Waffle or Tactical Retreat?
They've pushed the envelope as far as they comfortably can; now it's time for the tactical pullback:
The U.S. Episcopal Church, trying to appease an angry and alienated worldwide Anglican community, reversed itself on Wednesday and agreed to try to avoid the consecration of more openly gay bishops.
The action came 24 hours after one of two legislative bodies at the 2.3 million member U.S. church's convention had rejected a similar idea.
The non-binding resolution adopted at the convention calls on those in authority "to exercise restraint by not consenting to the consecration of any candidate (for bishop) whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church and will lead to further strains on communion."
Debate during the weeklong convention made it clear that the "manner of life" caution applied to openly homosexual candidates for the episcopate. The church has been in turmoil since its consecration three years ago of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than 450 years of Anglican history.
This does not change their attitude or their objective. It's just one step forward so they can take two (or three!) steps back as soon as the coast is clear.