Today's announcement from Canterbury that the Bishop of New Hampshire will not be included in the list of invitees to the 2008 Lambeth Conference will be dissected, examined, exegeted, parsed, blogged, and much commented upon in the days and weeks to come.
My initial reaction?
"Today's announcement exhibits a shocking abdication of leadership on the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury who has allowed himself to be blackmailed by those insisting on the exlusion the gay and lesbian faithful as the criterion for their inclusion at the table."
My official reaction? Here's the official Integrity Press Statement:
"Integrity is outraged and appalled," said Integrity President Susan Russell. "This is not only a snub of Bishop Gene Robinson but an affront to the entire U.S. Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed himself to be blackmailed by forces promoting bigotry and exclusion in the Anglican Communion. This action shows a disgraceful lack of leadership on Williams’ part."
"Integrity calls on all the bishops and the leadership of the Episcopal Church to think long and hard about whether they are willing to participate in the continued scapegoating of the gay and lesbian faithful as the price for going to the Lambeth Conference. It is purported to be a conference representing bishops from the whole Anglican Communion. That can’t happen when Rowan Williams aligns himself with those in the Communion such as Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria who violate human rights while explicitly excluding gay and lesbian voices from their midst," Russell said. "Our bishops must ask themselves this question: 'Is complicity in discrimination a price they are willing to pay for a two-week trip to Canterbury?'"
Integrity is currently contacting the leadership of the Episcopal Church and consulting with our progressive allies about this situation. We expect to make an additional statement in the near future.