New US church leader says homosexuality no sin
Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:33 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Newly elected leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Monday she believed homosexuality was no sin and homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender.
Jefferts Schori, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, was elected on Sunday as the first woman leader of the 2.3 million-member Episcopal Church. the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. She will formally take office later this year.
Interviewed on CNN, Jefferts Schori was asked if it was a sin to be homosexual.
"I don't believe so. I believe that God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into this world with a different collection of things that challenge us and things that give us joy and allow us to bless the world around us," she said.
"Some people come into this world with affections ordered toward other people of the same gender and some people come into this world with affections directed at people of the other gender."
Jefferts Schori's election seemed certain to exacerbate splits within a Episcopal Church that is already deeply divided over homosexuality with several dioceses and parishes threatening to break away.
It could also widen divisions with other Anglican communities, including the Church of England, which do not allow women bishops.
In the worldwide Anglican church women are bishops only in Canada, the United States and New Zealand. The Robinson issue has been particularly criticized in Africa where the church has a growing membership and where homosexuality is often taboo.
Jefferts Schori, who was raised a Roman Catholic and graduated in marine biology with a doctorate specialization in squids and oysters, supported the consecration of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in more than 450 years of Anglican history.
The 52-year-old bishop is married to Richard Schori, a retired theoretical mathematician. They have one daughter, Katharine Johanna, 24, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and a pilot like her mother.
Asked how she reconciled her position on homosexuality with specific passages in the Bible declaring sexual relations between men an abomination, Jefferts Schori said the Bible was written in a very different historical context by people asking different questions.
"The Bible has a great deal to teach us about how to live as human beings. The Bible does not have so much to teach us about what sorts of food to eat, what sorts of clothes to wear -- there are rules in the Bible about those that we don't observe today," she said.
"The Bible tells us about how to treat other human beings, and that's certainly the great message of Jesus -- to include the unincluded. "
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