Anglican Church’s Transgender Policy Vote Discards Ancient Received Moral Teaching

The Church of England recently held a synod to discuss, among other issues, the place of transgender individuals in the church. The synod voted in favor of a motion to “consider whether some nationally commended liturgical materials might be prepared to mark a person’s gender transition.” One priest implied that this liturgical celebration could be similar to a baptism so that transgender individuals could reenter the church in accordance with their post-transition identity.

Rod Dreher sums it up more bluntly:

The Anglican bishops have declared the church openly welcoming to and affirming of transgendered people, and are considering coming up with a special rite to mark their transition from one gender to the next. That’s right, the Church of England is about to consecrate sex change operations.

Now it would have been one thing for the synod to stop after the first half of the motion: “recognising the need for transgender people to be welcomed and affirmed in their parish church.” But loving one’s neighbors because they are created in the image and likeness of God doesn’t necessarily mean affirming their lifestyle.

That, however, is not what happened.


Instead, the Church of England — not the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which the Episcopal Church is the primary American affiliate — expressed a sudden willingness to make sacramental something that has traditionally been contrary to Christian doctrine. In a single vote, several hundred individuals decided to muddy longstanding moral teaching.

Only after much internal rancor has the Church of England finally joined an increasing number of churches in the chorus of moral obfuscation. Yet it succumbed. The Anglican Church has long been pulled between the poles of tradition and reform. King Henry VIII was, after all, given the title “Defender of the Faith” shortly before he cut ties with the papacy. Even after separating, King Henry was loath to…

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