Robinson, of course, is the American Episcopal preacher man whose ascension to Bishop nearly split the Anglican Communion. Well, John had a similar experience five years ago, when his appointment as Bishop of Reading was canceled over concerns about his gay ways. It seems the Church of England has come around, however, because leaders are mulling making John the nation’s first openly gay diocesan bishop.
And, naturally, there’s plenty of debate on both sides of the ideological divide:
Liberals welcomed the news, but conservatives gave warning that it would aggravate the tensions over sexuality that are threatening to rend the Anglican Communion in two and revive the rancour that followed the consecration of Bishop Gene Robinson.
Despite his civil partnership with the Rev Grant Holmes, Dr John is celibate. But conservatives oppose his elevation because he has written persuasively in support of a new scriptural understanding of homosexuality.
The governing body of the Church in Wales turned down a proposal for women bishops recently, but the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, is a known liberal who is on record as saying that he would be willing to consecrate Britain’s first gay bishop.
Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, has remained mum on the issue. He did, however, play an instrumental role in the abortion of John’s 2003 appointment.