, Evangelical Lutherans, mainline Presbyterians, and Conservative Jews. But, Reform Judaism allows openly homosexual rabbis, and gay ministers are welcomed by Unitarians, the United Church of Christ, and, of course, the Metropolitan Community Church . So, that’s how most churches line up on this volatile issue.

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