Fairfax lives down to expectations

ImagePhoto from the Fearfacts Exposed blog

The Anglican Church commissions into same-sex couples and ordaining gay people have just released their reports and, true to form, Fairfax have released a grossly misleading article about it, appearing in between “Another student auctions her virginity” and “Why are couples taking #aftersex selfies?” in their Love & Sex section.

The headline is the most inaccurate part. Firstly, it’s not a fair reflection of what’s being proposed. It dishonestly portrays a church split as some kind of apartheid for gay people, when in fact all the Ma Whea Commission are saying is that without some kind of compromise between the various factions who disagree on gay marriage and ordination (among other issues), the church may have to split (please note: there would be queer people and straight people on both sides of such a split). This could happen in a planned way (as in option H) or in an unplanned way as people dissatisfied with the decision leave the church in protest (which could happen with any of the options).

Anyway, as the article admits, that’s only one of ten possible options the report has put forward for how the church might proceed. Another option is “Adopt a New Understanding … [which] would not present any bar to those seeking blessing who were engaged in a same sex relationship. A rightly ordered relationship could include those in a same sex relationship.”

The report writers do not recommend any of the ten options (though it’s clear they’d favour some over others) because that’s not their job. Now that the reports are out, the church has to decide between the ten options (or some other option).

Please note that I make these observations as someone who believes the church is guilty of centuries of institutional and personal oppression for its collusion in enforcing patriarchal gender binaries, and wishes for the church to repent of this, make amends and remove all gender-based restrictions on sexual partners, marriage, church leadership etc.



  1. Peter Carrell

    It is a great headline, Caleb, because headlines are about drawing readers in. “Church Offers Ten Options for Future” does not cut it! Further, there is a grain or even more of truth in the headline. While I personally am arguing vigorously in one forum and another for being a church of (so to speak) Two Integrities, I do not know whether we can be that church. If we cannot (and some of the Options essentially admit to that possibility) then we will have at least one church calling itself ‘Anglican’ whose basic point of distinction from most other churches around is that it is the church which freely and comfortably blesses same sex partnerships, maybe even has a doctrine of marriage which incorporates same sex marriage. That point of distinction, presumably, would have considerable attraction for gay Christians wondering which church they would feel most at home in. Further, members of that church answering a question about why it had moved in the way it will have done will not be saying, ‘Well we thought we should move with the times’ or ‘We want to be an inclusive church’. Their answers will be much more specific about being a church which explicitly through liturgy and ritual offers possibilities for same sex relationships which other churches do not. (Honesty requires that specificity as it is likely that if we cannot hold Two Integrities then we will have excluded those supporting the current status quo).

    I suggest the Fairfax sub-editor has gotten to the heart of the matters before us, even if we don’t like the specificity of the headline.


    • calebmorgan

      I suppose it is good in that way, but not in terms of accuracy. I don’t think the grain of truth is as big as you say.

      If there was a “church calling itself ‘Anglican’ whose basic point of distinction from most other churches around is that it is the church which freely and comfortably blesses same sex partnerships,” LBGTI people would certainly be one of main groups attracted to such a church; but they wouldn’t make up enough of a majority to qualify calling it a separate church for gay people. If the “pro-gay” side ended up being the existing Anglican church and the other side was the schismatic group, another important group would be people wanting to stay in the existing Anglican church. In my experience, members of my generation (Y) would be another.

      Re: that last comment, and also re: your comment about “moving with the times,” you might be interested in this article: http://www.redletterchristians.org/conservative-evangelicals-misunderstand-millennials/


  2. kiwianglo

    I think a big point to be made here, Caleb, is that I do not think ACANZP is setting out to be the only branch of the Christian Church to to be labelled ‘The Gay Church’. Rather, it seeks to point the way it feels all Christians should be looking, in order to include Gay people amongst its adherents – without having to feel that they are only included because of their ‘difference’. Many of us feel that our sexual-orientation, whatever it may be, should make no difference to our qualification as beloved children of God. I hope that makes sense to you. The eradication of homophobia in the Church is our aim and objective.


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